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Mental Illness Warning Signs and Symptoms

Many people at one time or another wonder if they have a mental illness, but would they actually meet the criteria under one of the more than 200 clinical mental health conditions that can be diagnosed? One person out of every four, or an estimate of 450 million people worldwide do have a mental health problem that would benefit from professional treatment.

Mental Illness Categories

There are generally five major categories for the hundreds of mental health conditions that one may be diagnosed with. These categories include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, and dementia.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Research data from clinical reports of those diagnosed with a mental illness show that three-quarters of all cases begin to show signs by the age of 24. Learning about early warning signs or symptoms and seeking a diagnosis and receiving early intervention can help to reduce the severity of an illness, possibly even delay or prevent a major mental illness episode.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

The following list may indicate the need to seek a professional mental health evaluation to determine if treatment for a mental illness is recommended. The warning signs and symptoms of mental illness include:

  • Change in the ability to function at school, work, in social situations
  • Finding it difficult to complete or perform familiar daily or routine tasks
  • Withdrawal from normal or typical social behaviors and interaction
  • Loss of interest or apathy at work, within the family, in social situations, for previous enjoyable activities or hobbies
  • Problems with concentration, memory, rational thought and speech; illogical thinking
  • Increased sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells, or touch, with avoidance of situations that are felt to be “over-stimulating”
  • Dramatic changes in sleep and/or eating patterns
  • Significant changes in personal care and appearance
  • Feeling disconnected from one’s self or with one’s surroundings
  • Paranoia, fear, suspicious of others, nervousness
  • Rapid or dramatic shifts in mood
  • Displaying odd, unusual, or peculiar behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming others

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Illness

Recognizing small changes in thinking or behavior, or feeling that “something is not right” is a good time to make the call to a qualified psychiatrist for a comprehensive evaluation. Whether the reported symptoms be psychologically or medically based, a full assessment can successfully direct the course of treatment. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment to discover why your concerns and difficulties are occurring.

 

Empty Nest Syndrome Can Overpower Ability to Function

With the end of summer and start of fall, thousands of parents across the country find themselves sending one or more children off to college. The lifestyle change that often occurs abruptly during this period of time is typically referred to as the empty nest syndrome where a parent faces dealing with middle age, loss, loneliness, sadness, fear, and depression. While seeing a child off to begin a new chapter in their lives is a joyful time with reason to celebrate, the changes and emotions can also interfere with a parent’s ability to function at work or home to such a degree that professional help is required.

Empty Nest Syndrome

Being impacted by the empty nest syndrome is normal and can be felt from when the first child leaves home to when the last child moves off to college or to start a new life elsewhere. College, employment, marriage, or military service are but a few reasons that a child may leave their family home. A change in the household status may bring a multitude of feelings and fears to the surface. It is normal to experience strong emotions during this time of change. It is not normal to let those feelings interfere with your daily life.

Empty Nest Symptoms That Require Help

The following more severe symptoms have been known to occur with empty nest syndrome and do indicate a need to seek mental health services as soon as possible. These emotions and feelings require professional treatment as they are impacting one’s ability to function with daily life tasks and in their social and more intimate relationships. If you or a loved one recognize any of the listed symptoms it is important to make the call for psychological help.

  • Feeling your life is no longer useful
  • Feeling there is nothing left to live for
  • Feeling like there is no joy left in your life
  • Feeling you have lost your sense of identity
  • Excessive crying and weepiness
  • Avoiding friends at work or in social situations
  • Calling in at work to the extent it affects the job performance
  • Turning to drugs and or alcohol to help deal with the situation
  • Worry and anxiety about child’s safety that brings paralyzing fear
  • Finding mood affects your appetite or ability to eat
  • Poor sleep patterns or insomnia related to worry or fears
  • Thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself

Empty Nest Syndrome Treatment

Treatment is available and can help you return to a functional life at home, work and in social situations. Change the sadness and fear into joy and excitement – call Dr. Hege, an expert in successfully treating those with empty nest syndrome for a confidential appointment today.

