Why Is Counseling Important For Cancer Patients

Neurological conditions significantly affect the brain. The slightest disturbance in a neuronal connection can cause severe damage. And it can ultimately cause significant lifestyle changes. Some may even result in severe mental and psychological problems. For instance, individuals can experience low mood and depression.

Similarly, getting a cancer diagnosis might be one of the most challenging experiences you can have in this lifetime. Finding out that you have cancer will make you feel the worst and heaviest emotions. 

However, remember that there are various possibilities of treatment available. Having a healthy coping mechanism and a better outlook towards your treatment is needed to overcome cancer.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how counseling can address cancer-related mental health issues. Read on and learn more.

Manage Anxiety

You are likely to experience anxiety after getting diagnosed with cancer. Surges of fear occur as you worry about the future of your relationships, family, and plans. The stress that you feel can trigger anxiety.

Counseling can help cancer patients manage their stress and effectively deal with their anxiety. Having an open dialogue about your stressors and triggers with a counselor will help you cope with anxiety. Counseling will help you adapt to your treatment and address any concerns that are affecting your mental health.

Cope With Depression

Your diagnosis might also be a depressing experience. While getting treated, you’ll feel that everything was taken from you. With all of these emotions unattended, it’s not a surprise that many cancer patients can go through episodes of depression.

There are many ways how depression can affect your life and make your experience with cancer more difficult. This may include:

  • Weakened mental stability
  • Hampered adjustment with your treatment
  • Undermined will to live
  • Compromised determination to have a successful treatment
  • Possible friction in your relationships
  • Negative effects on your general outlook in life

Counseling can help with depression. Your counselor can walk you through the heavy emotions you’re experiencing. They will also raise your awareness of other possible factors that contribute to your depression.

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Address Relationship Issues During Their Treatment

Cancer will not only affect you as a person but also your current and future relationships. While some relationships may flourish, others won’t. The relationships include:

  • Romantic relationships (spouse or partner)
  • Friendships
  • Family members

Married patients or those who are in long-term relationships can be affected by cancer. After the diagnosis, they may feel hopeless, depressed, and anxious. Cancer may also affect your relationship with your family and your children. 

Here are some ways counseling might help with your relationship issues:

  • Communicating Better 

Counseling helps you communicate better with the people you care about. Talking about your feelings and letting your loved ones know what you feel builds firmer relationships.

Poor communication will only lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary stress. 

  • Changing Of Roles

Cancer may change your roles in your relationships. If you are the breadwinner of your family, you must come to terms with stepping out of that role while getting treatment. This kind of sudden shift may be confusing at first, but your counselor will facilitate this process.

  • Addressing Intimacy Issues Between Partners 

Some couples might have issues related to sexual health. Cancer treatment may take a toll on a person’s physical well-being, which might cause problems with intimacy. 

Counselors will provide you with a safe place where you and your partner can discuss these issues. They can also provide suggestions on maintaining intimacy with each other or managing any sex-related side-effects of your treatment.

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Increase Your Self-Awareness

Cancer treatment is a long and arduous journey, and you need all the strength to finish the journey strong. Having solid mental health is one key to making your treatment successful.

Counseling can help you increase your self-awareness. Being mindful of your mood, feelings, thought processes, and behavior is helpful when dealing with your thoughts and emotions. 

You can analyze your thoughts if you have a strong sense of self-awareness. It enables you to identify thought processes that are harmful and self-destructive.

Self-awareness helps to develop healthy coping mechanisms and break bad habits that affect your mental health. As you become more self-aware, you can manage your stress properly and identify your triggers and stressors.

Your counselor may suggest activities to increase your self-awareness, such as:

Apart from the physical toll of cancer itself and the treatments, you might also experience mental strain similar to the mental strain people with neurologic conditions are susceptible to.

Remember that consulting with a counselor when dealing with any mental health issue is always an option. Suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions on top of a pre-existing condition, be it cancer or other conditions, will only be to your detriment.

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For cancer, statistics show a higher mortality rate among those who have mental health disorders. The psychological stress could worsen the condition of a cancer patient.

