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Tightening The Bond: In Sickness And In Health



“Through sickness and health” is once and for all to be acknowledged by both individuals in the sacrament of matrimony.   It is the vow taken by a man and a woman which establishes them a partnership of a lifetime. But life inevitably will come to a time where they will struggle from the problems arising from dispositions of this said lifetime. These problems generally include medical conditions, financial factors and even relationship exhaustion for both individuals. And if these problems persist, it may ruin the sanctity of vows taken and the sacred ceremonies that both parties take heed of an oath.

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In Vitro Fertilization: Technology’s Gift To Infertile Couples


Many couples, who after exploring different options to treat infertility, still fail to have their own child.   Having the inability to conceive puts both of them under so much stress and emotional turmoil, and often this becomes the cause of the relationship becoming unstable.


My husband and I have been married for two years and have been wanting to have kids.  Every time we have a gathering with friends, we feel pressured whenever topics about kids are brought up.  Because of pressure and maybe shame, we just sometimes not show up during our group dates.

Our doctor keeps on encouraging us that we should never give up, and we still can have our own kids through in vitro fertilization, but we have to prepare for it financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically.  As a matter of fact, we are talking about it, gaining insights about how it works, and in the process of finding out if our insurance is going to cover it.


How In Vitro Fertilization Works

In vitro fertilization is a modern procedure which aims to assist couples to bear a child of their own.   It is a process where mature eggs are being collected from the ovary and fertilized by sperms in a laboratory.  The embryo or the fertilized egg is then deposited back into the woman’s uterus.  A cycle of IVF could take two weeks.


IVF generally has a higher success rate especially for women below 35 years of age, making it the most effective technology in assisting couples to have a child.   It can be done using the husband and wife’s own egg and sperm or can be from a known or unidentified donor.


Successful And Failed IVF

Some successful people have tried in vitro fertilization, and some of them have even come forward to tell about their experiences within vitro fertilization.




Khloe Kardashian has been very open regarding her fight with infertility and her unstable married life.  Her body does not have the ability to release an egg, and the lining of her uterus is not thick enough to hold a pregnancy.  She attempted IVF with the hope that a child would save her relationship with NBA player Lamar Odom, but the treatment did not work out, so did her relationship.


Giuliana Rancic, E! News host, had three IVF cycles.  The first attempt, she got pregnant but had a miscarriage, the second did not work out and she did not get pregnant.  During the third time, she found out that she had breast cancer, so she and her husband decided to have a gestational surrogate to carry their son who was finally born in 2012.


Nicole Kidman had miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy that caused her depression.   She never stopped and had tried all the possibilities to get pregnant.  Nicole had her first child in 2008 and through a gestational carrier had her second one in 2011.   She said that though the success rates were meager, she still tried and had the miracle of her life.


Sarah Jessica Parker also had twin daughters who were born through a  gestational surrogate in 2009.


Brooke Shields even wrote a book which tells about her struggle to get pregnant and the postpartum depression she had.  She had several failed IVFs and a successful one in 2002, where she gave birth to a baby girl in 2003.


Emotional and physical pain and shame brought by being unable to bear a child could put couples in so much stress.  No matter how having no kids affect your relationship, it is essential to endure the hardships, share your feelings and be each other’s support.  The psychological wellbeing of both couples is paramount to improving the relationship and keeping couples more relaxed especially during sex.   Sex should not only be about conceiving, but couples should enjoy each experience.   Support from friends and families is also essential to enhance the healthy relationship between infertile partners.


Those who had failed and even those who have had successful IVF treatments have only one thing to say about the process.  It is an upsetting and brutal process as it puts them in an emotional roller coaster. But no matter what, once they take a look at their baby, the feeling is unbelievably beautiful, and they are very thankful that they did it anyway.


Just like what our doctor had advised us, stability in the relationship and healthy psychological status of the infertile couple, like us, can aid a lot in having a successful in vitro treatment.   And since we are already considering it, we are preparing ourselves emotionally and mentally whatever the outcome may be.