Abnormal Behavior and Failure to Function

There is no sharp line between what is considered normal or abnormal behavior; however, mental health professionals often look at how a person is able to function in society. When a person is unable to cope with life demands or perform the behaviors and tasks necessary for daily living, such as self-care, or meaningful interaction with others, they may be described as exhibiting abnormal or dysfunctional behavior.

Abnormal Behavior and Failure to Function

The following characteristics can be used to determine if a person is displaying a failure to function adequately. While experiencing any one from the list below may indicate the person may benefit from a psychological assessment and possible treatment, displaying several of these behaviors may be causing enough of a disruption in life that other people are recommending either medical or psychiatric evaluation.

  • Maladaptive behaviors or being a danger to themselves or others
  • Unpredictability and loss of control
  • Irrational behavior
  • Behaviors that cause others to be uncomfortable
  • Feeing personally distressed over behaviors
  • Behaviors that violate social, cultural, or moral standards
  • Feeling like you are suffering emotionally
  • Expressing incomprehensible or distorted thoughts or ideas
  • Behaviors or ideas that occur only rarely in society

Normal Behaviors in Comparison to Abnormal Ones

It is sometimes easier to define what is normal and look at what deviates from that point.  When looking at characteristics considered necessary to mental health the following list includes criteria that can be regarded as a base point for normal or ideal:

  • Positive view of self
  • The capability for growth and development of self
  • Feeling of autonomy and independence
  • Accurate perception of reality
  • Positive friendships and relationships
  • Ability to meet the changing demands of day-to-day life situations

Abnormal Psychiatric Evaluations

If you or your loved ones feel you are having difficulty functioning in daily life, are finding your behaviors and thoughts distressing, or are experiencing trouble in social situations, call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment today and bring your life back to a comfortable place.

Video Psychiatry Brings Sessions to You

The world today is fast paced, with often hectic and stressful schedules. Use of technology with smart phones, Wi-Fi tablets, Skype, and interactive video conferencing have transformed the way we live our lives and impact on how we connect personally, socially and professionally with others. The American Journal of Psychiatry reports Video Psychiatry, also called Tele-psychiatry, has become an accepted option in this high-tech world we live in. It may be a good option for you!

Ease of Access for Video Psychiatry

The availability to access video psychiatry sessions is more than a convenience and viable option to receiving needed mental health services – live video psychiatry sessions bring mental health services to those who are unable to travel due to medical, physical or emotional limitations, to those who are out of town, who have family or work obligations that make it difficult to schedule a workable time to come into the office.

Technology and Security of Video Sessions

Video psychiatric sessions can be set up from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection. Smart phones, laptops and computers can all be utilized for a session. The application used during set up of your session is secure and meets the federal government HIPAA requirements keeping your medical and personal privacy information safe.

Starting Video Mental Health Sessions

Dr. Hege, a leader in expanding his psychiatric practice to meet the needs and lifestyles of his patients, offers video psychiatric sessions. To receive this therapy option the doctor does require an initial in-office evaluation to determine what treatment plan will be most effective for you. While video sessions may be able to be arranged to begin by the second visit, some medical or psychological issues may require additional in-office visits — or may not be eligible. Be sure to ask about video sessions if this is something that interests you.

Georgia Video Psychiatry Appointments

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment and evaluation of your needs. Weekend and evening appointments available. See if video psychiatry sessions are the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

Learned Anxiety Passed From Parent to Child

Parenting can often be stressful and for those with an anxiety disorder it can be even more difficult to deal with anxiety-causing situations in a calm and rational manner. With evidence showing children can learn anxious behavior from their parents it is important for parents to learn and model coping strategies instead of “passing on” learned anxiety.

Learned Anxiety and Risk Factors

Stress and anxiety is having an unprecedented impact not only on adult mental, emotional and physical health, parental anxiety is also affecting the children. With children often looking to their parents reactions to different situations and events, a consistently anxious parent may pass on those emotions and feelings to their child. The development of anxious behavior in children may be a combination of genetic risk factors and learned behaviors.

