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Bipolar Seven Factor Diagnosis Gives New Insight

With almost 6-million Americans diagnosed with bipolar disorder many studies have examined data to help those with the diagnosis answer why they have the disorder. A recent long term research study has presented a new bipolar seven factor framework that may give answers, help to correctly diagnose, and make treatment decisions for those with the disorder.

Bipolar Seven Factor Experience

While one patient’s experience with bipolar disorder may vary from another’s with the same diagnosis, all of the different experiences include features that fall into seven classes of characteristics, also known as phenotypes, that can be observed and tracked. This new study from the University of Michigan’s Bipolar Research Program used a decade of data to develop a bipolar seven factor framework that provides a common ground for clinicians who study and treat the disorder to the patients who are living their life with a bipolar diagnosis.

Bipolar Seven Factor Standard Measures

The seven classes or characteristics of the framework include standard measures that are already being used by mental health professionals to diagnose and track the progress of bipolar disorder. Although bipolar disorder tends to run in families, the long term study has revealed that there is not one specific gene to explain the increased occurrence in families, but rather many genetic variances were found to be associated with bipolar risk.

Bipolar Seven Factor Key Findings

Some of the key findings that were discovered during the research in bipolar disorder include:

  • Gender differences were revealed which include poor sleep with links to severity of depression and mania in women, but not men
  • Those with bipolar disorder who also have a strong neurotic personality trait are more likely to have severe illness
  • Migraine headaches are 3 ½ times more common in those with bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol abuse are more common in those who have a bipolar disorder
  • Those with bipolar disorder tested lower on cognitive ability including memory, and executive functioning, than those without a bipolar diagnosis
  • There was an association between levels of certain fat molecules in the blood of bipolar patients and their mood or level of symptoms experienced; those with bipolar disorder also exhibited higher levels of saturated fats in their diets
  • A study of the key features of speech patterns were able to predict mood states which could be useful in predicting need for intervention in preventing episodes of mania or depression
  • Results from the study of neuron cells from bipolar patients were shown to be more excitable, as well as showing differences in how those cells interact and function

Bipolar Seven Factor

The seven factor framework will help in better understanding of the disorder, measure how symptoms change over time, and track response to treatment approaches for use in development of treatment planning and successful strategies. Working with a qualified psychiatrist with a long history of successfully working and developing individualized treatment plans for those with bipolar disorder can bring stability and satisfaction to your life, and the lives of those around you.

Atlanta Bipolar Disorder Doctor

For a comprehensive evaluation and accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder or any mental health issues or concerns you may be experiencing, call the office of Dr. Hege for a personalized approach that is geared to your specific needs. Start living without the daily struggle. Call today.

Bipolar Disorder More Than Just Ups and Downs

Bipolar Disorder affects 6 million adults in the United States. Many mistake the disorder for normal “ups and downs,” but in reality, receiving professional treatment is critical. Normal changes in mood are part of living and everyday life situations, but having bipolar disorder can cause mood swings that interfere with the ability to maintain relationships, jobs, mental and physical health – untreated, the disorder can have a negative impact on all aspects of a person’s life.

Bipolar Disorder versus Normal Ups and Downs

While there may be some similar symptoms and complaints between what is normal and what is not, there are specific differences experienced between the two as highlighted below:

  • Bipolar characteristics include seasonal changes in moods that tend to correspond to changes in the seasons, rapid cycling between moods which may be four or more drastic mood swings within a single year, development of psychosis
  • Normal ups and downs include moments of sadness following a traumatic event that may last for weeks, experience a lack of interest for once enjoyed activities, occasional mood swings which do not occur more than four times a year or which do not change a person’s life or the lives of those around them

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

While there are two poles of bipolar identified, major depression and mania, there is also a transitional period called hypomania where a person many find they feel good and are in better control of their behaviors. Some of the common symptoms reported for the two poles of the disorder follow:

  1. Major Depression issues include
  • Frequent crying
  • Sleep pattern disturbance
  • Emotional numbness
  • Having self-hatred or self-loathing
  • Loss of interest in previously important relationships or activities
  • Decreased libido or sexual dysfunction
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Having thoughts of suicide or making a suicidal attempt
  • May experience general anxiety or social anxiety
  1. Mania may include
  • Irrational thoughts and ideas
  • Poorly thought out decisions
  • Reckless or thrill-seeking behaviors
  • Easily irritable or agitated
  • Decreased sleep time
  • Substance abuse
  • Feeling overambitious to the point of detriment
  • May have delusions of grandeur, symptoms of psychosis, anger or frustration
  • May have physical symptoms such as pacing, twitching, weight loss, excess sweating
  • Racing thoughts from one thing to another

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

There is no cure for bipolar disorder; however, treatment can help to prevent the occurrence of episodes as well as control symptoms. The disorder will not clear up on its own although many patients avoid treatment – in the manic phase of this disorder they do not think that they have an issue, and during a depression cycle they either think help is not possible or that they do not deserve to be helped.

Bipolar Disorder Psychiatrist

Treating bipolar disorder is a challenge just in having the patient accept treatment, but help is available and treatment can be successful. Working with a trained psychiatrist who is able to accurately diagnose bipolar disorder is the first step in the treatment process. Call the office for a comprehensive and confidential evaluation.

Multiple Psychiatric Diagnoses Need Skilled Management

Research data has shown that while approximately one out of every five Americans experience a mental health disorder, approximately 45% of those numbers have multiple psychiatric disorders, meeting the criteria for two or more mental health disorders. Multiple psychiatric disorders may occur at the same time or one after the other, with the combination often worsening the disease course, symptoms and complaints.

Multiple Psychiatric Disorders Also Known as Comorbidity

Having more than one medical illness is also known as having comorbidity or a comorbid condition, a fairly common occurrence. As an example, it is often found that many adults with substance abuse issues are nearly twice as likely to also experience mood and anxiety disorders; and vice versa. While substance abuse disorders commonly occur with other mental health issues, it does not mean that one causes the other even if one of the problems appeared first.

Multiple Psychiatric Illness a Challenge to Treat

Those who are diagnosed with multiple psychiatric disorders make treatment challenging. Adults in this group very often require higher doses of medication, longer periods of medication prescribed, and may be more resistant to treatment overall. It takes a skilled psychiatrist to make the correct multiple diagnoses and one experienced enough to accurately plan and strategize a successful treatment approach.

Multiple Psychiatric Disorders Evolve Over Time

Having one mental illness can change your life and the way you interact at home, on the job and socially. Having to live life with two or more mental illness disorders make everyday life more difficult and often impossible for many. Mental health diagnoses can evolve and change over time where combinations of issues can manifest in a variety of ways making a diagnosis even more difficult.

Examples of Evolving Multiple Psychiatric Disorders

There is no one set combination of multiple mental health disorders. Having one psychiatric illness such as PTSD for example can evolve into Social Anxiety Disorder, addictive disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, eating disorders, and so on. A diagnosis of Major Depression may also be impacted by cocaine or alcohol addiction, panic disorder, or poly-drug abuse. The combinations that impact one’s life vary with severity, and degree of impairment with the multiple disorders each be severe or mild, or one more severe than the other; in addition the severity or impact of both or one can also change over time.

Multiple Psychiatric Diagnostic Psychiatrist

Diagnosis and treatment is often difficult to get right. Finding the psychiatrist that is able to evaluate and treat for multiple mental health diagnoses is critical in the development of the right plan for you. Call Dr. Hege for a convenient confidential appointment and comprehensive evaluation of your individual concerns.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Myth and Misconception Behind Psychiatric Sessions

Many people who have never seen a psychiatrist or mental health professional often have misguided perceptions or believe a myth about what to expect. If your idea of what goes on in a psychiatrist’s office comes from what you have seen on soap operas or in the movies you may have a set of expectations that could actually limit the ability of the therapist to do their best for you.

Pre-Appointment Mind Set

While it is important to make that appointment for help with any emotional, psychological or behavioral issues you or a loved one may be having, it is equally important to have an accurate idea of what to expect during your psychiatric session times. Having accurate perceptions in place will allow you to get the most out of each session and facilitate an active one-on-one working relationship where your therapist can develop and implement a successful individualized plan of treatment.