In vitro fertilization is quite expensive and some 15 states in the US protect couples through its law regarding insurance covering part of the infertility treatment.  Though complicated and straightforward, there are insurers who don’t cover infertility services, but some pay for all of it, and some just go in-between.   Find out if your state belongs to those who support infertile couples to get some help with payment for fertility services through insurance plans.


Here is a list of quotes about pregnancy from therapists and counselors:

  • “Getting a younger sibling is a really big deal for children.” – Hilary Mandzik, PsyD
  • “Preconception counseling is especially important for women who are on medications for bipolar disorder or depression.” – Malina Spirito, PsyD
  • “Pregnant women who exercise – under the care of their doctors – are better able to manage stress.” – Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD

Is Couples Counseling Covered By Your Insurance? 


Are you considering getting health insurance?   It is crucial that you know what benefits it covers and what type of insurance you are getting.   


If you are a couple who is undergoing marriage counseling or therapy, it is essential that you understand if the insurance plan you are paying for covers your sessions.    

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Thyroid Conditions: Know What’s Causing Your Mental Illness



Homeostasis is needed to ensure that the body and mind function correctly. This means that there should be a balanced and harmonious environment guaranteeing that all bodily systems are working in proper coordination. One body system that shows some relationship with the mental health condition is the endocrine system. The endocrine system is comprised of several glands and organs that are responsible for the production, regulation, and control of certain hormones and brain chemicals. If there are some alterations in this functioning, it can result in medical conditions and at times mimic some mental illnesses.

The most common endocrine condition that is associated with psychological problems is related to disorders of the thyroid gland. Located in the anterior portion of the neck, this gland is responsible for metabolism, digestive and heart functions, control of muscles, development of the brain and bone maintenance

Hyper or Hypo

The hormones that the thyroid gland secretes and regulate are responsible for the correct balance in maintaining heart rate, metabolic rate, digestion, and nervous system functioning. If there will be an increase or decrease the supply of these hormones, then medical and psychological problems can happen.

An increase in thyroid hormones characterizes hyperthyroidism. A person with hyperthyroidism will have the following clinical manifestations:

  • Heightened sensation and awareness
  • Manic and depressive states
  • Irritability
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Increased vital signs like heart rate, respiration, and body temperature

Hypothyroidism is the inadequate or decreased production of thyroid hormones. Often, this condition is diagnosed late because the symptoms develop slowly and the person may not detect that they are already having some clinical problems. In this condition, everything is in the slow-motion process. The individual may present the following behaviors:

  • Slow comprehension
  • Decreased mental functioning
  • Memory retention problems
  • Melancholia and having paranoid thoughts

What To Do

The only way to detect if you have thyroid problems is thru blood works to compare the levels of the thyroid hormones. With regards to the mental health issues, the general practitioner will refer the person to a psychiatrist to further evaluate the behavior and mood and impact of the physiological changes to the daily activities.



In the medical aspect, the person will be given synthetic hormones to augment thyroid hormones in the case of hypothyroidism. If the case is hyperthyroidism, surgical removal of the thyroid gland is the best option then will be followed by medications to represent the adequate supply of thyroid hormones in the absence of the thyroid gland. Medications are to be taken in a lifetime.


If the person presents behavioral problems, a psychiatrist can help to give medications to alleviate panic and anxiety symptoms. Also, since the medical problem can bring some physical changes such as weight loss or obesity, eye problems (protrusion of eyeballs in hyperthyroidism), and hair loss, self-esteem issues can be a significant concern. The person is expected to express their feelings to the mental health professional that is assisting them so that proper counseling is in place.

The overall outlook for thyroid ailments is good. Psychological problems may take some time to manage, however, the prognosis is promising. Contact your doctor immediately if you feel that you have these types of medical illness so that early intervention and prompt recovery is assured.




Infertility: A Couple’s Nightmare



Most couples decide to be together in order to build a family.  Early on in their relationship, they have imagined how many kids they would want to have.  But this dream doesn’t always come to be realized, leaving couples frustrated.   They start to lose hope, and some relationships can even turn sour when no pregnancy occurs even after years of trying.   Infertility becomes a suspect and sometimes the culprit of a breakup.


