Kelli Felice, LCSW
Counseling & Consultant Services, LLC
An ongoing series of informational entries
September 5th, 2018
Vitamin C is good to take when you feel a cold coming on, right? WRONG! Vitamin C has positive benefits well beyond supporting your immune system. Did you know it promotes skin collagen and reduces dark undereye circles? Vitamin C reduces cortisol levels-the stress hormone that is secreted from your kidneys making it difficult to lose weight. It may help prevent early onset of dementia. AND it converts dopamine to serotonin in the brain causing improved mood, cognitive functioning and increased sex drive.
VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY CAUSES DEPRESSION AND CRAVINGS FOR SUGAR
A deficiency in vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, can cause neurological damage and the addition of vitamin C to the diet can improve or reverse symptoms of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.
A recent study at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Neuroscience in Nashville, Tennessee and published in the Journal of Neurochemistry deprived mice of vitamin C. The deprivation caused depressive and submissive behaviors as well as an increased preference for sugar. More importantly, there were decreases in dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Low levels of dopamine and serotonin are linked to high levels of anxiety and depression in humans as well as mice (I do not support animal testing).
VITAMIN C WORKS AS WELL AS PROZAC FOR STRESS-RELATED DEPRESSION
Another interesting study was recently conducted in Brazil and published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. During the second week of the study, half of the subjects were treated with fluoxetine (Prozac) and half were treated with vitamin C. The results were as powerful with the vitamin C as with the fluoxetine. In other words, the vitamin C reversed the detrimental effects and helped the subjects cope with the ongoing stress as well as the Prozac did. The researchers concluded, “These findings indicate a rapid and robust effect of ascorbic acid in reversing behavioral and biochemical alterations induced by common stressors, suggesting that vitamin C may be an alternative approach for the management of depressive symptoms.” That’s some pretty strong evidence for the powerful effect of vitamin C on depression – and it gets even better:
CHILDREN’S DEPRESSION IMPROVES MORE WHEN TREATED WITH VITAMIN C AND PROZAC THAN WITH PROZAC ALONE
Researchers at the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation in Los Angeles, California studied the effects of fluoxetine (Prozac) alone and in combination with vitamin C in depressed children. Their results showed a significantly more positive effect in the group treated with both fluoxetine and vitamin C as compared to the group given fluoxetine and a placebo. The results suggest that vitamin C may increase the effectiveness of treatment with Prozac in depressed children.
DEPRESSED ADULTS ALSO BENEFIT FROM VITAMIN C
Eighty psychiatric patients at a private hospital in India, 40 suffering from depression and 40 suffering from anxiety, were found to have much lower levels of vitamins A, C, and E than a healthy population. Half of each group was given 600 mg/day of vitamin A, 1000 mg/day of vitamin C, and 800 mg/day of vitamin E in addition to their regular anti-depressant or antianxiety medication. After 6 weeks of treatment with vitamins A, C, and E, a significant reduction in both depression and anxiety was observed in those treated with the vitamins than in those treated with medication alone. It’s hard to say in a study that combines nutrients whether the improvement was due to one or more of the vitamins but in another study done with rats in New Zealand, groups of stressed rats were treated with vitamin C and vitamin E separately and one group was treated with both vitamins C and E together. There were no significant differences between the groups. Vitamins C and E were effective in reducing anxiety whether given separately or together.
In a 1981 double-blind study, both manic and depressed patients were significantly better following a single 3000 mg dose of vitamin C than following a placebo. Likewise, a 2002 German study found an increase in sexual intercourse and decrease in depression in 42 young adults given 3000 mg of vitamin C per day for 14 days.
Do woman really come to sex therapy?
