Healthy Mind

What is hypervigilance?

Hypervigilance is a state in which the person experiences a high degree of alertness. In general, it is accompanied by a sensory, motor, cognitive and emotional exaltation.

From the outside, we observe the hypervigilant person as someone with a high level of energy, tense, nervous, attentive to everything and who does not miss detail.

The person experiencing it has the feeling of “clarity of mind.” However, this can be a biased perception. In fact, the person is so overstimulated that, on many occasions, they present hyperprosexia, that is, an alteration of attention that is easily distracted.

Acute stress as a source of hypervigilance

A high degree of alertness can occur at specific moments without being associated with a serious psychopathology or organicity. The most common case is when we have a start. Due to the shock, we can spend the hours following the event in a more accentuated state of alert.

Another very common situation is experiencing acute stress. This consists of a dysfunctional reaction that begins shortly after experiencing a traumatic or overwhelming event. Thus, if, for example, we experience any of the following situations:

  • Robbery or robbery.
  • Threat.
  • Aggression.
  • Earthquake.
  • Accident.
  • Explosion.

Depending on the severity of the event, it is very possible that we present a series of alterations in the following days or weeks . Hypervigilance will be one of the most common symptoms to all of them.

Even so, most people will get over it naturally in a relatively short time and will not develop PTSD .

Acute stress as a source of hypervigilance
Hypervigilance can occur as a result of an overwhelming or traumatic event for the person.

Also read: 6 sports activities that help you overcome stress

Psychopathological causes of hypervigilance

Hypervigilance can also appear as a prelude or during the following disorders:

  • Delusional disorder
  • Paranoid schizophrenia.
  • Manic episodes.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders .
  • Intoxication due to drug use (cannabis, LSD, cocaine, amphetamines).

In all of them it will be present to a greater or lesser extent, along with another series of manifestations typical of each disorder. Furthermore, hypervigilance can also be a symptom of a multitude of organic disorders that affect patient behavior.

Consequences of living in a constant state of alert

Living in a state of permanent vigilance significantly harms people who suffer from this ailment. Initially, hyperprosexia makes it difficult for patients to ignore stimuli that are not of interest and attend to those that do want to pay attention. This can greatly affect your school or work performance.

Staying on alert also has other physical costs, such as the following:

  • It produces extreme exhaustion, which can lead to weakness.
  • It generates a poorer immune response against pathogens.
  • It predisposes to suffer from various organic disorders, caused by continuous physical stress.

On a social level, the hypervigilant person may have problems integrating, since many of their reactions are not understood by others. This can contribute to social isolation and depression.

Consequences of living in a constant state of alert
Living in constant alertness can make rest difficult. In addition, it increases the risk of suffering physical effects from stress.30


Hypervigilance itself is not a disorder, it is a symptom. Therefore, the treatment will depend on the cause that generates it. Some of the most common to treat excess alertness are the following:

  • Cognitive restructuring.
  • Systematic desensitization.
  • Training in relaxation techniques.
  • Brief Strategic Therapy.
  • Therapeutic writing.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy.
  • Benzodiazepines.
  • SSRI antidepressants.
  • Neuroleptics in cases of psychosis.

Read also: Therapeutic writing and its emotional benefits

Final recommendations for treating hypervigilance

In order to differentiate whether excess alertness is due to a pathological cause or not, the context in which it appears will be key  . It will also be important to take into account the personal background of the person concerned. In case of not having enough knowledge to distinguish it, it will be advisable to have the help of a professional therapist.

Healthy Mind

Excessive concern for health

We live in an age where the bombardment of information is constant. The topics of care and protection of the body are the order of the day. This has created an environment where excessive concern for health has a foothold from which it is projected into everyday life.

Health is defined as a state of physical, emotional and social well-being. It is not simply the absence of disease. It is increasingly common to find people who are afraid of getting sick or that their closest people do.

While it is true that worrying about your health and having a proper lifestyle is essential to prevent disease, excessive worry can be a problem . Therefore, in this article we explain what to do about this and what approach strategies exist.

What is excessive concern for health?

As we can imagine, worrying about yourself is normal . We all have a certain fear of getting sick. This is natural and beneficial if it leads us to improve our habits. For example, to eat a proper diet or exercise frequently.

In the same way, it makes us alert to the signs of illness and prompts us to go to the doctor when necessary. However, the moment worry continues to grow, it can lead to anxiety .

When this happens, negative thoughts and the panic of getting sick occupy our minds greatly. A state of alarmism is created in which any minimal pain or risk of contagion makes us think that we are sick.

The general misinformation about various world situations has caused the fear of the population to increase brutally. There is a phenomenon of collective concern that goes beyond the individual and puts large groups of people in the same alert process.

Anxiety can also lead us to do irrational things. If we do not control excessive concern for health, we take drastic measures that end up being counterproductive, causing disease, instead of protecting us.

health concern
Excessive worries, in any area, are harmful

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What signs are there to identify that worry is excessive?

The line between normalcy and excessive worry is very fine. However, there are certain signs that can tell us that the limit is being touched. In the first place, that state of scaremongering that we indicated.

