• 11 Nov
    Sadaf Ambreen Saiyad

    Postpartum Depression- The Stress Of New/To-be Mothers is Not A Joke

    Motherhood is undoubtedly the most beautiful experience that a woman can go through. There is no need for me to mention the unique bond of a mother-child that forms even before the child comes into this world. As beautiful as the experience is, I am sure nobody will deny the fact that it is not an easy job at all. Would-be mothers go through a lot of physical and psychological changes during the span of pregnancy. For those nine months, they literally give up their comfort and focus on the little life that is blooming inside them. And we are all aware of the extensive pain that they have to go through while delivering the baby.

    Mothers will agree on the fact that all the struggles of the pregnancy and long hours of labour is totally worth it after holding their neonate for the first time. However, movies, TV series, soap operas, and to some extent our own lack of knowledge leads us to believe that it is a smooth journey once the child is born. This is not the case. Mothers are on a constant roller coaster ride while dealing with infants, and it shouldn not be surprising, but the sudden increase of responsibilities can lead to frustration and often depression.

    postpartum depression

    The kind of depression that is related to childbirth is called postpartum depression, or postnatal depression which includes extreme sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, anxiety, irritability, and crying episodes. It usually begins within a week and month after the child is born.

    There are a lot of factors that lead to postpartum depression. The symptoms include:

    Emotional:

    • Persistent sadness or anxiousness
    • Severe mood swings
    • Frustration, irritability, anger
    • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
    • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
    • Lowered self-esteem
    • Numbness
    • Extreme exhaustion
    • Inability to be comforted
    • Trouble in bonding with the baby
    • Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby

    Behavioral:

    • Lack of interest or pleasure in activities
    • Low energy
    • Low libido
    • Changes in appetite
    • Fatigue or decreased energy
    • Poor self-care
    • Social withdrawal
    • Insomnia or excess sleep

    Cognition:

    • Diminished ability to make decisions or think clearly
    • Lack of concentration or poor memory
    • Fear that one cannot care for the baby
    • Worry about harming the self, baby, or partner

    Postpartum depression typically begins between two weeks and one month after the child is born, however, recent studies have shown that 50% of the postpartum depressive episodes occur even before childbirth. It can also occur in women who have suffered a miscarriage. It can interfere with the mother-child relationship and affect the development of the child. It may also lead mothers to be inconsistent with child care, this includes feeding and sleeping routines and health maintenance of the child.

    Causes of postpartum depression are not well understood, however, the risk factors may include genetics, hormonal changes, and major life events. Out of these, hormonal changes are believed to play a major role in causing postnatal depression. The hormones that have been studied are estrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormone, testosterone, corticotropin-releasing hormone, and cortisol. Childcare brings with it an overwhelming change in the lifestyle, which can also be a cause of postpartum depression.

    Treatment for postpartum depression includes psychotherapy and medications. Social interventions, that include individual counselling and peer support, and psychological interventions, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), have shown to be equally effective in the treatment of postpartum depression. Along with these, it is also necessary that the mother is provided with ample emotional support from the husband and family members.

    Motherhood is something that most women experience. But even though it’s such a common thing, it is still a unique experience for every mother in the world. Everyone goes through different phases, and while the physical changes during pregnancy are the same for all women, psychological effects differ from person to person. Postpartum depression is a serious issue which needs to be acknowledged and treated and not neglected by saying things like “it’s not a big deal”, “don’t make such a fuss out of it”, “so many women give birth to children and they take care of them without complaining, you’re no one special”. We need to avoid being so insensitive to someone who is clearly going through a lot. Some instances have shown that mothers with unattended postpartum depression sometimes even end up killing their infant, by drowning or some other method. They become so detached with the baby that they don’t even feel like catering to their needs. We need to understand that this condition is no joke and that mothers going through it needs help and support.

    I would also like to mention here that it is not just women who go through postpartum depression, men suffer from it too. Studies have shown that 1% to 26% of new fathers go through it too. Fathers have as much responsibility in childcare as mothers, so it is understandable that they too get tired or frustrated and fall into depression. We need to be sensitive towards the mothers and fathers equally and not take their situations lightly.

