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.

Bipolar Premenstrual Mood Exacerbation Linked

After multiple research studies it has been determined that premenstrual mood exacerbation may be a clinical marker in predicting the display of severe bipolar symptoms in women of reproductive age. The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that women who have both bipolar disorder and experience premenstrual mood exacerbation, PME, tend to have a worse course of illness, a shorter time in which relapse occurs and increased severity of symptoms than women who do not report PME.

Mood Exacerbation

Women with premenstrual exacerbation and bipolar disorder typically had more severe depressive and mood elevation symptoms over the course of a year with women reporting a greater symptom burden.  Women with PME and a bipolar diagnosis also exhibited more depressive mood episodes overall than women without reported PME. Study data showed that although there were considerably more depressive mood episodes with PME, women did not exhibit more episodes of mania or hypomania when compared to those women who did not suffer from premenstrual exacerbation.

Bipolar Relapse Time

For women with bipolar disorder and PME the median time to relapse was 4.5 months compared to 8.5 months who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder but who did not suffer from PME. This is a significant finding that indicates mental health professionals working with women need to track their menstrual cycle as well as the appearance and severity of premenstrual exacerbation in order to provide optimum care and treatment before, during and after the menstrual cycle. PME points to a more severe course of bipolar disorder suggesting further evaluation and the need for an adjustable treatment plan.

Complications to Treatment Plan

The Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital report that hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle and menopause can complicate the treatment and course of disease. It is possible for hormonal changes to impact mood as well as impact the way mood stabilizing medications used in treatment of bipolar disease work.  Working with a psychiatrist who understands PME and its relationship with bipolar disorder is necessary for consistent treatment and management of the disorder. Call Dr. Darvin Hege for a confidential appointment today.

College Transitions with Mental Health Disorders

College students with psychiatric disabilities are entitled to reasonable academic accommodations as provided by the American Disabilities Act of 1990 and 2008 amendments. The University of Washington through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education reports that tens of thousands of adult students report having a mental illness. Students with mental illness may experience symptoms that interfere with their educational goals and create a “psychiatric disability.”

Mental Health Intervention for College Transitions

Without mental health intervention, proper medication if prescribed as part of the treatment plan, or adjunct services, college students with mental health issues may experience severe disturbances in thinking, emotions or functional life skills. These disturbances may bring a diminished capacity to cope with the demands and stress of college life, which include a time of significant transition, a new lifestyle, friends, an alternate way of thinking, and exposure to new cultures along with the pressure of academic rigor and expectations.

College Transitions and Substance Abuse

Academic demands, new peer pressures, and poor ability to adapt and cope to the new environment of a college campus may result in students struggling with mental health or psychiatric disorders. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse report 45% of college students binge drink and almost 21% abuse prescription or illegal drugs, often due to the students’ struggle to feel adequate and cope with their new life situations. Partnering with a qualified college transition psychiatrist can help steer the college student toward positive management of both their psychological issues and academic success.

Symptoms of College Psychiatric Disability

Some of the most common symptoms exhibited by adult students with developing psychiatric disabilities include:

  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Exhibiting increased anxiety, fear, suspicion, or blaming of others
  • Confused or disorganized thinking
  • Denial of obvious problems and resistive to offers of help
  • Displays of extreme highs or lows in mood
  • Marked personality changes over time
  • Talking about or thinking about suicide

College Transition Psychiatrist

Developing a strategy and treatment plan, as well as stabilizing any psychiatric issues, can help to minimize psychological and mental health issues that would otherwise prevent a successful first college experience. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Cold Medicine vs. Bipolar Drug Interaction

Over-the-counter cold medications are a common purchase throughout the year when your stuffy nose, post-nasal drip or scratchy throat affect not only sleeping, but the ability to work and interact with others. Since they are over-the-counter, many do not give any consideration to a possible drug interaction with prescription medications, nor do they ask their pharmacist or doctor about any possible drug interactions.

Drug Interactions a Common Concern

Drug interactions happen all the time. For those diagnosed with bipolar disorder, taking over-the-counter medications can become complicated and require a psychiatrist or experienced mental health professional to manage possible drug reactions. Those with bipolar disorder often are prescribed more than one medication to treat the disorder – multiple medications increase the chance of drug interactions, even with something as common as an over-the-counter cold medication.

