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Abnormal Behavior and Failure to Function

There is no sharp line between what is considered normal or abnormal behavior; however, mental health professionals often look at how a person is able to function in society. When a person is unable to cope with life demands or perform the behaviors and tasks necessary for daily living, such as self-care, or meaningful interaction with others, they may be described as exhibiting abnormal or dysfunctional behavior.

Abnormal Behavior and Failure to Function

The following characteristics can be used to determine if a person is displaying a failure to function adequately. While experiencing any one from the list below may indicate the person may benefit from a psychological assessment and possible treatment, displaying several of these behaviors may be causing enough of a disruption in life that other people are recommending either medical or psychiatric evaluation.

  • Maladaptive behaviors or being a danger to themselves or others
  • Unpredictability and loss of control
  • Irrational behavior
  • Behaviors that cause others to be uncomfortable
  • Feeing personally distressed over behaviors
  • Behaviors that violate social, cultural, or moral standards
  • Feeling like you are suffering emotionally
  • Expressing incomprehensible or distorted thoughts or ideas
  • Behaviors or ideas that occur only rarely in society

Normal Behaviors in Comparison to Abnormal Ones

It is sometimes easier to define what is normal and look at what deviates from that point.  When looking at characteristics considered necessary to mental health the following list includes criteria that can be regarded as a base point for normal or ideal:

  • Positive view of self
  • The capability for growth and development of self
  • Feeling of autonomy and independence
  • Accurate perception of reality
  • Positive friendships and relationships
  • Ability to meet the changing demands of day-to-day life situations

Abnormal Psychiatric Evaluations

If you or your loved ones feel you are having difficulty functioning in daily life, are finding your behaviors and thoughts distressing, or are experiencing trouble in social situations, call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment today and bring your life back to a comfortable place.

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.

Professionals in Mental Health Need to Match Your Need

There are numerous choices to make when looking to find mental health professionals that can meet your needs in developing a successful treatment plan. There are over six different mental health professions with dozens of variations on the type or types of services they offer. It can be a confusing time deciding who to call, who is the right therapist for your needs, or figuring out just what type of mental health provider you do need.

Similarities and Differences among Mental Health Professionals

All mental health professionals who work with or treat individuals or groups, whether in a hospital, out-patient setting, group practice, or in private practice must hold a license to practice. Each state has its own specific rules and regulations for licensure for each type of profession that works directly with patients. The biggest difference found between the different types of mental health professionals can be found in the specialty or focus area and their educational background or degree held.

Mental Health Professionals

There are several different types of mental health providers to choose from when looking to find the right therapist or counselor for you. Some of the different types of professionals available in your community are:

  • Psychiatrist – A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and the only mental health professional that is not only a specialist in mental health care, but one which can prescribe medications. While your family doctor can also prescribe mental health medications they do not hold the background or specialized training and degree for the treatment of mental health disorders. A psychiatrist may also include adjunct services such as cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy or support groups as part of your individual plan.
  • Psychologist – A psychologist may practice psychotherapy and usually has a doctorate degree, but not a medical degree. Their training may require thousands of hours of training and clinical experience that can include the diagnosis, psychological assessment, psychotherapy, individual, marriage and family counseling. In some states and settings a psychologist may hold a master’s degree and practice under specific guidelines.
  • Clinical Social Worker – A clinical social worker generally have a master’s degree in social work for a M.S.W. and will show L.C.S.W. if they are practiced in providing psychotherapy services. While a clinical social worker may work in private practice they are often found working in a hospital, mental health agency, or in conjunction with a psychiatrist.
  • Psychiatric Nurses – These nurses are registered nurses (RN) who have received specialized psychiatric training where they may provide some forms of psychotherapy. Psychiatric nurses are most typically found in a mental health facility or agency or working with psychiatrists or psychologists.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist – These therapists may hold a master’s degree but rules and regulations vary from state to state, where they may be practicing with a more limited degree and experience. In choosing a marriage and family therapist it is important to check on their educational background as well as experience and training received with mental health disorders.

Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

In addition to medication, psychiatrists may also choose to engage you in psychotherapy, whether in a group or through adjunct services connected to their practice. Some common types of psychotherapy offered include cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and psychodynamic therapy to name a few. Your psychiatrist will make the determination as to what your treatment program will include following a comprehensive assessment of your concerns and issues.

Choose the mental health professional who can meet all of your needs. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment – evening and weekend appointments available.

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.

Binge Eating Disorder Managed With Vyvanse

Binge Eating Disorder, B.E.D., is the most common eating disorder affecting 1% to 5% of adults in the America. According to the National Eating Disorders Association about 50% of those with B.E.D. are either overweight or obese, however being diagnosed with B.E.D. involves more than just overeating. Only a trained and qualified health care professional can make the appropriate diagnosis and then develop the correct treatment plan that will be successful.

Cause of Binge Eating Disorder

With research and recent medical advances the exact cause of B.E.D. remains uncertain. There is some evidence that Binge Eating Disorder may be hereditary with the disorder linked to family genetics. There are some hypotheses that B.E.D. is caused by certain brain chemicals, or even certain life experiences such as life-threatening accidents or natural disasters.

Diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder

The diagnosis of B.E.D. is very specific and all of the following symptoms must be present for a true and accurate diagnosis:

  • Regularly eating far more amounts of food than an average person would be able to eat in a similar time period
  • Feeling that the amount of food eaten is out of control during a binge
  • Becoming very upset by the episode(s) of binge eating
  • Binge eating typically occurs at least 1x/week over a 3-month period
  • Those with Binge Eating Disorder do not try to correct their excessive eating habits by throwing up or by over-exercising; B.E.D. is not part of another type of eating disorder.

In addition to meeting all of the criteria above, at least three or more of the following symptoms must also be present for an appropriate diagnosis:

  • Eating extremely fast
  • Eating beyond the feeling of being full
  • Eating large amounts of food when not hungry
  • Eating alone to hide how much is being eaten
  • Feeling bad about oneself after a binge has occurred

Degree of Binge Eating Disorder Exhibited

Along with an accurate diagnosis is the determination of the severity of the B.E.D. which your doctor will utilize in the development of an effective treatment program.  There are four levels of this disorder:

  • Mild degree with 1 to 3 binge eating episodes exhibited a week
  • Moderate degree with from 4 to 7 binge eating episodes a week
  • Severe degree where 8 to 13 episodes are reported each week
  • Extreme degree with 14 or more binge eating episodes every week

Treatment for B.E.D.

Vyvanse is the first and only medication approved to treat moderate to severe adult Binge Eating Disorder. Vyvanse (lisdexametamine dimesylate) is a prescription medication that your psychiatrist may choose to utilize in the treatment of your eating disorder. Following a comprehensive evaluation, an individualized treatment plan will be developed that may include Vyvanse, cognitive behavioral therapy, adjunct therapy, or support groups.

Binge Eating Disorder Psychiatrist

For qualified experienced care in the diagnosis and treatment of B.E.D., call the office of Dr. Hege to get your eating under control. It is time to enjoy life without the hidden struggle of binge eating.

Depression and Fast Food: An Overlooked Cause

With almost 16 million adults in the U.S. experiencing at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, depression is one of the most common mental health disorders diagnosed in this country. The Anxiety and Depression Association (ADAA) report that approximately 7% of all American adults experience a major form of depression every year. More than 50% or more than 8 million adults may be struggling with depression because they are eating a fast food diet.

Fast Food and Depression

While most will agree a diet of fast food is not good for a healthy lifestyle; it is a quick, easy and tasty fix to grabbing a fast meal that also fills you up. Two different university studies, with an initial study starting in 2011 analyzed data from almost 9,000 participants who had never been diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants. The data results showed that those who did eat fast food were 51% more likely to develop depression than those that ate little to no fast food.

Link Between Fast Food and Depression

Both previously mentioned research studies also demonstrated that there was a link between fast food and depression which was dose responsive; greater quantities of fast food eaten resulted in a greater risk for the development and diagnosis of depression. Even eating small amounts of fast food was linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression.

Drive Through Versus Sit Down Food

In our fast paced society, we may find it almost impossible to follow a strict holistic or organic diet. Even those restaurants that we feel provide a more nutritious menu still offer “fast food” entrees and side dishes such as fries, hash browns, subs, specialty desserts, and pizza. The University of Illinois reported in a study that the total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium intake were substantially larger when full-service restaurant food was consumed away from home.

Depression Treatment Recommended

No matter what kind of diet you are eating, getting help for your depression is the best choice and recommended option for living your life to the fullest. A comprehensive mental health evaluation will provide an accurate diagnosis of the type of depression you have and allow treatment to begin immediately. Nutrition plays a big role. Changing your eating habits and lifestyle can be addressed throughout your depression treatment. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Weight Gain or Mental Illness: Which Came First?

While the medications used to treat mental illness typically promote weight gain, there are also other factors that come into play. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that over 80% of adults diagnosed with mental illness also face the battle of keeping to a healthy weight. Medications do cause weight gain by changing the body’s metabolic processes as well as the perception of being hungry or full. Weight gain is such a serious concern for those taking psychiatric medication that it is often the major reason for patients to stop taking their prescribed medicine, ending an otherwise effective treatment plan.

Obesity and Mental Health Bring Health Issues

Weight gain related to mental health prescription drugs brings more than obesity as a health issue to the table. Obesity among those with mental illness surprisingly contribute to a mortality rate that is almost 3x that of the general adult population. Weight gain and obesity can also lead to high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, heart failure and a multitude of other ailments and complaints.

Mental Health Illness’ Contribution to Weight Gain

Many of the complex symptoms related to mental illness can directly or indirectly contribute to the process of gaining weight. For example, some symptoms of depression include fatigue, lack of interest or motivation; these affect their desire to exercise which promotes a slowed metabolism turning those unused calories into fat. Patients with impulse control tend to eat and drink large amounts where the extra calories are not burned off on a regular basis. Patients with social anxiety disorder may avoid exercise around others, or avoid eating nutritious foods in favor of the anonymous fast food drive through line. Others may eat to help themselves through painful thoughts and emotions.

