• Call
  • 0208 123 0703

Mental Health


How to Attend to Your Health and Wellbeing During the Dark, Cold Months

Posted Friday 16 November 2018 15:32 by Tim Deakin in Primary Care Givers

A change in the seasons can have a serious impact on both your mental and physical health, so here’s what you can do to combat these factors

We may have experienced an unusually warm summer and autumn this year, but make no mistake: winter is coming. November marks the beginning of the descent into winter, meaning the nights are drawing in at a rapid pace and temperatures are dropping steadily.

There is a lot to love about this time of year, from cosy nights in to woolly winter jumpers. However, for many people winter can pose its own set of unique challenges. Not only are colds and flu symptoms more common at this time of year, but winter can also take its toll on many other aspects of our health – both mental and physical. So here is what you can do to keep your spirits up and your health intact this winter.

Preparing your body for the winter weather

Winter tiredness is a very real challenge that many people face at this time of year, when daylight hours are low and the cold temperature offers little motivation to step outside. However, making the most of the natural daylight and fresh air available is imperative when keeping your health up this winter.

Healthy eating and exercise are the two most important factors for staving off illness. The NHS advises a regular consumption of fruit, vegetables, milk and yoghurt – especially those that are rich in calcium, vitamins A and B12 and protein. These will help to boost your immune system. Introduce plenty of winter vegetables into your diet, including parsnips, swede, carrots and turnips. You should also make the effort to eat a hearty breakfast, consuming plenty of fibre and starchy food like cereal to set you up for the day.

Engaging in moderate regular exercise during the winter will help you feel more energised at this time of year. If you struggle to make the time for fitness, try breaking up 30-60 minutes of exercise into 10-minute chunks, featuring an effective warm up and cool down period.

Preparing your mind for the winter weather

It’s common to feel sadder in general during the winter. A large part of this has to do with the sharp decline in the amount of sunlight we get, disrupting our sleep patterns and reducing the amount of serotonin released in the brain. For a small minority however, these gloomy feelings could have a biological cause.

This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), when the changing seasons bring on a bout of low mood or even clinical depression. Dr Cosmo Hallstrom from the Royal College of Psychiatrists explains that SAD could be related to the hormone melatonin and “the natural phenomenon of hibernation.” In short, winter makes some of us want to curl up and disappear until it’s over.

However, it’s vital that we ignore this urge to hibernate. Many of the best ways to treat your mental health this winter are also the ways to treat your physical health, as a healthy diet and plenty of regular exercise can be fantastic mood boosters. Hallstrom also echoes the advice of the NHS, stating that using a lightbox can be an effective coping mechanism, mimicking sunlight and boosting your mood if used for 30 minutes to one hour a day.

Many health concerns become more common during the winter, so it’s important to stay on top of your wellbeing. Express Pharmacy offers convenient, safe and effective medication for a wide range of conditions, so if you can’t make it to your GP this winter, we can deliver treatments straight to your door.

Find medication for treatments such as acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, weight loss, quitting smoking and more on our website. You can also get in touch by calling 0208 123 07 03 or using our discreet online live chat service.


What More Can We Do for Mental Health?

Posted Wednesday 18 April 2018 10:41 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

Research shows that there is still a long way to go when it comes to mental health awareness and support...

A recent survey by ADP UK has found that UK employers are showing a lack of interest in their employees’ mental wellbeing despite the fact that many employees are suffering from significant mental health concerns.

The study, which assessed 1,300 workers, revealed that almost a third of British workers (31%) feel that their employer has little to no interest in their mental health. Despite this, a fifth (20%) of employees feel stressed out on a daily basis, and a third (33%) are even considering seeking new employment because the pressure is so bad.

Managing Director of ADP UK, Jeff Phipps, says:

“A certain level of stress is natural, even healthy, in the workplace, but it’s important that it doesn’t get out of hand. Employees who endure consistently high levels of stress are in danger of suffering from anxiety and even burnout. This can lead to more serious mental health issues.”

It seems mental health is worst among younger employees, as 22% of workers under 35 say they experience stress every day. 42% say it’s so bad they are considering a different job.

In a separate survey exploring mental health, one in six UK adults said they had experienced some kind of neurotic health problem in the last seven days, with anxiety and depression being the most common disorders. What’s more, a recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey reveals that there are around 3 million people in the UK living with anxiety, and a further 3 million living with depression.

Not only are these concerns common, they are also serious. A study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) compared the effects of depression to those of physical conditions like arthritis, asthma, angina and diabetes. They concluded that the effect of depression on a person’s ability to function was up to 50% more serious than those of all four physical conditions combined.

What more can we do?

Understanding mental health conditions is the first step to dealing with them effectively. ADP UK suggest that employers take the time to research the symptoms and signs of conditions like anxiety and depression in order to put the necessary initiatives in place. Jeff Phipps states that this can be both a moral course of action and a smart business investment.

