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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.

Sleep Problem Connection with Adult ADHD

Recent research presented at the 2017 European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Conference (ECNP) in Paris, France, has presented the theory that many of ADHD cases may be in fact an issue associated with a lack of regular circadian sleep. Past data does show that approximately 75% of adults with ADHD also have sleep problem but the medical field has thought that to be a separate problem.

Sleep Problem and Adult ADHD

There is extensive evidence that indicates adults with ADHD also tend to display sleep problems. In a theory presented at this year’s ECNP data was presented that suggests that ADHD and circadian problems (sleep issues) are intertwined in a majority of patients. While all ADHD problems may not be associated with circadian patterns, it does appear to be an important element.

ADHD and Physiological Sleep Phase

Symptoms and behaviors indicating a connection between adult ADHD and circadian or sleep problem rhythm include:

  • Changes in level of sleep hormone melatonin delayed by 1.5 hours from those without diagnosis of ADHD
  • Changes in sleep-related movement patterns are delayed
  • Core body temperatures associated with sleep are delayed which corresponds to the delay of melatonin changes
  • Those with ADHD often have great alertness in the evening (opposite of the general population)
  • Sleep related disorders associated with adult ADHD include restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • Approximately 70% of those diagnosed with adult ADHD show over-sensitivity to light, with many needing to wear sunglasses during the day; this light sensitivity may be associated with a circadian shift.

While a disturbance of the natural sleep or circadian system may be physiologically connected to ADHD, it may also have links to other mental illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder. Further research will help in the development of alternative or adjunct therapies, such as bright light therapy or use of melatonin in the evening, to be used as part of a comprehensive ADHD treatment plan for those with a sleep problem.

Adult ADHD Treatment Options

Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive mental health evaluation to determine all adult ADHD treatment options, including medication and adjunct therapies, available for your individual needs.

Bipolar Depression Tough to Diagnose

Bipolar depression is often difficult to diagnose with some cases taking up to a decade of frustration before an accurate diagnosis is made. Without the correct diagnosis effective treatment cannot be accomplished. Research studies suggest that up to 50% of those with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed with unipolar instead of bipolar depression.

Bipolar Depression is Different Kind of Depression

Bipolar depression is the depressive phase of a mental health disorder called bipolar disorder, referring to the lows or depressive phase of the disorder. Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness where extreme mood swings occur from mania, or “highs,” to depression, or “lows.” The treatment options are different for the different types of depression, with proper diagnosis a critical component for successful management.

Bipolar Depression Disrupting Phase

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often more debilitating and disruptive than the mania phase as it typically lasts longer and occurs more frequently. In a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, those with Bipolar I report depression 3 times as often as mania, and for those diagnosed with Bipolar II, the low phase occurs 40 times as often.

Depression Episodes Dominate Function

While many may feel the general instability of the disorder has the greatest impact on daily functioning, it is the depressive episodes that often disrupt one’s life. Depression dominates the functional ability to work, actively participate in family and social groups, and it contributes to a significant decrease in motivation, desire, self-worth, and self-esteem.

Symptoms of Bipolar Depression

You may experience some or all of the following symptoms. A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation is in order if you have any of the following symptoms and are having difficulty with daily functioning.

  • Feeling sad, worried, or empty inside
  • Having little to no energy as a common occurrence
  • Feeling like you do not enjoy anything
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Difficulty with memory, focus, attention
  • Wanting to stay in bed
  • Difficulty with making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Be full of energy but feel very sad
  • Feel “down” for at least 2 weeks at a time

Bipolar Depression Evaluation and Treatment

Stop the daily struggle and frustration. Correct treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis. Call Dr. Hege, Atlanta’s bipolar depression psychiatrist who has the experience and expertise you need for treatment.

Adult ADHD and Major Functional Impairments

Millions of adults in the U.S. remain undiagnosed and thus untreated for adult ADHD. The estimated number of adults with ADHD, aged 18 to 44, range from 4.4% to 5.2% of the nation’s population, with only 10%-12% of those numbers receiving any kind of treatment at all. Adults who remain undiagnosed face the potential consequences of major functional impairments in education, work performance, or family and community life.

Adult ADHD Symptoms of Impairment

For an accurate diagnosis the symptoms of ADHD subtypes of inattention, hyperactivity impulsivity, or combined, must cause some type of impairment in two or more areas with clear evidence of significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning. Receiving a proper diagnosis from a qualified psychiatrist is critical as part of the diagnosis of adult ADHD follows a comprehensive evaluation to determine that the symptoms noted above are not due to another mental disorder.

Symptoms of Inattention

As part of the assessment for adult ADHD, at least six of the following inattention symptoms needs to persist for at least six months of time, with reported functional impairment involved:

  • Forgetfulness in daily activities
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Difficulty with organizing tasks and activities
  • Difficulty sustaining attention on tasks or during an activity
  • Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Does not appear to listen when spoken to directly
  • Frequently loses necessary items for work, tasks, or activities
  • Often avoids or reports dislike for tasks that require mental effort
  • Fails to follow through on instructions or direction, failing to finish work or duties

Symptoms of Hyperactivity – Impulsivity

Of the following symptoms, at least six must be present and have persisted for at least six months’ time. As with the symptoms for inattention, functional life impairment must also be seen.