Keep your mental health stable as it can greatly affect your treatment and overall condition. Seek professional help for your mental health needs and let some of your mental health burdens go. Focus on having a clearer mindset and dedicate all of your energy to getting better.

Types Of Counseling To Try For Patients With Neurological Injuries and Diseases

 

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Finding coping and support systems for people with central nervous system trauma can be difficult, particularly when the injury is life-changing. Suddenly, you have a disability which can be extremely frightening and confusing at the start. You may also wonder how this condition can affect your daily life, your personal and professional relationships.

Treatment and therapy for people with stroke or spinal injury, for instance, requires a holistic approach. Medications and surgical procedures are known as primary medical treatment in addressing neurological injuries and diseases. Counseling and therapies may also go hand-in-hand to provide reliable psychosocial treatment. Some may also acquire both physical and occupational therapy for faster healing and recovery period. 

Here are some effective counseling and psychotherapy types for patients with neurological problems:

Individual, Private Or One-To-One Counseling

Individual counseling involves private and one-to-one support from a counselor or licensed therapist. This support may be in the form of effective listening about personal worries and concerns.

People with neurological disorders can safely express their concerns about their condition, families, and overall feelings since individual counseling provide extensive communication of emotions and opinions. While group counseling is beneficial, patients and clients may prefer a discreet, one-on-one conversation with a counselor for privacy and more centered assistance.

Your therapist may let you:

  • Determine what concerns plug your cognition
  • Adapt solutions for your primary bothers
  • Adjust your lifestyle as a coping mechanism
  • Figure out how to fix relationship problems in work and family
  • Private concerns such as sexuality and intimacy

Individual Counseling may also act as a preliminary step in getting psychosocial help. Apart from one-on-one counseling, the counselor may also provide options that enable you to undergo couple, family, or group therapy.  Individual therapy can provide more personal therapeutic sessions for spinal cord injury, glaucoma, or stroke.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps patients understand and identify their thought patterns. And determine why it is linked to your worries and how you can keep them from affecting your mood in the process.

Overall, CBT allows patients with neurologic illnesses to reframe their unwanted thoughts and negative mindset to a reshaped, accurate, and more positive outlook. With its overall effectivity as a method in psychology, it has been used to manage:

  • Difficulties in managing feelings of fear, anger, sadness, or even guilt
  • Uncontrollable stress
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sleep Problems
  • Insomnia and sleep problems
  • Prevailing addictions and unwanted behavior

Family Counseling

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More than a personal concern, neurologic disorders may affect your family. Apart from sharing the financial burden, managing routines with a family member with a physical disability can be stressful and taxing.

To help eliminate fear and encourage collaboration within the household, seeking a family counselor is a good option. A therapist in this field allows each family member to express their concerns, thoughts, and opinions about the situation and create solutions in the process. 

Also, discussing the long-term effects of neurologic problems with your child can be upsetting and challenging. A family counselor can help you in gaining a better understanding of what is going on with your kids. They can also help the kids to express their thoughts and emotions about their condition.

Support Groups

Support groups allow people experiencing the same condition to meet and talk about everyone’s concerns, emotions, or coping mechanisms. Support groups can assist individuals with neurologic conditions since they can help people manage their emotions and medication side effects.

Support groups may be available for people who have:

  • Brain tumor
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Injury

Parents, relatives, and caregivers of these patients may also join support groups. It is a sharing session wherein people talk about relationship issues, effective support, and even how to deal with fears in the family.

Participants may opt to meet in person or via online media since tele-counseling and telehealth have become relatively common for psychosocial assistance. Regardless of the medium, there is no strict attendance in most support groups.

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Treating both psychological and physical illnesses are essential for holistic rehabilitation. People who suffer from neurologic injury and diseases must receive individualized treatment plans, including counseling and therapies. 

