Empty Nest Depression

For thousands of parents, the end of summer also brings the arrival of “the empty nest syndrome,” when one or more children leave home for college. Middle age brings many life changes one of which is having to discover living a new lifestyle – an “empty nest” one.  A parent may experience sadness, grief, loss, and loneliness when the children leave home; for many, these negative feelings may linger on, developing into depression.

Treatment for Empty Nest Depression

It is normal to feel sadness, grief and loss when a child leaves home; however, when those emotions interfere with your daily life it is imperative to seek professional help. Empty nest syndrome’s emotions, fears and depression are treatable. This can be a time to enjoy new freedom in your life as well as realizing that without having a child at home there are new adventures waiting just ahead.

Seek Help with Severe Symptoms

Painful emotions and feelings that become stronger and more severe signal that it is time to seek professional help. Following is a list of symptoms that may occur during empty nest syndrome depression – if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, call for mental health help:

  • Excessive crying
  • Feeling that your life is now useless with nothing left to live for
  • Avoidance of friends; relationships damaged
  • Calling in at work; job performance impaired
  • Losing your sense of identity
  • Mood related changes in appetite
  • Constant worry and anxiety over child’s welfare
  • Insomnia, low energy and poor concentration
  • Finding no joy in life any longer
  • Looking for solace in alcohol and drugs
  • Thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself

Empty Nest Syndrome Help

If you experience symptoms of depression that are interfering with your life, call the office to set up a confidential appointment. Learn to manage your symptoms to begin enjoying life once again.


EEG Biofeedback and Adult ADHD

EEG Biofeedback or Neurotherapy is a relatively new technique that has provided patients positive results when included as part of their therapeutic treatment plan. Mental health professionals have found that EEG Biofeedback delivers individual benefits for those diagnosed with adult ADHD. Many patients often report benefits that rival ADHD medications such as Adderall or Ritalin, with positive results lasting for years, allowing these patients to remain medication free.

What is Neurofeedback or EEG Biofeedback?

The terms of Neurofeedback or EEG Biofeedback are interchangeable, describing treatment that utilizes a computer to measure brainwave activity or the electrical activity of the brain while thinking about or performing specific tasks. This feedback is presented initially on a computer monitor, where through training and practice, a person learns how to change the manner in which their brain functions. The goal of EEG Biofeedback with adult ADHD is to teach a person how to produce a mental state that is not only appropriate to a situation, but allows them to use it on a daily basis to exhibit successful behaviors at home, work, school or social situations.

Neurofeedback Clinic near Atlanta

Dr. Darvin Hege, an adult ADHD psychiatrist, works closely with CRG – Cognitive Rehab of Georgia for those patients that need adjunct therapy added to their comprehensive ADHD treatment plan. Dr. Hege provides his decades of experience in developing and strategizing an individual mental health treatment plan that works, referring to a select few medical associates in the community.

Meeting Unique Needs of Adults with ADHD

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential comprehensive evaluation. The unique needs for adults with ADHD are covered through use of multiple interventions that may include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, EEG Biofeedback and other compensatory strategies in designing a treatment plan that is as individual as you are.

Mental Health Issues in Diabetes Overlooked

Diabetes has numerous co-morbidities associated with it such as the most common ones of obesity, hypertension, fatty liver disease, cancer, and obstructive sleep apnea. An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association notes that among the wide range of comorbidities associated with diabetes, mental health issues are most often overlooked even when these same issues have the potential to compromise self-management of diabetic control, increasing the risk for serious complications which include amputations, stroke, blindness and premature death.

Statistics of Adverse Effects of Mental Health on Diabetes Outcomes

Even though there are potential adverse effects of mental health issues on diabetic outcomes and national healthcare costs, only one-third of patients with these co-existing conditions will receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment. An example that depicts the prevalence of mental health illness that is associated with diabetes are the rates of major depressive disorder; this common disorder affects 6.7% of adults in the U.S., yet for those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes the percentage rate of diagnosed major depressive disorder is 2 times greater.

Anxiety Disorders Also Commonly Found in Diabetic Management

Panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are also common mental health issues associated with diabetes whether or not comorbid depression is also present. When anxiety symptoms overlap symptoms of hypoglycemia, patients may become confused, not knowing whether the symptoms are anxiety based or if the problem is low blood glucose levels that need immediate treatment.

Mental Health Treatment and Diabetic Comorbidities

The mental health comorbidities of diabetes are treatable. Successful treatment is dependent upon a timely referral to a mental health provider for diagnosis and treatment. A skilled psychiatrist understands the relationship between your medical status and your mental health needs. Call the office for a comprehensive evaluation and establishment of an accurate treatment plan.

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.

Depression is More Than a Mental Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6.7 percent of adults in the United States have depression. Major depression is also called major depressive illness or clinical depression. Major depression is a serious medical condition that has a dramatic effect on your quality of life. Depression is more than a mental disorder as it affects the whole body, affecting one’s physical health and well-being.

