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PTSD Diagnosis Affects 1 in 11 Adults

PTSD diagnosis affects an estimated one out of every eleven adults at some point in their lifetime, yet research data shows that those with PTSD seek treatment less than with other mental health issues. Only one in three adults will access treatment within the year after meeting the criteria for having PTSD.

PTSD Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Post-traumatic stress disorder requires exposure to an event that involved actual or possible threat of death, violence, or serious injury, from situations that include natural disaster, a serious accident, or acts of violence. Exposure to the event can be through direct experience, being witness to the event happening to others, discovering that someone close to you was impacted by the traumatic event, or through repeated exposure to graphic details of the traumatic events.

PTSD Diagnosis Impacts Function

Those who may have PTSD typically continue to have intense or disturbing thoughts and feelings long after the event occurred which cause significant problems in ability to function, negatively impacting behaviors and interpersonal relationships in social situations, work settings, and home life.

PTSD Diagnosis Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD that may lead up to seeking help include the following:

  • Physical Pain – PTSD symptoms very often begin with common physical complaints that include headaches, migraines, fatigue, chest pain, breathing issues, digestive upset
  • Nightmares or Flashbacks – Commonly reported, re-living the traumatic even can occur in waking images with sensations of physical and emotional pain, fear. Flashbacks to the event may cause sleeping difficulties as well as anxiety when leaving the safety of their home or familiar surroundings
  • Mental phobias – these behaviors may lead to irrational and persistent fear, avoidance, paranoia, depression, or anxiety, related to certain objects, people, or situations, that remind one of the traumatic event
  • Repression – Intentional blocking of memories associated with a past traumatic event or experience is also a PTSD diagnosis symptom. Pictures, memorabilia, music, or newspaper clippings, for example may be destroyed or thrown away.
  • Emotional Numbing – Numbing emotional pain and feelings can lead to gradual withdrawal and isolation from social circles and interpersonal relationships. Numbing may be through self-denial of feelings or through substance abuse and other risk-taking behaviors.
  • Hyper-arousal – For those with PTSD it is common to feel “on edge” or “jumpy” making it difficult to relax. Fear of threats or injury often make those with PTSD easily frightened.
  • Irritability – For those with PTSD, being in a state of constant fear and paranoia may cause extreme PTSD-associated irritability, sleeplessness, lack of concentration, indecisiveness, and difficulty maintaining personal relationships.
  • Guilt and Shame – PTSD symptoms include immense shame and guilt when it becomes impossible to get past the negative traumatic experience and move forward with their life. Many with PTSD relive the event wondering how they could have prevented it from happening, or blaming themselves for the tragedy.

PTSD Diagnostic Psychiatrist

Help and treatment is available. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive and confidential evaluation. Take the steps needed to move forward with your life and end the fear and suffering that has taken control of your life.

 

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.

CBT Non-Medication Option with Psychiatric Management

CBT, cognitive behavior therapy, has been found to be effective over hundreds of clinical trials as part of a comprehensive treatment program for many different mental health disorders. CBT focuses on the present, where the goal is to change patterns of thinking, or specific behaviors (cognitive processes), that have negatively impacted one’s life. CBT works to develop skills that can be used for a lifetime – skills where distorted thinking can be identified, beliefs modified, interaction and relationship skills enhanced, or destructive behaviors changed for the positive.

CBT and Mental Health Disorders

Cognitive behavior therapy is successfully used in the treatment of a wide range of issues including major depressive disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, substance abuse, ADHD, generalized anxiety, eating disorders, specific phobias, and numerous other mental health issues. Working with an experienced psychiatrist who is able to refer to qualified CBT providers allows for a fully personalized and individualized approach with the highest reported treatment success.

Medication and CBT

Working with a psychiatrist dedicated to providing the optimal care for his patients allows for the option to receive treatment with or without the use of medication. While some respond to treatment without the use of any medications, many disorders may respond better to a combination of both medication and cognitive behavior therapy – your psychiatrist will determine what strategies and treatment plan will best meet your specific needs and concerns.

