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ADHD Spectrum Disorders Make Life Challenging

ADHD spectrum disorders affects 4% to 5% of adults. The disorder presents a number of ongoing challenges for individuals. Some of the traits associated with the disorder can undermine a person’s best of intentions throughout normal life situations. ADHD is divided into three different types: inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type, and combined type.

ADHD Inattentive Type

Being diagnosed with the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD, which is also called ADD (attention deficit disorder) finds more women than men falling into this category. This type of ADHD/ADD spectrum disorder is often missed by professionals without the background and experience to recognize the more subtle symptoms and complaints.

ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

For those with the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD, all aspects of their life are typically challenged due to problems with focus, restlessness, forgetfulness, organization, distractibility and memory issues. Receiving a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional can accurately pin-point if this type of ADHD is the problem or if another diagnosis is discovered.

ADHD Combined Type

The most common type of ADHD is the combined type, characterized by inattention, distractibility, hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. For those with the combined type, they may find they are full of ideas, yet impatient and restless where plans and thoughts become lost and never fully realized. The symptoms and complaints with this diagnosis may vary widely and as with the other sub-types of ADHD, the treatment plan depends on an accurate and complete diagnosis.

ADHD Disorder Symptoms

Some of the more common complaints and symptoms of ADHD spectrum disorder follow. ADHD/ADD is not just a black and white diagnosis. All the symptoms fall on an ADHD spectrum where some traits may be a constant challenge for you, others less often, or rarely:

  • Poor attention to detail and making simple errors due to not paying attention or rushing things
  • Easily distracted; struggle to finish long or complex tasks; trying to work on several things at once; feeling disorganized at home or work; noise and activity distracting; tend to daydream; is absent-minded
  • Poor listening skills; tune out during a conversation; lose track of what you are talking about
  • Do not follow instructions well, jumping in without reading directions or guide; difficulty sticking to routines, schedules or plans; dislike repetitive tasks
  • Often misplace or lose common items like a phone, keys or remote; work space is often cluttered; often forgetful and lose track of what is being worked on; buy things already owned forgetting you have it
  • Feel restless and often fidget; often feel the need to get up and move around; very difficult to sit still and listen quietly
  • Difficulty with waiting your turn; often blurt out thoughts and ideas; interrupt and intrude when others are talking; often very talkative and dominate the conversation
  • Hard to unwind and relax; falling asleep is difficult; feel like you are driven by a motor and often go, go, go, until crashing
  • Easily bored and often move on from one idea to another, one job to another, one hobby to another

ADHD Spectrum Disorder Psychiatrist

Life is challenging enough without ADHD. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation for an ADHD spectrum disorder diagnosis. Correct treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis. Call the office today for an appointment.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is Worry Out-of-Control

Experiencing anxiety is a normal part of life, with general and specific worries related to health, family, work, finances, or change. While some anxiety may motivate you to take action, developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, disrupts your life and the lives of those around you. GAD, both a physical as well as a mental health disorder, is the most common and widespread type of anxiety affecting millions of people around the world. With professional help, GAD is treatable.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Defined

Typically, those with GAD suffer from relentless, unspecified worry about general everyday things. For those with generalized anxiety disorder there is a general feeling of unease or dread that follows your thoughts as you move about the day. The tension and worry is less intense than a panic attack but becomes a chronic situation making normal life and relaxation impossible. GAD is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, tension, and nervousness without a specific reason which can affect one’s health and physical well-being.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Triggers

The worry about everyday things or the future is a common complaint from most people; however, with GAD the worry rises to a new level where daily activities are filled with exaggerated worry and tension without relief. For those with generalized anxiety disorder a simple comment, about work or family for example, can spiral thoughts out of control disrupting home life, job performance, and social relationships. Triggers to anxiety can be simply the thought of getting up and going to work, going grocery shopping, a news report, or not being able to get in immediate contact with a friend or loved one.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Physical and mental health symptoms make it hard to function, and they interfere with daily life. Having any of the symptoms below that re-occur and interfere with your daily life and happiness could be helped with treatment from an experienced mental health professional.

  • Persistent worry about everyday things
  • Difficulty controlling worries or feelings of nervousness
  • Feelings that you worry more than you should
  • Difficulty with falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feeling restless and having difficulty relaxing
  • Having headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches or unexplained pains
  • Finding yourself sweating a lot, feeling short of breath or light-headed
  • Feeling irritable, on edge, tense, or nervous
  • Complaints of fatigue, tiring out easily, or having low energy
  • Worry or anxiety, magnifying small events out of proportion
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Muscle tension to back, neck, shoulders
  • Feeling that your anxiety and worry is interfering with your daily life

Treatment for GAD

A psychiatrist specializing in anxiety disorders for a comprehensive evaluation is the first step in developing an accurate treatment plan. Medical issues or other mental health issues may make a GAD difficult to diagnose. GAD is often treated with medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and other strategies that your psychiatrist recommends.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Doctor

GAD is mentally and physically exhausting. Break free from the chronic worry, calm your anxious mind, and get back to living. Call the office today.