Infertility is the inability of the reproductive system to conceive or carry a pregnancy after a year of trying.   The problem can either be from the woman or man or both of them.  Ten to fifteen percent of couples in the United States are affected by this condition.


According to Jan Elman Stout, PsyD, “What a parent wants is to nurture and form attachments and share values and activities with a child.”


In some cases, infertility can be treatable so couples are advised to seek medical assistance if no pregnancy occurs after a year of their unprotected sex.   Both partners have to submit to an examination to know the state of their health overall and to see if they both have problems that hinder the woman to get pregnant.


Testing As Early As Possible

One way to find out the reason for infertility is to x-ray the woman’s fallopian tubes and uterus (womb).   The fallopian tube is the path where the eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus.

Semen analysis or the sperm count test is also another test being done.  It is to evaluate the health and capability of the male sperm.  Semen is the liquid containing sugar, protein substances, and sperm that comes out during ejaculation.



Once the doctor finds out the underlying cause of infertility, drug therapy or surgery is recommended to correct the problem.



Kate Stone, PsyD asks “Have you felt frustrated or irritated when someone says, “Just relax, and you’ll get pregnant!” –Don’t we all wish it were this easy? Anyone who has experienced infertility knows can be stressful, but is the opposite true—can stress cause infertility?”

Infertility In Men

Azoospermia is the most common infertility condition in a man where he produces no sperm.

When a man produces not enough amount of sperm, the condition is called oligospermia.

There are also cases where sperm cells are too weak that they die before they reach the egg. Some sperm cells may also be deformed.


Infertility In Women

Infertility in a woman is caused by many factors which can damage or block the fallopian tube such as

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Polyps
  • Endometriosis
  • Adhesions
  • Previous infection
  • Defect at birth
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy


Other causes of infertility in a woman can also be

  • lack or irregular ovulation
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • inferior quality of egg cell
  • poor immune system
  • chronic illness that is left untreated such as diabetes, kidney disease as well as a thyroid disorder
  • substance abuse
  • exposure to toxins in the environment
  • advanced age; women over the age of 35 have lower chances of conceiving
  • sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea that is not treated
  • obesity or cases of being underweight


Once these conditions above are corrected, there is a big possibility of conception in the future.  But if treatment of such disease still fails, the doctor can explain to you other options that couples can explore.    There are drugs that can stimulate the production of much healthier eggs and the use of in vitro fertilization.  These options may be costly but have higher chances of success.



Infertility is said to be most common in women than men, but the reality is that only one-third of infertility can be attributed to women, another one-third of infertility cases are problems related to men, and the last one-third can be due to both couples and other causes that are still yet unknown.


To build a family is one of the reasons why a man and a woman get married, but failing to get pregnant can be frustrating to both of them that infertility slowly becomes a couple’s nightmare.   Partners should consider getting an examination if the woman is unable to conceive after a year of trying to get pregnant in order to address the problem early on.


Insurers know that to have children and become parents is the essence of being a couple, that is why there are insurance companies who currently cover portions of infertility treatment.  Check your policy or talk to your insurer to find out.


In this time of difficulty, remember what Lindsay Sortor, PsyD said, “Finding support from others along a similar path also is helpful.”

Money Talk: The Insurance World’s Little Regard For Mental Health


Congress passed and made the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) a law some ten years ago. With its passing was the rising hope that individuals who suffered from mental health maladies and substance abuse could get treatments as quickly as those who have other conditions.

But almost a decade later, that hope has clipped wings.

“Financial wellness is a component of overall wellness,” according to Joe Lowrance, PsyD.

The Issues

Many people who have mental health conditions have difficulty finding therapists who accept insurance. Additionally, looking for treatment facilities for PTSD and bipolar disorder that’ll take insurance for inpatient therapy can be very challenging.


Why is that?

