Over 3 million Americans today stutter, but exactly what causes stuttering remains largely unknown. Right now, researchers agree on just four main factors that may heighten the possibility of someone developing a stutter:
Stuttering in Children
Stuttering is relatively common for young children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old who are learning how to talk. For most children, the stutter will go away on its own once speaking becomes easier. However, some signs that may warrant an appointment with a doctor or speech-language pathologist include:
Neurogenic stuttering differs from developmental or neurophysiological stuttering because this type of stuttering only occurs after someone suffers an injury or disease in their central nervous system. These injuries and illnesses can include:
People at any age can develop a neurogenic stutter following one of these ailments, but it’s been shown that elderly people are most at risk.
Symptoms and Difficulties of Stuttering
Regardless of how someone develops a stutter, the symptoms remain the same. Stuttering is classified as a speech disorder that impacts the fluidity of someone’s speaking. It disrupts a normal rate of speech and it can be characterized by repeating words, sounds, or syllables. Common symptoms of stuttering include:
Struggling with a Stutter?
Adults who have been struggling for years with a stutter may find speech therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy useful. It is unlikely that the stutter will ever completely disappear, but they can learn how to reduce stress, practice relaxation techniques, reduce the frequency of their stutter, and much more. Adults who stutter can also benefit from talking to a therapist about any psychological problems that may have been brought on by the stutter. Easing anxiety, loneliness, or feelings of anger can help ease the physical effects of stuttering as well.
A selfless heart can heal a thousand wounds, but first it must heal itself. There are over 43 million adults in the United States outside of the healthcare industry who have taken it upon themselves to care for another. Whether it’s an ill parent or an injured spouse, the call to action is second nature to these caring individuals. But while watching over others, it is easy to forget to take time of oneself.
Take Time For Yourself
The largest population of home caregivers are known as the sandwich population. These are often adults with both young children and elderly parents to take care of. Between ensuring the kids are doing their best in school, caring for their parents, and working, often full time, these caregivers find little to no time for themselves. If you have found yourself squished into this spot, it is important to take a breath and step back.
Although it may seem like you need to take care of everyone, you are likely forgetting the most important person-- yourself. According to researchers, caregivers who take no time for themselves can become extremely stressed. This can lead to harmful habits including smoking and excessive drinking. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, caregivers who spend 9 hours or more a day caring for someone else have double the risk of heart disease, and are 63% more likely to die compared to non-caregivers of the same age.
Physical Signs of Caregiver Stress
Because caregivers seem so resilient, it can be hard to notice the signs of stress. Even the most exhausted people can fake a smile and say “everything is alright.” There are some physical signs of stress that are easy to pinpoint. The first is constant exhaustion. A caregiver may try to ignore this symptom, saying they are just tired because they work too much. While this may be true, severe exhaustion is a sign of depression. If the caregiver feel tired even after getting a full night’s sleep, or uses exhaustion as a reason not to get out of bed, it is time to seek help.
Another physical sign is weight gain or loss. If a caregiver is ignoring their physical appearance, it is a sign they are stressed or overworked. If they are losing weight, they could be skipping meals, which can cause low-blood sugar. Again, this is also a sign of depression. If it is not addressed quickly enough, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide.
Emotional Signs of Caregiver Stress
Not all signs of stress can be seen by the naked eye. If you are worried about a caregiver, even if they look fine on the outside, it is important to have a conversation with them. Sometimes all anyone needs is an ear willing to listen. Some of the most common signs of stress include headaches, feeling numb, and trouble focusing. When the stress has reached this level, professional help may be required.
When someone you love is sick, it can be difficult to allow someone else to help them. You do not need to give up the reigns entirely, but hiring respite care is a great first step. Respite care is planned, temporary caregiver for your loved one. Hiring someone you trust to help out one to two days a week can help you relieve stress and find time for yourself.
Instead of spending 24 hours a day by someone’s side, make sure you are scheduling breaks. If being a caregiver is essentially your full-time job, treat it that way. Make sure you step a way for 10 minute breaks, and ensure you are eating lunch. It may feel selfish at first, but in reality, it is usually a benefit to all parties involved. By taking time for yourself, you will come back refreshed, ready to take care of your loved one.
It is important to also take care of your mental health. By talking to a therapist, you can clear your mind of stress. You can also talk through any burdens you are feeling. This is especially important if you are showing signs of depression or have had thoughts of suicide. It is never too late to get help.
Alcoholism is a growing problem in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 15 million American adults suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, but less than 3 percent are getting help. Researchers say one reason for the discrepancy, is those suffering from alcoholism may not realize the symptoms.
When reflecting on your alcohol use, the first question you may want to ask is, “how much am I drinking?” But the question “how often am I drinking” is also insightful. If the possibility of going a day (or multiple days) without drinking makes you feel stressed or anxious, it may be a sign of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Also, if it takes a large number of drinks for you to feel “buzzed,” that is also a sign of abuse. Alcohol tolerance builds up overtime. If it takes an entire 12 pack just to feel buzzed, you should seek help.