When someone is constantly attentive to an ache or pain , even though it is small, it can indicate an obsession. Even more so if you start looking for information on the subject or do not stop thinking about it. The behaviors of these people turn to an organization of their existence that surrounds the alleged problem. Their family, work and friendship relationships are altered due to the obsessive disorder.

Many people even conclude that it is a symptom of a specific disease. They catalog their hypothesis with the name of a pathology and self-diagnose , establishing the direct path to hypochondria.

In this case, they begin to worry about the consequences of that supposed disease. They also tend to make it a frequent and unique topic of conversation, leaving no room for other explanations or stories.

On the other hand, excessive concern for health can also manifest itself with very strict control of diet or exercise. In the same way, it may be that medications that are not indicated or vitamin supplements are taken .

Excessive concern about eating healthy
Sudden changes in diet can be a sign of excessive health concern

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What can you do about it?

The most important thing in this situation is to try to ask for help. When worry turns into anxiety, it is best to see a psychologist to try to put an end to the problem . Psychotherapy is usually the best form of treatment .

In addition, we must bear in mind that the sources of information we have are not always reliable. It is essential to contrast the data and prevent fear from taking hold of us. There are many articles on the internet, but we must verify that they are written by reliable authors and that the site we review is endorsed.

Healthy Mind

Daily stress can cause depression

Stress and depression seem to be two exclusive conditions. While the first is associated with nervousness, the second is related to passivity. However, daily stress can cause depression, just as depression causes stress .

Why can daily stress cause depression? In general terms, it can be said that both conditions represent an inadequate response to problems, challenges and setbacks. This causes concern and concern; at the same time, frustration and reluctance.

Both problems are very characteristic of the last century and are due to the lifestyles that have been imposed . Excessive stimuli, frenetic pace of activities, increased emotional isolation. The important thing is to know that stress can cause depression and to take steps to avoid it.

Daily stress

Stress by itself is not a problem, as long as it is kept at moderate levels. This emotional response allows a person to be more alert and better defend himself in situations that involve challenge or risk. If this is experienced continuously, or at very high levels, it becomes a problem.

When stress is activated, the body responds with increased production of cortisol . Likewise, another hormone and neurotransmitter called adrenaline is increased . A side effect of this is that the body reacts faster and stronger.

Stress can become a frequent sensation when a person learns to classify certain stimuli that are not dangerous as dangerous. For example, being late for work, finishing an assignment, or even leaving the house . In this way, stress becomes continuous and the body is constantly overextended .

work stress
Work is a source of stress for many people who suffer from it every day

Keep reading: Discover an effective test to know if you are stressed

Daily stress can cause depression

Daily stress can cause depression because maintaining a state of alert for long periods disrupts normal physiological functions. Effects are caused on the mood and depressive states appear.

Both disorders are often related and, in fact, have a great similarity in several of their symptoms . It should be clarified that not all depression originates from stress, but the latter does increase the risk of becoming depressed.

Stress is exhausting and overwhelming, which can lead to difficulties such as decreased productivity, poorer job performance , problems in interpersonal relationships, and eating or sleeping disorders.

The routine begins to look challenging or very frustrating. All this, together, leads to a feeling of personal inadequacy, accompanied by sadness and demotivation . At that point you are already in the terrain of depression, which can have different levels of severity.

How to detect the problem?

Stressed woman
Being attentive to the initial signs of stress and depression will allow us to act accordingly and preventively

Since daily stress can cause depression, just as depression is a stressor, the most important thing is to be attentive to the early manifestations to take the appropriate measures in time.

There are several telltale symptoms, such as the following:

  • Constant tension: it is a feeling that reality is overwhelming and pressing, like being in constant struggle.
  • Irritability: there are frequent anger and small things lead to continually out of boxes.
  • Crying for no reason: they are desires to cry without there being a specific reason for it.
  • Little enthusiasm for life: disinterest and apathy for life itself predominates. The projects do not arouse enthusiasm and you have the feeling of living by inertia.
  • Isolation and self-loathing: one shuns contact with others, especially if it is very close or intimate. Severe self-criticism appears.
  • Cognitive problems: attention, concentration, speed and mental acuity decrease.
  • Indecision: strong doubts appear around almost everything, and there is great difficulty in making decisions.

Find out more: How to spot depression in a friend

Stress and depression affect the physique

When there is stress and depression, there are also physical signs that reveal it . The highlight is a feeling of permanent fatigue, which does not dissipate even after sleeping. In fact, sleep problems, such as insomnia or interrupted sleep, are very common.

Eating problems are another revealing point, either because you eat too little or too much. Both stress and depression are risk factors for developing addictions. It is not uncommon, either, for a person in this condition to neglect their grooming.

So if you find that your life is heading towards persistent stress or depression that causes symptoms on a daily basis, arrange a consultation with a health professional. Perhaps with small changes in lifestyle and professional advice, you will be able to reverse the process .

Healthy Mind

How to deal with emotional blackmail

For many people, emotional blackmail is a way of relating in their day to day. In general, it consists of the manipulation  of other people to obtain their own benefit. Although it can occur in a specific context as a way to achieve something, in many cases it is part of a dysfunctional communication pattern.