Which Came First? Weight Gain or Mental Illness

Research studies by University College in London, England on weight gain and mental illness report that those people who had symptoms of mental illness at the start of the study were more likely than those without a mental illness to become overweight and obese over time. Obesity however did not significantly increase the risk for developing a mental health disorder.

Psychiatric Medications and Gaining Weight

The following medications with the highest potential for gaining weight with use:

  • Clozaril, Seroquel, and Zyprexa – antipsychotic medications that increase insulin resistance and lead to weight gain
  • Remeron – an antidepressant that is also used to help those who need to gain weight
  • Depakote – used in the treatment of bipolar disorder
  • Paxil – 25% of users may put on considerable weight especially when used for a year or more
  • Sinequan, Tofranil, Pamelor – older antidepressant medications which can cause short and long term weight gain
  • Nardil, Parnate, Marplan – MAOI’s which also can cause considerable gain in weight over time

Medication Specialist

Mental health disorders and weight gain may seem to go hand in hand, especially when certain psychiatric medications are prescribed. Working with a psychiatrist with decades of experience can help you live a full, satisfying and healthy life. Call the office today.

 

Holiday Depression Dampens the Spirit

During this time of good cheer, bright and colorful decorations, advertisements and commercials showing happy times seemingly enjoyed by all except for maybe you, makes being depressed all that more noticeable to others and to one’s self.  Signs of holiday depression or sadness may bring comments like “Don’t be a Grinch,” or being called “Scrooge,” which certainly do not help cheer you up at all.

Holidays Not Always A Happy Time

The months of November and December may not be in reality so cheerful. The store window dressings, magazine decorating articles, food ads, and holiday shows belie what may really be going on in people’s lives. The end of the year is often extremely stressful trying to plan for the holidays with limited finances, end of year deadlines and responsibilities. In addition, social work events, poor eating and drinking habits, or dealing with increased family stress also occur. Add holiday stress on top of dealing with the loss of a loved one during increasingly cold and dark winter days, and holiday depression finds its way into thousands of lives.

Sadness or Depression

It can be normal to be sad or depressed at any time of the year. The stress of the holidays may trigger sadness or depression for many. Seeing others happy and cheerful, full of generous spirit, may make one feel there is something wrong with them if they do not feel that way. During the months of November and December the stress and anxiety experienced may cause those who are normally content with their lives to experience loneliness, a lack of fulfillment, sadness or depression.

Signs of Holiday Depression

The most common signs of depression are crying, loss of interest in usual activities, fatigue, social withdrawal, feelings of sadness, thoughts of being worthless; additionally, irritability, changes in sleep, weight, appetite, blaming oneself or feeling guilty about a situation or event are commonly seen. These symptoms can come and go during the year. If they become severe or last for more than a couple weeks, it may be more than the holidays causing this. It is time to get professional help, turn your life around letting some joy back into your life.

Statistics of Holiday Depression

Part of feeling depressed can come from being alone, or from having limited support of family and friends. In the U.S. 43% of adults are single and 27% live alone. With senior citizens 17% are single, divorced or widowed over the age of 65 often with health and mobility issues. Women have twice the risk as men for depression. After development of heart disease, depression is the next most debilitating illness for women, 10th for men.

Holiday Depression Help

Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but some people find them anything but happy times. Call the office for a confidential appointment to determine if you have seasonal affective depression, a bout of the blues, or are clinically depressed. Help is available. Call today.

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.

10 Behaviors that Indicate a Mental Health Problem

People with quirky or eccentric personalities may be more interesting or fun to be around, but when their behaviors become too extreme or negatively impact their lives, there may be something else at play, including the possibility of a mental health disorder. In the U.S., about one in five adults, or almost 44 million people exhibit the occurrence of a mental illness every year.

Signs and Behaviors of Mental Health Issues

You may feel that you are unique and different, or even having a personality that is often misunderstood – when do those thoughts change over to questioning if you need to see a psychiatrist? There are certain behaviors and signs that do signal a need to see a mental health practitioner – if you recognize any of the following in yourself it does not mean you are disturbed or crazy, but rather that your life may be able to benefit from an aspect of mental health guidance and treatment.

  • Difficulty coping with life on a day to day basis, having irrational fears
  • Intense anxiety where every worry is “super-sized” and worst case scenario is expected
  • Feeling overcome with sadness, or feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis that affects your ability to function
  • Unexplained and recurrent headaches, stomach-aches or a rundown immune system
  • Using a substance to cope with daily life; use of alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or other illicit activities to numb emotional pain
  • Have impulsive or obvious mood swings
  • Cannot shake the impact of recent or past traumatic events
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting one self
  • Serious anger issues, significant irritability, hostility, rage and frequent outbursts of anger
  • Distorted body image along with a highly troubled relationship with food and eating

Help is a Phone Call Away

While the list above does not cover all the mental health issues or concerns a person may have, it does highlight some of the most common behaviors and signs that a comprehensive evaluation by a skilled psychiatrist may provide a diagnosis for. Mental health disorders are treatable. Call for an appointment.