Mirror Neurons Reflect Back Anxiety

In humans, part of our brain is equipped with the ability to recognize and understand the emotions that others express around us. The term “mirror neurons” refers to this ability to reflect back the emotions we see and is the reason that for example an infant will smile back at us when we smile at them. Mirror neurons however respond to all kinds of expressed emotion, including, anxious behaviors. Stressful parenting is often contagious – when your own anxiety neurons are firing, your child’s anxiety neurons are firing too.

Strategies of Change

Working with a mental health professional experienced in the successful treatment of parenting with an anxiety disorder can help you effectively manage your own issues which in turn will help your children manage their own learned anxiety and stress. Passing your anxiety disorder onto your children is not inevitable. Management of your anxiety disorder will help your children learn how to effectively cope with situations of uncertainty, doubt, or anxiety.

Find a Doctor to Help Manage Anxiety

End your struggle with anxiety, stress, and finding daily life difficult to find calm and peace. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment. Convenient weeknight and weekend appointments are available.

ADHD Chaos at Home Affects Whole Family

While it remains unclear as to the impact and chaos a parent with ADHD has on the rest of the family, it has been shown that children with a parent with ADHD have higher rates of mental health issues and greater incidences of co-morbidities than those with a non-ADHD parent. In addition the general day to day routines of the family and of the marital relationship is also impaired when one of the parents has ADHD.

Heredity and ADHD Chaos

A recent research study published in Human Genetics suggest that ADHD is “highly heritable.” While scientists are not clear as to what causes ADHD, it is believed that anything from genes, brain injury, toxic exposure, and other medical issues contribute to the disorder. The study findings report that because ADHD may be from the influence of many factors which combine to cause the disorder in the presence of unfavorable environmental conditions – like a chaotic household where one parent with ADHD impacts the learned behaviors of the children.

Genetics and ADHD

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinforces the position of the important role genetics plays in ADHD. Statistics show that up to 50% of parents of ADHD children are also adults with ADHD. While the cause of ADHD is complex and involves multiple factors, there is no evidence that social factors alone can account for the condition; however, it is important to note that parents who do not treat their ADHD may model unhealthy behaviors and coping methods onto their children so that a household in chaos feels normal to them.

Modeling ADHD Behaviors

In a household where a parent has untreated ADHD the household routine and completion of daily routines become chaotic. A child that does not have ADHD can experience symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, anxiety, and display disruptive behaviors, all learned from modeling the parent or parents with untreated ADHD. Parenting without ADHD is often difficult and stressful – parenting with ADHD often brings one’s own personal chaos into their developing children’s lives.

Help for Parents with ADHD

Get your household on track through diagnosis, treatment, and developing coping mechanisms. Call Dr. Hege, an adult ADHD specialist, for help in creating and managing a calm, supportive, and structured home environment every ADHD affected family needs.

Depression Brings Disabling Feelings of Hopelessness

Hopelessness, persistent sadness, and pessimism are common symptoms of depression. With an estimated 322 million people suffering from depression, it is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the world.

Depression Seen in Negative Light

Depression is a negative view of oneself, of the world, their life, their future. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 25% of adults who have a mental health issue feel that others in society are sympathetic toward them. It is a common statement for people who are depressed to think that no one understands them, which makes living with and struggling with how they view their diagnosis a really tough place to be.

Mood State versus Physical State

Many people consider being depressed as an issue with mood. Depression actually involves major physical symptoms which may take one longer to seek mental health services as they believe something else is wrong with them. Depressed behaviors may also be accompanied by restlessness, indigestion, nausea, headaches, joint and muscle fatigue, as well as an increase in any previous physical pains or difficulties you may already be living with. The symptoms of mood and physical symptoms are tied together and affect one’s normal life routines and behaviors.

Difficulty Imagining Ever Being Happy

A recent study published in December of 2016, conducted at McMaster University in Canada, reports those with depression tend to live in a “stuck state” which they cannot imagine ending, nor can they imagine ever being happy again. Study findings indicate that depressed adults had less ability to imagine how someone who was not depressed would feel; they tend to focus inward, often losing touch with the feelings and experiences of others. For those who cannot imagine what it would be like to not be depressed, they often lose hope and become unable to “see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Local Psychiatrist

There is hope. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options.