Research Shows Depression as Systemic Disease

Science Daily reports in a research article released March 2016 that depression causes alterations in the body’s reaction to stress with such wide ranging effects that it needs to be considered a systemic disease that affects the whole person’s physical health and mental health. Research has shown the significant association depression has with cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and early mortality. Research may also be useful in finding new therapeutic means for the prevention and treatment of the disorder and disease.

Treatment Lowers Risk of Systemic Disease

Harvard Medical School’s study of depression and the link to physical health concerns show that recurrence of cardiovascular problems is linked more closely to depression than to smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Left untreated, depression raises the risk of dying after a heart attack. In addition, depression and stress may affect one’s immune system making your body more vulnerable to development of infections and other diseases. Treatment does bring health issues back into normal ranges.

Effects on the Body

While depression is a mental disorder, but it can also impact on your physical health in the following ways:

  • Cognitive Changes (inability to concentrate, memory issues, decision making issues)
  • Weight Problems (over-eating, binging, poor appetite, digestive problems, cramps)
  • Constricted Blood Vessels (increased blood pressure and cardiovascular stress)
  • Weakened Immune System (increased susceptibility to infections and diseases)
  • Aches and Pains (headaches, chronic body aches, pain that does not respond to meds)
  • Heart Attack Outcome
  • Overwhelming Fatigue
  • Insomnia (altered sleeping patterns)

Health Evaluation

Call the area’s psychiatrist who not only has decades of experience in treating depression, but the psychiatrist who is up-to-date on new research data and in treating the body as a whole. Treat your depression and health issues to bring good health and happiness back into your life. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Empty Nest Syndrome, Depression, and Anxiety

Empty nest syndrome typically refers to the feelings of depression, grief, sadness or anxiety experienced by parents when their children, especially their last child leaves home for college, a job or marriage. While women predominantly make up the majority of those dealing with empty nest syndrome, men can also experience similar feelings of loss when their children leave home.

Empty Nest Syndrome and Depression or Anxiety Disorder

Empty nest syndrome may be responsible for feeling sad or depressed. These feelings are normal during this time of change. Feeling anxious as your child moves on to start their life away from home is also a normal reaction to experience. It is not normal however to let those feelings interfere with your daily life. Men and women who find themselves weighed down by loneliness, sadness, and negative emotions may develop depression which requires professional help.

Effects of Additional Life Changes

While dealing with the symptoms and depression associated with empty nest syndrome other factors can come into play that makes a parent even more vulnerable to developing clinical depression. Additional life changes include grieving for loss of a loved one, caring for an elderly frail parent, coming to terms with their place in the changing workforce, or facing retirement and any financial constraints that go along with that. Women have an additional strain as the empty nest syndrome often occurs along with perimenopause and menopause and their own challenge of living with fluctuating hormones.

Monitor Empty Nest Symptoms

It is important to keep track of your reactions and how long they may last. If you find yourself crying excessively, unable to function at work or with your daily routine, fearful and anxious about not knowing what your child is doing or if they are safe, or find yourself withdrawing from friends or family, please seek professional help. Depression and anxiety are treatable.

Empty Nest Psychiatrist

Making an appointment with a qualified psychiatrist will help you change the overwhelming sadness into excitement for your child’s new life adventures, and how you can continue to be an active part of their lives now and into the future. Call for a confidential appointment today.

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.

Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem in the U.S. with the National Institute of Drug Abuse estimating that 20% of the U.S. population have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at some point in their lives. With data only looking at those who have overdosed on prescribed medication and have been abusing them, the numbers point to more than 8 million citizens with a prescription drug addiction at any one time.

What is Prescription Drug Addiction?

Addiction causes compulsive drug seeking and use even when harmful consequences are involved. While many may think of illegal drugs when talking about a drug addiction, the number of “legal addicts,” or those with a prescription drug addiction continue to rise. Abusing drugs whether legal or illegal, lead to changes in the brain’s structure and function which have a negative impact on one’s personal or professional life. Addiction is a chronic often relapsing brain disorder.

Common Medications of Prescription Drug Addiction

There are three classes of medications that are typically abused with prescription drug addiction taking over a person’s life. The three classes are 1) opioids, 2) stimulants, and 3) central nervous system depressants.

  • Opioids – may be used effectively to treat pain on a short term basis; used long-term they may lead to prescription drug addiction and physical dependence. Over-use can easily lead to a life threatening overdose. Prescription medications properly prescribed and taken are not an addiction, however if the need for more and more opioids begins to take a front seat in your life it may be time to seek help. Working with a qualified addiction psychiatrist is the best option for breaking the hold prescription drug addiction has on you.
  • Stimulants – may be used to treat medical issues of ADHD, ADD, depression, narcolepsy and numerous other problems. Working with an experienced mental health professional the use of these medications has proven effective for millions of people with a specific diagnosis such as ADHD, ADD, or depression for example. Using these medications for enjoyment can quickly turn into a difficult to stop prescription drug addiction. It may even be possible that these medications may be what the doctor prescribes after a comprehensive evaluation.
  • Central nervous system depressants – medications such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin or Ativan may be used to treat anxiety, panic, insomnia, and sleep disorders. These medications work by decreasing brain activity resulting in a calm or drowsy state. These medications can quickly become both physically and psychologically addicting and are prescribed on a short-term basis if at all possible. Having a seasoned prescription drug addiction doctor working with you is the top choice when your well-being, mental and physical health are involved.

