What Are Antioxidants?
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The media talks about antioxidants all the time, but what are antioxidants, really? Watch this video to learn how they benefit your brain.
Transcript: According to the American Journal of Physiology, your brain represents just two-percent of your body...
According to the American Journal of Physiology, your brain represents just two-percent of your body weight, but demands 20-PERCENT of your resting metabolism! In other words, your mind's your body's biggest energy hog, and you have to feed it well if you want it to perform. The best foods for your thinker are known as antioxidants, which include: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A. To see how antioxidants work, understand that, like the rest of the body, the brain ages over time. Free radicals, unstable atoms or molecules that occur in the body, are partly to blame. When free radicals meet with oxygen, the result is rust-like oxidative damage to the brain. The good news is that antioxidants REDUCE that damage, keep the brain agile and help slow the aging process. Blueberries, one of the most powerful antioxidants, also reduces the effects of diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Prunes, raisins, blackberries, and pomegranates are ripe with good-for-you antioxidants, too. Meanwhile, spinach, Swiss chard, and arugula are vegetables with excellent antioxidant power. Plus, these leafy greens help the body produce happiness hormones, like serotonin and dopamine. When consuming both fruits and veggies, remember: the darker the color, the higher the antioxidant content! Two other brain-boosting sources of antioxidants are probably already a regular part of your diet. I'm talking about coffee and dark chocolate. Aside from slowing down free radical damage, these substances contain caffeine, which enhances short-term memory. Plus, dark chocolate stimulates endorphins, which help improve mood! Just consume in moderation: one ounce of dark chocolate each day is plenty, and you should stop at two to three cups of java or tea. To further boost your brainpower, consume a healthy portion of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a primary building block of healthy brain tissue. Find them in coldwater fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, and aim for two to three four-ounce servings every week. A good brain diet is basically a healthy body diet. It's easy, natural and tasty, so go ahead and nourish your noggin!More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Trying to solve a knotty problem or come up with a breakthrough idea? Find out how to make your brain work better with tips in this video.
Transcript: Feeling stumped at work? Take a thirty second time out for some daydreaming. Really! To ensure that...
Feeling stumped at work? Take a thirty second time out for some daydreaming. Really! To ensure that your daydreaming leads to a corner-office worthy idea, envision a large empty pitcher. Picturing emptiness creates space for new ideas in your brain's cerebral cortex, the area which focuses on problem-solving. While this tip works in the moment, you can begin preparing for a big day at work even earlier-while you shower! As you hop under the spray, close your eyes and keep them shut until you reach for your towel. This trick forces you to use your sense of touch to find the soap and shampoo, in turn reawakening nerve cells in the brain's cortex, which controls memory. See, showering does make you smarter! With these simple tips, training your head for marathon thinking is, well, a no-brainer!More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-20 | Tags »
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Just like your body needs exercise to stay fit, your brain requires intellectual stimulation to stay sharp. Find out how brain games can help you with your focus.
Transcript: Just like your body, your brain needs regular exercise to stay in shape and perform at its peak. To understand...
Just like your body, your brain needs regular exercise to stay in shape and perform at its peak. To understand why, imagine your brain as a street map. Information passes between the brain's neurons through a network of neural pathways, much like traffic on streets and highways. If you only engage in a limited, routine number of activities, you only have that small a system of information roadways to use. Brain games encourage the mind to build new pathways. That means you'll use more of the available surface of your brain, meaning you'll store and retrieve information much more easily. Want proof? The New England Journal of Medicine says adults who engage in mentally stimulating activities on a regular basis are 63-percent less likely to develop dementia than those who rarely do. The best brain games are fresh and unusual to the person playing them, so if you're a seasoned Tetris player, you'll want to power down and visit a bookstore. Some options include word games, like crosswords, and number games, like Sudoku. Look up "free brain games" online and you'll get tons of options! And most phones allow you to download brain games, so you can play whenever you're stuck with some downtime. Board games, like chess and Scrabble, and card games, like Solitaire, are also great ways to stimulate the brain! But not all stimulation must stem from actual games. Basically, anything that forces your brain to pay attention to behavior that was once automatic will arouse your mind! Taking a different route to work, eating, writing, or using the mouse with your non-dominant hand, and showering with your eyes closed, are all ways to challenge the brain. But remember: A brain game stops being one if you're too used to it! So, when the New York Times Sunday crossword starts getting easy, give basic Sudoku a try! If you work with numbers for a living, consider drawing or painting. Keep challenging your mind, switch activities often, and enjoy the mental rewards of your workout!More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-12 | Tags »
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One of the best ways to exercise your brain is to exercise your body. A healthy diet helps, too! Watch this video for specific brain training tips.