Co-Occurring Disorders with PTSD

Many people may think they have anxiety because they suffer from social anxiety, or they have difficulty making quick decisions or any decision at all. Or some may feel as though they seem to be functioning in “survival mode” in order to just get through the day. While it may be determined that they do have anxiety, in some instances, they may actually be suffering from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as one or more co-occurring disorders.

PTSD Statistics

It has been estimated that almost 8% of Americans will suffer from PTSD symptoms at some point during their life. Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, with the numbers 10.4% and 5% respectively. Approximately 3.6%, or 5.2 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during the course of a given year.

PTSD Symptoms

Three different kinds of symptoms are experienced with PTSD:

  • First set of symptoms involve reliving the trauma in some way
  • Second set of symptoms occur when you purposefully stay away from places or people that remind you of the trauma; you become isolated from other people or feel numb
  • The third set of symptoms include feeling irritable, startling easily, or feeling on guard

Examples of PTSD Symptoms

While there are numerous symptoms reported with PTSD, following are some of the more commonly reported issues:

  • Loss of confidence in trusting your own instincts
  • Social anxiety
  • Difficulty at times separating reality from imagination
  • Waking up frequently at night; having a “fitful” sleep
  • Finding yourself flip-flopping on making a decision
  • Difficulty with short term memory retention
  • Finding it difficult to focus on a task, conversation, idea; difficulty with following through to the end of a thought process
  • Physical or mental lethargy
  • Feeling hopelessness, despair, or depression
  • Becoming exhausted after even small tasks; simple things become “just too hard to do”
  • Making poor life choices where you feel shame instead of making choices to change the situation to the positive
  • Confusion as to why you feel in a “fog” or feel “shell-shocked” by life in general
  • Exhibiting addictive behaviors as a means of escape

Co-Occurring Conditions with PTSD

Those that suffer from PTSD are also commonly diagnosed with other disorders such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety, difficulties with memory or cognition, as well as other problems with mental health or physiological changes.  The disorder itself is associated with impairment of the ability to function in social or family life – it is common to see problems with relationships, family discord, difficulties in parenting, and job instability.

For men, more than half with PTSD also have problems with alcohol; the most common co-occurring issues for men in order are depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse.

For women, just under half of those with PTSD experience depression; the next most common co-occurring mental health issues are specific fears, anxiety, problems related to alcohol.

PTSD Psychiatric Care

PTSD is not just a “veteran’s ailment.” PTSD can occur across every socio-economic status and life stage. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment at one of his convenient weekend and weeknight office hours for a comprehensive evaluation that addresses your primary and co-occurring issues.

Hormonal Changes Affect Women’s ADHD Symptoms

For women living with ADHD it is an ongoing challenge, not only through the monthly hormonal changes, but through the various life stages as well. With fluctuating hormone levels, ADHD symptoms can be exacerbated, mood swings or depression can occur, or the effect ADHD medication normally has can become ineffective.

Hormonal Changes a Life-Long ADHD Challenge

Finding the right knowledgeable psychiatrist is a choice that can impact you for a life-time. With the average age for initial diagnosis of women with ADHD at 36 to 38 years of age, it is critical for a treatment plan to take into account the hormonal changes that will be occurring over the next 20 to 30 years.

Estrogen and ADHD

For a woman with ADHD it is important to work with a mental health professional who is aware of the interaction between ADHD symptoms and estrogen levels. Looking at a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, estrogen is at higher levels during the first two weeks and progesterone is higher during the last two weeks.

Estrogen may help ADHD medications work while progesterone may interfere with the effectiveness of those same medications. Due to the changing estrogen levels, the beginning two weeks of the menstrual cycle typically present with less complaints of bothersome symptoms. When the level of estrogen drops and progesterone increases during the last two weeks of the monthly cycle, increased complaints of exasperated symptoms and non-effective medication are often voiced.

