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JUUL E-Cigs and Social Security—A Tricky Relationship

JUUL E-Cigs and Social Security—A Tricky Relationship

Juul e-cigs and social security

JUUL vaping is the latest iteration of electronic cigarette technology, and while some claim that JUUL use is safer than traditional cigarettes, the latest trend could affect your social security benefits. Social Security Disability Advocates wants you to know that if you do vape with a JUUL e-cigarette, don’t lose hope. You may still qualify for social security disability benefits. But the relationship between vaping and social security is a tricky, complex one. Here are the details. 

What is JUUL?

A JUUL is a small electronic cigarette device invented by PAX Labs and is now overseen by JUUL Labs. The JUUL resembles a USB/flash drive and is easily concealable, one of the more attractive traits of the JUUL when compared with other electronic cigarettes. The device interacts with JUUL “pods,” which are cartridges filled with liquid nicotine along with other ingredients that could harm the human body. The pod heats up, creating an aerosol that the user is able to easily inhale. Pods come in a variety of appealing flavors, another reason people choose the JUUL over its competitors.

What are the Health Effects?

The long-term effects of electronic cigarette use are not known; there just isn’t enough data or scientific studies on such a subject. Some studies have shown, however, that with what data we have available, electronic cigarettes are not harmless.

The Ingredients

Many of the ingredients in the JUULpod liquid are not known because not every ingredient is labeled. This alone is cause for concern. It’s difficult to determine the safety of something when not all the ingredients are known. However, there are some ingredients in JUULpod liquid that we do know of, and we know they are in fact harmful.

Nicotine is the main ingredient of JUULpods and other electronic cigarettes. While some electronic cigarette cartridges may not have nicotine, most JUULpods and other electronic cigarettes use nicotine in their liquids. JUULpods have an especially alarming amount of nicotine: one JUULpod contains the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. That’s more than twice the amount of nicotine in similar electronic cigarette devices.

Also, JUULpods in particular use nicotine salts, which is a form of nicotine most closely resembling nicotine found in tobacco leaves, instead of freebase nicotine. Because of this, the bloodstream absorbs the nicotine more easily, leading to a greater risk of addiction. This also makes the vapor less harsh to breathe in, making JUUL e-cigarettes more alluring than their competitors.

Furthermore, JUULpods contain benzoic acid, which possesses confirmed hazardous effects on the body. JUULpods include benzoic acid because it amplifies the effects and potency of nicotine, and nicotine does the same with benzoic acid. It’s a dangerous synergy.

Physical Effects

The physical effects are both unpleasant and unhealthy. Some immediate physical effects caused by nicotine/benzoic acid are the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness/headache
  • Sore throat/coughing
  • Vision problems

Additionally, there are some more serious, long-term effects from JUUL use that are worth noting. While more data is needed, it’s pretty safe to say that using a JUUL e-cigarette can be linked to the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular problems—JUUL use may cause serious cardiovascular problems. Electronic cigarettes overall can cause increased inflammation, oxidative stress, vascular dysfunction, and sympathetic nerve activation. All these things are signs and precursors to cardiovascular problems and can seriously harm the body if not addressed.
  • Lung problems—Use of the JUUL can contribute to serious lung/breathing problems. Specifically, the use of the JUUL can potentially lower immune system response and lead to an increase in inflammation.
  • Other problems—JUUL use could potentially lead to kidney and liver problems, in addition to other conditions. In fact, formaldehyde, a cancer-causing agent, can form if the liquid in the JUULpod is not heated properly. Ingestion of formaldehyde along with the many other dangerous chemicals in JUULpod liquid is dangerous to one’s health.

Mental Effects

There aren’t just physical effects to worry about. Nicotine/vaping can be harmful in cognitive/mental terms, as well. Here are some such conditions to be aware of:

  • Cognitive problems—Nicotine, in particular, is quite harmful to the brain, especially for adolescents/young adults. Nicotine hinders the growth of the area of the brain crucial in decision-making. Because of this, use of the JUUL can hamper brain development and lead to an increase in impulsive behavior, along with problems in attention and learning.
  • Emotional/Mood problems—JUUL use and other electronic cigarette devices can lead to symptoms of depression. Additionally, while some may claim to use electronic cigarettes to diminish their stress and anxiety, it’s plausible that JUUL and other e-cigs in fact contribute to stress and anxiety.
  • Dependence/Addiction problems—Use of the JUUL can cause one to become addicted to nicotine. And, because of the specially formulated JUULpod liquid, nicotine addiction can occur quite easily and even unnoticeably. Nicotine is just as addictive as cocaine and more addictive than alcohol and some medications. Getting hooked on a JUUL is not something to look forward to.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability

To qualify for social security disability benefits, you must meet a few criteria:

  • Your condition must prevent you from engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and
  • Your condition must have lasted or must be expected to last no less than 12 months/result in death

Alternatively, some conditions in the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Blue Book automatically qualify for social security disability benefits. However, if you have a condition not listed, you must prove that you meet the definition of disability. You can help prove this by getting expert medical testimony, medical records, and other documents that show the extent of your disability.

Additionally, in order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must, generally speaking, have earned 40 work credits. You can earn up to 4 credits per year, and one credit for every $1,360 (for the year 2019). Therefore, you need at least ten years’ worth of work to qualify for SSDI. However, some exceptions may apply. Contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA if you have questions about your social security benefits.

Why the Conflict?

JUUL e-cigs and social security benefits have a hard time going together. Why is this? Well, before receiving social security benefits, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) center in your state will look at your case. If they determine that your disability originates from your lifestyle, you may not receive disability benefits.

In other words, you must show that vaping/electronic cigarettes do not contribute to your medical condition, and that you would still be considered disabled regardless of your vaping/electronic cigarette usage. This can be quite difficult if not impossible to prove. However, if you use a JUUL e-cig or other electronic cigarettes, it’s still possible you may be eligible for disability benefits.

If possible, though, you should quit any habits that are bad for your health. Alcohol, marijuana, JUUL electronic cigarettes, traditional cigarettes, illicit drugs, and plenty of other substances can make your case for disability benefits difficult to navigate. Because of this, don’t pursue benefits alone. Contact SSDA USA for help filing your disability claim.

Have Questions About JUUL E-cigs and Social Security?

If you have questions about your social security benefits, contact an SSDA USA advocate right away! Our professionals are standing by and ready to address all your social security questions and concerns.

Feel free to get in touch with us by phone anytime at (602) 952-3200. Additionally, you can get in touch with us online via a contact form or through our LiveChat feature. Don’t keep your questions to yourself; contact an advocate right away!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship. 

Social Security Disability and Drug Addiction: Interactions and Implications

Social Security Disability and Drug Addiction: Interactions and Implications

social security and drug addiction
SSDA USA is here with key information on social security and drug addiction.

Many people think that drug addiction and social security benefits don’t go together. For the most part, this is true. However, the heart of the matter is much more complex. If you or a loved one suffer from a drug addiction, don’t lose hope just yet. There is still a chance you or they may qualify and not be denied social security disability benefits. Social Security Disability Benefits USA is here with the key points that you need to know.

What is a Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is when a person exhibits drug seeking behavior/drug use that is difficult to manage. People may seek/use the drug even in spite of harmful consequences, and the brain may even rewire itself to make quitting hard to accomplish. 

The neurobiological changes can be so substantial that the person may not be able to function without using the drug. Even if initial drug use is voluntary, some may feel a compulsion to continue using the drug as time goes on. In extreme circumstances, some people may purchase the drug even if they cannot afford it, or, as another example, some may steal money from their friends or family to purchase the drug and satisfy their urges.

Drug addictions usually do not occur overnight; generally, many people develop an addiction overtime. This makes the drug addiction subtle and nearly unnoticeable. Additionally, such addictions can occur with a variety of substances. Do you need a cup of coffee to avoid a headache in the morning? What about a tylenol? In addition to more dangerous drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, etc., common stimulants, prescription drugs, and even over-the-counter drugs can all contribute to drug addiction.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability

Social security disability benefit applications can be tricky to navigate as individual circumstances are unique. There are, however, a few basic guidelines to help you navigate the social security benefits application process. You may qualify for disability benefits if you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Your condition prevents you from engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which, for 2019, is $1,220/month for non-blind individuals and $2,040/month for blind individuals.
  • Your condition is expected to result in death or has lasted/is expected to last at least one full calendar year.
  • You are no longer able to perform past relevant work due to a physical and/or mental impairment. 
  • Your impairment meets or equals one of the medical severity listings in SSA’s Blue Book. 