  • 09 Nov
    Mansvee Singh

    Neurological Differences Between Men and Women

    Neurological differences between men and women

    There are many obvious differences between men and women that no one denies even though everyone agrees that there is scope for exceptions. Such differences include average height and upper body strength, as well as general body structure and differences in reproductive abilities. It is definitely not these differences that are either superficial or undeniable that serve to be a point of contention among those who are so inclined to be contentious.

    Differences between men and women that are not only subtle but also profound enough to potentially justify interference in the personal liberty of the individual are what lie at the forefront of gender politics. In other words, the differences between men and women that find themselves scrutinized in the limelight of impassioned public debate are more psychological than physical. This makes it crucial that the stances of psychologists and especially of neuropsychologists be considered since the physical brain happens to be in a certain sense, the seat of the mind.

    Here, I am going to explore what neuropsychologists have found about the differences between men and women and how these differences manifest in the gritty, day to day living of life.

    Before looking at differences in brain anatomy and functioning it might serve us better if we looked at differences in cognition and behaviour that have been extensively studied and established as parsimoniously as is possible in situations where entities as versatile as human beings are involved. Some such differences are as follows:

    • Differences in verbal abilities include women being better than men at most aspects with the exception of verbal analogies.
    • Women are also on average better than men at reading comprehension and writing.
    • Women tend to outperform men when tested for fine motor skills and perceptual speed.
    • Retrieving information from long-term memory is also something that women excel at in comparison to men.
    • Men have a better working memory than women.
    • Visio-spatial skills too are a man’s domain, so to speak.
    • While navigating the outside world, women more than men tend to rely on landmarks while men make extrapolations on the basis of memories of previous travelling.

    Many of these differences have been observed early in life, sometimes as early as a few months old.

    It is important to remember that even those differences that have a statistical significance, can by no means be assumed to excessively large. Additionally, these are only mean comparisons and the variation among individuals is quite widespread. Gender differences are observed more at the extremes of the bell curve, rather than the middle.

    Neurological differences between men and women manifest in more than normal functioning. Men and women have different rates of diagnosis of a variety of psychological disorders. Women are more likely to experience Mood disorders like depression as well as Trauma and Stress-Related Disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to develop Anti-Social personality disorder, Autism, Dyslexia, Substance dependence and Schizophrenia.

    The human brain is considered to be a sex-typed organ which means that there are distinct anatomical and functional differences between the respective brains of male and female persons. Even more noteworthy is that these differences extend further than the reproductive domain. This would make sense in the context that men and women have a distinction in cognition and behaviour. Some of the major differences between male and female brains are listed as follows:

    1. The male brain is larger than female brains which lends adult human males the greater processing power required to maintain the functionality of typically larger bodies.
    2. Men are more sharply oriented to the left hemisphere while women have a more balanced orientation. This causes women to be more intuitive and better at communication while men are better task oriented thinkers.
    3. It is the left brain orientation of men that is postulated to cause them to be more susceptible to the likes of dyslexia.
    4. The interior parietal lobule which controls numerical brain function is larger in men than it is in women.
    5. Women process language in both hemispheres of the brain while men use only one hemisphere. Additionally, the areas that process language are larger in women than in men.
    6. Women have a larger deep limbic system which causes them to be more in touch with their feelings and better able to express said feelings compared to their male counterparts.
    7. Women have thicker parietal lobe with less surface area which causes men to have better spatial skills.

    In conclusion I would like to say that there are neurological differences between men and women that arise from genetic as well as environmental factors which cause men and women to excel at different things to different degrees but at the end of the day human beings are special because they have never been limited by their genes or their environment. I think it is important to acknowledge and accept that men and women are not the same in many ways but it is in my thinking even more important to make sure that your prejudice is in not detrimental to liberty. 