Perimenopause and ADHD

Approximately 10 years before the onset of menopause a woman will go through perimenopause. During this extended time period of hormonal changes, the estrogen produced in the body slowly decreases until at the onset of menopause it has decreased by about 65%.

Perimenopause Symptoms Mimic & Worsen ADHD

The following list of symptoms experienced during perimenopause mimic those of ADHD as well as making any original symptoms of ADHD worse. It is thought that many women are diagnosed with ADHD around the time of these life-changes when the symptoms of ADHD combined with the symptoms of perimenopause, and then menopause, send them looking for help.

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Memory lapses
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty with mental clarity
  • Trouble with word recall or retrieval
  • Difficulty sleeping

Hormonal Changes Continue into Menopause

The depression and cognitive deficits that occur with decreasing levels of estrogen as a woman enters menopause often bring a woman with ADHD to have difficulty with coping with daily life situations. Many women, beginning in their late 30s, often seek help for the first time when hormonal changes combine with ADHD symptoms. Others who have already been diagnosed with ADHD often find themselves with worsening symptoms that become overwhelming.

ADHD Treatment during Hormonal Changes

If you feel life changes are making you feel out of control and unable to cope with even normal daily routines, you may have undiagnosed ADHD. Help is available. For new diagnoses or for treatment adjustments during the years of hormonal changes, call Dr. Hege and regain control over your life once again.

Quit Smoking and Manage Withdrawal Symptoms

Addiction to nicotine is a difficult dependence to give up, and many smokers find themselves trying to quit smoking and kick the habit over and over again. Working with a knowledgeable mental health professional who can prescribe medication to not only help you quit, but help you manage withdrawal symptoms may be the only way you can finally succeed and break the hold nicotine has on your life.

Quit Smoking Statistics

If you are a smoker who wants desperately to quit smoking but have been unable to succeed on your own, you are not alone:

  • 70% of smokers want to quit
  • 40% of smokers will try to quit this year
  • 7% of those who try to quit will actually succeed on their first try; 93% will not
  • 50% of those who quit will relapse after drinking alcohol
  • 5% of smokers are able to quit cold turkey

If you are one of the 93% who are unable to quit the first time, second time, or successive times, it is time to seek the professional help you need in order to become an ex-smoker.

  • 90% of those who quit smoking before the age of 30 reduce their rate of death related to smoking
  • 50% of those who quit before the age of 50 reduce their rate of death from smoking

Signs of Severe Smoking Dependence

Smokers who are seriously dependent on nicotine may exhibit one or more of the following signs:

  • Smoking more than 1 pack of cigarettes a day
  • Smoking within 5 minutes of waking up in morning or from a nap
  • Continuing to smoke even when sick
  • Waking up at night to have a smoke
  • Smoking to help with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal

If you have even a couple of these signs of smoking dependence enlisting the aid of an addiction psychiatrist is thebest plan for success in smoking cessation.

Prescription Medications to Stop Smoking

Your psychiatrist has numerous medications available to prescribe and can provide referrals to support and adjunct services when developing your treatment plan to stop smoking, end nicotine addiction, and reduce any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

The medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Chantix (varenicline) – this medication not only lessens the pleasure one gets from smoking by interfering with nicotine receptors in the brain; it also reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Chantix helps you lose your craving for smoking and nicotine.
  • Zyban, Wellbutrin or Aplenzin (bupropion) – the medication bupropion is known under three different brand names. It is an extended release anti-depressant that helps reduce cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Nortriptyline – this is an older anti-depressant drug that helps reduce tobacco withdrawal symptoms
  • Clonidine – this medication, used to treat high blood pressure has also been shown to help people quit smoking. When used as part of a smoking cessation plan it is often given in pill or skin patch form.
  • Other medications and even anti-smoking vaccines are being tested in Europe and the United States but are not yet FDA approved. Your psychiatrist has access to the most effective medications and strategies for a successful program to quit smoking with the least interference from withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine Addiction Psychiatrist

If you want to successfully quit smoking call Dr. Hege for a convenient evening or weekend appointment and begin a new life as an ex-smoker.