Common Myths about Therapy

Understanding what reality versus a myth is can let you take full benefit from your mental health services. Some of the most common misconceptions are:

  • “Therapy is supposed to make me happy.” While you may feel that you are happier with life and more comfortable overall, the intent of therapy is to assist you in becoming fully functional and connected with family, friends, work situations, school.
  • “I want to be cured in one session.” The entire process of therapy takes time with no quick fixes. Each person is unique with their own needs, perceptions, and motivation for change. The therapist needs to develop an individualized plan, making changes as progress evolves. Many people have more than one issue or concern which may require a higher level of coordination of services, or use of more than one type of medication.
  • “I want to be told what I need to do.” Many people go into a therapy session expecting to be told what to do to change their life or solve their problems. While a mental health professional will explore options, outcomes, or may refer for adjunct or group services, a therapist will guide rather than tell you what you need to do.
  • “Talking to friends and family is just as good as seeing a psychiatrist.” Having a good support base is important when you are going through a rough time, but mental health professionals have the training and experience to understand and treat basic to complex problems. A therapeutic relationship is also confidential, where you can feel free to discuss things you have never been able to talk about before.
  • “Only people that are crazy go see a psychiatrist.” Life is often stressful and full of challenging events and changes. In today’s world, getting help for psychological or behavioral issues is seen as part of keeping oneself healthy in both mind and body.
  • “If I try harder I should be able to get better on my own.” Sometimes people struggle for months and years before seeing psychological help. A medical, biological or behavioral component to some disorders require more than just trying harder to get better.

Having the courage to know you need professional assistance and seek out a psychiatrist to help you lead a full functional life is a sign of strength. Take the first step toward feeling better and making a positive change in your life – call the office for an appointment.

Mental Health: Do You Have a Common Disorder?

There are many different mental health disorders and conditions that can be diagnosed and successfully treated by qualified mental health professionals. It may be found during a comprehensive evaluation that a person may have a primary disorder or illness with other psychiatric disorders present that require treatment as well.

Qualified Mental Health Evaluation Critical

Diagnosis of multiple mental illness in a person is not uncommon. In addition some mental illness disorders have components of others in them. Some examples: someone with PTSD who also presents with a depression component or a person who may be diagnosed with depression but who also has suicidal tendencies. Working with an experienced psychiatrist provides you with the skills needed to determine your individual issues and needs.

Common Mental Illness Diagnoses

The more common types of mental illness or mental disorders follow.

  • Anxiety Disorders: An anxiety disorder is typically diagnosed when a person’s response is not appropriate to the event or situation — if a person cannot control the response, or if the anxiety is interfering with normal daily life. Anxiety disorders usually come with feelings of fear and dread, physical signs of panic such as sweating and rapid heartbeat. Anxiety disorders do include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and other specific phobias.
  • Mood Disorders: These disorders involve chronic long lasting feelings of sadness, periods of feeling overly happy, or feelings that fluctuate from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. This category includes the most common mood disorders of bipolar disorder, depression and cyclothymic disorder (low and high mood swings not as severe as those seen in bipolar disorder). 
  • Impulse Control and Addiction Disorders: With a diagnosis or diagnoses of this type of mental illness comes the inability to resist urges or impulses as well as performing acts that may to harmful to themselves or others. Some examples of impulse control and addiction disorders are compulsive gambling, alcohol and drug addiction, pyromania or kleptomania. It is not uncommon for the person to become so involved with their addiction that they start to ignore their work, home and social responsibilities and relationships.
  • Personality Disorders: Those people with personality disorders generally have extreme and inflexible personality traits that cause distress and problems not only to the person with this mental health illness, but also cause disruption at work, school or in social relationships. With personality disorders the pattern of thinking and behavior are often so rigid that they interfere with normal daily living skills. Some examples of this disorder are antisocial personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This mental illness usually develops after a traumatic or terrifying event. People who are diagnosed with PTSD typically have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and often find themselves emotionally numb.

Expert Mental Illness Help Available

If you see yourself in one or more of the multiple descriptions above and are having difficulty with daily life functioning it may be time to take a proactive step; call for an appointment with a qualified mental health psychiatrist for evaluation.