In a society like ours, we can all be emotional blackmailers. It is even possible that we have had this behavior on more than one occasion without even realizing it, and not because of this we have become manipulative and perverse people.

At first, it seems like an easy way to change the other’s mindset. However, it is an inappropriate way of interacting, and whoever exercises it shows that they have few communicative and emotional resources.

The different roles in emotional blackmail

When there is ongoing emotional blackmail, there are two different subjects: the blackmailer and the blackmailed. And although all people are different, those who exercise this behavior most vehemently usually share a series of characteristics such as:

  • They need to control others and everything must be done as they want.
  • They cause a deep sense of guilt in the other person.
  • They use each other’s weaknesses to take advantage of the situation.
  • They promote that the relationship with the other person is based on need.
  • They are afraid of abandonment and losing control .
  • Their relationship with others is not equal to equal, but rather is unbalanced and they exercise power over the other.
  • They have been acting in the same way for many years, often learning this communicative pattern in childhood.
  • They seek recognition and attention through anger or crying.
  • On many occasions, they “buy” the other through gifts and whims to ensure that they do not stray from them.
  • They pressure, coerce, threaten and may even use violence to make what they want to happen.
The different roles in emotional blackmail
In emotional blackmail, one party wants everything to be done their way. You feel a constant need to control.

For their part, blackmailed people tend to have the following characteristics in common:

  • They do not know how to set limits to others.
  • They tend to have low self-esteem.
  • They give up their decision-making power to the other, at least in the area where they are blackmailed.
  • They feel great guilt and therefore do not act as they would like.
  • The situation emotionally destabilizes them significantly.
  • They are afraid of rejection and for that reason they yield to the demands of the blackmailer.
  • They feel insecure, anxious and sad.
  • They are ashamed of the situation but do not know how to get out of it.

Also read : 5 emotional blackmails that steal your health

Types of blackmailers

People who exercise emotional blackmail do not do everything in the same way. Thus, we can differentiate the following subtypes.


They get what they want at the cost of suffering. They tend to show excess anger, and are aggressive to a lesser or greater extent. This can include behaviors such as:

  • Stop talking as punishment.
  • An inappropriate tone of voice.
  • Insults, yelling, or offensive words.
  • Disqualifications.
  • Humiliations.
  • Any kind of physical violence.


They direct threats at themselves and emphasize what will happen if other people don’t do what they want. An example of this would be saying … “I hope nothing happens to me these days when you leave me alone.”


They threaten to suffer if we don’t do what they want. Furthermore, they are based on the fact that their suffering is the fault of others. This type of message is typical of reactive people, that is, they do not assume any responsibility for their behavior and what happens to them. Phrases such as “after everything I have done for you” or “without you I am nothing” would be some examples.

Woman doing emotional blackmail
Victimizing yourself is another form of emotional blackmail. Those who have this behavior often blame others for their penalties.


They are people who deceive us by promising us some type of good, be it material, love or a job promotion. However, any benefit that we can obtain is conditioned on our behavior being as they wish.

How to deal with emotional blackmail?

Sometimes, the blackmail we are subjected to can be very obvious and not very elaborate , which will allow us to react more easily.

However, this is not always the case, and in certain circumstances it will be much more difficult to detect and avoid, especially if it lasts over time. Therefore, it is important that we keep the following aspects in mind:

  • Acknowledge blackmail. As in any situation, being aware of what is happening is the first step to begin to solve it.
  • Accept the part of responsibility in the lived situation.
  • Set limits. With this we will avoid having a worn and dysfunctional relationship.
  • Stop handing over power to the other person.
  • Improve assertiveness and learn to say no.
  • Reinforce our self-esteem, diminished by the situation.
  • Learn conflict resolution strategies to reach healthy agreements with others.
  • Recover our own needs that we may have neglected to do things the way the other person wanted.

Read also: Attachment in couple relationships

Reflections on emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail can be present in our daily lives in many ways; how our children relate to us to get their way, a co-worker who tries to manipulate us for his own benefit or how our partner manages to make us give in.

For this reason, it is important to learn to detect whether our relationships with others are healthy and balanced enough. Otherwise, we must analyze what our greatest weaknesses are, since these can make us vulnerable to manipulation.

If the situation is hurting us too much and we cannot control it, it is best to seek professional help. The psychologist can provide guidance on various strategies to ward off people who try to manipulate us.

Healthy Mind

Supplements and vitamins for stress

There are many strategies to mitigate the effects of daily stress; one of them is the use of supplements and vitamins that improve mood and the feeling of well-being. Why are they beneficial? What are the most recommended?

First of all, it should be remembered that stress is a form of nervous tension that can cause difficulties on a physical and mental level. In turn, it is related to conflict situations, social problems, dissatisfaction, among others.

However, as some studies show , adequate nutrition has a positive impact on mental health and facilitates stress management. To learn more about it, we invite you to continue reading.

Supplements and vitamins for stress

Stress usually occurs as a result of situations that cause pressure and overload. Without proper intervention, it lasts over time and is increasingly difficult to cope with. Likewise, it may be caused by poor eating habits and a deficiency of certain essential nutrients.