September 30th, 2018
Do women really come to you for sex therapy? Yes! Society has become increasingly open about sexuality and as a result, increasingly eager to seek outside help in addressing what they percieve as "issues" outside their own or their partner's norm. The most common problem people bring to counseling is low desire or hypoactive libido. What is normally revealed is not really low desire-it's a difference of desire. One person wants sex more than the other. If a couple says they have sex once a month and both of them are happy they will never see the inside of my office. When addressing low desire: 'I love my husband and I don't want a divorce, but I just can't get myself to have sex.'-in many of my clients this was a hormonal issue that was able to be fixed with medical and/or holistic intervention. Now, I could refer all women with low desire to a their GYN for testosterone, but whether they want to have sex with their husband is a different question. The point: "Yes, hormones could increase your desire, but if you have an underlying problem with your partner, there's not going to be a miracle drug to help you with that. For an issue like, 'I'm having difficulty having an orgasm."-often times it is surrounded by guilt laden fear of masturbation. If a woman comes in and never has used a vibrator before, there's a pretty good chance within a couple of times of using it that she'll be able to reach orgasm and translate this discovery to her relationship. For these type of concerns the therapy is often brief. The goal of sex therapy is the same as many therapies-isolate the issue and identify if it is problematic enough to devote time and energy into fixing.
An ongoing series of informational entries
Find your "WHY." Helen did.
September 7th, 2018
At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil Helen Maroulis became the first ever American to win a gold medal in women's freestyle wrestling at the Olympic Games. She wrestled four matches in the preliminaries before defeating Japan’s Yoshida, 4-1, in the Olympic finals. Helen had previously lost to Yoshida twice by pin. Yoshida had not lost a World Championships or Olympic match in 16 years. Helen credits God for her victory and the journey. Her mantra on the day of competition was “Christ is in me, I am enough”. She believes God uses wrestling as a tool to shape her character and faith. http://www.helenmaroulis.com/about
Your 2nd Brain...
September 23rd, 2018
Whether it’s the nervous anticipation of an upcoming job change, a hunch about your child’s health, or the moment you meet the love of your life and just know, we all have felt that internal gut instinct that kicks in during significant times in our lives to give us a harbinger of things to come. We use many words to describe these sensations: butterflies before a tough challenge, a pit in the stomach or gut wrenching when we get bad news, a gut check when we are faced with a grueling decision, or a gut feeling when we know deep down what to do about something we’ve been ambivalent about. And although all these expressions have the mighty gut in common, if our emotions reside in our brain as traditionally thought, why do we often feel them deep within our stomach? It’s not all in your head-Meet your second brain!
You see, your gut is lined with around 500 million neurons (that’s nearly five times more than in your spinal cord!) that make up the enteric nervous system, also called your “second brain.” And it appears that this brain in your gut can communicate with and send signals to your other brain, helping to regulate everything from your appetite and immune function to your emotional state. The vagus nerve—which runs from the brainstem all the way into the abdomen—acts as a sort of intercom system that delivers messages back and forth from the gut to the brain. And, we’re learning that the gut may be the chatty one in the conversation; 90% of the fibers in the vagus nerve carry information from the gut upwards to the brain, rather than the other way around. This “gut-brain axis” serves as a communication system whereby your gut and brain are in constant contact. Your gut is home to 100 trillion microbes, most of which are beneficial bacteria called probiotics that work diligently on your behalf to support nearly every aspect of your health, from your metabolism and blood sugar balance to your cognitive function and immunity. Your flora also regulate or produce many of the 30 neurotransmitters that the enteric nervous system uses on a daily basis to communicate with your brain. Here are a few of the mood-enhancing chemicals that depend on your gut bugs for optimal performance:
• Serotonin. Nearly 95% of your body’s serotonin—the “happy” chemical that affects everything from your mood and appetite to your sleep and memory—is manufactured in the gut by bacteria.
• Dopamine. Beneficial bacteria also produce dopamine (50% of which originates in the intestine), which serves as a chemical messenger in the gut and plays a big role in the brain’s reward system.
• GABA. Also known as the “calming” chemical, GABA helps to calm irritability, nervousness, and anxiety and is manufactured by gut probiotics.
• Cortisol. Friendly flora can reduce levels of cortisol, the hormone that becomes elevated in times of stress.
• Oxytocin. Probiotics work to boost levels of the hormone oxytocin, which increases feelings of love and bonding.
Probiotics in your gut have a big influence on your mood, cognition, and emotional state, all of which contribute to your gut instincts. Sometimes your gut really is the first responder. For example, an irritated digestive tract afflicted with occasional gas, bloating, irregularity, or diarrhea can trigger feelings of temporary depression and anxiety. The good news is that supplying the gut with what it needs to heal—often a balanced microbiome—can alleviate both the physical and emotional symptoms. In times of stress, your gut can initiate production of ghrelin, a hormone that sends hunger signals to your brain, prompting you to eat certain foods that will calm and satiate you (comfort food). In one study, volunteers agreed to receive either saline or fatty acids via a feeding tube while listening to sad music and viewing sad pictures. Within minutes, the brain scans of the group receiving the fatty acids showed activated sections of the brain that moderate emotions, proving that your gut really can change your mood.