Transcript: One of the best ways you can exercise your brain is to exercise your body. Physical activity encourages...
One of the best ways you can exercise your brain is to exercise your body. Physical activity encourages blood to flow to your brain, stimulating the growth of new cells. For a fit brain and body, get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Just remember to protect your head. Head trauma, such as from a concussion, increases your lifetime risk of dementia. Eating for a healthy body also promotes a healthy brain. In fact, diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, so cutting out processed and fast food is the smart choice. A healthy brain diet includes plenty of dark, leafy vegetables, like arugula and spinach, as well as lots of dark-colored fruits, like blueberries and blackberries, all rich in antioxidants, which protect and nourish brain cells. A healthy brain diet should not include a significant amount of alcohol, however. Heavy drinkers are at a higher risk of developing dementia; so don't exceed one or two drinks daily. Similarly, toss the cigarettes out! Smokers are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's. And perhaps one of the most fun ways to keep your brain healthy is to socialize! Meeting new people and spending time with old friends encourages new connections between brain cells. Plus, having fun reduces stress levels and, as we know, stress hormones can damage brain cells over the long term. Yoga, meditation, and talk therapy are also good for keeping your mind strong, but they shouldn't replace your brain's daily workout. The best brain exercises are games, like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and cards. Challenging yourself to learn new skills is important because it encourages new connections between brain cells. Learn a foreign language, start a new hobby or even volunteer! Shake up your routine. It's as simple as taking a new route to work or try basic tasks using your non-dominant hand. Any activity that forces your brain to work in new ways keeps your thinking in tip-top shape!More »
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Organic amnesia is the most common type of amnesia among patients. But what is it exactly? Watch this video to learn more about what it means to have organic amnesia.
Transcript: From newer films, like the romantic comedy, 50 First Dates, to classics like Goldie Hawn's Overboard,...
From newer films, like the romantic comedy, 50 First Dates, to classics like Goldie Hawn's Overboard, amnesia has a starring role in Hollywood. But what is amnesia about off-screen? Amnesia is a catch-all term for the loss or disruption of a person's memory. The most common type of amnesia, organic amnesia, occurs when the brain is damaged or injured. Organic amnesia can be the result of a head injury, like that sustained in a car accident. But usually, the memory difficulties following a head injury are temporary, and do not result in long-term amnesia. Instead, lasting organic amnesia is more often the result of medical brain damage. Common causes of organic amnesia include: lack of adequate oxygen to the brain, brain inflammation following an infection, and tumors in the areas of the brain that control memory. There are two types of organic amnesia: retrograde and anterograde. Retrograde amnesia is the impaired ability to remember past events and information. This is what Goldie Hawn experiences in Overboard, when her character falls off a yacht and forgets who she is. anterograde amnesia, meanwhile, is the inability to learn and remember new information after the onset of amnesia. This is what's depicted in 50 First Dates, where Drew Barrymore's character can't remember anything after a car accident. Although less popular in media, anterograde amnesia is much more prominent in real life than retrograde amnesia. It makes sense that amnesia can cause a great deal of hardship, and may lead a person to become depressed or anxious. Because of this, people with any amnesia-like symptoms should make an immediate appointment with a physician, who will need to rule out other conditions that cause memory-loss, like Alzheimer's disease. Once organic amnesia is diagnosed, treatment focuses on techniques and strategies to make up for the memory loss. This may include occupational therapy to help replace missing skills, as well as memory training, which involves learning to organize information so that it's easier to remember. While there is no medication approved to treat organic amnesia, some people benefit from anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs if depression or anxieties are present along with memory loss. Remember: seek medical assistance immediately if you or a loved one experiences abnormal memory loss!More »
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Ginkgo Biloba is beneficial for memory problems, dementia, fatigue, and more. Watch this video to get more details.
Transcript: Ginkgo Biloba has been widely studied for its potential benefits regarding a variety of conditions and...