Depending on the emotional symptoms of their neurological problems, these individuals may experience depression and anxiety. Additionally, there are many benefits of counseling and therapy for patients with neurologic problems. Seeking a counselor may let you and your family:

  • Learn how to cope when diagnosed with a physical disability
  • Manage forms of anxiety and depression
  • Develop coping mechanisms against the recurring symptoms
  • Manage emotions from experiencing great lifestyle changes
  • Eliminate fear and worries from affecting one’s mood

But it will only be beneficial if you are seeing the right therapist or counselor. Be sure you check a counselor’s background, reviews, and overall success as a health professional to verify whether they are the best fit for you or your family. Choosing a good counselor would not only result in better and more engaging follow-ups in the long run, but it will also ultimately save time and money by avoiding needless professional adjustments.

Frequently Asked Questions  About Anxiety Beta Blockers

Dealing with mental health issues requires a lot of effort. As experts suggest, you should be able to focus on self-care and self-awareness. Thus, it would be best to work on activities to improve your physical, emotional, and mental strength. These particular things include getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, drinking enough water, exercising regularly, and so on.

However, despite the effort you put into these healthy lifestyles, there are still some instances that you won’t control your emotional and mental dilemma. Sometimes, even if you try to vent it out and discuss it often, there is no use as it does not change anything. And despite all your efforts in keeping a positive thought, you somehow end up thinking too much about your coping strategies.

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With the severity of your anxiety, you usually experience physical manifestations. With that, you often deal with issues like difficulty breathing, muscle pain, palpitations, and some heart-related health problems. That is where beta-blockers come in. Usually, your doctor prescribes the medication to help you out on your anxiety symptoms struggle. So with these frequently asked questions below, let us understand more about beta-blockers and learn their impact on mental health, particularly anxiety.

Which beta-blocker is best for anxiety? 

The most common and often prescribed medication by medical experts to help with anxiety are the two beta-blockers, namely propranolol and atenolol.

These medicines are beneficial as they manage to slow down fast heartbeats or also known as arrhythmias. It also helps with lowering down high blood pressure or hypertension. But note that they do not cure these specific problems and only help to control them.

 How many beta-blockers should I take for anxiety? 

Your doctor may prescribe you to take a 20 to 40 mg dose of propranolol as needed. Sometimes, it could be an hour before a stressful situation. During this time, you may experience a heart rate decrease, which relaxes you. If necessary, they can also allow you to combine it with alprazolam or imipramine since it won’t have an adverse effect on your overall health. You’ll likely notice results the first time you take anxiety beta-blockers.

 Can you take beta-blockers every day for anxiety? 

Propranolol, an anxiety beta-blocker, is generally safe to take even for a long time, provided that your doctor prescribes it. Taking it to prevent migraines or control a heart condition makes it work best in the long term. If it is for anxiety, it tends to be okay as well since there do not seem to be any lasting damaging effects on your overall health if it gets taken for several months or years.

However, despite its proven clinical safety, you should still consider looking for other options. If possible, try not to engage with medication for too long and manage your symptoms naturally. That way, your mind and body won’t have to rely on the pills forever.

 What is the alternative to taking beta-blockers? 

Yes. A promising alternative to propranolol is angina or AF. You can also use any other drugs such as verapamil or diltiazem as substitutes as long as they can slow the heart rate. You must never stop taking your prescription beta-blockers or change it without consulting or speaking to your doctor about it.

Note that sudden changes with your medication can have an impact on your mind and body. It is best to note the changes that might occur once you switch on your medications.

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 Can you eat bananas with beta-blockers? 

At certain times, yes, you can eat bananas even when taking beta-blockers. However, too much potassium can lead to kidney failure and inconsistent heart rhythm. Thus, your doctor may advise and recommend that you restrict your consumption of bananas if you are taking a beta-blocker. The limitation goes with other high-potassium foods, including tomato, papaya, kale, and avocado.

 How long can you stay on beta-blockers? 

Propranolol is usually taken short-term for anxiety medication. That is because its main purpose is to help with physical symptoms. It reduces heart rate and blood pressure, which improves blood flow and eases the workload on your heart. Though there has never been an issue with taking it for too long, you still need to consult your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking it for an extended period. Remember, it’s best to take the beta blocker only for as long as you need it.

 What are the long-term side effects of beta-blockers? 

Though there is not much to worry about taking beta-blockers for an extended period, they can still bring some possible side effects when taken in very high doses. Beta-blockers can potentially slow the heart rate too much and worsen heart failure. It can also produce wheezing and sometimes worsens lung disease. High doses of the medication can also cause lightheadedness caused by a drop in blood pressure.

