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Mind Matters

By Paonam Thoibi

‘Sleep disturbance becomes a medical condition when it is serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning and it has got a lot of classifications and types.’

Q. 1. Dear Madam, I have been following your column. And it is very educative. I am referring to one of the questions from last week column. You have mentioned that a the effectiveness of counseling on drug user depends on the person’s willingness and support from the family etc. I agree with that. But is there ways and means to instill the sense of willingness, I mean, can we go the other way round like educating the family members first? Sunil, Thangmeiband

Ans: Dear Sunil, it is indeed a pleasure to know that this attempt to make the public aware about mental well-being is reaching the public.
All health professionals will positively agree with your question on how important the family’s role is in managing psychological issues, not just drug use and its management. In the previous column, my answer revolves around a person who was 25 years of age and how his individual decision to get rid of his drug use behavior becomes the utmost important resolution in the drug treatment. When it comes to younger individuals, the family’s decision is very important. All in all, “psycho-education” about the substance the person is using- its mechanism and how it works on the body and how behavior is influenced or altered; what health issues may be encountered, the progression of treatment and the short and long term goals of the treatment program; measures to avoid relapse, etc., ‘should’ be discussed with the family member or whoever is the immediate care-giver of the person in question.
Also, family therapy/ counseling may be necessary most of the time as a person’s drug use habit affects the people around him, mostly the family members who are taking the role of care-givers and making them more vulnerable to stress and burn-outs which can also adversely affect the progress of the drug-use treatment.

Q. 2. Dear Madam, I often get into violent rage if things don’t work my way or when I have to spell things out to people even very simple things. Am I being a control freak or showing symptoms of borderline personality disorder? Name withheld, Singjemei kshetri leikai.

Ans: Getting angry is a basic human emotion and everyone experiences it most of the time when things don’t turn out as expected or planned; when people disappoints you or when you are upset with your own doings. Its takes a bit of introspection or going deep in the ‘situation’ which triggered the anger and sorting out the issues before it goes out of hand. If the problem is something which is difficult to manage, on a regular basis, an ‘anger management’ session becomes necessary for certain individuals.
The particular issue raised here needs a thorough study and check to conclude on anything. I would suggest you meet a counselor at the nearest health Centre with counseling facilities so that you can discuss the problem more accurately by citing incidents and situations; or if necessary going through some series of self-administering tests to know what exactly is the problem. Also, I would advise you to avoid making assumptions about yourself by deriving symptoms which you must have come across from the internet or any medium; because by doing so you may be inducing more stress upon yourself making situations worse.

Q.3. Is sleeping disorder a psychological problem? I have been going through this problem of staying awake whole night. I will sleep only for three hours wee hour in the morning. Dipanker, Imphal west

Ans: Most people have experienced sleep disturbances at some point in their lives. Sleep disturbance becomes a medical condition when it is serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning and it has got a lot of classifications and types. Also, it is very important to know the duration of disturbance in sleep cycle or if there is any underlying conditions like stress, allergies, infections of the upper respiratory system, digestive system or other emotional or medical conditions. A check on your lifestyle and habits – like the amount of coffee/ tea intake, any mood altering substance like alcohol, cigarettes etc., work routine and pressure, physical exercise and exertion, use of mobile phones or the internet for long hours, all becomes very important to know the cause of your sleep disturbance.
The complaint you have put across is likely that of ‘Insomnia’ which is difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, if there is no obvious cause and if had lasted for the past four weeks or more.
Most of the time management of sleep disorder/ disturbance should focus on the underlying conditions. My suggestion for you would be to promptly visit a doctor to know the cause of your sleep disturbance and follow a management regime- either with medication or behavioral therapy or both combined.




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