Local Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction

Help is as close as your phone. Give our office a call to set up an appointment.

Hidden Depression: Common Cold of Mental Illness

National statistics show that depression affects one out of every 10 U.S. adults, however those numbers are argued to be way off the real mark. Besides the adults who do not admit to being depressed, will not report their depression or seek help, there are large segments of the U.S. population that do not even realize they are going through life suffering from depression. These people have hidden depression or concealed depression. In fact, depression affects so many adults that it has been coined the common cold of mental illness.

Hidden Depression May be Different for Everyone

Depression is something that everyone may experience at one or several points in their life. Depression is part of a normal process when dealing with a loss, changes in life, sadness, loneliness, or any number of stressful situations or events. Hidden depression for one is not the same depression for another. Hidden depression may have different levels of severity and may be exhibited in a variety of ways – often subtle changes that may not be recognized as depression.

Signs and Symptoms of Hidden Depression

Becoming aware of hidden depression is as important as becoming aware of your individual signs and symptoms that signal the occurrence or recurrence of depression. Seeking out help once you understand how hidden depression is affecting not only your life, but how it impacts on your relationships, social groups, job performance, and plans for the future. Untreated depression does not “just go away” with time. The signs and symptoms may decrease, but may come back with even more life disruption at any time.

Hidden Depression’s Small Signs Very Individual

Hidden depression symptoms or signs do not have to include crying episodes, feelings of extreme sadness, lethargy, or the inability to get up and go to work every day. Very often adults with hidden depression may just feel they are having an “off” or “bad” day that may last for weeks or longer.

Examples of some small signs could include not getting your hair cut for months, no longer bothering to color the gray hair, no longer caring to make your bed, eating foods you normally avoid, wearing old sweat pants out to dinner and other “small personal signs” that are a change from what you would normally do or never do.

More Noticeable Signs of Hidden Depression

While many hidden depression signs and symptoms are easy to miss, with small changes in behavior from what was “normal,” the following signs may be more recognizable as a symptom of depression:

  • Unusual sleep, eating or drinking habits from what would be considered normal for you: not sleeping enough, over-sleeping, overeating, avoiding foods with loss of weight, drinking too much, no longer drinking, or loss of interest in social activities and hobbies may all signal a depressed mood.
  • Living life behind a constant smile or “mask” of happiness. Hidden depression signs may include avoiding spending time with family and friends, making excuses for not meeting friends out, or not participating in previously loved pursuits. Avoidance is related to the amount of effort it takes to appear happy – spending time with those that know you makes “wearing the mask of happiness” harder and harder to do.
  • Admitting they are depressed, making an appointment for help, or sharing their sometimes dark thoughts, only to have the feelings taken back, appointments cancelled, and telling others it was all a joke or was not real. Those with hidden depression struggle with these “lapses” in letting other see their “weakness” so they close up again.
  • Exhibit their emotions strongly when they normally do not behave in that manner. This could include uncharacteristic behaviors such as road rage, crying over commercials or emotional parts of a movie, or freely expressing their love or caring for others when this would be considered “strange” behavior by those who know you.

There are numerous other examples of hidden depression and its effect on your life. Working with an experienced depression psychiatrist is the best first step to take to make the change in your life that will leave you feeling more fulfilled, hopeful for the future, and truly happy for maybe the first time in your life.

Contact Us

If you or someone you care about has suspected depression, call the office for a confidential appointment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Winter Blues

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a subtype of major depression that comes and goes based on seasons. SAD typically begins to affect people as early as September as fall develops and can continue on through early April. There is also an opposite pattern where seasonal affective disorder symptoms begin in the spring or summer. No matter when the seasonal pattern begins, the symptoms start out mild and become more and more disruptive as the season continues.

Statistics of Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD affects an estimated 10 million Americans, with another 2-million who have mild seasonal affective disorder. SAD is about four times more common in women than men. While people of all ages can develop seasonal affective disorder, the average age when this illness first develops is 23 years of age.

SAD and Major Depression

Since seasonal affective disorder is a subtype of major depression that tends to “follow the seasons,” the symptoms of major depression that may also be a part of SAD include:

  • Being depressed most of the day, generally most every day
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated, having low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Fall and Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter onset SAD is also called winter depression. Symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue, tiredness
  • Crying spells
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Body aches
  • Irritability and problems getting along with others
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling like your body is weighing you down
  • Overeating and weight gain with cravings for carbohydrates
  • Being hypersensitive to rejection or criticism

Spring and Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder

Summer onset SAD is sometimes called summer depression. Symptoms reported for this subtype of major depression include:

  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Irritability, agitation, or anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Crying spells

Seasonal Affective Disorder Help 

Feeling “blue” can happen to anyone, however, if you find your “blue” day extending into a longer period of time with other symptoms mentioned above, it could very well be time to seek out help from a qualified mental health professional.

Dr. Hege, an Atlanta based seasonal affective disorder psychiatrist is just a phone call away from the help you need. Put an end to SAD and call the office today.