In some unfortunate situations, beta-blockers can cause a series of health conditions such as poor blood circulation, fatigue, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight gain, and even sexual dysfunction. Thus, it would help if you were careful in taking beta-blockers for the long-term.

 Is it safe to exercise on beta-blockers?

Taking small doses of beta-blockers daily helps with anxiety. Incorporating medication with exercise is safe and is recommended by most doctors. That is due to all the physical activity benefits to the heart, lungs, muscles, and brain.

 Is it better to take beta-blockers at night? 

People who take beta-blockers, on average, experience lower blood pressure while sleeping. There is better blood pressure control when taking their medication at night. Also, most medical experts recommend and specify to take medications at night due to possible side effects that can occur. But before changing medication schedules, it is significantly important to talk to a health care provider about the prescription’s ideal time.

 Why do beta-blockers make you so tired? 

Taking beta-blockers is used to drop your heart rate. When that happens, the amount of blood that the heart is pumping can also drop. Thus, the condition creates symptoms of fatigue, drowsiness, lethargy, and so on. With that possible side effect, health care providers suggest medication to be taken at night. That way, patients can allow the body to experience the side effects while they sleep.

 What is the most commonly prescribed beta blocker? 

Health care providers are commonly prescribing beta-blockers such as metoprolol succinate and metoprolol tartrate.

Perhaps that is due to its benefits. Beta-blocker used to treat angina or chest pain, high blood pressure, and heart failure. It also aids in preventing heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems.

 Which beta-blocker has the least amount of side effects? 

Bisoprolol or metoprolol succinate are beta-blockers that provide the maximum effect with the minimum amount of adverse effects. That is because cardioselective don’t affect beta-2 receptors in the lungs and blood vessels, as they were only designed to block only the heart cells’ beta-1 receptors. Thus, these are safe for people with lung disorders.

 Can you lose weight while on beta-blockers? 

Unfortunately, weight gain is more likely to be expected with patients taking older beta-blockers, such as metoprolol and atenolol. There are lower physical activity levels in their day-to-day lives. Therefore, patients need to keep a food diary for two weeks and track everything they drink and eat.

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 Is there a natural beta blocker? 

Yes. Some herbs, foods, and dietary supplements can act as natural beta-blockers since they contain vitamins and minerals that help lower blood pressure naturally. These include food with antioxidants, amino acids, Omega-3 fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, and magnesium.

 What does it feel to be on beta-blockers?

Beta-blockers slow your heart rate, which often gives you a tired feeling. Sometimes you may not notice the physical symptoms, but it can cause lightheadedness, weight gain, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms. Beta-blockers can also decrease your sex drive and can cause poor circulation.

 

Counseling And Mental Health

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We often hear that when we need help, we have to reach out and ask for help. Regardless of the issues we are facing. We must try and seek the help that we need. This is especially important when we are facing mental health issues. More frequent than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, mental illnesses affect over 450 million people worldwide and can be life-threatening, if only indirectly.

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Family Issues Triggered Depression And Bad Eating Habits

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I married really young. My age then was only nineteen and I thought that I have met my knight in shining armor. The words are “I thought.” You see, I grew up in a broken family. My father is a pathological liar, womanizer, and gambling addict. I mean, what kind of woman can live with a man who is all sorts of the dark? Back then, I blamed my mom for leaving my dad. It is only now that I realize why she had to do it.

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Self-Improvement And Self-Discovery During Quarantine

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Last February 2020, I weighed almost 190 kilos. I am a shorty at 5 feet four inches and super thick. In my mind back then, I didn’t care if my body was round and large. I was huge, super big, but because I had a husband who loved me, I let myself go. “His love is enough,” I gave myself that reasoning, but it all fell apart.