Ginkgo Biloba has been widely studied for its potential benefits regarding a variety of conditions and ailments, including memory problems, dementia, fatigue, asthma, tinnitus, peripheral artery disease and other circulatory problems. And it has now become one of the best-selling herbal supplements on the market in the United States and in Europe. Clinical research suggests that Ginkgo Biloba increases blood flow to the brain. And researchers believe it is this increased circulation that helps enhance memory. Gingko Biloba may effectively improve overall cognitive function, especially in older adults. However, a six-year clinical study suggests that it doesn't slow age-related memory loss associated with mild cognitive impairment, dementia or Alzheimer's disease. While Ginkgo Biloba may not be the "miracle memory herb" researchers hoped for, experts say they've witnessed effective improvements in both memory and cognitive function in patients who regularly use Gingko supplements. However, there are a number of side effects to be aware of, such as headache, nausea, upset stomach, dizziness or allergic skin reactions. Ginkgo may also impact the effectiveness of some prescription drugs including anticonvulsant and antidepressant medications. Ginkgo also contains flavonoids and terpenoids, both powerful antioxidants that protect human cells from the effects of free radicals, which help protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related diseases. However, Ginkgo is believed to have blood-thinning properties, so if you take blood thinners, exercise caution. These potential interactions and risks underscore the importance of talking with your health care provider before using any type of herbal supplement. For more information about mental health and memory, please see additional videos on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-13 | Tags »
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You don't need coffee to feel refreshed and awake. This video tells you about the top 10 energy boosters that you can use to revitalize your mind and body.
Transcript: Back away from that java-whether you're suffering from a 3pm slump or chronic lethargy, there are better,...
Back away from that java-whether you're suffering from a 3pm slump or chronic lethargy, there are better, healthier ways to get yourself energized. Eight out of ten Americans admit to low energy levels on a regular basis. Whether this comes from overexertion, stress, or some combination, many of us often feel like we're walking around in a daze! Boost your energy with these ten tips. One of the quickest ways to restore energy is to drink up, but forget that chronic caffeine fix! Caffeine may energize quickly, but it often leads to restlessness and insomnia later-hardly a recipe for restoration. Instead, drink water! Our bodies and brains are 70 percent water, so filling up on eight glasses daily is like putting fuel in your gas tank. You can also maximize your energy with the foods you eat. Some foods are digested slowly, minimizing unhealthy blood sugar swings that can lead to depleted energy levels. Some healthy snacks that boost energy include raisins, turkey, apples with peanut butter, hummus with veggies and nuts. To boost energy over the long term, be mindful of when and how you eat. Start your day with a hearty breakfast and keep things lighter at lunch and dinner. Enjoy a snack when energy fades, but keep it under 200 calories. Maintain optimal energy levels by consistently taking a multivitamin containing 100 percent of the recommended daily vitamins and minerals. Many people with chronic low energy find that a B6 or B12 supplement can help them feel alert. Co-enzyme Q10 is another nutrient that is essential for energy production. Oxygen is a great source of energy. Although you're always breathing, you may not be doing so effectively. Perk up with this yoga trick-alternate nostril breathing! Block your right nostril and breathe in slowly through your left until your chest is fully expanded. Hold your breath for a count of five. Then, block your left nostril and exhale. Repeat up to 10 times. And speaking of yoga, some basic movements can increase your energy enormously! Get started with the Standing Sun solution. Breathe in for three counts as you raise your arms overhead. Then, breathe out for three as you bend forward from the hips, keeping your head between your outstretched arms. Finish by grasping your legs firmly with both hands and pulling your body down toward your legs. Acupressure can also help you tap into your energy reserves. Apply firm pressure to point ST-36 on your legs for a natural boost. To locate point ST-36, measure one hand-width, or four fingers, down from your knee. This point is located between the shin bone and the leg muscle. Pressing ST-36 releases energy blockages in your legs. If you're still lethargic, you might want to try the most natural remedy there is-sleep! Experiment by going to bed 15 minutes earlier or taking a catnap. With these natural tips, lagging energy levels can often be a thing of the past. But please see your doctor if you experience listlessness that lasts for an extended period of time.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-20 | Tags »
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ADHD and ADD are learning disorders that affect up to 5 percent of U.S. children, but what does it really mean to have these conditions? What's the difference between attention deficit hyperactive disorder and attention deficitit disorder, anyway?
Transcript: You've heard of the disorder ADHD, commonly diagnosed among children, but you're no child. So why, are...