No matter how you look at it, your gut not only influences your emotional state, but it serves as a barometer of sorts for what’s going on in your head.
Top 11 reasons they cheated...
September 19th, 2018
-Immaturity: If the person does not have a lot of experience in committed relationships, or if they doesn’t fully understand their actions will inevitably have consequences like hurting their partner, they may think it is fine to have sexual adventures as they always have. They might think of their commitment to monogamy as a jacket they take on and off as they please, depending on the circumstances.
-Co-occurring Issues: They may have an ongoing problem with alcohol and/or drugs that affects decision-making, resulting in regrettable sexual decisions. Sexual addiction is less about sex and more about the need to numb part of your life that is overwhelming upsetting to you.
-Insecurity: They may feel as if they are getting old, no longer attractive enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, etc. They seek validation outside of their partner, using this sextracurricular spark of interest to feel wanted, desired, and worthy.
-It’s Over, Version 1: They want the current relationship to end. However, instead of just saying they are unhappy and want to break things off, they cheat— and then force the partner to do the dirty work.
-It’s Over, Version 2: They may want to end the current relationship, but not until another one is lined up. So they set the stage for the next relationship while still in the first one.
-Lack of Social Support: They may have undervalued the need for supportive friendships with other people, expecting all social and emotional needs to be met entirely by the significant other. And when they inevitably fail in that duty, they seek fulfillment elsewhere.
-Confusion about Limerence versus Commitment: They might misunderstand the difference between romantic intensity and long-term love, mistaking the neurochemical rush of early romance, technically referred to as limerence, for love, and failing to understand that in healthy, long-term relationships limerence is replaced over time with less intense, but ultimately more meaningful forms of connection.
-Childhood Abuse: They may be reenacting or latently responding to unresolved childhood trauma – neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc. In such cases, childhood wounds have created attachment/intimacy issues that leave a person unable or unwilling to fully commit to one person. They might also be using the excitement and distraction of sexual infidelity as a way to self-soothe the pain of these old, unhealed wounds.
-Unfettered Impulse: They may never have even thought about cheating until an opportunity suddenly presented itself. Then, without even thinking about what infidelity might do to the relationship, they went for it.
-Selfish Expectations: He may feel that his partner should meet his every whim and desire, sexual and otherwise, 24/7, regardless of how the other feels at any particular moment. When expectations are not met, they seek external fulfillment.
-Anger/Revenge: They may cheat to get revenge. In such cases, the infidelity is meant to be seen and known
Know Your Worth
September 18th, 2018
Did you know we can actually teach people how to treat us? The frustrating part is, if you don’t know your worth you could be settling for far less than your highest bidder.When you are craving acceptance it’s very possible you will expose your heart to people who will readily replace you as if you were disposable. If you are incapable of setting boundaries you may begin to feel disrespected and disappointed with your relationships.
Sometimes people may appear to have it all together in their lives, but yet when it comes to relationships, they habitually find themselves in empty relationships because they are settling for less than they deserve.
I’ve also found this between parents and children….parents sacrificially giving their children everything they ask for in exchange for what appears to be a moment of happiness.
The secret in all relationships is knowing your worth and setting boundaries from the beginning. If it steals your inner peace, it is too expensive.
What is Reunification Therapy?
September 24th, 2018
Reunification therapy is not a legal term, nor is it a psychological term, but it is becoming more widely used in divorce cases. Reunification Therapy (RT) is a therapeutic intervention when the children find difficulty visiting with the noncustodial parent, but depending on the circumstances, the purpose and goals of reunification therapy vary.
The therapist identifies the factors contributing to the estrangement and by working on communication, trust and probing residual feelings contributing to the estrangement. RT includes an intake assessment of both parents and children to develop an appropriate treatment plan for all family members affected by alienation.
The therapy requires a minimum of eight to twelve sessions depending on the circumstances of the case and at the discretion of the therapist.