Fortunately, it is proven that there are supplements and vitamins that help with mental health and help reduce the symptoms associated with this disorder. Although it is necessary to identify the origin of the same to be able to solve it, these are an ideal complement to achieve well-being.

The most common nutritional deficiencies seen in patients with stress, as well as in other mental disorders, are omega 3 fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters.

Also  read Supplements during pregnancy: are they safe?

Omega-3 fatty acids

Several studies link the regular consumption of fish with a low incidence of this problem. This, in turn, has been shown to be a direct result of the intake of omega 3 fatty acids.

One or two grams of this compound, taken daily, is the accepted dose for healthy individuals; however, for patients with mental disorders, up to 9.6 grams is suggested to be safe and effective.

Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids have been extensively studied for their health benefits. For this reason, today it is known that they contribute to alleviate the effects of stress.

Vitamin A

People with stress may have low levels of vitamin A or beta-carotene. A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry found that those who consumed source foods or supplements of this compound felt better , especially if they combined it with vitamins C and E.

In addition, a low content of this nutrient can increase the risk of suffering from anxiety . A safe way to achieve the recommended intake is to eat orange foods, such as carrots, squash, mango, papaya, among others.

Vitamin B supplements

One of the effects of B vitamins is to lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. With this, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms caused by stress, an improvement in mood is obtained and energy levels increase. Plus, these are essential for heart and brain health.

Food sources that contain them include:

  • The eggs.
  • The meat.
  • The grains.
  • Legumes.
  • Dairy.
  • Green leafy vegetables.

In a study published in Human Psychophamacology, it  was suggested that taking such supplements reduces depression, anger, and fatigue.  In general, these can contain other elements that influence it.


Stress is associated with difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, as it worsens its severity.Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, it increases at night and decreases with daylight .

The meta-analysis “Melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders   stated that supplementation with this compound increases time and improves its quality, which indicates that its use may be recommended when this problem alters rest.


Lysine is one of the supplements recommended in case of stress. It is an amino acid that can influence the neurotransmitters related to the symptoms of this disorder. When people with lysine deficiency eat more through their diet, stress levels decrease because they balance cortisol.

See also  6 foods to increase magnesium in the diet


Magnesium plays an important role in a number of brain functions , but most of all, it regulates stress hormones in the brain . Although it can be incorporated into many foods, using a chelated supplement allows for safe intake and absorption.

Magnesium supplement
Magnesium supplements are ideal in case of stress. This mineral helps regulate the activity of hormones associated with mood. 

What to remember about supplements and vitamins for stress?

If you have stress problems, you may notice discomfort, headache, nervousness, or anger. Although its appearance is associated with many situations that sometimes you can not handle, it is recommended that you detect it in time to avoid this interfering in your day to day.

When you have proper nutrition, your body receives everything it needs to improve mood and general well-being. In addition, if you do physical activity, improve the quality of sleep and use the supplements and vitamins mentioned, you can greatly contribute to its management.

Healthy Mind

Chronic Depression: How Does It Affect People?

Chronic depression, also known as dysthymia , tends to go unnoticed among people with the condition, perhaps due to its less disabling quality. That is, those who suffer from it appear to be functioning normally in their activities of daily life and do not show too obvious signs.

According to James Morrison :  “Dysthymics suffer in silence and their disability can be subtle: they tend to invest much of their energy at work and neglect the social aspects of life.” However, it is important to know that this disorder exists and that it affects the quality of life of patients.

What is chronic depression?

Chronic depression has been called by different names: dysthymia , dysthymic disorder , and persistent depressive disorder . The most characteristic symptom is a sad state of mind that is present most of the time. Likewise, it is associated with feelings of ineptitude, irritability, loss of interest and social withdrawal, among others.

Dysthymia has a longer duration than major depressive episodes and the symptoms are manifested with less intensity. These must be present for at least two years in adults and one year in adolescents and children to establish the diagnosis. In addition, they should not disappear for a period greater than two months.

In these cases, patients often report that they have always been depressed. Most commonly, this condition begins in childhood or adolescence . Although cases with a late onset have been found , whose appearance takes place after the age of 21.

In general, people with dysthymia have a milder disability than people with major depressive disorder. That is, they are able to continue life without treatment until symptoms intensify. Which can lead to a major depressive episode, which is easier to diagnose.

Man with depression.
Chronic depression lasts over time and affects many aspects of daily life.

Also read:  Dysthymia, the melancholy that makes us prisoners

How does chronic depression affect people?

Different areas of life are affected by chronic depression. Both the emotional and the physical suffer the consequences . This also translates to the social level, in relationships with others. Let’s take a closer look at what these manifestations are at the expense of quality of life.

In the emotional realm

Patients with chronic depression have a depressed mood almost every day . In children and adolescents, in particular, it is more common for them to express irritability most of the time. In adulthood there are often feelings of hopelessness, under the premise that problems have no solution.

Low self-esteem is also recorded. They have a poor concept of themselves. They think, for example, that they are useless. In the long run, this leads to poor personal care, due to reluctance.