You've heard of the disorder ADHD, commonly diagnosed among children, but you're no child. So why, are you having such a hard time concentrating in class? The increase in the number of prescriptions doctors write for treating ADHD is staggering. According to the Congressional Testimony of a deputy director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the number of prescriptions written for ADHD medication has increased by 500% since 1991!. ADHD is a cognitive disorder characterized by impulsiveness, inattention, and hyperactivity, although hyperactivity is a less common symptom among older sufferers. Adults with ADHD have chemical imbalances in certain areas of their brains. Which can make it more difficult to follow directions or to complete work within a specified time period. or to complete work within a specified time limit. They may also experience difficulty concentrating or remembering mundane information. Because these symptoms of ADHD often become more detrimental later in life, as responsibilities grow,... it's not surprising that people with adult ADHD can become anxious, angry, or depressed. ADHD can also affect a sufferer's social life.They are also more likely to turn alcohol or drugs as a feel-good outlet, or as a form of self-medication. For adults to be diagnosed with ADHD, their doctor needs to verify that they displayed symptoms of the disease during childhood. This is because all cases of ADHD begin at an early age, even though they are not always properly identified. If ADHD is diagnosed, the symptoms can usually be controlled with prescription medication. Adults with ADHD may also learn to manage their behavioral symptoms with therapy, relaxation training, or support groups.More »
Last Modified: 2013-07-24 | Tags »
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How does excessive stress affect your body and mind? You may be surprised to learn the many ways in which too much stress impacts your health. Learn more about the biology of stress by watching this video.
Transcript: Stress is a normal physical and psychological response to the demands and pressures of life and we ALL...
Stress is a normal physical and psychological response to the demands and pressures of life and we ALL experience it! When exposed to an event that provokes stress, the human body and brain respond as though they are in danger. That means that the brain's hypothalamus signals the body's adrenal glands to produce more of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones speed up heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. They cause pupils to dilate, thereby improving vision, they increase blood flow to the muscles, putting them on alert to act, and they prompt the liver to release energy-increasing glucose. This is known as the stress response, or the fight-or-flight response. When it works correctly, the stress response can be very beneficial, causing a person to perform well under pressure. For example, a little stress may make an individual ace an interview, or help her win an athletic event. But long-term stressful situations may cause the stress response to overreact, or fail to even turn off at all. When this happens, a person may experience negative physical effects, like a weakened immune system, stomach trouble, and difficulties sleeping. Emotionally, a person may become tense, depressed, or moody. This is known as CHRONIC STRESS, and can be due to a number of factors. Common causes of chronic stress include major life changes, like having a baby, or relationship difficulties, like a divorce, and health problems, like cancer. Social issues-like an unpleasant job or a negative living environment-can ALSO lead to chronic stress. Chronic stress is disheartening, stress management techniques can help get the fight-or-flight response under control. To get started with stress management, it's vital to figure out what is CAUSING stress in the first place. Some people find that keeping a detailed stress journal helps them pinpoint causes of stress and how the emotion makes them feel. Once stressors are identified, it's possible to brainstorm strategies to reduce them. Sometimes, this can be as easy as turning off the television when the news is distressing or taking a different route to work when traffic is bad. And other times, more GENERAL techniques can help get chronic stress under control. These techniques include exercising regularly and getting enough sleep, relaxing with deep breathing or massage, and focusing on the present with mediation or imagery. Although these methods are effective, occasionally, stress simply becomes too much to handle alone! If chronic stress is affecting YOUR life, make an appointment to see a mental health professional.More »
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Everyone lives with stress, but too much can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health. That's why it's important to control it. This video can show you the best ways to reduce stress.
Transcript: Learning to avoid unnecessary stress is a vital part of having a healthy, happy life! Here are some tips...
Learning to avoid unnecessary stress is a vital part of having a healthy, happy life! Here are some tips to help you do just that! Before you take steps to avoid stress, you need to first pinpoint what is CAUSING you undue stress. This isn't always as easy as it sounds, which is why it can help to begin keeping a stress journal. In the journal, begin writing down the times you feel stressed and what you believe caused the emotion. Then, record what you did to deal with the situation. By doing this regularly, you'll find that a stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life, some of which you may be able to avoid simply by controlling your environment. This can be as easy as cutting off ties with someone who puts you on edge, or avoiding hot-button topics like politics or religion. It may also include making small changes, like turning off the television when the news is overwhelming or not answering work emails after dinnertime. Controlling your environment is important, but so is controlling your time! Time management helps YOU decide which things are pressing and which can be moved to the bottom of your list or OFF your list completely! Executed effectively, time management allows you to do more of the things that you want to do! Similarly, managing your time allows you to find a balance between your personal and work life. That's good news, since the support and love that comes with a solid personal life is one of the best defenses against stress. Yet another way to avoid stress is to learn how to firmly and politely say, "No." Whether it's in your personal or professional life, taking on too much is a surefire road to tension, which is why such assertive communication is vital! And never underestimate the power of healthy lifestyle changes, like getting plenty of sleep, exercising several times a week, and adopting healthy eating habits. These seemingly simple adjustments will play a huge roll in your ability to cope with stress. You'll never be able to avoid ALL stressors. But with these simple tips, you WILL be able to sidestep many of them!More »
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Looking for a psychiatrist? Or maybe a psychologist? Maybe you're just not sure. If you're struggling to understand the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists, watch this video.