CBT Focus in Treatment

Cognitive behavior therapists may need some information about past history, however the emphasis surrounds one’s current life. The focus of CBT is on moving forward, developing effective coping methods, learning to change ways of negative or destructive behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.

CBT Treatment Strategies

Throughout the course of cognitive behavior therapy, efforts are made to change problematic patterns of thinking, behavioral patterns, or prepare for problematic social interactions. Some of the strategies utilized may include:

  • Learning problem solving skills to cope with difficult or feared situations
  • Developing an improved sense of confidence in one’s self
  • Gaining a better understanding of how other’s behaviors may affect you
  • Learn to recognize and identify distorted thoughts that create problems
  • Learn how to evaluate inaccurate thoughts and feelings to make changes
  • Facings fears instead of avoiding them
  • Role play difficult situations or interactions
  • Learn relaxation techniques and strategies
  • Challenging one’s beliefs
  • Journaling or reflective writing exercises
  • Social, physical, and cognitive exercises related to emotional and behavioral patterns

CBT Referrals with Psychiatric Management

Atlanta based psychiatrist Dr. Hege is ready to provide comprehensive mental health evaluation and treatment planning which may include medication management and referral to a qualified network of cognitive behavior therapists in the community. Call the office for a confidential appointment offered at a time convenient to meet your lifestyle and needs.

 

Late Diagnosis Adult ADHD Promotes Positive Change

Late diagnosis for many with ADHD or ADD does not happen until adulthood even though their symptoms have been present, in one form or another, since childhood. Undiagnosed and untreated ADHD can lead to a lifetime of emotional turmoil and difficulty.

Late Diagnosis versus Inaccurate Diagnosis

Often a diagnosis, when finally given, is not an accurate one, leading to a common reason for a late or delayed ADHD diagnosis. Adults with ADHD tend to receive a diagnosis of depression with the focus of treatment and medications used dealing with the depressed mood, leaving ADHD undiagnosed and untreated. While depression may be present along with ADHD, it is common for the inexperienced mental health professional to treat the “most obvious” leaving their patient with continued frustration, life disorganization, and social difficulties.

Late Diagnosis ADHD Steps of Acceptance

Many adults find difficulty in coming to terms when they finally received an accurate late diagnosis of ADHD. Some of the common steps to self-acceptance through the treatment process include:

  • Denial – even with relief that a correct diagnosis and treatment is in place, it may take a period of time to accept the diagnosis and understand how treatment will change your life
  • Anger – many feel anger over past lost opportunities, at others for not seeking help for them sooner, at the unfairness of life in general, or with all the difficulties faced in life because of the undiagnosed ADHD
  • Depression – medication may not cure all the difficulties experienced with life and social relationships even though there is much improvement with less overall frustration. Many need time to adjust to a new lifestyle, sometimes wanting to return to old familiar ways even with all the daily struggles involved.
  • Acceptance – with support, education, medications prescribed, cognitive behavioral therapy, adjustment to a different type of lifestyle, or just with the passage of time, most are able to accept the late diagnosis of adult ADHD and enjoy the positive changes.

 

Late Diagnosis Adult ADHD Implications

The serious impact of failing to treat ADHD continues throughout adulthood. Adults with unmedicated ADHD are 78% more likely to be addicted to tobacco and 58% more likely to use illegal drugs than those without ADHD. Additionally, 79% of adults with ADHD report symptoms of anxiety, depression, and physical ailments. Symptoms of ADHD interfere with personal relationships and reduce chances of personal satisfaction with life choices. Left undiagnosed and untreated ADHD is among the most debilitating disorders to live with.

Late Diagnosis Adult ADHD Psychiatrist

Left undiagnosed and untreated ADHD is among the most debilitating disorders to live with. If you feel you may have ADHD, call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation for an accurate diagnosis which may include late diagnosis adult ADHD.