Daily drinking can cause you to feel “hungover,” even if you didn’t have a drink. Because our bodies develop a tolerance for alcohol, if you drink too much, your body will start to depend on alcohol to feel normal. By skipping a drink for just one day, your body can start to go through withdrawal. Withdrawal takes many forms, but some common symptoms include feeling like you’re hungover, mood swings, depression, and shakiness.
When abusing alcohol, one’s priorities can quickly change. Instead of going out with friends, an alcoholic may want to stay at home to hide their addiction. Alcohol changes your emotional state, so people who abuse alcohol are more likely to get angry or irrationally upset. When approached by family for friends about their abuse, alcoholics will likely get angry and yell. They may also hide away from loved ones simply to avoid the subject. If you find yourself telling lies to avoid your significant other or children, you should seek help. Not only is this a sign of alcoholism, but it can cause a long-term strain on important family relationships.
After isolating oneself from family and friends, alcohol abusers often find a new group of bad company. Alcoholics will seek other people with abuse issues, so there is no judgement. If you have a new group of friends, and your main activity is drinking at the bar, you should seek help. These “friends” are enabling your addiction, and vice versa. This can lead you to have crooked priorities. Instead of being home with your kids, or focusing on work, you may ditch your priorities to be at the bar with your new group. If this sounds like you, Oakville Wellness Center may be able to help you get your priorities back in line.
Emotional Warning Signs
Not all signs of alcohol abuse can be seen by the outside world. In many cases, only you can feel the emotional warning signs. The most common sign is denial. If all the examples above sound like they fit your life, but you are making excuses for each scenario, you are in denial. It’s hard to admit to a problem, but, as the cliche goes, the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem.
You may also feel shame because of your drinking. If you are drinking alone or actively hiding from loved ones, this is another sign of abuse. If you fall into this category, reach out to someone you trust and explain why you have been abusing. By reaching out, they can help you get back on the right path.
If any of the above scenarios relate to you, it is important to seek help right away. Over 88,000 people die from alcohol abuse every year, making it the third most preventable death in the United States. You do not have to be another statistic.
Once you have admitted you have a problem, the next step is seeking help. At Oakville, we multiple counsellors who are ready to listen to your story. Together, we can end the abusive cycle, so you can return to your life.
Motivation is the thing that gets us up in the morning and keeps us going all day. At least, that’s the idea. The truth is that motivation can often be fleeting, and it’s very common for people to have trouble finding that spark to seize the day. There’s no simple cure for a lack of motivation because it can arise for a multitude of reasons. Factors ranging from your social life and family issues to your personal health can all have a significant impact on how you function from day to day.
Thus, the path to finding more motivation in your daily life is a personal one. Whatever your own struggles may be, we encourage you to consider these suggestions to see if any of them work for you. Some may be more helpful than others, and some may not help much at all. That being said, you may find that the simple act of searching for more motivation will help by itself, opening you up to new ways of looking at yourself and your world.
Clean Your Room
This piece of advice may sound like a chore, but it actually comes from psychologist Ralph Ryback of Psychology Today -- and a number of other important psychologists and researchers agree. Disorganization can loom over you and feel like an impending task (or a past failure of cleanliness) which can lead to a defeated attitude on a subconscious level. Other studies have even shown that people who have cleaner houses tend to be healthier: a finding that supports the notion that making one positive change in your life (such as tidying up) can inspire you to make a succession of additional positive changes.
Sometimes, the cumulative stress of our daily lives just becomes too much. If you find yourself just wanting to get away from it all, consider including exercise into your daily or weekly routine. In John Ratey’s book, Spark, the psychiatrist delves into the various benefits that exercise has on the brain. By elevating your heart rate for thirty minutes just three times a week, studies have shown drastic improvements in overall energy, social skills and focus. Additionally, there is significant evidence that shows how exercise helps to fight depression and anxiety, conditions that are all too common these days.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an “exercise person”, it can be relatively easy to implement a more active lifestyle. For example, going for a walk each day may make a significant difference in your motivation. Just like with cleaning your room, getting a workout in before starting your day can give you a sense of accomplishment to build off of.
You may think that successful people are just naturally motivated. In fact, this is usually not the case. The difference is that many highly-motivated people have just learned how to best channel energy to their benefit. This is something that you too, with a little practice, can accomplish.
The biggest trick to staying motivated is not to rely on it. Motivation comes and goes just like happiness and sadness; it’s only natural. Accepting that fact is the first step to learning how to overcome it. Instead of relying on motivation, rely on discipline. By setting clear and attainable goals for yourself, you can fight a lack of motivation with sheer willpower and determination.
One way to do this is by using SMART goals. Originally invented as an ultra-effective way to set goals, it is now relied on by countless people in order to gauge aspirations and accomplish tasks. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By setting a goal while following these guidelines, you can ensure that you have the best chance at achieving it.
At Oakville Wellness Center, our expert therapists will always be there to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information or an appointment.