Transcript: Both psychiatrists and psychologists are concerned with mental health and human behavior. But there are...
Both psychiatrists and psychologists are concerned with mental health and human behavior. But there are some key differences between the two, primarily involving education, training, and the style of interaction with patients. A psychiatrist is a physician who's attended medical school and trained in general medicine, earning an M.D. or D.O. degree. Medical school is followed by a four-year residency in psychiatry, such as working in the psych unit of a hospital. As a medical doctor specializing in the treatment of mental or behavioral disorders, a psychiatrist has the authority to write prescriptions. Instead of attending medical school, psychologists earn a doctorate degree in psychology. Graduate school includes the study of psychological problems, the science of psychological research, psychological testing and the diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders. After graduate school, internships provide experience in treatment methods, analytical testing and behavioral therapy. Typically, one-to-two years of practical work experience is required to become licensed as a clinical psychologist. However, because psychologists are not medical doctors, they need to refer patients requiring medication to a psychiatrist or another M.D. Differences in the way psychiatrists and psychologists practice exist, also. Psychiatrists typically address a variety of clinical issues related to mentally ill patients, while psychologists tend to be most extensively involved in their patients' emotional lives. A psychiatrist sometimes interprets laboratory tests and brain imaging studies, besides monitoring the effectiveness of a patient's medication. So psychiatrists are more likely to treat patients with bipolar disorder, major depression or schizophrenia, which require medication to control symptoms. While psychiatrists treat the medical aspects of these illnesses, psychologists simultaneously address the emotional aspects, therapeutically helping patients gain insight, develop coping skills, reduce stress and resolve interpersonal challenges. Psychologists also conduct evaluations, provide psychotherapy and execute behavioral interventions in order to treat the emotional and mental suffering of their patients. Psychiatrists and psychologists play significant roles in understanding human behavior with the common goal of helping patients feel better.More »
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Cognitive therapy can help relieve depression and other mental conditions. This type of psychotherapy has been proven successful in many studies. Check out this video to learn more about cognitive therapy.
Transcript: Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, based on the idea that thoughts give birth...
Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, based on the idea that thoughts give birth to mood. Under this assumption, it is not situations or other people that lead to a patient's suffering but rather, the person's own negative thoughts and perceptions. In contrast, other therapies focus on unconscious thoughts, or personal history. Cognitive therapy usually runs a shorter course than other psychotherapies, as little as six weeks in some cases. During cognitive therapy, patients learn how their ideas and interpretations of reality may be skewed. Cognitive therapists help patients see the connection between these interpretations and their negative thoughts. The next step involves learning new, positive thoughts to replace the old, negative ones. As the patient learns to "reframe" situations, he sees the possibility of a more fulfilling, healthy, and happy life. According to the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, this method has been found effective in over 300 clinical trials! Meanwhile, an analysis in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that cognitive therapy was as effective, and possibly even more effective, than prescription drugs at treating depression. If you're interested in how cognitive therapy could help you, talk to your general practitioner about finding a licensed therapist practicing this approach.More »
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Psychotherapy is an intense form of treatment for mental illnesses. It involves one-on-one contact between a therapist and a patient. Watch this video to learn why psychotherapy works.
Transcript: From psychoanalysis to cognitive behavioral therapy, and from group therapy to family therapy, psychotherapy...
From psychoanalysis to cognitive behavioral therapy, and from group therapy to family therapy, psychotherapy takes many different forms. But all forms share one thing: a patient who wants to change some aspect of his thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. That's because psychotherapy's based on the idea that solutions reside within the individual. The psychotherapist's role is to facilitate positive changes by building supportive and trusting relationships with patients. The therapist is a neutral party who is not self-serving or personally invested in the relationship. She is also trained in human development, emotions, and coping skills. In these key ways, visiting a therapist is different than sitting down to talk to a loved one. During psychotherapy, a patient learns as much as possible about his mental illness, the personal history and thought processes spawning it as well as how the condition affects and appears to others. Even patients without diagnosable mental illnesses benefit from dissecting their own behaviors. Learning positive, constructive attitudes and behaviors helps patients build more satisfying lives. Psychotherapy will not be effective for unwilling patients and even the most dedicated patients won't benefit from psychotherapy alone. Some require specific prescription medication, or electric brain stimulation, in addition to their psychotherapy treatment. It's impossible to truly "cure" mental illness, but psychotherapy can significantly reduce symptoms and improve life.More »
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