The answer lies in how insurance companies are treating mental conditions and substance abuse as well as the treatments appertaining to these said health circumstances.

Milliman, a healthcare consulting firm, found two significant inequalities in the way the insurance market treats addiction and mental health compared to their physical counterpart.




Stacy Notaras Murphy, LPC said “Finances just might be the great equalizer in the counseling room.”


The Disparities

In their analysis of about 42 million medical claims records from various major insurance players, they discovered that:


  • Firstly,  four to six of ten Americans have to employ out-of-network mental healthcare, and the most likely cause is that a lesser number of psychologists and psychiatrists accept insurances.
  • Secondly, for therapists who are in in-network psychological health care, the reimbursements they receive from insurers are significantly less than what primary or specialty care providers get for similar treatments. Example, in 2015, primary medical professionals collected approximately 20% more than mental health professionals did from insurance companies meaning that for every $1 the former got, the latter only had 83 cents.

This common insurance company practice has created an imbalanced system for both mental and physical healthcare and could become the chief reason why psychological therapists wouldn’t accept insurance in the future. And it’s happening as the country is grappling with the rising number of deaths through suicides and overdoses. In fact, the current rates for these two are at their highest in over ten years!


Put Teeth To the Law

2008 saw the passing of a landmark mental parity law. Its goal was to make psychiatric health care and abuse treatments more accessible to people by preventing insurers from erecting blockades to therapy services, something they wouldn’t usually do for physical medical care.

For instance, the law prohibits insurance companies from determining payment caps for addiction and depression treatments, restraints that wouldn’t otherwise be present if the said ministrations were for physical maladies such as an injured foot.

In theory, the law would make broader insurance coverages for mental disorders and addictions while lessening the barriers people seeking psychiatric care might encounter.


But it seems all of that would have to stay on paper.

“I am quite surprised it was this bad,” said a health services company’s former CEO who has worked on parity for a decade now. “I thought we were doing better, but these numbers just proved that insurance companies are still giving mental health little regard after all these years, even after the passing of that landmark law.”



And The Hurting Shows




Caryl suffers from borderline personality disorder while wrestling addiction issues at the same time. She sees a therapist for both conditions weekly. Before, she had a co-payment of $25 for every session she has with the said professional. But in 2015, however, the latter refused to accept her insurance which upped her therapy payments to $110 for every session.

She called ten other therapists asking them if they’re willing to take insurance from new patients and all flatly said no.

“I make $30,000 annually, so those $110 therapy sessions are like luxury items to me. There were weeks I had to choose groceries over visits to my therapist and for someone (like me) who are struggling with jobs, making friends and living, that’s just so wrong,” she lamented. “It feels like I’m not worthy enough to be helped.”

As what one mental health advocate stressed out: “Two of the main reasons why people don’t seek mental health treatments is the scarcity of the providers and the cost for each session. And this reality is hurting a great number of Americans.”

According to Brad Klontz, PsyD, CFP, “If you’d like help managing financial stress and your family’s financial behaviors, consider talking to an expert.”

Effective Ways To Handle Stress

Are you always stressed about the things that are happening in your life? Do you experience anxiety most of the time? If you answered yes to these two questions, then maybe it is about time to consider eliminating the negative emotions out of your life. Keep in mind that the more stressed and anxious you become, the more dangerous it is for yourself. Aside from this, it can also start to affect your relationship with the people around you.



According to Aarti Gupta, PsyD, “Negative stress, or ‘distress,’ is more chronic, hinders optimal functioning, and can be detrimental to your health.”

For today’s article, allow us to provide you with different ways on how you can make it happen. Make sure that you read the article from start to finish so that you can discover the practical techniques on how to get rid of stress.


Take A Break


One of the essential things that you must never forget is to rest when necessary. Stop making yourself a slave of your work and business. Find time to rest, especially at times when you need it the most. When you are already stressed with the things happening in your office, never feel guilty to take a break. Go home and rest on a weekend. At the same time, you can also consider traveling to a new country or city. You can travel alone or with the people close to you.