In addition, you must have earned a certain number of work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Generally speaking, you’ll need 40 work credits (one per $1,360, up to four per year); however, younger people need fewer credits to qualify for SSDI.

Additionally, depending on the circumstances, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as this program aids impoverished individuals who suffer from disability, blindness, or who are elderly. Also, SSI does not depend on work credits.It’s even possible to qualify for both programs concurrently. If you have questions about applying for benefits, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today.

To qualify for either program, though, you’ll need to provide medical evidence and have your case reviewed by your state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) center. Just having a doctor say you’re disabled doesn’t necessarily make it so. The application process is a long and arduous one, and things can become quite complex. In fact, just the initial application can take months to process.

If you’re approved, you should be all set with your benefits, and you should receive them regularly, provided you continually meet the disability requirements. If you don’t initially qualify, that’s OK; most people don’t. Speak with one of our attorneys to learn more about how you can appeal an unfavorable DDS decision.

Is a Drug Addiction Compatible with Social Security Benefits?

This is the tricky part. Whether you get approved for social security disability benefits depends on whether your drug addiction contributes to your disability. If your Disability Determination Services (DDS) center decides that your drug addiction does contribute to your disability, you may not qualify for disability. In other words, they may decide that, had it not been for your drug use, your disability would not exist, and you would likely be able to work.

For instance, if you smoke cigarettes and suffer serious coughing fits, the DDS may determine that your use of cigarettes contributes to your condition, and that your coughing would likely go away if you were to stop smoking. Likewise, if you ingest copious amounts of alcohol and suffer high blood pressure, the same line of logic applies.

However, if you have a drug addiction, don’t lose hope. It’s still possible to receive social security disability benefits. You must simply prove that your disability is independent of your drug use. 

In other words, you must show that even if you were to quit your drug use, your disability would still persist and would still render you unable to engage in SGA. Even if your drug use caused your condition in the first place, you still may be eligible for benefits. If you have questions about social security and drug addiction, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today.

Have Questions About Social Security and Drug Addiction?

If you have questions about social security and drug addiction, contact SSDA USA right away. Our team works tirelessly for your social security benefits so you don’t have to. Get in touch with us anytime at (602) 952-3200. Additionally, you can reach us online through a contact form or through our convenient LiveChat feature. Consultations are absolutely free. Don’t keep your questions waiting any longer; get in touch with us today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Brain Food: How Eating Right Helps Depression and Anxiety

Brain Food: How Eating Right Helps Depression and Anxiety

Foods to boost mental health
A healthy diet is key to a healthy mind. Here are some great foods that may boost your mental health.

You hear it all the time – “You are what you eat.” Well, as it turns out, that’s not so far from the truth. Because of this, it’s crucial to eat healthily. When medication or therapy alone isn’t enough for your mental health, adjusting your lifestyle can give you the edge you need. If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, certain foods may help ameliorate your symptoms. SSDA USA is here with some of the best foods to boost mental health.

Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that improve gut health by encouraging the production of good bacteria and other beneficial gut flora. But what does the gut have to do with mental health?

Well, interestingly enough, what you eat can influence your mental health via the gut-brain axis. The gut has a complex network that communicates with the brain for many purposes, some of which include to regulate mood and to alert the brain of immune system problems.

Because probiotics encourage the growth of “good” microorganisms, it’s important to get plenty of them to ensure excellent gut and brain health. For instance,
the gut produces approximately 95% of the body’s serotonin, a feel-good chemical. This means that many problems with mood are related to one’s diet. According to a recent study, the consumption of foods rich with probiotics is inversely related to symptoms of depression.

Additionally, according to one study, certain types of probiotics could potentially help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, too. Conclusive research demonstrated that Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a probiotic bacteria, helped reduce symptoms of anxiety in rodents exposed to stressful situations. However, the study found no conclusive evidence regarding human subjects. While scientists must conduct more research, the available data certainly looks promising.

Therefore, to help reduce symptoms of depression (in addition to potentially reducing symptoms of anxiety), you may want to eat plenty of fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt, all of which are rich in probiotics. Also, some cheeses, certain olives, and miso are good sources of probiotics. We suggest speaking with a certified nutritionist or registered dietician for the most well-rounded understanding of which foods would be best for you.