  • 08 Nov
    Sadaf Ambreen Saiyad

    A Peep Into The Mind Of A Schizophrenic

    Have you ever seen something that wasn’t actually there? Or heard a certain voice, but found no source for it on searching? If you have, you might have considered it as your mind playing tricks on you and forgot about it. Or you might have just concluded that it was a figment of your imagination. What if I told you that there are people who hear and see things which are not there in reality? As hard as it is to believe, such people do exist. Visual and auditory hallucinations are a part of a very serious mental illness and by writing this article I hope I can shed some light on it and why everyone should know about this disorder.

    schizophrenia

    The disorder is called “schizophrenia” and it is characterized by abnormal social behaviour and an inability to understand what is real. It affects how a person thinks, feels and acts. It affects about 0.3-0.7% of the population. Schizophrenia is often confused with dissociative identity disorder, commonly known as the split-personality disorder, but it’s an entirely different mental disorder.

    Symptoms of schizophrenia.

    Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start to show between late adolescence and early adulthood. These include hallucinations (mostly auditory), delusions, and disorganized speech and thinking. They go through distortions of self-experience. This includes feeling as though their thoughts are not really theirs, believing that someone else is inserting thoughts in their mind.

    There are positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Positive symptoms are those that are present in people with schizophrenia and are not experienced by normal people. These include delusions, hallucinations (auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory and gustatory), and distorted thoughts. These symptoms generally respond well to medications.

    Negative symptoms consist of deficiency of normal emotional responses or thought processes. These include lack of motivation, inability to experience pleasure, lack of desire to form relationships, flat expressions, little emotion, and poverty of speech.

    Another feature of schizophrenia is deficiencies in cognitive abilities. The extent of these cognitive deficits can determine how functional the individual will be, their quality of occupational performance, and how successful they will be in maintaining treatment. The impact of deficits in cognitive function are seen in areas such as long-term memory, working memory, semantic processing, verbal declarative memory, learning, attention, and episodic memory. These deficits are usually found in individuals before the onset of the illness, a review of literature shows that these deficits may be present in early adolescence, or even as early as early as in childhood.

    What causes schizophrenia?

    Causes of schizophrenia include a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

    Estimates of the heritability of schizophrenia are 80%. However, this estimate may vary because there might be difficulty in separating influences of genetic and environmental factors. The greatest risk factor is having a first-degree relative with schizophrenia. More than 40% of monozygotic twins of those with schizophrenia are also affected. If both parents are affected, the risk is about 50%, and if one parent is affected then the risk is at 16%.

    Environmental factors include prenatal stress, drug use, and the living environment. About 50% of schizophrenic patients are known to use drugs or alcohol excessively. Some drugs, and to some extent alcohol, can result in a transient stimulant psychosis, or alcohol-related psychosis that presents very similar to schizophrenia. Cannabis is also a huge contributory factor in the development of schizophrenia and is a potential cause for those who are already at risk. Maternal stress is also associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia. Maternal nutritional deficiencies and maternal obesity have also been identified as potential risk factors for schizophrenia.

    Diagnosis of schizophrenia.

    According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) released by the American Psychological Association (APA), two criteria must be met over the time period of at least one month to be diagnosed by schizophrenia. The first is, the person has to be suffering from delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech. The second criterion is that the person should be suffering from negative symptoms or catatonic behaviour.

    Management.

    The primary treatment is antipsychotic medications, often paired with psychological and social supports. Voluntary or if mental health legislation allows it, involuntary hospitalization may occur for severe episodes. Long-term hospitalization is uncommon. Some evidence also indicates that regular exercise has a positive effect on the mental and physical health of those with schizophrenia. There are different types of services that can help a person with schizophrenia which includes case management, psychological rehabilitation programs, self-help groups, drop-in centres, housing programs, employment programs, and counselling/therapy. Although schizophrenia cannot be fully cured, the symptoms can be reduced to a great extent.

    Contrary to popular belief, a vast majority of people with schizophrenia do not pose a threat to others and are not violent or dangerous. It is not caused by childhood experiences, poor parenting or lack of willpower. Positive and negative symptoms can differ from person to person. Schizophrenia is an actual disease and people suffering from it need to be given proper psychiatric help. They need a lot of love and support, and with proper treatment, they will be able to live an almost regular life.