Finding an Addiction Specialist in Georgia

Finding the right psychiatrist for you that understands the addiction process, who can perform accurate comprehensive evaluations, develop a successful treatment plan and has decades of experience that can meet your specific needs and issues often involves a long frustrating search. Finding a psychiatrist who is also an Addiction Specialist dramatically shortens the list of potential psychiatrists.

Addiction Specialists Board Certified

Addiction psychiatry is a sub-specialty of psychiatry with certification given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Only psychiatrists may receive the addiction psychiatry sub-specialty certificate after meeting specific additional criteria and a certification examination.

Addiction Specialist Certification

A psychiatrist who is a specialist in addiction has professionally demonstrated the knowledge and skill to provide prevention, screening, intervention as well as the treatment for substance use and addiction. Any recognized psychological and physical complications of addiction are also addressed in the treatment plan. Addiction may include one or multiple types of substance abuse including either illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol, or prescription medications.

Addiction Medicine

Psychiatrists who dedicate themselves to improving the quality of provided treatment, keeping up-to-date on current education and research data, educate others and promote the comprehensive care of patients with addiction may hold membership in The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The ASAM is the leading addiction medicine professional society in the U.S. for those professional who focus on addiction and its treatment.

Board Certified Psychiatry

While physicians or psychologists need to be licensed, they can legally practice without having board certification. Board certification is an additional voluntary process where competence in a specialty area is demonstrated, where testing by peers has proven the level of skill and knowledge is at the very top of the medical profession. Board certified psychiatrists are often seen as leaders in their field who help shape the course of their medical profession for years to come.

Addiction Specialist Locally

Dr. Darvin Hege, psychiatrist, located in the Atlanta area, is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, as well as The American Society of Addiction Medicine, with more than 25 years of successful addiction evaluation and treatment. Call the office for a confidential appointment and put an end to your frustrating search for the right addiction specialist.

New Year’s Resolutions Include Mental Health

It is time once again to start thinking about setting New Year’s resolutions. While most people plan to work on or accomplish many great goals which include weight loss, working out, eating healthier meals, or quitting smoking for example, few think about setting mental health New Year’s resolutions.

Mental Health New Year’s Resolutions

Working to achieve or improve one’s own mental health is as equally important as becoming physically healthier. In fact, becoming more mentally clear, stable, or generally “happier” in life can have an impact on general health and feelings of well-being. It may seem easier to stop smoking, find a new job, make new friends, lose weight, or achieve any other goal you are working toward when your mental health is at its optimum level.

Changing “I Should” to “I Would Like”

With the New Year upon us it is a great time to take stock of how you are doing, or how you are feeling, as well as looking at where you may like to make a change. Mental health resolutions are positive goals – think of any changes you want to achieve as “I want to be,” or “I would like to be.” Avoid telling yourself that you “should” do this or you “should” do that as you are working to improve an aspect of your life, not judging current behaviors.

New Year’s Resolutions About You

When thinking about what resolutions to work on in the new year, make your mental health a priority. While losing weight or quitting smoking are very positive goals, remember that your mental health can make a big difference on how you and your family enjoy the new year together.

Mental Health Psychiatrist

Do something nice for yourself – make an appointment where any mental health issues you may be experiencing can be accurately evaluated and treated. Call the office for a convenient confidential appointment and put all your new year resolutions on the positive track to live better and feel better.

Holiday Blues May Signal Need for Help

During the holiday season, starting around Thanksgiving and going into the New Year, people may find themselves suffering from the holiday blues where the social demands of the season, inability to be with friends and family, along with unrealistic expectations and financial issues bring stress and depression. The mixed emotions of the holiday season may bring sadness or anxiety along with feelings of excitement and hope. Personal struggles during this time may make one feel isolated and alone.

Holiday Blues Physical Symptoms

For many, the holiday blues or seasonal depression, may be exhibited in physical symptoms that are also stress responses. Some of the symptoms include headaches, overeating, excessive drinking or substance abuse, difficulty sleeping, feeling tense or stressed out, or complaints of being too tired or fatigued. For those that do not develop clinical depression, the stress and anxiety can and often does develop into the holiday blues.

Holiday Blues vs Mental Illness

Holiday blues are different from a diagnosis of mental illness; however, short term mental health issues need to be taken seriously as they may lead to clinical anxiety and depression. While symptoms may be temporary during the holiday season, the blues can become a problem that needs to be addressed if they last more than two weeks.

