Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  1. Natural cures for the ringing in the ear called tinnitus

    Sound therapy helps beat tinnitus

    You don't have to be particularly religious to appreciate the melodic ringing of church bells. But a ringing in the ears is another story.

    It's a condition called tinnitus, and it can range from a slight and occasional nuisance to a constant and maddening presence.

    There's no drug that'll cure it, but natural therapies can work wonders. And now, researchers say some cases of tinnitus can be eased through a combination of simple talk therapy and a little bit of relaxing ocean sounds.

    In the new study, 247 tinnitus patients were sent to audiologists but not given any specific treatment other than whatever that audiologist recommended.

    Another 245 patients were sent off for a combination of two treatments: a sound machine pumping out calming ocean waves in an attempt to "retrain" the ears, and cognitive behavioral therapy (that's a type of psychotherapy).

    A year later, these combo patients reported improvements in quality of life as well as less fear and fewer negative thoughts related to the condition, according to the study in Lancet.

    But it wasn't exactly a cure, either, because the ringing was still there -- the treatments just helped the patients to live with it better.

    That might be an improvement for patients who suffer from tinnitus caused by psychological factors. But most cases of tinnitus have a real cause inside the body -- and a much better and more permanent solution is to find that cause and correct it.

    In many cases, tinnitus is the result of poor blood circulation in the inner ear. Neither talk therapy nor the sounds of ocean waves -- or even the two together -- will do a thing to correct that. But circulation-enhancing supplements such as ginkgo biloba or vinpocetine can improve blood circulation and improve the condition.

    For many other tinnitus patients, the real "cure" isn't a cure so much as avoiding the cause.

    Caffeine, nicotine, and food sensitivities can all cause or worsen the condition. It's also a side effect of common drugs, including antidepressants, diuretics, aspirin, NSAIDs, and antibiotics.

    Learn to find and tune out the cause, and you can tune out the ringing for good. The ocean sounds are nice, but they're entirely optional.

  2. Simple solution for post-menopausal sleep disorders

    If you tell your doctor you're having trouble sleeping, the first thing he'll do is reach for his prescription pad -- especially if you're a woman going through menopause.

    Feel free to visit the drugstore -- but don't head for the pharmacy, and don't fill that prescription.

    Make a beeline for the supplements aisle instead, and reach for an inexpensive remedy that's been used for centuries by men and women alike to help ease anxiety and get better rest.

    It's valerian root -- and a new clinical trial finds that it can help beat the sleep problems that often accompany menopause.

    Iranian researchers randomly assigned 100 women to either 530 milligrams of valerian root twice a day, or a placebo, for a month and found that 30 percent of the women who got the supplement had better sleep.

    Thirty percent may not sound impressive -- but it's a dramatic improvement compared to the 4 percent of women on the placebo who reported relief.

    What's more, the women who took the supplement reported no side effects -- unlike the sleep meds that can not only leave you groggy in the morning, but can also cause addiction as well as bizarre and often dangerous behavior.

    If valerian doesn't work for you, there's still no reason to fill that prescription: Other studies have found that yoga, tai chi, acupressure, and cognitive behavioral therapy can all help men and women alike overcome sleep problems.

    In some cases, you may need to experiment a little until you find a natural treatment that works best for you. In others, you may need to combine two or more.

    For more tips on how to get better sleep – whether you're a man or woman of any age – explore the Web site of the Health Sciences Institute. Enter "sleep" into the "find a cure" box and then find a comfortable spot to finally get the rest you need.

  3. The battle against PTSD

    Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are routinely pumped full of antipsychotic drugs. And as most of them will tell you (in language I can't use here), those drugs aren't doing a darn thing for them.
  4. Going online to battle the blues

    Nearly 10 percent of the nation is on some kind of antidepressant, which just shouldn't be the case – not when there are real, safe alternatives.

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