Antioxidants

When the body comes into contact with certain stressful or environmental conditions, the body produces free radicals. Free radicals occur when oxygen molecules split into single atoms that have no paired electrons. Because of this, such atoms constantly seek electrons to pair with, and they end up attacking the body’s cells and DNA. Free radicals have been linked to central-nervous system diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and genetic degenerative diseases, and other conditions.

Ultimately, antioxidants help guard against free radicals.

Antioxidants also cover a broad range of substances found in many different foods, and each antioxidant reacts with the body in different ways. Vitamin A, for example, can help vision and kidney health. Vitamin C helps the body repair damaged tissues and aids the immune system. There are many other antioxidants, too, such as beta-carotene (found in carrots), selenium (found in mushrooms and seafood), and manganese (found in certain nuts).

Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that there is a link between antioxidants and mental health. When used in conjunction with medication, antioxidants have the potential to lower severity of anxiety. Other studies have shown that antioxidant levels are lower in adults that suffer from depression, and that raising antioxidant levels helps symptoms fade.

There are many foods that have antioxidants. Some foods with high amounts of antioxidants include dark chocolate, certain fruits (strawberries, blueberries, etc.), leafy greens (cabbage), fish, and beans.

Protein

Long chains of amino acids form together to create proteins, essential components in the body’s function. Proteins help regulate muscle mass and metabolism, and are necessary for life. Additionally, protein helps regulate satiety and mood. Because of this, proteins can be some of the best foods to boost mental health.

Proteins are so important to mental health because the neurotransmitters required for brain function come from the amino acids that make up protein. Tyrosine is a component of dopamine, an important part of the reward system. Tryptophan helps synthesize serotonin, an important part of mood regulation. Low levels of either of these neurotransmitters can make depression and anxiety worse.

It makes sense that to help regulate your mood, you should regulate your protein intake. Studies have shown that high-protein snacks can help aid mood and enhance cognition. Moreover, protein (whey protein, especially) helps lower the body’s level of cortisol, thereby diminishing the effects of the body’s main stress hormone.

Various different proteins are abundant in different types of foods. It’s important to consume the nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are necessary amino acids that the body cannot make on its own. When a protein contains all nine amino acids, that protein is called a complete protein.

Foods that contain complete proteins include meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and eggs. Incomplete proteins are in certain vegetables, grains, nuts/seeds, and beans/legumes. If you’re vegetarian/vegan and cannot get your complete proteins from animal products, try combining grains with vegetables, or nuts with legumes.

Healthy Fats

Not all fat is bad! Your body requires healthy fats in order to survive. However, it’s important to know which fats to consume and which ones to stay away from.

Unsaturated fats are healthier for the body than saturated and trans fats. The two types of unsaturated fats are monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

One important type of polyunsaturated fat is omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are called essential amino acids because they are required to survive and are not made by the body. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to bolster heart health, lower triglycerides, lower bad cholesterol, and even lower severity of depression. This is probably because omega-3 fatty acids are quite literally a part of cell membranes, so it makes sense that they’re crucial in regulating mental health. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in seafood, e.g. oily fish such as salmon.

Monounsaturated fats are crucial, as well. They help regulate weight, reduce the risk of certain diseases, have some anti-inflammatory properties, and can help regulate mood and reduce anger. In fact, replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats correlated with fewer instances of depression. You can find monounsaturated fats in nuts, oils, seeds, avocados, and eggs.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the way to go when it comes to the type of fat you consume. Trans fats and saturated fats are less healthy. For instance, while trans fats are technically unsaturated, they contribute to high levels of bad cholesterol, low levels of good cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. Saturated fats could potentially be worse. With enough saturated fats, the brain’s dopamine signaling is disrupted. This significantly impairs proper mood regulation and may contribute to problems with depression and anxiety.

So, try to eat more unsaturated fats, and limit your intake of trans fats and saturated fats. Not all fats are created equal, so know what you’re eating to stay healthy and boost your mental health. Further, speaking with a certified nutritionist or registered dietician would be a great resource to help you put together a meal plan best for your body type.

Healthy Sugars

Just as there are healthy and unhealthy fats, there are healthy and unhealthy sugars, too. The key thing to be mindful of is if the sugar in your food is natural or added. Natural sugars occur organically in foods like fruits, milk, and other unprocessed foods. When you consume such foods, you get naturally occurring sugar with essential vitamins and minerals along with fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar and prevents blood sugar spikes.