Seeking Help for the Blues

If you find yourself feeling down or blue when winter arrives every year, with those negative thoughts and feelings lasting after the holidays have passed, you may have seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Having the holiday blues may actually be SAD which is a form of depression brought on by the change of seasons. Talking with a mental health professional about your symptoms is the first step toward finding a treatment that works for you.

Dr. for Holiday Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder

Don’t miss out on all the joy and fun of the holiday season. If you are experiencing the blues of the season, feeling depressed or anxious, call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment where a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan can help put you on the positive track to enjoying life once again.

Sex Differences in Mental Illness Between Men & Women

The American Psychological Association reports the results of a study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology that shows sex differences in mental illness. Women more likely to receive a diagnosis of anxiety or depression, while men display higher incidences of substance abuse or antisocial disorders. In addition, women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men, at 29% and 17% respectively.

Sex Differences in Expression of Emotions

Diagnosis and percentages of many mental health disorders are affected by the gender differences of internalizing or externalizing emotions. Study on sex differences found that women with anxiety disorders typically internalized their emotions, resulting in withdrawal, loneliness, and depression. Men were found more likely to externalize emotions, leading to aggressive, impulsive, and non-compliant behaviors.

Sex Differences of Four Common Mental Illness Types

Looking at four common mental health disorders, gender differences are easily identified:

  • Depression – One in four women require treatment at some point in their lives compared to one in 10 men.
  • Anxiety – Women are 2x as likely as men to experience an anxiety disorder. Approximately 60% of those diagnosed with phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder are women.
  • Eating Disorders – This type of disorder is more common in women than men; 1.9% of women, compared to 0.2% of men may experience anorexia in any given year. Up to 1% of women report bulimia during the course of a year.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – More women than men are affected by PTSD. The risk for the development of PTSD after a traumatic event is 20.4% for women and 8.1% for men.

Social Factors Related to Gender Differences

Looking at gender or sex differences, there is also a sex-based difference in the perception of distress and patterns of seeking help. Women tend to report a greater number of physical and psychological issues and are more likely to seek help than men. Women, possibly due to seeking help quicker and more often, are prescribed psychotropic medications more often than men.

Society affects perceptions of acceptable behaviors with men often criticized for expressing feelings of worry or weakness, or intolerance for women expressing anger or antisocial behavior.

Psychiatric Treatment Sensitive to Gender Differences

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment to discuss any mental health concerns that are impacting your daily life and relationships. While we may have differences in how we react or respond to life challenges and stress, a comprehensive and accurate evaluation with development of a successful treatment plan is just a phone call away.

Mental Illness Affects 1 in 4 Americans

According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of Americans experiencing at least one episode of mental illness over the past year continues to rise, up to 46%. The National Institute of Mental Health published a statement that 25% of North Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental condition. Along with a rise of those with a mental health disorder is a documented increase, of up to a third, in the number receiving treatment.

Global Mental Health Conditions

The most common mental health disorders which are diagnosed globally include anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, depression, ADD/ADHD spectrum, bipolar disorder, insomnia, and schizophrenia. Recent studies show that mental disorders and substance abuse are the leading cause of non-fatal illness worldwide.

Mental Illness Criteria

Looking at the criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), research of the National Institute of Mental Health found that 46% of adults were found to have at least one mental illness within the categories of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, impulse-control disorders, and substance use disorders. While the percentage indicates those with at least one disorder, most met the criteria for more than one diagnosis.

Common Mental Illness Categories

The mental illness categories reviewed fall into four broad groupings, with American adults having at least one, if not more, mental health disorder within one of these four categories at some point in their lives.

  • Anxiety Disorders including all types of anxiety, phobia, PTSD
  • Mood Disorders which include major depression and bipolar disorders
  • Impulse-Control Disorders which include various behavioral issues, ADHD
  • Substance Use Disorders including alcohol and drug abuse

Mental Illness Diagnosis and Treatment

Receiving an accurate diagnosis and treatment for your mental illness can change your daily struggles into living your life with a positive outlook and plan. Call Dr. Hege for a convenient appointment that meets your busy life schedule.

Chantix Neutralizes Nicotine’s Effect

Smoking related disease result in nearly 6 million deaths every year with tobacco claiming a human life every 5 seconds somewhere in the world. In the U.S. more than 16 million Americans lives with a smoking related disease. In addition, smoking accounts for 1 out of every 5 deaths in the United States. Chantix is a medication prescribed to help those addicted to nicotine stop smoking and begin living without the health risks and financial burdens directly related to smoking.