Interactions: Over-the-Counter Meds with Rx Drugs

Doctors check for potential bipolar medication interactions between with other prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, certain foods, vitamins or herbal supplements. If there is a drug interaction warning, your doctor will make the decision as to whether or not the medicine is safe for you to take.

Drug Interactions with Bipolar Medication

Some types of over-the-counter drugs that interact with bipolar disorder medications are:

  • Cold or flu medications containing antihistamines, decongestants and expectorants
  • Sleep aids
  • Diuretics
  • Antacids
  • NSAID pain relievers like Advil, Motrin or Aleve

drug interaction can also occur between multiple prescription meds used to treat bipolar disorder. Working with a specialized bipolar psychiatrist is important to achieve the optimal medication dosages even when you are ill.

Medication Interaction Psychiatrist

Drug interaction psychiatrist Dr. Hege can review your list of prescriptions and recommend safe treatments for your cold or flu. Stopping your prescribed medications can induce withdrawal effect that end up making your common cold much worse. Call the office for an appointment that fits your schedule.

ADHD or Something Else?

ADHD diagnosis can be difficult especially when the signs and symptoms are not easily distinguished from other mental health disorders. ADHD can appear to be depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. A variety of medical and psychiatric disorders can also mimic symptoms of ADHD. Without an accurate diagnosis you may be prescribed medication that not only does not help alleviate symptoms but may worsen the medical mental-health connections.

ADHD Diagnosis

Adult ADHD is typically diagnosed following a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation that considers childhood symptoms, medical history, personal history, and whether there is a history of substance or alcohol abuse. Receiving an accurate careful diagnosis from an experienced ADHD doctor or mental health practitioner is the right start to a successful treatment plan.

Shared Symptoms and Behavioral Patterns

Adult ADHD shares some symptoms and behavioral patterns with those diagnosed with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Many of the same symptoms are shared among the different psychiatric diagnoses. An accurate diagnosis is needed for proper treatment. Psychological studies have indicated that misdiagnosis of those with mood and behavioral disorders are quite common.

Symptoms of ADHD, Depression, Anxiety & Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of ADHD are experienced with varied degrees of severity. Some of the more common symptoms which may point to a diagnosis of adult ADHD include:

  • Difficulty paying attention to details
  • Trouble paying attention to work that requires mental effort
  • Often not listening when others are directly talking to you
  • Problems with organizing tasks and activities
  • Easily distracted or finding oneself daydreaming throughout the day
  • Feeling like you are on the go with difficulty staying seated for any length of time
  • Finds self easily agitated or angered with low tolerance for stressful situations
  • Displaying hyperactive and impulsive behavior, difficulty waiting their turn

Adults with ADHD may not experience a loss of energy or overall feelings of sadness that those with depression may suffer, however those with adult ADHD may become demoralized by their poor performance and frequent criticism from family or supervisors at work. A qualified psychiatrist will make the distinction between clinical depression and demoralization.

Some of the symptoms of depression that may appear as symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering appointments and dates
  • Irritability, restlessness and hostility
  • Feeling anxious with low tolerance for stress
  • Insomnia, waking up too early, or oversleeping
  • Difficulty with problem solving and making decisions
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, and feeling “worn down”
  • Feelings of unhappiness, pessimism, guilt and worthlessness

Those that have both ADHD and anxiety disorder may experience panic attacks, social anxiety and excessive worry. Those with ADHD may exhibit anxiety with worry about their forgetfulness, disorganization, poor ability to complete tasks or follow through on tasks adequately. Anxiety may be exhibited by

  • Persistent restlessness
  • Poor attention
  • Low tolerance for stress
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not being able to relax

A skilled ADHD psychiatrist is able to make the determination between a person that has anxiety with ADHD and a person who has dual diagnoses of ADHD and anxiety disorder.

Bipolar disorder in the mania phase also exhibits symptoms that mimic ADHD complaints such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Racing thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Feelings of exuberance and euphoria
  • Being easily distracted
  • Poor ability to concentrate

Bipolar disorder in the depressive phase may exhibit the same symptoms as are noted in the depression and ADHD section above.