Added sugars, however, are worse for your health. Foods with added sugars often have vitamins, minerals, and fiber stripped away. This means that your bloodstream absorbs sugars more quickly, leading to blood sugar spikes.

Long-term elevated blood sugar levels correlate with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, nervous system problems, vision problems, cardiovascular problems, and other serious conditions. In fact, high levels of sugar intake are linked with increased risk of depression and reduced ability to learn and form new memories.

Therefore, monitor your sugar intake. Get your sugar from natural sources, and avoid foods and drinks that have added sugars. While soda and candy are sweet to eat, the negative impacts they have on your health are quite unsavory to think about.

Need Help Managing Your Disability Benefits?

While eating healthy is important for managing your disability, it can be difficult to do so without the right medical and financial resources. If you need help acquiring social security disability benefits, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today! Our attorneys work hard to help ensure your initial application or appeal meet the designated requirements set by the Social Security Administration.

You can reach us anytime at 602-952-3200. Additionally, you can fill out an online form or take advantage of our LiveChat feature to get in touch with us. Don’t keep your social security questions to yourself. Contact SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Why Every Child Needs to Play

Why Every Child Needs to Play

the importance of play in child development
SSDA USA is here to tell you about the importance of play in child development.

Some people may think that playing with their children is a waste of time. They deem such activities as frivolous and unproductive. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, playing helps children develop their physical, social, and cognitive faculties. There are plenty of reasons children should play. SSDA USA is here with the scoop on the importance of play in child development.

Cognitive Development

Play is incredibly important in children’s cognitive development. Whether playing with parents or peers, children can bolster their ability to pay attention and behave appropriately in various settings, including the classroom. With continued play over the long term, these faculties will strengthen. Without play, children become disadvantaged in these regards.Furthermore, the benefits of play include improved executive functioning (the process of learning), greater language skills, and better early math skills. In fact, independent play at an early age is more effective than childhood instructional videos. Play also allows increased mental flexibility and resilience, greater emotional stability, creativity, and multitasking faculties.

Social Skills

An integral part of play is social interaction, and because of this, children that play more have improved social skills. When children play with parents or with peers, they learn how to bond with other people. They learn what behaviors are socially acceptable, the importance of teamwork and cooperation, problem-solving skills, conflict-resolution skills, and other key social skills that become even more important as they grow. Play can also enhance children’s reasoning skills and their ability to put themselves in hypothetical scenarios, teaching them to think outside the box naturally.

Play can be especially helpful for children with disabilities. A healthy level of play helps children cope with stress. Children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses surely could especially use some stress relief. Play helps lower the body’s levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone crucial for social development. This is because play allows both children and parents to escape reality and immerse themselves in imaginative and joyful scenarios.

According to one study, “Every child needs to play in order to develop oneself and to form a distinctive personality.” Moreover, “Play is not just about having fun but about taking risks, experimenting, and testing boundaries.” This isn’t a trivial matter – it’s a critical component of child development.

Academic Performance

Some curricula have increased academic pressure on children in preschool and elementary school. As a result, many schools have reduced recess time, or cut recess altogether. Because of this, children have less time to play, and supposedly have more time to study. However, more study time and less recess time does not correlate with higher academic success.

In fact, the importance of play in child development extends deeply into the classroom. Recess is a necessary part of academic performance. When children learn through play, they are more ready to engage in academic activities with zeal and ardor. Allowing adequate amounts and types of play contributes to socio-emotional skills, academic success, economic success, and an overall more positive sense of well-being as children mature.

Physical Health

Outdoor play and physical activity can contribute to positive benefits such as proper bone and muscle functioning. Additionally, regular physical exercise can lower risk of childhood obesity. Additionally, exercise can help with the prevention of disease as well as the recovery from such diseases. Physical activity also helps promote proper growth – and this is throughout life, not just in the short term.

Another awesome benefit of exercise and outdoor play is that it stimulates the brain and releases growth factors and can boost immune system function. As increased oxygen goes to the brain during physical activity, dopamine and other feel-good chemicals get released, and long-term outdoor play can help with decision-making and emotional health.

