Everyone has dreams but no one really understands the significance of dreams. Do they contribute to the well being of the brain? Are they a form of nutrition for the nerves? Many people can recall their dreams in detail years later, and claim that they came true. Unfortunately it is hard to verify such claims. However, on a personal level, dreams may have a certain significance for the individual. Many people have experienced pious dreams where they have been asked to forgive a person or forget a traumatic event. After following up on the dream, these individuals have gone on to live much fuller lives, with happiness and content. Others who went on to forgive suddenly found that their blood pressure was better controlled, their pain disappeared and they were now living a life that was more fulfilled. Countless such anecdotes exist.
There are also many reports about people having recurrent dreams telling them that they have do perform a certain act or help someone in life. To many people dreams may sound foolish but in these individuals, there is no satisfaction or happiness, until they have followed up on the dream.
There is some evidence indicating that dreams can help some people cope with the daily stressors in life and may modulate mood. Dreams are like an internal psychotherapist promoting positive thoughts and emotions that help reduce stress and induce happiness.
Dreams occur during sleep and there is no doubt that we cannot function without adequate sleep. Animals deprived of sleep have been shown to have fewer neurons in certain parts of the brain.
In humans, encouraging adequate sleep and dreaming have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. Studies show that people who are able to recall their dreams in general have better moods than people unable to do so. Plus, individuals able to recall their dreams are far more likely to have lower intensity of depression.
While most claims on dreams have not been validated, it certainly does appear that dreams play a role in our social behavior and mood. For those people who would like to use dreams as a therapeutic process, it is essential to get adequate sleep. Dreams certainly do not have adverse affects nor do they have a monetary value. But they can certainly have a powerful effect on daytime social interaction. The problem is no one can control or predict when the dream will start during sleep.
Wearing earplugs is said to benefit people who hear voices. Some evidence indicates that ear plugs can decrease voice activity by nearly 50% in some people. One needs to determine blocking of which ear is most effective. By leaving the other ear unplugged, the person is able to continue with daily living activities such as being able to hear what others are saying or hear the phone ringing. Unfortunately, the benefit from earplugs is not sustained and most people find that the voices do come back. Others find that wearing earplugs is cumbersome and uncomfortable. However, for people who tend to hear voices at night, earplugs may work the best.
Concentrating on items of things other than voices is another way to obscure these auditory hallucinations. The person can focus on any item of choice as long as it is enjoyable and non stressful. One may indulge in a game of monopoly, scrabble or even chess.
Participating in some type of craft activities such as computer games has also been suggested as means to cope with voices. Others may benefit from undertaking simple household tasks such as cleaning, washing or gardening to help cope with the voices. While doing these chores, one may listen to a relaxation tape, which distracts the auditory stimulation. If the voices are common during the night, playing soft relaxing music may help. To ease the daily stress, others recommend some type of exercise, aromatherapy or even massage
There is no one coping method for everyone and different strategies may be required on different occasions. The individual should have a menu of the different coping methods and use them when needed.
There is no doubt that people who experience voices and psychosis are under a lot of stress. However a significant number of these people may also be helped by some type of simple psychological intervention that can be used at any time in any circumstance.
Finally, it is important for the person to have some type of support from family and/or friends. While self coping mechanism do help, at times, it is important for the person to remain connected because love and friendship can make a big difference at times of crises. Isolation only compounds the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder, which can present with delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking and psychosis. The disorder is chronic and requires life long treatment, even in the absence of symptoms. Medications are the cornerstone of treatment of schizophrenia but often these individuals are non compliant. Coping with schizophrenia is very challenging for both the individual affected with the disorder and for family and friends. There are several simple coping methods that can help people with schizophrenia who hear voices. The strategies are effective, practical, relatively cheap, and can be even used in a disorderly environment.
Some of the ways to cope with this illness include the following:
Educate your self about the disorder. Knowing more about schizophrenia will help the person more motivated to remain compliant with treatment. More important, family and friends will get to understand the disease and develop more empathy and compassion towards the affected person.
Join a support group because these organizations can help others facing similar situations. Support groups offer help to both the affected individual and family members. These organizations offer education, referrals and free advice.
Make goals and remain focussed because schizophrenia is an ongoing disorder that waxes and wanes. Keeping goals helps the person remain motivated.
It is vital to learn some type of relaxation technique to help manage stress. Both the affected person and the family members may benefit from stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation or tai chi.
Social contact: Being around family and spending time with friends is a very effective method at pushing the voices into the background. Social contact with familiar people can help distract from voices and provides reassurance about safety.
Vocalization is also an effective way to cope with voices. Evidence indicates that he physical act of talking or even singing can disrupt the process that creates voices and even reduces the intensity of hallucinations
Listening to music is also a well-established method of decreasing the frequency of auditory hallucinations. The more relaxing the music, the greater the benefit.
Depression is a long-term illness that waxes and wanes. While the actual cause of depression is not well understood, there are several trigger factors that can exacerbate the symptoms. Prevention of depression is difficult because there the cause is not well understood. However, experts do recommend the following steps in order to prevent worsening of depression:
– At the earliest sign of depression, seek help. Do not wait till the symptoms become chronic because treatment at this stage is often difficult.
– Take measures to control your emotional conflicts or stress. As you lower the degree of stress, it will help boost your self-confidence and improve your outlook on life.
– Try and simplify your life and set reasonable goals that are realistic. Do not obligate yourself to others in an unrealistic manner and when you feel down, cut back on your work. Never make important decisions when you are feeling depressed because you may not be thinking clearly.
- As part of self-treatment, keep a diary and write down your daily goals. Journalism may help you express your feelings and even improve your mood. Get in the habit of planning your daily activities. Make a list of things you want to do and use a calendar to mark important events.
– Read self-help books, many of which are readily available for free on the Web. There are many decent medical sites, which offer good information on depression.
– In almost every city there are organizations such as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and National Alliance on Mental Illness, which offer support groups, education, counseling and other resources to help with depression. Many religious organization and even employers have employee’s assistance for people with mental health problems.
Do not become isolated as this may precipitate or worsen depression. Engage in social activities with friends and families and develop interpersonal relationships.
Take care of your self-physical, eat healthy, get some type of exercise daily and get plenty of sleep.
To reduce stress, you can try meditation, tai chi or practice yoga. Most of these techniques can be learnt for free on the WEB.
If you have recurrent episodes of depression, speak to a mental healthcare professional and consider getting some type of long-term maintenance treatment. It is well established that maintenance treatment can help decrease the risk of relapse.
Finally, always reach out to friends and family members, especially if you are having crises. These individuals can provide emotional support and help you over come the rough spells in your life.