Chantix Helps People Quit Smoking

Chantix, varenicline tartrate, is a prescription medication that was developed specifically to assist those who want to quit smoking. Chantix has two unique qualities and works on two levels:

  • It mimics nicotine, giving the feeling of mild nicotine effects while it helps ease withdrawal symptoms
  • It blocks nicotine from binding with the nicotine receptors in the brain so that the smoker does not get a “nicotine boost or kick” making smoking feeling flat, bland or no longer pleasurable

Nicotine’s Effect on Brain Chemistry

Nicotine effects the brain’s chemistry within 7 seconds of the first puff on a cigarette. Nicotine attaches to receptors that not only affect breathing, and heart rate, but also influence other neurotransmitters that effect appetite, mood, and memory. When nicotine attaches to its brain receptors, dopamine is released, which is thought to be responsible for reinforcing the pleasure/reward associations with smoking.

Chantix Breaks Cycle

The chemical process that occurs with smoking is tied to nicotine addiction. Since the effects of nicotine on the brain wear off within minutes, smokers continue to “dose” themselves throughout the day to prevent withdrawal symptoms and to continue to feel the pleasurable effects of nicotine. Chantix may take hours to wear off easing withdrawal complaints; in addition, Chantix blocks the “feel good” dopamine boost if a person does smoke while taking Chantix.

Side Effects of Chantix

Some of the most common side effects reported include nausea, headache, vomiting, drowsiness, GI upset, trouble sleeping, changes in taste, feeling dizzy, or difficulty concentrating. Your psychiatrist can help you manage any side effects experienced with other medication, nicotine replacement treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy, or adjunct therapy resources.

Stop Smoking Doctor

If you want to become an ex-smoker and enjoy the health and financial benefits that other non-smokers experience, call the office for a confidential appointment today.

Neurofeedback Treatment Options for ADD/ADHD

Neurofeedback, or EEG Biofeedback, is a useful adjunct tool being used in the treatment of ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Neurofeedback is a learning strategy where a person is taught to alter their brain waves or electrical activity so that new brain wave patterns are produced that are more “in line” with those seen in individuals who do not have a mental health diagnosis or disability.

Neurofeedback and Therapeutic Applications

Use of neuro or EEG biofeedback has been extensively researched with findings freely shared with the professional community. Clinical reports show that neurofeedback has been effective as a therapeutic tool with:

  • ADHD/ADD
  • Addiction disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Numerous other mental health issues and concerns that affect personal happiness, work, family, or social relations

Common Procedure for Neurofeedback

The use of EEG biofeedback or neurofeedback is painless and non-invasive. Sensors are placed on the scalp and on both ears. Brain waves are measured with use of an amplifier and a computer-based instrument that processes the brain activity and then provides the proper feedback. As the brain responds to the training and cues given, new learning takes place where new brain wave patterns are established in response to the stimuli given.

Successful Outcomes of Neuro or Biofeedback

The brain is able to use the training and feedback to make adjustments and improve its own performance, with the ultimate goal of changing the brain patterns to those comparable of those without a mental health disturbance. Training is a learning process and results occurs gradually. Progress may be seen or felt in 10 sessions, with more severe cases taking 40 or more training sessions.

Neurofeedback as Adjunct to Psychiatric Therapy

Dr. Hege, a well experienced and regarded Georgia psychiatrist, utilizes a select network of mental health therapists, some who use advanced clinical strategies such as neuro or biofeedback, as an adjunct to the services he offers. Call the office to discuss your needs and the treatment options available to you.

Emotional Numbness or Emptiness Blocks Hope

Many people may find themselves at different times in their lives feeling like there is a lack of meaning or purpose in their life. This emotional numbness or feelings of emptiness can develop into a chronic condition that may point to several other mental health concerns, a side effect of medications, or the body’s reaction to becoming overtaxed emotionally and physically.

Emotional Numbness and Emptiness

Trying to describe the feeling of being emotionally numb or empty is often difficult. Some report an absence of feeling, or feeling that something is missing inside of them. Others may report feeling disconnected, having an “empty space” inside, feeling isolated, despondent, with no hope for the future. Many patients with emotional numbness are unable to express what — if anything — they are feeling.

Causes of Emotional Numbness

Two of the most common causes of emotional numbness or feelings of emptiness are depression and anxiety. Elevated stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, some medications, and becoming physically over-fatigued can also trigger feelings of emotional emptiness.

Emotional Numbness may lead to Unhealthy Behaviors

While feelings of emptiness and numbness may leave a person feeling isolated, anxious, or disconnected, they may choose to fill that void by taking part in activities that are unfulfilling or unhealthy, like compulsive shopping, eating, or use of alcohol or other substances. Reach out to friends and family for support and make an appointment with a mental health professional to determine if your emotional void is caused by current medications, a diagnosable mental health or physical condition.

Getting Help

Review what you’re going through with a mental health professional. Some medications may be helpful, or if you are taking some already, they may need to be adjusted to help you stay balanced. Also, talk therapy in combination with other treatments can be great for working through your feelings, and Dr. Hege has many great references he may recommend to help you get the treatment that is best for you. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis to determine the cause of your psychological numbness and emptiness. There is hope for change. Make the call today and begin to experience the joy of living once again.