In cognition

These people have poor concentration and difficulty making decisions . In children and adolescents, it is common to have comorbidity with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The pessimistic view of the world and constant negative thoughts encompass all of existence. Some people do not realize that they are depressed. They acknowledge that they feel tired, have trouble concentrating, have low self-esteem, and have feelings of hopelessness, but are unaware that they are depressed.

On a physical level

On the physical level, chronic depression has the following symptoms:

  • Low energy or tiredness: This interferes with productivity and the ability to carry out daily tasks.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia: the person finds it difficult to fall asleep or, on the contrary, sleeps excessively.
  • Enuresis : in children, with involuntary loss of urine at night.
  • Appetite changes: the person experiences a poor appetite or may overeat.

In the social sphere

These people appear to have a certain social stability, however, the little energy they have is invested in work, thus neglecting other aspects of life, such as sharing with family and friends or performing entertainment activities.

The discomfort in the person affects work or school performance and there is a deterioration in social relationships. Despite spending more time on non-relational activities, the other area does not receive enough attention either.

Elderly man with chronic depression.
Depression affects social relationships and that later makes the therapeutic approach difficult.

Discover:  When Sadness Becomes Chronic: Dysthymia

Treatments for chronic depression

Psychotherapy and drug treatment are effective tools to combat chronic depression. Especially when the two are combined.

There are a variety of psychological therapies that treat this condition, obtaining positive results. Among them are cognitive-behavioral therapy , psychoanalysis, family therapy and group therapy. Each one has its own particular characteristics. None is better than another. The important thing is that the patient feels comfortable with the assistance they are receiving.

For its part, drug treatment helps to modify brain chemistry, which helps improve mood. The choice of drugs should be made considering the particular symptoms of the patient and the side effects that it may generate.

Chronic depression can be addressed

Having chronic depression is not the end of your quality of life. Currently there are varied resources to address the disorder. In any case, it is essential that the person wants to receive care and that the social support network is available to accompany the process.

The symptoms of this condition overlap and hide , so paying attention to the signs is key so that it does not evolve into more serious and complicated forms. Mental health professionals are trained to provide support tools.

Healthy Mind

How to identify toxic people?

The attempt to identify toxic people has become very popular in recent years, but do we really know how to recognize these individuals when we come across them? Although it may not seem like it, it is common to interact with harmful people and go unnoticed.

Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the ways of communicating, thus avoiding the negative consequences that arise when establishing unhealthy relationships. The primary trait of toxic people is the harm they do to others . Here we present the most common behaviors of these individuals and how we can prevent their effects.

Characteristics to identify toxic people

There is no single way to harm the other. Depending on personal characteristics, toxic behaviors can manifest in one way or another. The most common are the following:

  • Awakening guilt in the other in an intentional way: toxic people can be identified because they place themselves in the role of victims, generating pity and pain in others. In this case, the other will be forced to help and support. Bernardo Stamateas presents this illustrative example: “with everything I did for you, now, will you pay me like this?”.
  • Being envious of others:  they do not tolerate the success of others.
  • Disqualify the actions of the other: Toxic people devalue others to feel good about themselves. The goal is to awaken feelings of mistrust and insecurity in the other person and to have power over them. It is common for disqualifiers to praise their victim at first and then humiliate her.
  • Express hurtful and offensive comments: Your goal is to generate fear and intimidate the other.
  • Not apologizing after mistreating: even malicious action is justified, representing a kick to identify the toxic person.
  • Manipulate with deception: it is intended to have control over the other. To do this, they first identify a vulnerable aspect of the other person, seduce and use it. They look for individuals who have a hard time saying no  and who fear conflict.
  • Just thinking about their own well-being: they have an exaggerated self-esteem, which leads them to think that there is no one better than them. Therefore, they consider that the rest of the people are deserving of their abuse.
  • Complain most of the time: we identify toxic people because they always find a reason to think that life is against them and that no one can understand them. Therefore, lamenting becomes a habit.
Woman with a feeling of inferiority.
Toxic people can be identified by their tendency to feel superior to others.

Discover:  7 toxic people you must drive away to be happy

Consequences of getting involved with a toxic person

Associating with a toxic person deteriorates physical and mental health , especially if there is aggressiveness within the relationship. They are not healthy ways of bonding and, in the short or long, the body manifests symptoms that stem from abuse.

Among the most common mental conditions that develop in the midst of toxic relationships are chronic stress, depression, low self-esteem, irritability, insomnia, and anxiety. For their part, they have also been associated with alterations in the immune system and premature aging.

How to prevent toxic people from affecting your life

Since toxic people negatively affect each other’s physical and mental health, it is important to know how to avoid them. The first step, of course, is to identify it and acknowledge the thoughts and feelings it awakens.

They must not be allowed to control us. To do this, we must avoid contacting them and, if this is not possible, prevent them from having access to our privacy. It is important to always keep in mind that you yourself are the one in control of your own life.

We have the power to decide what value or what effect the comments of others will have on us. In this way, emotional well-being is no longer subordinate to the other.