“Stress and mental health issues are one of the main causes of employee absence and staff turnover, which means supporting employees isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also a worthwhile investment […]

“Employee assistance programmes and occupational health services are also imperative in creating a safe location where employees can go in confidence If they’re facing an issue.”

Mental health can have physical consequences

Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can be difficult to spot because, often, the effects cannot be seen. However, both depression and anxiety can lead to physical symptoms.

Mental health disorders like depression often result in sufferers feeling constantly tired, as sleep quality can become poor. This may lead sufferers to take comfort in unhealthy habits like overeating, smoking and a lack of physical exercise. Sometimes anxiety and depression also lead to low sex drive and, in men, conditions like erectile dysfunction become more common. This can lead to a vicious cycle in which the mental symptoms worsen due to growing concern over physical symptoms.

For healthcare information, treatment and support about a range of health conditions, including smoking, weight gain and erectile dysfunction, contact Express Pharmacy today. Call our team on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.


Eating Disorders Under the Microscope

Posted Monday 26 February 2018 09:15 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

In the UK alone, there are over 1.6 million people estimated to be directly affected by an eating disorder. Of this 1.6 million, 11% are male and 89% are female, and 14-25 year olds are the group most affected by eating disorders.

Conditions like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are common and serious issues in the UK.

On average, 149 weeks go by before someone experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder seeks help. This equates to almost three years, 37 months or 1,043 days during which they suffer in silence.

There are up to 18 new cases of bulimia per 100,000 people every year in the UK, and around 1 in 100 women aged between 15 and 30 is affected by anorexia.

Anorexia & Bulimia

Although both conditions are more common in young women, anorexia and bulimia can affect men and women of any age. Anorexia usually involves sufferers trying to keep their weight as low as possible by not eating enough food or by exercising too much. Bulimia sufferers tend to go through periods of eating a lot of food in a short amount of time and then forcing themselves to be sick, use laxatives or do excessive exercise (or a combination of all three) in an effort to stop themselves gaining weight.

Both of these conditions can be recognised by severe weight loss, fear of putting on weight and being very critical of weight and body shape — to the point where sufferers believe they are overweight despite being a healthy weight or underweight. Both disorders are also often accompanied by mood changes, including feeling very tense, tired, anxious and acting secretively.

Sufferers may miss meals or avoid certain foods they see as fattening, and will often have an unusually low Body Mass Index (BMI) and/or be smaller and thinner than expected for their age. They may resort to medications to fuel their condition.

Both anorexia and bulimia can manifest themselves in a variety of physical conditions, and not just through a loss of weight. Sufferers may also experience dry skin, dizziness or even hair loss. Some sufferers of anorexia can even experience unwanted facial hair.

Migraines are also common in individuals with eating disorders. One study by Neurology Reviews found that 84% of participants with anorexia suffered migraines, as did 74% of bulimia sufferers.

Find out more about effective migraine treatment from Express Pharmacy.

Recovery

Recovery from an eating disorder can be a difficult and long process, and is sometimes something sufferers must battle for the rest of their lives. It’s hugely important that if you suspect you may be experiencing eating disorder symptoms, you consult your GP as soon as possible. From there, you’ll be given help and support. Your GP will ask you questions about your eating habits and overall wellbeing and they will be able to refer you to a specialist who can help you with a tailored treatment plan and therapy program.

For help, support and treatment for a variety of health concerns, contact Express Pharmacy. Call the team today on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet live chat service.

Related Categories:

January 15th Is Blue Monday, a Time When Mental Health Concerns Can Hit Hardest

Posted Friday 12 January 2018 13:35 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

Depression is a widespread condition throughout the UK which can affect you both emotionally and physically

This year in the UK, January 15th has acquired the title of ‘Blue Monday’, a title generally awarded to the third Monday in January.

Blue Monday refers to the day of the year when we are supposed to feel at our most down. Several factors are said to contribute to this conclusion, including the cold, dark weather, low finances following Christmas, general post-Christmas blues, failing New Year’s resolutions and generally low motivation.

So at this glum time of year, it’s important to reflect on the impact that conditions such as depression can have on our wellbeing — both physical and emotional. Understanding the condition can help you identify potential symptoms and seek the help and support you need.

What is depression?

Although we’re all set to feel a bit down on Blue Monday, depression is much more than simply feeling unhappy for a few days. The condition involves feeling persistently sad, negative and fatigued for weeks or months at a time.

Depression is a real health concern with real symptoms. It affects around 10% of people at some point in their lives, and research has even shown that around 4% of children in the UK aged 5 to 16 present symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes, therapies and medications such as anti-depressants. These lifestyle changes can involve incorporating factors like exercise or self-care measures into your daily routine. The level of treatment prescribed is generally based on whether the depression is deemed mild, moderate or severe.

Depression can lead to a variety of symptoms, including persistently feeling low, experiencing stress or anxiety, or even feeling suicidal. The impact of depression on your mental health can also have an effect on your body.