To be clear, outdoor play and engaging with nature is much more effective than indoor play with electronic devices. One study has shown that children that play outdoors more often have better distance vision than those who do not. This is because playing outdoors engages possibly all sensory faculties. They get to see the sky, smell the flowers, hear the wind, touch the grass, and taste the (parent-approved) berries from bushes. Children who play with iPads or other electronic devices, however, only use two to three of their sensory faculties – sight, hearing, and sometimes touch.

Don’t forget – outdoor physical activity also boosts the following:

  • Gross motor skills – games such as hop-scotch and tag encourage children to make the most of their motor capacities with large movements that require many actions.
  • Fine motor skills – certain playgrounds encourage children to press buttons, turn wheels, and interact in other ways that require careful and precise contact.
  • Overall health – Getting sunlight is essential for healthy vitamin D levels, helps regulate melatonin levels and proper sleep cycles, and can help guard against depression.

Concerned For Your Child’s Health?

It’s well established that play is essential for child development. It helps children physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and in other ways. However, what’s even more important is making sure you have the resources to take care of your child. This is especially true if they have a disability.

If you or someone you know needs help filing for social security disability benefits, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA right away! We have professional attorneys that know how to fight for your benefits. Contact us anytime via an online form or through our LiveChat feature. Additionally, you can call us at 602-952-3200 to get in touch with us.

Don’t keep your questions to yourself. Contact SSDA USA right away!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Why every child needs to play infographic
Boost Your Cognition: Guards Against Dementia and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Boost Your Cognition: Guards Against Dementia and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

methods to manage cognitive faculties
SSDA USA is here with methods to manage cognitive faculties.

Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases are incredibly difficult to deal with. The individual with the condition as well as their family and friends must make many life adjustments to cope with the illness. Fortunately, while there are no cures for such conditions as of yet, there are plenty of things that can help boost cognitive functioning. SSDA USA is here with some suggested methods to manage cognitive faculties.

Meditation

Meditation is proving itself to be one of the surest methods to manage cognitive faculties. While research on meditation is still in its infancy, some studies suggest that it has a positive impact on attention, memory, verbal fluency, and cognitive flexibility. These findings are supported by MRI scans that show increased cortical thickness, which is key to maintaining a healthy brain.

Additionally, other results show that meditation could lead to increased volume in the hippocampi, a key region of the brain dealing with learning and memory. Furthermore, there have been structural alterations observed in other areas of the brain dealing with attention and perception.

peaceful meditation

Meditation has other benefits, too. It reduces the body’s level of cortisol (a critical stress hormone), which in turn has the potential to lower levels of anxiety and depression. This allows meditators to have a greater amount of control over their emotional health. People who meditate regularly may also have improved cardiovascular systems, improved decision-making skills, and may be more resilient against pain.

Exercise

Even moderate amounts of physical activity are good for the brain. Exercising lowers inflammation and allows the brain to release growth factors that contribute to healthy brain cells and new connections between neurons. Physical activity also pumps additional oxygen to the brain, and proteins and feel-good hormones (such as dopamine) get released in the process. Moreover, stress-inducing hormones get flushed out during exercise, often leaving individuals happier than they were before.

Moderate exercise may also enhance immune system function when performed regularly. Furthermore, exercise can help regulate mood and mental/emotional health, maintain learning and decision-making faculties as individuals age, and can even improve sleep.

Dieting Right

assorted healthy foods

A healthy diet makes a healthy brain! Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids positively affects key synaptic connections involved with learning, memory, and general cognitive function. In fact, not having enough omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to some mental conditions such as depression.

Along with this, diets with high amounts of saturated fat can lead to the degradation of cognitive functioning in both humans and animals. It’s also important to get enough vitamins, minerals, and other proteins to ensure optimal cognitive preservation and function.

Staying away from too much sugar is also just one of many effective methods to manage cognitive faculties. In fact, maintaining a healthy diet lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, improves sleep and mood, and can help you stay energized throughout the day.

Kicking Bad Habits

Guilty pleasures such as alcohol and cigarettes, while possibly enjoyable in the moment, can lead to long-term health problems if done regularly. For example, cigarettes contain (among other harmful substances) nicotine, a powerfully addictive chemical that can cause cardiovascular problems, sleep disturbances, dizziness, heartburn, and many other negative conditions. Quitting smoking can result in a lowered risk of heart attack, lowered risk of certain cancers, reparation of damaged nerves, and an improved sense of well-being.