When your purpose is to hurt through hurtful comments, maintain a calm posture when identifying the toxic person . You have to avoid anger and annoyance. This will neutralize his behavior, noticing that he is not causing the desired effect.

If there are toxic individuals in contexts that cannot be avoided, such as home or work, it is helpful to establish rules for coexistence and make the problem person understand the consequences of their actions. Questioning and reviewing our own attitudes with others is essential, since it may happen that we are the toxic ones and we have not realized it.

Man yells at woman with megaphone.
A review of our behaviors is essential to cope with toxic relationships.

Also read:  Put these 7 strategies in motion and get rid of toxic people

The Difficulty of Identifying Toxic People

Not all toxic people manifest themselves in the same way . However, its most general characteristic is the ability to exercise control over others, causing them significant discomfort with their actions or opinions.

It is important to emphasize that toxic attitudes can appear consciously or unconsciously. And, in many cases, those affected do not always perceive them as something harmful. On the other hand, there is also a reflection of a number of unsolved problems. In other words, harmful people are linked to traumatic experiences and conflicts that need to be worked on.

Likewise, the people who are under their control are generally insecure , not very assertive and with low self-esteem. Therefore, it is important to question and identify what role we play in our relationships and work on those aspects that cause us discomfort.

Healthy Mind

What is adjustment disorder?

Adjustment disorder is a very present difficulty in today’s society. Unlike our ancestors, in the XXI century it is common for us to change employment, partner, home or place of residence. However, we do not always know how to adapt to these new circumstances.

Precisely, this disorder occurs when we are unable to adequately manage such changes, to the point that we are affected by clinical stress that decreases the quality of life. What does it consist of? What are the diagnostic criteria? We will detail it below.

Do all the changes generate an adjustment disorder?

The answer is a definit no. Keep in mind that almost any type of major change  causes a number of inconveniences and inconveniences. However, we are usually able to adapt to them in a relatively short period of time.

Thus, being more irritable, nervous, showing symptoms of anxiety or sadness is usually normal in a context of life change, even if it is towards a better situation. We need a mental space to adapt. The problem appears when this symptomatology does not stop, but persists, and even increases over time.

¿Todos los cambios generan un trastorno adaptativo?
Not all changes lead to an adjustment disorder. In general, it is normal to experience anxiety or nervousness in any context of change.

Read also: How to manage stress properly

Diagnostic criteria for adjustment disorders

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) , the adjustment disorder is included within the disorders related to trauma and stressors. Thus, the diagnosis is positive if the following criteria are met:

  1. Emotional or behavioral symptoms occur within the first three months after the stressful process begins.
  2. The clinical symptoms are relevant and can manifest as greater discomfort in response to the stressor or a significant deterioration in the social, work or academic environment.
  3. The symptoms do not meet criteria for another specific disorder and are not an exacerbation of a pre-existing mental disorder.
  4. Discomfort does not respond to a grieving reaction .
  5. After the stressor or its consequences are over, the symptoms do not persist beyond 6 months.

What types of adjustment disorders are there?

Faced with a traumatic or stressful event, people express discomfort in different ways. It will depend, above all, on the triggering factor , our personality and the mix of experiences previously lived. The DSM-V distinguishes the following subtypes according to symptoms:

  • With depressed mood. Low spirits, the urge to cry and a feeling of hopelessness predominate.
  • Anxiously. The most common symptoms are nervousness, worry, feeling overwhelmed, and difficulty concentrating or remembering things.
  • With a mixture of anxiety and depressed mood. Symptoms include a mixture of depression and anxiety.
  • With behavioral disturbance. Behavior changes abruptly and leads to a wide variety of behavioral problems such as truancy or work, fighting, reckless driving, or vandalism.
  • With a mixture of altered emotions and behavior. Emotional symptoms such as anxiety or depression predominate and are manifested together with behavioral problems.
  • Unspecified. This group would include all behaviors that cannot be classified in the other subtypes.

Other common symptoms of adjustment disorder

In addition to the symptoms described in the previous section, it is also common for people with adjustment disorder to have the following manifestations:

  • Concern.
  • Irritability.
  • Difficulty maintaining a daily routine.
  • Hostility.
  • Feeling of deep loneliness.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Somatic complaints.
  • Excessive substance use.

For children and adolescents, the symptoms may be different. Thus, these tend to be irritable, anxious and with a lower school performance. Also, they often have difficulty sleeping, such as nightmares and night terrors. 

Read also: Histrionic personality disorder

Causes of adjustment disorders

There are factors that increase the possibility that a person will respond to a major change in a more pathological way. Among some of the most important are the following:

  • Low socio-cultural and economic level.
  • History of having suffered violence against children.
  • Previous anxiety disorder.
  • Having some type of personality disorder, such as dependent and borderline.
  • Severity of stressors.
  • Low level of resilience .
  • Poor family and social support system.

Is there any treatment for adjustment disorder?

The goal of treatment for adjustment disorder is to contribute to better management of emotions. Therefore, it is based mainly on two options: psychotherapy and medication.


The Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for these disorders. Depending on the symptoms to be treated, it can be individual, family or group. In particular, this therapy contributes to the following:

  • Have emotional support.
  • Understand why the stressor triggered such an intense reaction.
  • Strategies to better manage stress on a day-to-day basis.
  • Gradually recover normality.
Mujer en terapia
A combination of psychotherapy and medications can help you overcome adjustment disorder. In any case, it must be individualized.


In some cases, the prescription of medications to treat anxiety and depression resulting from adjustment disorder can be a very good option, especially if they are combined with psychotherapy. Options include the following: 

  • Benzodiazepines , such as lorazepam Ativan ) and alprazolam (Xanax) .
  • Non-benzodiazepine anxiolytics, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) .
  • SSRIs or SNRIs, such as sertraline (Zoloft) or venlafaxine (Effexor XR ).

How to proceed with an adjustment disorder?

When suspecting an adjustment disorder, it is essential to consult a mental health professional such as a psychologist. Timely attention to this problem is essential to overcome it and prevent it from causing complications.

Similarly, it is helpful to consult your GP first for the first examination of symptoms. In any case, symptoms do not usually last long and recovery with treatment is quick.

Healthy Mind

What is learned helplessness?

Learned helplessness is a response of passivity and submission to situations that are usually unpleasant . In this way, people who suffer from it have no intention of eradicating stimuli that are unpleasant.

In general, the condition appears after having lived a traumatic experience in which failed actions were taken to avoid suffering. Thus, the individual understands that there is nothing useful he can do to stop painful situations.

Definition of learned helplessness

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), learned helplessness is a phenomenon that originates from repeated exposure to stressors . They are uncontrollable and make people not use options available in their personality to control the facts.

Because of this, they learn that they lack control over what happens, that is, over environmental processes. In the medium term, learning destroys the motivation to make changes.

In other words, it is a psychological condition that leads to the inability to react to situations that cause suffering. This occurs as a consequence of the execution of failed actions in the face of unpleasant events in the past . Thus, one learns to tolerate suffering and it is believed that there is nothing that can be done to avoid unpleasant stimuli.

Sad girl with guilt.
Traumatic childhood experiences can lead to learned helplessness in adulthood.

Causes of learned helplessness

All causes of learned helplessness are related to a bias that leads people to believe that they have no control over life events. This contributes to a lack of analysis of the possible consequences of certain situations. They believe that their destiny is already defined and they cannot do anything to change it .

Below are the most common causes of this condition.

Traumatic experiences in childhood

One of the factors that determines the development of this psychological state is the experience of the first years of life . If the person had unpleasant experiences during this stage and did not receive any kind of containment or positive response, it is likely that in adulthood they will develop a posture of submission to similar circumstances.

Also read: 5 keys to overcome a difficult childhood

Submissive and passive role education

The education received during childhood is another factor that influences the establishment of this condition. Since if social roles of passivity and dependence are promoted in certain situations, then the vulnerability of being defenseless in the future increases.

On the other hand, the messages received in childhood play an important role in establishing inaction . For example, if a child is surrounded by people who constantly tell him that he is not capable or that he does not know, then he can evolve into an adulthood in which he thinks he is powerless.

Over-controlled households

There are excessively controlling households . Children who live in an environment where everything that happens around them is controlled and deprives them of experiencing and learning the consequences of their actions are more vulnerable.

Feelings of guilt

On the other hand, there are internal factors, such as responsibility or fault, that influence the development of helplessness . That is, the person feels guilt for the unpleasant event and begins to believe that he is unable to change or stop any situation that may arise in the future.

In this way, one falls into resignation and justification of attitudes, bringing negative effects to self-esteem and dignity. This may be related to the type of education , capable of enhancing guilt.

Consequences of learned helplessness

Learned helplessness has a negative effect on the following dimensions:

  • Motivation: the perception of lack of control generates a decrease in motivation. Therefore, attempts to respond to new situations are reduced.
  • Cognition: it is difficult to learn new response patterns that produce positive results. In addition, any problem can be perceived as something normal.
  • Emotional: negative emotional states such as depression, anxiety and frustration are common. There is also a marked lack of self-esteem . This state lasts until the person is able to control the circumstances.
  • Physical: Among the bodily conditions are eating disorders and alterations in the immune system.

Discover:  6 thoughts to go from fear to motivation in minutes

Treatments of learned helplessness

The best way to treat this phenomenon is through therapeutic intervention. This approach is intended to teach the person how to respond to a given situation. According to Vázquez Valverde and Polaino Lorente , the therapeutic approach consists of the following:

  • Change the negative attributions that the subject makes of the situations: by performing simple tasks, those that provide positive results after the person has taken some action. He can also be taught that failures are not due to himself.
  • Induction of positive feelings: to reinforce self-esteem. In this way, you will feel better able to intervene in the environment.

For its part, the therapeutic intervention may consist of addressing traumatic events from the past. The goal is that the person can overcome these experiences by giving them a different meaning. This will help you develop more functional and positive responses in future situations.

Psychotherapy for the learned helplessness.
A psychological approach to learned helplessness is possible, through techniques defined by therapists.