Despite being a mental health condition, depression can lead to physical symptoms

The physical symptoms of depression most commonly involve feeling constantly tired, paired with poor sleep health. This can lead to sufferers taking refuge in unhealthy ‘comfort’ foods or poor health habits like smoking, and this lack of energy and physical activity can also lead to weight gain. However, for some people, depression can create a loss of appetite.

What’s more, depression has also been found to lead to aches and pains (often as a result of poor diet and exercise due to low energy) and a lack of a sex drive. In men, depression can lead to sexual health concerns such as erectile dysfunction.

The physical impact of depression can create a vicious cycle

When an individual suffers from depression and starts to experience physical symptoms as a result of the condition, it can create a vicious cycle by adding more fuel to the fire of their negative thoughts and feelings. Putting on weight or falling back on habits like smoking can reduce motivation even further and make those experiencing depression think that their feelings will only get worse rather than better.

Similarly, sexual health symptoms of depression can create increased stress and anxiety around the act of sexual intercourse, increasing the likelihood that conditions like erectile dysfunction will persist or even worsen.

If you think you might be experiencing depression, it’s hugely important to seek help and support in order to get to the root of the problem. Tackling any physical symptoms can also help to reduce the intensity of negative feelings. Effective medication for conditions like erectile dysfunction, excess weight and smoking are all available from Express Pharmacy.

Express Pharmacy can provide discreet advice and medication for a variety of health concerns. If you’re living with a condition we can help you with, don’t hesitate to get in touch today. Call Express Pharmacy on 0208 123 07 03 or use our online Live Chat service.


How You Can Help This Movember

Posted Wednesday 01 November 2017 16:53 by Tim Deakin in Emergency Contraception

By now, almost everyone is aware of the autumn health campaign known as Movember. In fact, it’s hard to miss the thousands of hastily grown moustaches that pop up over the course of the month throughout the course of November.

But Movember is much more than facial hair and a modest cause to raise awareness. This year’s campaign is more ambitious than ever before in its aim to address men’s health. November offers an opportunity to learn more about the Movember Foundation and their fight to increase the life expectancy of men around the world.

Why Movember?

Too many men are affected by ill health. On average men live 6 years less than women. Testicular cancer rates have doubled in the in the last 5 years, and prostate cancer rates are set to double over the next 15 years.

It is not just cancer that is taking the men in our lives beyond their prime, however. Staggering three-quarters of all suicides are carried out by men. Movember helps raise money to improve services and advocates for more open and honest discussions about men’s health issues, including a focus on mental health.

Men’s health matters and with the help and support of the community, you can help Movember reach its aim — to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25% by the year 2030.

Here is how you can help the cause this November!

Grow a mo

Whether you opt for a lavish handle bar, a modest goatee, or a work of art all your own, facial hair is a ribbon for the cause and is a great way to get people talking about men’s health. This is your chance to get creative, let the sponsor with the highest donation choose the style or colour of your new furry friend for added hilarity and a boost to donations! Whatever you do make sure you direct people to the Movember web page to donate.

Take the Move challenge

With the festive season around the corner and the cold months settling in, there is no better time to get physically active. Make a bid to move more during November and your new fitness regime can help raise money for men’s health with the help of sponsors. Take the Move Challenge means you can carry out any activity you like: organise a race with friends, learn salsa or don a costume and head to the gym to set a new personal record. Get thinking and get moving!

Organise an event

For those females who can’t grow a mo or for those who would prefer to exercise out of the limelight, fear not. You can organise an event of your choice to rake in the pounds instead. Set up a ping pong tournament, try a game of Dungeons and Dragons or plan a good old fashioned dinner party.

Organise well and you and your friends can enjoy a great night whilst making a valuable contribution to the Movember Foundation. If you want to organise a large event, it is always worth asking local venues to sponsor it, and ask local brands to provide prizes or party supplies. Just remember to create your event on the Movember site so you can keep track of RSVPs. AND don’t forget to thank your sponsors.

Distinguished Gentleman’s ride

Are you a keen motorcyclist? Then maybe you should consider joining the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride to join the hoards of suave bikers atop vintage motorbikes. With over 500 cities taking part, there is sure to be a ride near you!

The Movember campaign makes it incredibly easy to raise money for this worthy cause. You choose an event. You set the date. Simply sign up online and direct your long line of sponsors to the Movember webpage where they can donate freely so you don’t have to pester them for payments. For those daring souls out there, we urge you to try all three main events at once! We let you off if you don’t know how to ride a motorcycle.

Taking men’s health seriously

One of the most common problems faced by men identified during Movember is the reluctance of many gentlemen to discuss their health problems. Statistically, men are much less likely to discuss their concerns – whether it’s a case of erectile dysfunction, acid reflux or something more sinister such as a lump on their testicles or a severe bout of depression.

If you are a man and want to reach out discreetly to discuss your health concerns, why not use our discreet Live Chat service available through the website? We’re always happy to help and can provide important advice and guidance in complete confidence.