Have A Balanced Diet


Are you aware that the food you eat can have adverse effects on your body? Make sure that you focus on choosing healthy and nutritious food. Aside from this, you must also start to eat on time. Do not skip your meals because it will not only make you cranky. At the same time, it can also result in some illnesses or sicknesses. Keep in mind that when you are sick, the chances of experiencing stress also increase.


Amy Lukowski, PsyD said “Find your stressors and effective ways to cope with them – remember that you can learn to control stress because stress comes from how you respond to stressful events.”


Relax And Have Fun


You must stop thinking about negative thoughts as you are trying to survive life. Remember that you can take control of all the circumstances that will come your way. You can always select or choose how to react to the situation that you encounter. What is essential is that you remain relaxed at all times. Do not let anything or anyone annoy you easily. Be bigger than your issues so that you will not feel stressed out.



Choose Your Daily Company


Another thing that you must never forget is the significance of learning how to choose your friends right. As much as possible, keep yourself away from those who constantly make you feel bad. They do not deserve your attention and care. Instead, surround yourself with those who encourage bringing out the best in you. These are the persons who are supposed to stay in your life because they care for you. Remember that you are too great to be with those who can bring out the worst in you.


Stress is easy to eliminate as long as you know the right things to do. Keep yourself happy, and everything will start to improve soon. Follow everything we mentioned above for a better you!


According to Dr. Sal Raichbach PsyD, LCSW, “The key is to find someone who understands your condition, and that won’t say things like ‘just relax’ or ‘stop worrying so much,'” since that can feel invalidating. What you really want is someone who will let you vent, and offer support when you need it.”


How To Stay Healthy

There are many things that you need to remember when it comes to staying healthy. As much as possible, it is essential to keep yourself fit and healthy at all times. Remember that when you encounter a medical condition or an illness, it can have a ripple of adverse effects in your life. First of all, you may end up draining your finances because of the treatment or medication. Second, you will put a lot of stress and anxiety in your family members. Of course, they will worry once you get sick. Third, you may experience a lot of pain and inconvenience.




Fortunately, taking care of your health is not a big problem at all. You can be happy with your life while trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Stop making excuses for not acting right today. Take note that the more you value your health, the better it is on your part. In this article, we are going to share or provide you with easy and practical ways on how to stay healthy. Here are the top things to remember:


Get Enough Sleep


When was the last time you had seven or eight hours full sleep? If you cannot remember when then that is an indication that you have to change your sleeping patterns. Stop depriving yourself of sufficient sleep. Keep in mind that staying up late in the night will not do you any good. It will only tire you out the following day and even put you in a bad mood. On the other hand, sleeping early can keep your energized and stress-free.




Discover what therapists have to say about sleep:

  • “We know that getting enough sleep, eating nutrient-rich foods, and participating in physical activities (that we actually enjoy) are all vital for our well-being.”  – Casey Radle, LPC
  • “Wake up and go to sleep.” – David J. Norton, LPC
  • “Getting good sleep can be a challenge for many, yet sleep is truly a vital component to life.” – Megan MacCutcheon, LPC


Be Physically Active


As much as possible, find time to go to the gym or do your home exercises. Stop thinking that you are too busy with physical activities. If you do not change this mindset, there is a high chance that you will suffer from illnesses or sicknesses. Remember that exercising will not only health you prevent from encountering medical issues. At the same time, it can also improve your mental awareness. When this happens, you can get a guarantee that your life will be a lot better.


Avoid Stress At All Times


Do you know the things or people that continue to add stress in your life? Make sure to avoid them as soon as possible. Do not wait before it is too late for you to get out of a compromising situation. Remind yourself that you are absolutely in control of everything that is happening in your life. Never let anyone or anything cause you stress. Take note that too much stress or anxiety can affect your physical health and mental health. If you keep on entertaining negative emotions in your life, you may end up getting depressed. Depression can make you feel down most of the time. Aside from this, it can also make you want to harm yourself at times.




Take care of your overall health while you are still young. Always prioritize self-care as it can offer you tons of benefits in the future.