  • 07 Nov
    Rasi M Sethia

    Amazing Things about Children with Down Syndrome

    child with down syndrome

    Down Syndrome, a genetic condition is one of the most common conditions found among children. It is the result of the transfer of an extra chromosome 21 to the newly formed embryo. Down Syndrome happens when there are three copies of the 21st chromosome in an individual. The extra genetic material (of chromosome 21) which is transferred causes certain changes in the development of the foetus and leads to physical and mental abnormalities in the child. Down syndrome leads to intellectual and developmental delays and learning difficulties in the child. It also causes distinct facial features and short physique, eyesight and hearing issues, and heart diseases.

    Generally, a child with Down syndrome has a small head, short, tiny neck, flat face and upward slanting eyes, flat ears positioned a bit lower in comparison to those of the normal children, wide hands, and short fingers. The child’s tongue seems to be larger than the mouth and his or her muscles lack toning. A child with Down syndrome has growth retardation and does not grow much in height. A Down syndrome adult is mostly found short in height. Gross motor skills and fine motor skills develop in the child slowly and take more time. Thus, in a way children with Down syndrome are said to have low IQ too. All kinds of developments in such children are impaired.

     

    How does Down Syndrome occur?

    Generally, individuals have 23 pair of chromosomes and 2 sex chromosomes making it in total 48 chromosomes, 24 pairs. At the time of conception, new cell forms by receiving one chromosome from each pair of the chromosomes, one from the sperm and one from the ovum. This new cell multiplies itself to form an embryo, then a foetus and finally a child. Each cell in the child contains the same chromosome material from those 48 chromosomes. Down syndrome occurs when it is found that the child has 47 chromosomes,2 sex chromosomes instead of 46, 2 chromosomes. Thus, in total, a child with Down syndrome has 49 chromosomes instead of 48 as in most of the human beings. In such cases, one extra 21 chromosome is present in the child. This is a chromosome replication error where the new cell at the time of conception receives three copies of chromosome 21.

    diagram showing formation of down syndrome

     

     

    Interesting things we should know-

    • The child born with Down syndrome is not having an illness or a disease. It is just that, that the child has a genetic condition of having an extra chromosome.
    • As mentioned above that it is not a disease, children with Down syndrome lead a normal life just like others. They contribute to and help their families, their friends, their co-workers, their employers, and society. They go to school and colleges, work, and marry.
    • All children with Down syndrome are not same. Each of them is unique in his or her own way. They have their own individual talents and abilities. Their personality is specific to themselves.
    • These children are like other children. They have the same physical attributes as others. These children just have slow growth and development.
    • Children with Down syndrome are not retarded. The fact that a child has Down syndrome does not mean that the child is often sad or the family is sad. The child is happy, he or she experiences all the emotions as we all do. The family is blessed to have the child.
    • Children with Down syndrome brings happiness to others. These children have a remarkably adoring smile. Their smile is contagious. One cannot control his or her smile on looking them smile.
    • It is said that these children have distinct physical characteristics. This does not mean that all children with Down syndrome look alike. Yes, they do resemble their family members.
    • Children with Down syndrome are more understanding of emotions and feelings.
    • The stages of development are the same in these children like others. The only difference is that they develop and achieve milestones bit by bit and take time.
    • It is said that children with Down syndrome have low IQ but this is not specific to all children. Some of these children are intelligent and smart. Some of them will very easily and swiftly manipulate and convince you.
    • Children with Down syndrome are lovely. These children are patient and even teach others around them to be patient naturally as they take a bit time to take in and evaluate information from the environment.
    • These children have dreams and high aspirations and make efforts to achieve them.
    • It is fun to be around these children. They are joyful.

     

    Down syndrome is the most common genetic condition. One in every six hundred babies is born with Down syndrome. Children with Down syndrome are no less than another, they are no different from other children. Most families are living and loving life with Down syndrome. If you don’t know anyone with Down syndrome, you are missing out. They are beautiful and make people’s life around them beautiful.