Correct Diagnosis the First Step to Correct Treatment

Make the call to Dr. Hege’s office for a confidential appointment, an expert in diagnostic evaluation and treatment of ADHD and other conditions.

Bipolar Disorder: Adverse Consequences

New research on bipolar disorder presented in the journal Psychiatry Research reports that 100% of patients with bipolar disorder surveyed had experienced adverse consequences related to their disorder.  Having and living with bipolar disorder means everyone who comes in contact with you – family, friends, co-workers, the babysitter or grocery store clerk, are impacted in some way. The impact is tremendous and the consequences can become quite severe.

Living with Bipolar Disorder – Keeping Life in Check

Living with bipolar disorder means that the disorder becomes a close knit companion to every aspect of your life.  To minimize or avoid any adverse consequences there is a daily need to consider how your symptom levels affect the degree of effort exerted to keep behaviors and moods in a state functional for daily living. Even common routine daily living activities such as getting dressed, buying lunch out, or filling up the gas tank require effort.

Bipolar Disorder Examples of Adverse Consequences

Some of the most referenced adverse consequences those with bipolar disorder give are noted below:

  • Losing a partner – Odds are that if you or your partner have bipolar disorder you are 2x more likely than an average couple without bipolar history to divorce. Working to keep a relationship happy and healthy is hard, and adding in a mental illness makes it all the more difficult. When it comes to having a good “give and take balance” in a relationship those with bipolar disorder often require more “take” than they are able to “give,” and this may over time become too difficult for their partner to deal with.
  • Losing a job – Adverse consequences of having a bipolar disorder also include becoming unemployed. Research data has shown some hard statistics that only ½ of bipolar patients are employed at any given time, only 27% hold down a full-time job, their healthcare is more expensive overall, and productivity on the job is lower than those without bipolar disorder. While it is difficult to be consistent on the job when your emotions and behaviors are wavering up and down, being under the treatment of a qualified psychiatrist does give you an upper hand on dealing with the adverse consequences of bipolar disorder.
  • Being absent at work or as a parent/partner  With bipolar disorder there are days when you really cannot “get out of bed and go to work.” The depression can rob you of your energy to produce, work or accomplish even the simplest task. Absenteeism is a problem with bipolar disorder and is one of the common adverse consequences of the disease. Psychiatric management of your diagnosis will help make your daily effort to go “out into the world” more functional and less stressful for you. Following a prescribed regiment of medications and adjunct therapies does work, and it will work for you too.
  • Losing relationships with family – It is not easy to adapt to changes in mood and behavior. Not everyone can cope, and over time feel it is easier to just walk away. Bipolar’s adverse consequences are that mood swings, risky behaviors, mania and depression often leave family and friends confused, exhausted, and afraid that their own responses may trigger an unpredictable outburst or mood swing. Finding the right bipolar psychiatrist that can meet your needs and situation is crucial for a successful outcome.

Make the Call that Leads to Real Help

Help is just a phone call away. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment where your successful treatment for bipolar disorder can put those adverse consequences in check.

Bipolar vs Borderline Personality Disorder

While being diagnosed with the correct mental health disorder is critical for development of a treatment plan which includes medication, thousands of patients receive an incorrect plan, often continuing to struggle through life for years to come. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that in the U.S. 1.6% of the population is diagnosed with BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder compared with 2.6% of the population that have bipolar disorder.

Is it Bipolar or BPD?

When comparing bipolar disorder, which may also be referred to as bipolar affective disorder, manic depressive disorder or manic depression — BPD or borderline personality disorder rivals the deterioration of psychiatric and physical health that is also present in those diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In addition, those with either bipolar or BPD present with co-occurring mental health illness symptoms that overlap each other make it difficult for even those with experience to ascertain which disorder (bipolar or BPD) is actually present.

Bipolar and BPD Share Similar Symptoms

Science Daily reports that clinical comparisons and study have intimated that BPD is as disabling as bipolar disorders. Data from psychiatric patient samples show that BPD is seen as frequently as bipolar disorder and share many of the same overlapping issues. Both bipolar and BPD patients typically suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders and suicidal behaviors.