An acquired problem

As its name suggests, learned helplessness is acquired, it is not born and, in general, it is established from childhood. This condition carries a series of negative effects that harm the well-being of the person, sometimes severely. Therefore, it is important that it be treated.

The best treatment is psychological therapy. Thanks to it, the person will discover that they are in control of their life. Once you are aware, you will experience positive changes on all levels: emotional, physical, and cognitive.

Healthy Mind

Mythomania: symptoms and causes

Mythomania has always been used as a mockery, but it is not a minor problem. In fact, although it is not considered a disease in any diagnostic manual , it complicates the lives of people who suffer from it.

Mythomaniacs are individuals who lie constantly and for pleasure. In these cases, the telling of falsehoods is a mechanism that compensates for a series of problems. To better understand this condition, below are the symptoms and causes of mythomania.

What is mythomania?

Mythomania is a pathological picture characterized by the tendency to consciously and voluntarily tell lies or falsehoods , in part. The contents of the stories are usually fictitious and extraordinary adventures , which are the product of the imaginative activity of the subject in conjunction with his memories.

In this way, what is known as retrospective falsification is included , which consists of distorting real memories through false events or interpretations. Among the essential characteristics of mythomania are the following:

  • The story may be probable and bear some similarity to the actual events.
  • Imaginary adventures can occur in various situations and over time . Thus, they come to configure complex and systematic deceptions.
  • In general, the theme of the adventures varies. However, the protagonist is usually the mythomaniac.

This disorder differs from the emission of a simple lie, since the latter is a voluntary falsification of the facts, whose purpose is to obtain an advantage or to escape from a compromising situation. In contrast, the mythomaniac does not always seek personal gain.

Man lies and his shadow gives him away.
Mythomania is a symptom of some underlying disorder that is expressed in this way.

Also read:  Childhood lie: what to do if my child lies

Fantastic pseudology

Some specialists often use the idea of ​​fantastic pseudology as a synonym for mythomania. It is a very little used psychiatric name, however, it is important to keep it in mind.

Similar to mythomania, fantasy pseudology is characterized by the story of well-crafted fictional adventures  involving dramatic and extraordinary situations. Also, the deception lasts for many years and sometimes even a lifetime.

Symptoms of mythomania

In the early 1900s, mythomania was conceived as a specific and independent pathology . But today it is considered a symptom in itself that manifests itself within different psychiatric conditions. Thus, depending on the clinical picture, it will vary. Among these pathologies are the following.

Histrionic personality

People create stories related to their sexuality , either directly or indirectly. In these cases, the mythomaniac is the protagonist and is presented as a seducer, seduced, desired or admired. Fantasies usually distort your memories.


Made-up stories place you in the role of hero or victim. The objectives are usually to justify certain behaviors, hide a criminal act or commit a crime . The profile is typical of scammers, who have skills to demonstrate conviction and security in their stories.

Borderline personality

The expression of fictions turns out to be a mechanism to increase the person’s self – esteem , as an attempt to be accepted by himself and by others. The term  borderline actually refers to borderline personality disorder .

These people have difficulty maintaining social relationships over time. Instability is manifested in the almost constant change of opinion that they have regarding their ties with others.


Narcissists’ fictional accounts are usually expressed for magnification . That is, they are characterized by the exaggerated display of success, power, personal worth, or beauty.

Münchausen syndrome

These are people who pretend to have a bodily disease , which leads to various hospitalizations and even surgeries. Some researchers assume that mythomania is the underlying disorder and the syndrome would be the secondary behavioral manifestations.

Discover:  Factitious Disorders, Those That Create Disease

Causes of mythomania

The causes of mythomania are diverse and differ depending on the personal history of the individual. However, common features underlying the establishment of this pathology have been identified:

  • Difficulty accepting one’s own reality: so the creation of a fantasy allows accepting oneself and others.
  • Feelings of inferiority, guilt or affective frustration: in this case, the elaboration and manifestation of fictions help these people to compensate for unpleasant experiences.
  • Lack of skills to face reality:  therefore, lies represent a defense mechanism.


Mythomania, being considered a symptom of other pathologies, does not have a specific treatment . Well, it will depend on the psychiatric conditions that are presented as a base, such as the personality disorders already mentioned.

In such cases, the fundamental approach is psychotherapeutic intervention that is usually complemented with drugs, such as anxiolytics or antidepressants. It is rare for these people to attend psychotherapy of their own free will.

The cases that come to be treated are people who come to the psychology service for other reasons. For example, requesting certificates to avoid the legal consequences of their conduct.

Mythomaniac hides his face in a mask.
Mythomaniacs don’t seek help on their own, so arriving at the therapeutic approach is difficult.

What to remember about mythomania?

Fantastic pseudology and mythomania are two different terms used to describe the same phenomenon. The disorder is considered a symptom of a more complex psychiatric pathology .

It is a mechanism that promotes well-being in subjects with low self-esteem, with feelings of inferiority, guilt or lack of self-confidence. The symptoms and causes are diverse and will depend on the underlying psychiatric disorder.

Similarly, the characteristics of psychotherapeutic treatment will vary depending on the underlying pathology. In one way or another, the approach must be carried out by mental health professionals.