    “Down Syndrome isn’t a burden. How people react to it is.” – Stephanie Holland

     a quote on down syndrome

     

  • 04 Nov
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Organization is the key to success

    Time and again, we have fallen victim to a day when we were unable to complete a good chunk of our work that we had planned to do. The sole reason for this issue, I believe, is the way we approach the tasks. To put in other words, probably our way of doing those tasks wasn't "organized"! Now some people out there might ask me "Are there really any benefits of being organized ?. Isn't it more relaxing and fun to live on the edge and let the things fall into place on their own?" Well, if you are asking this to me, then at some point in time you would have asked a similar question to yourself also. If that's true, then probably you are not aware of the many benefits of actually being organized. It's not about forcefully holding back the fun or spontaneity in your life, but about getting the best from your life that you can have every single day. 

    Being organized is vital for not only one but all the people out in the world. It makes life easier, saving time as well as your belongings. Consider the following example to understand as well as relate to your daily basis issues when you are not organized. 

    " Two friends, Ananya and Aashima are getting ready to go to their school. Ananya and Aashima are both running late for their school. But Ananya is stuck because she is unable to find her geometry box for her geometry class whereas Aashima, who always puts her study material as well as all school belongings at her desk, quickly grabs her geometry box and rushes out of the house just in time to catch her school bus. Aashima is already seated in the school bus whereas Ananya, who is still searching for her geometry box eventually misses her school bus." 

    organize

    Nothing more to say, this example shows how organizing is important as well as vital for our life because it makes life so much easier. It surely makes a difference and hence, shows how important organization is since it makes life, nonetheless, convenient to live. The second positive effect of organization is to have a proper balance in life. We tend to spend a very little amount of time on little things and a good chunk of our time on things that are actually important in our lives, like family, your health, hygiene etc. Like the saying goes:- 

    Amazing balance = Amazing life  

    Another positive effect of organization is about being able to set and achieve our goals.It also helps us in setting a good example for our friends, colleagues, and children in the family who are watching and learning from us each passing day. To show them the power of organization, is a lifelong lesson for them and someday, they will thank you for it. 

    organization

    But the issue is how to be organized? It's not going to be something magical that will occur overnight. You have to go through a set of measures to ensure that you are organized both at home and at your workplace. You can adopt the following measures and can see the change from Day 1. These techniques are:- 

    1) Make the target list 

    ● It is really essential to write down each and every thing that you want to accomplish because it is not easy for our brains to remember each and every detail of our workload. 

    ● Make a to-do list on a regular basis so as to keep track of your workload as well as to see how much are you able to accomplish. 

     2) Habit of "Put in place" 

     ● This is the main reason for the clutter that surrounds us. We usually have a tendency to use a particular object and in place of putting them back; leave it wherever we wish to. So it is important for us to exercise the habit of putting things back in their places so as to avoid the clutter that forms, otherwise. 

    3) Regular cleaning up  

      ● This technique might sound gross to people who usually do not indulge in cleaning and keep running away from it. But if you actually want to be organized, this is something you have to do. It is up to you on how you want to do it- either on an alternate-day basis or on weekly basis. 

     4) Cornell's Method  

      ● Organization is not only limited to your home but also to the educational institutes you attend - be it a school or a college. This method was quite new to me but after using it for my notes; it proves to be really effective. 

      ● To follow this method, draw a horizontal line about 6 lines from the bottom of your lines paper. Then, draw a vertical line about 2 inches (5.1cm) from the left side of the paper. This will create a total of three boxes. Use the left-hand vertical box to take down key points, the right-hand pather box to take down general notes and the bottom horizontal box for summary after class.  

     5) Treat Yourself  

    The is the final step in organization is to reward yourself for all the tasks that you have completed. Psychology has numerous such examples where giving a positive reinforcement after completing a particular task, increases the chances of occurrence of desirable behavior substantially. So, if you treat yourself for being organized and for completing your tasks on time, it will become a habit of yours and would help you lifelong. 

    timetable

    All the best guys!

    Author: Akshita Reviewer: Sadaf

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