Bipolar versus BPD

People with bipolar disorder may experience the same mood or phase of their cycle for weeks at a time while those with BPD find themselves dealing with intense bouts of anger, depression and anxiety that are relatively short in duration. Both disorders have similar symptoms such as extreme mood swings, displaying reckless behavior, and being impulsive. While a major defining factor of bipolar disorder involves extreme highs and lows in mood, those with BPD have significant difficulty regulating their emotions and thoughts, at times finding themselves at the extreme destructive ranges of mood.

Diagnosing Bipolar or BPD Correctly

The correct diagnosis is often confusing and tricky for mental health professionals with limited experience. While they may have similar and overlapping symptoms they are completely different disorders that require their own unique treatments and therapeutic plan. Having a correct diagnosis early allows for providing effective treatment more quickly. Misdiagnosis and delay of proper treatment brings with it a higher risk of complications, worsened symptoms, or even risk of suicide.

Dr. Hege, a highly respected psychiatrist in the Atlanta area has more than 25 years of experience providing correct diagnoses and successful treatment plans for those that have sought him out for the help they needed to get their lives back on track. If you too need help, call the office for an appointment.

Treatment for Bipolar and BDP

If Dr. Hege diagnoses bipolar disorder, he is very experienced in providing medication management. He usually also recommends a therapist for supporting and/or insight oriented psychotherapy to enhance the response to treatment. If he diagnoses borderline personality disorder, he refers patients for the most scientifically proven treatment, DBT. DBT is a structured treatment provided by a specially trained therapist. These therapists work in the same office in collaboration with a psychiatrist to provide the most effective, integrated treatments.

Mental Health Self-Assessment

Thousands of people every day wonder if their behavior or emotional state is normal or not. Unfortunately, someone can needlessly suffer for years before their actions or symptoms become out of control and psychiatric help is finally sought.

Mental Health Diagnoses

With more than 200 classified forms of mental health illness, the organization Mental Health Awareness reports that mental health disorders often share similar symptoms. When multiple diagnoses are present, it takes a skilled professional to make an accurate assessment to design an individual treatment plan for recovery.

Following are some of the numerous symptoms and problematic behaviors that indicate further mental health appraisal is in order.

  • Exhibiting frequent and dangerous sexual acting out: The issue may be psychological, emotional or trauma based and include sexting, acting as a prostitute, having sex with multiple partners or wanting an open relationship without boundaries.
  • Displaying frequent physical and/or verbal aggression: Having a “quick temper” or a “difficult personality” does not automatically point to a mental health disorder. Behaviors alerting you to a possible mental health disorder include frequently lashing out in anger at others, being abusive to others (verbal, physical, or sexual abuse), or acting in a manner that jeopardizes your job or living conditions.
  • Planning to harm yourself or commit suicide: All suicidal threats need to be addressed. Threats with a plan need immediate attention.
  • Finding yourself extremely fatigued or depressed: Many have experienced being “worn out” from a hectic work or family week, or feeling sad and depressed about their job, financial situation or relationship. A mental health evaluation may be in order if you suffer for example from chronic sleep disturbance, feel hopeless or helpless, do not care about previously enjoyed activities, have weight gain or weight loss, find yourself irritable with others for no real reason, or finding it more and more difficult just making it through the day.
  • Preoccupation with physical appearance, money or crime: Many in our society may display narcissism yet still be within “normal” ranges. Clinical narcissism on the other hand, interferes with one’s daily life routine. Examples include acting impulsively, gambling beyond your means, displaying risky sexual behaviors including infidelity, substance abuse / addiction, or being extremely vain.  It is time to make an appointment with a psychiatrist for therapeutic intervention.
  • Flashbacks or night terrors: After experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, it is not uncommon to experience flashbacks or night terrors. Flashbacks about such a traumatic event is known as Secondary Trauma which can often be just as upsetting as or more so than the original event.
  • Frequent mood changes: Those that suffer from emotional lability, changing moods, engaging in risky behaviors without restriction, and having intense emotional reactions to normal everyday situations would find receiving the correct mental health diagnosis or the more common dual or combination mental health diagnoses and treatment life changing.

With the multitude of disorders and mental health illness where symptoms may be identical or overlap, a mental health evaluation by a specialist in the field will find the correct diagnosis so that proper treatment can be started.  Call the office for an appointment today.