Continue reading Self-Improvement And Self-Discovery During Quarantine

Lose Weight, Feel Great

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The 2017 Weight Loss Workshop motivated me to start losing weight. I mean, it was not just the workshop which pushed me to trim down. Three things happened to me that forced this transformation. First, my health was dwindling. Second, I had to be charged more for a seat because I would not fit. Lastly, my boyfriend of three years left me for a woman who was 50 kilos lighter. These life experiences hurt me to the core, and I said, NO MORE. I WILL LOSE WEIGHT. IT’S TIME TO SHOW THEM WHO IS BOSS.

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Pandemic: We Are All Experiencing Emotional Pain

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It is not supposed to be normal, but now, it is a regular thing. We are in lockdown, and we have to self-soothe. Everyone is experiencing all sorts of pain, and the emotional kind is tough to ignore. Young kids and teenagers follow what they see from adults. So if a parent will react accordingly about the COVID-19 pandemic, then, the children will also be calm.

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Manage The Pain

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I’m glad that I was able to attend the 2019 Pain Management Conference. Every day, people encounter a problem that causes pain to the body. Through it, I have known that there are different types of physical pain; acute pain, chronic pain, breakthrough pain, bone pain, soft tissue pain, nerve pain, referred pain, phantom pain, and total pain.

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Technological Developments For Paralyzed SCI Patients

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For so long, spinal cord injury patients have been wallowing in depression and devastation over not being able to walk again, as they know that these injuries are pretty serious and can even be life-threatening. There have only been very limited options for treating or helping patients cope with their disabilities, including anti-inflammatory drugs and spinal decompression. Sadly, these have not addressed the issue of recovering from the injury in terms of mobility and return to function. The neurologic deficits that these SCI patients have incurred have remained, leaving them debilitated.

However, current studies tireless research have been promising, and some technological developments have been introduced, which will help SCI patients realize their dream of returning to function and ultimately be able to walk again.

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Stem Cell Therapy

 

These are undifferentiated cells that can change into specific cell types. They are also capable of renewing and multiplying themselves at the same time retaining their ability to transform into other cells. Because of this ability, stem cells are now being studied as to how they can replace nerve cells, as neurons have a limited capacity to regenerate.

Researchers are continually finding the correct chemical equations that will stimulate the stem cells to grow and regenerate like the neurons. They are now doing this by injecting stem cells from the bone marrow and into the cerebrospinal fluid to see if it can stimulate the proteins that are required to grow nerves and proliferate nerve impulses. Results that are currently released are quite promising.

Functional Electrical Stimulation

FES utilizes electrodes that are connected to a computer and attached to the paralyzed or weakened muscles to give bursts of electricity and elicit muscle contraction. In spinal cord injury, this is used to try and regain the function of muscles that are affected below the level of the spinal cord. When this was attempted, SCI patients showed mild to moderate improvement in the muscles of their hands and feet, the return of mild bowel and bladder control, and the return of muscle tone in the respiratory muscles, which enabled the patients to breathe without a ventilator. There were positive results for SCI as well as stroke patients.

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Neurotherapy Through Virtual Reality

 

Virtual therapy has been revolutionized further to treat spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, patients. Studies have proven that VR can persuade the brain into thinking that it is efficiently functioning and performing the actions being asked to follow in the virtual reality environment. This can cause vertigo in people who do not have any brain abnormalities, but for those with traumatic brain injuries, this inspires the brain to activate neurological pathways that became ‘useless’ following the injury.

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)

The BCI works by evading the damaged nerve cells from the SCI. They are implanted and function to regain control of muscle movement to the patients’ weakened musculature. In SCI patients where cognitive function is unaffected, clinicians have successfully used the signals from the brain to control the BCI. Hand and arm orthotics also use the BCI to produce hand and arm function to once paralyzed extremities. The BCI is among the most important innovations of today, enabling patients to experience partial or complete normalcy after SCI.

Robotic Exoskeletons

Wearing robotic devices has been providing SCI patients the opportunity to be able to walk again. According to researchers, repetition helps the brain and the spinal cord coordinate with each other in reestablishing the lost synapses that were due to the spinal cord injury. These exoskeletons are quite heavy, and they require assistance from therapists or people from home, but patients don’t seem to mind. What’s important for them is the fact that they can walk again. These robotic devices have been seen first in physical therapy but have a very promising future in spinal cord injury.