  • Fidgeting with hands or feet; squirms around in seat
  • Excessive talking
  • Appears “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • May run or jump about during inappropriate times, or reports feelings of restlessness
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Difficulty waiting your turn
  • Difficulty engaging in quiet leisure time activities
  • May blurt out answers
  • May abruptly interrupt others with opinions, or butt into other’s conversations
  • Often getting up from seat when situation dictates remaining seated

Adult ADHD Psychiatrist for Comprehensive Diagnosis

It is time to discover if your functional impairments and life difficulty are from undiagnosed adult ADHD. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation and receive an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan.

Nutritional Psychiatry Reports Diet Affects Mental Health

While many people understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness, very few recognize a similar connection between nutrition and depression. Nutritional neuroscience and nutritional psychiatry are emerging disciplines where research is showing that nutrition is intertwined with cognition, behavior, and emotions.

Diet Affects both Physical and Mental Health

The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research reports data that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. While a healthy diet may help protect and bolster a person’s mental health, an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for both depression and anxiety.

Nutrition and Depression

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that by 2010, the diagnosis of depression will be ranked as the second leading cause of disability, just behind that of heart disease. Depression may be most commonly viewed as emotionally-rooted; however, nutrition can play a key role in the onset, severity, and duration of depression.

Nutritional Psychiatry Data for Food Patterns

The typical diet of people with depression is far from adequate. Food choices are often limited, meals frequently skipped, appetite is poor, there is an increased desire for sweet food, and a decreased desire for food rich in carbohydrates. These food patterns that precede depression are the same as those that are found to occur during periods of depression.

Depression Triggered by Diet

Eating a diet low in carbohydrates tends to precipitate depression as the production and release of “feel good” brain chemicals of serotonin and tryptophan are triggered by carbohydrate rich foods. For those with depression, their food choices may actually be contributing to their diagnosis.

Depression Psychiatrist Locally

While diet can be part of your overall treatment plan it is not a substitute for the medication and adjunct services that your psychiatrist prescribes following a comprehensive evaluation. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Mobile Mental Health Apps Can Be Risky

Digital health smartphone apps have shown unprecedented growth in the medical field along with the development of mHealth (mobile health) technology. Psychiatry and mental health services are enjoying the potential of mHealth technology with Mobile mental health apps that put personal health information into easily accessible smartphones, smart watches, and personal health monitoring sensors.

Mobile Mental Health Apps Risk

With the explosion of smart apps that can be found and downloaded from the App Store or Google Play for example, come the question of the usefulness and risk of these mobile mental health apps. The majority of apps for mental health have been developed without research, lack of scientific evidence that shows proof of effectiveness, or may have poor protection of your personal data.

Mobile Mental Health Apps Evaluation

Digital health technology is still fairly new; however, the American Psychiatric Association has taken a proactive step by developing an App Evaluation Model to help guide clinicians and patients in the quality of a mobile mental health app or mHealth tool being considered.

Five Steps in App Evaluation Model

The APA’s App Evaluation Model has five steps where each step is a foundation for the next level. It is important to evaluate each app to make an informed decision before “trying it out.” Apps that make it through the fourth and fifth step are worth your consideration and review by you and your therapist for functional use in your treatment program.

Five Steps of Review in App Evaluation Model

  1. Background Information: Is there a fee for the app or is it free? If free how does it support its development? Who is the developer? Is there advertising within the app? What platforms does it work with? When it was last updated and what were the updates (security, glitches, added services, etc.)? Are there in-app purchases or upgrades?
  2. Risk, Security, and Privacy: Is there a privacy policy? What data is being collected? Is personal data de-identified? Can you opt-out of data collection? Are cookies placed on your device? What data is shared? Who is it shared with? Can your information be sold to third parties? Is data kept on the device or uploaded to the web or cloud? What are the security measures? Is data encrypted? Is the app HIPAA compliant?
  3. Evidence: If your app review has proven acceptable for the first two levels, then it is time to evaluate evidence for potential benefits. What does the app claim to do versus what it actually will do? Are there any peer reviews or published evidence about the tool or science behind the app? Is there any feedback from users available? Does the app appear to be of value for your needs?
  4. Ease of Use: Is it easy to access? Can it be used on a long-term basis? Can you customize the features? Do you need an active internet connection to use? Does it work on the platforms that you have? Is it appealing and simple to use? Apps that are difficult to understand or manage will most likely fail to be used.
  5. Interoperability: Can it work with other electronic tools and devices? Can you export or print the data from the app? Can you upload the data to an electronic health record that your psychiatrist or medical professional can use?

mHealth Psychiatric Treatment

Dr. Hege is a leader in offering convenient options such as video psychiatry, evening or weekend treatment scheduling, and use of new technology in providing the best psychiatric treatment available to you. Call the office today for a comprehensive evaluation of your needs. You may qualify for video sessions, so if that interests you please be sure to ask about it.

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.