Unipolar and Bipolar Depression Differences

The majority of time when patients or mental health professionals talk about the diagnosis and treatment of depression, they are referring to unipolar depression. While bipolar depression may be incorrectly diagnosed as unipolar depression, the treatment including medications prescribed are completely different.

Bipolar Disorder Difficult to Diagnose

The correct diagnosis of unipolar or bipolar depression can be missed by inexperienced professionals. When a person with bipolar disorder is in the low phase of their cycle they may be incorrectly diagnosed as having unipolar depression as both types of depression look so similar at that time. ULifeline reports that someone with bipolar depression may experience depressive episodes for years at a time without ever having a period of mania or hypomania, thus never receiving the correct diagnosis and treatment.

The Highs and Lows of Depression 

Those with bipolar depression have periods of time that they experience low moods or depression; however, they also have episodes of high moods or mania where they feel an increased energy, euphoria, impulsive behaviors and insomnia. People who have unipolar depression do not go through the “highs” found with bipolar depression. While both forms of depression can continue for years at a time they both respond to treatment when the proper set of medications are prescribed.

Symptoms of Depression

While any of us may feel sad or depressed for a time, continuing depression and development of associated behaviors point toward the need to seek out professional help. The symptoms of unipolar or bipolar depression that are most common are:

  • Extreme sadness or depressed mood
  • Apathy
  • Low energy levels
  • Feelings of loneliness or withdrawal from family and friends
  • Lack of interest in normally enjoyable activities
  • Sleeping problems (sleeping too much or inability to sleep)
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings

Symptoms of Bipolar Mania

Common symptoms of bipolar mania which may occur after an episode of bipolar depression include:

  • Behaviors exhibited of being happy or euphoric, confident, energetic and productive
  • Racing thoughts and/or fast speech
  • Decreased need for sleep along with not feeling tired
  • Irritability, agitation, and aggression
  • Impulsive behaviors (i.e., sexual escapades, spending sprees, heavy gambling, abuse of illegal drugs or over-the-counter medications)
  • Displaying high-risk behaviors with poor judgment
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating on a task or activity

Unipolar and Bipolar Depression Medication

Having the correct diagnosis in place is critical. While antidepressants are used to treat depression a person with bipolar depression who takes an antidepressant may find the medication triggering a dangerous manic episode. Bipolar depression requires a different set of pharmaceuticals, most commonly a mood stabilizer and anti-manic medications.

Unipolar and Bipolar Atlanta Psychiatrist

A skilled psychiatrist will design your treatment regime to fit you and your needs after a comprehensive evaluation for a correct diagnosis. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment and help find the correct diagnosis.

Major Psych Disorders Genetically Linked

Adult ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia and Autism have been genetically linked in the world’s largest study of its kind. Research found that a person’s genome, the complete set of their own DNA, for the above listed psychiatric disorders can be traced back to the same common inherited genetic risk factors. These studies have been intensive, involving countries all around the world and a database of more than 60,000 participants.

Studying the Genetic Link with Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that the common genetic code variations account for up to 28% risk for developing the illness. The DNA-Gene code exhibits four regions of the genetic code where variation was linked to all five disorders. Bipolar disorder is noted in the top two areas of overlap with the highest combination of bipolar-depression, and bipolar-schizophrenia. Adult ADHD and depression show a moderate risk factor as well as well as being the category where the majority of patients go for psychiatric help.

Genetic, Dual Diagnosis and Treatment

Discovering your true diagnosis is key to living a functional life rather than forever guessing what might be wrong. A comprehensive mental health evaluation will allow experts to plan out the proper treatment, medications, cognitive behavioral therapy and other adjunct therapies if indicated. Bipolar disorder and depression overlapping 10% of genetic variation accounts for significant numbers of those with a dual diagnosis receiving only a piece of the treatment puzzle.

Statistics show that inheritability is 80% with schizophrenia using long-term twin and family studies and 23% where the common genetic variation is accounted for. When two psychiatric disorders overlap through shared common inherited genetic risk variations is when choosing a qualified and experienced psychiatrist becomes critical.

Give the office a call today – evening and weekend appointments are available to fit your busy life.