Alcohol, too, can damage the body. In fact, it can even lead to brain shrinkage. A plethora of conditions results from overconsumption of alcohol. Everything from hepatic encephalopathy to atrial fibrillation is on the table. There is no safe amount of alcohol for the body. Therefore, refraining from drinking alcohol will help maintain your body’s health.

Learning Another Language

This is one of the most effective methods to manage cognitive faculties. Learning another language keeps your mind sharp and your brain healthy. Additionally, people who know more than one language are more likely to have greater attention spans and greater amounts of concentration.

textbooks on many languages

Also, bilingual people that developed dementia were 4.5 years behind monolingual people. In other words, learning another language has the potential to possibly prevent or delay symptoms of some neurodegenerative diseases.

Playing Games

Some games have the potential to boost your cognition. Commercially available games such as Brain Age or Lumosity have the potential to enhance memory, attention, and other cognitive faculties. More specifically, games that train your processing speed have the highest likelihood of guarding against neurodegenerative diseases. Training your memory and reasoning skills is good, too, but keeping your brain’s processing speed up will ensure that your mind is quick and agile. Even some casual video games, too, could potentially boost cognitive function, despite all the flak they receive.

Getting Plenty of Sleep

A good night’s sleep can work wonders for your body and mind. To begin, sleep deprivation can cause problems with memory, attention, and learning capacities. Additionally, people that don’t get enough sleep can routinely become moody or difficult to deal with, in addition to having poor reaction times. With enough sleep deprivation, a person could even suffer from hallucinations!

woman sleeping blissfully

Lack of sleep can affect your body in other ways, too. For example, sleep deprivation can negatively impact your immune system and make you more prone to getting sick. But this is just the start.

Not sleeping enough can result in too much cortisol in the body, which will then break down collagen, a key ingredient in keeping your skin healthy. Therefore, people that don’t get enough sleep may end up feeling and looking worse than if they had a good night’s rest.

Socializing

Humans are social creatures, and even the most introverted person craves social interaction from time to time. The fact is that socializing has many benefits for your physical and mental well-being.

Social interaction can lead to increased self-esteem, reduced stress/anxiety, lowered risk of depression, and more. In fact, socializing is one of the best ways to manage cognitive faculties. There is mounting evidence suggesting that socializing can ward off dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Though more research must be done, the results look promising.

Of course, there are plenty of other benefits that come with social interaction. Socializing may help with cardiovascular problems, immune system problems, and may even increase individuals’ lifespans. Socializing also acts as a support system and allows people to get through difficult life changes with less worry.

Engaging in Art and Music

man carving clay pottery

The visual and performing arts aren’t just for entertainment – they are practical methods to enhance cognitive functioning. For instance, producing art can lead to spatial improvement in cognitive faculties as well as enhanced functioning of the default mode network (DMN), regions of the brain that experience decreased activity with the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Additionally, producing art can lead to psychological resilience against stress and other negative mental factors.

Music, too, is quite beneficial when it comes to cognition. Listening and playing music could potentially enhance listening skills, vocabulary, memory, self-control, and concentration. In addition to these benefits, learning an instrument can be an engaging leisure activity that also provides discipline. In fact, the very structure of the brain alters itself to optimize the reward system around playing music.

Performing Other Activities

There are plenty of other activities that can stimulate the brain! Reading, writing, gardening, working on hobbies, and other engaging activities will keep your mind in tip-top shape. Staying active and not leading a sedentary lifestyle can help keep your mind sharp, as well. Don’t limit yourself to the activities on this list!

Find other methods to manage cognitive faculties that you enjoy, and stick to them. You could take a nice walk outside, or perhaps clean up your home a bit. All the aids against cognitive decline can’t be listed here, so try new things that you enjoy doing.

Have Questions About Methods to Manage Cognitive Faculties?

While the above methods are certainly good for boosting cognition, you and your family may have questions regarding how to apply for social security disability benefits for your loved one with a neurodegenerative disease. If so, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today! Also, check out the infographic below for quick reference on how to boost cognitive functioning.

Our advocates are always standing by to address all your social security disability application and appeal questions and concerns. You can contact us at any time by calling us at 602-952-3200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us via an online form or by taking advantage of our LiveChat feature. Don’t keep your questions to yourself; contact an advocate today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Boost your cognition infographic