Mental Illness Treatment Improves Quality of Life

Over 40-million adults in the U.S. experience at least one diagnosable mental illness in their life. With 18-20% of the adult population in America suffering from a mental health disorder at any point during the year, research has shown that 70-90% of those who receive mental illness treatment exhibit reduced symptoms and improved quality of life. Receiving an accurate complete diagnosis allows for the development of the proper treatment plan that gives the optimal effective results.

Mental Illness Treatment Defined

Mental illness refers to changes in the thought process, emotions, or behaviors that create distress and impaired life functioning for a person. Mental disorders and complaints can affect a person of any age, race, religion, or income. The treatment of mental illnesses requires intervention by trained mental health practitioners who can prescribe medications or refer to other adjunct treatments and therapy.

Mental Illness Treatment Statistics

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) both track and report on the incidence of mental health disorders, issues, and concerns in America. Some of the statistics related to their research include:

  • 18.1% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder every year
  • 6.9% of American adults, or 16 million, had at least one major depressive episode during the course of the past year
  • 2.6% of U.S. adults are living with diagnosed bipolar disorder
  • 20% adults in the United States have a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year
  • 50.5% of adults in U.S. who have a substance abuse disorder also have a co-occurring mental health disorder

Mental Illness Treatment Specialist in Atlanta

With up to 90% of those who receive mental illness treatment reporting improved functional and quality of life, it’s time to take the first step and make the call for a comprehensive evaluation and individualized treatment plan. Call Atlanta mental health specialist, Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment.

Avoiding ADHD Diagnosis Affects Life Satisfaction

People may avoid going to the doctor when they fear what the medical test results may reveal. Other times they may avoid seeking treatment for troubling conditions or concerns that they are experiencing. When an issue or problem is suspected, seeking help or treatment is often delayed and sometimes never sought. With adults, avoiding ADHD diagnosis and treatment, even when they feel they may have ADHD, is a common occurrence.

Avoiding ADHD Diagnosis Impacts Whole Life

For those who think they have “a little” ADHD, or feel they have ADHD that is “not too bad,” it is difficult to understand and see the full extent of how their symptoms are impacting their lives and the lives of those around them. While recognizing they may have a “little issue,” they may not realize how diagnosis and treatment for adult ADHD can potentially be life-changing, life-improving and allow greater life satisfaction.

Reasons for Avoiding ADHD Diagnosis

There can be any multitude of reasons for avoiding ADHD diagnosis and treatment, however some of the more common explanations include:

  • Belief that treatment will not improve your life very much
  • Thinking that symptoms are not that bad or if they tried harder their symptoms would go away
  • Feelings that their symptoms are normal as they are used to living with their symptoms
  • Previous bad experience with mental health professionals – either through personal opinions or through listening to others giving their own opinions
  • Thoughts of appearing weak or crazy for seeking mental health treatment
  • Telling yourself, “I’ll get to it later,” but that time never comes around
  • Feeling that the only treatment option is long-term medication and want to try managing the ADHD on their own
  • Other personal, family, or cultural reasons that interfere with decision to work toward positive changes through diagnosis and treatment

Avoiding ADHD Diagnosis Keeps Problems in Place

While there can be many reasons to delay or avoid mental health evaluation for possible adult ADHD diagnosis, it is important to remember that the problem will not go away on its own. The benefits gained from accurate diagnosis and treatment may continue to be missed, and the life struggles currently impacting on you and your loved ones will continue to interrupt and challenge on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis.

Adult ADHD Psychiatrist in Atlanta

Gaining insight into an accurate diagnosis along with seeing what your life could be like without the interference of ADHD symptoms will allow you to make an informed decision as what is right for you and your life. Call Dr. Hege for a complete comprehensive evaluation and discussion of a treatment plan individualized to meet your needs and lifestyle.

Insomnia may be PTSD Sleep Disturbance

Studies on sleep disturbance and insomnia indicate that 70-91% of those with PTSD experience difficulty with their sleep patterns. Research shows sleeping issues are more varied and unpredictable in those with PTSD compared to those with a diagnosable case of insomnia.

Insomnia Disorder

Mental health professionals view insomnia disorder as a serious dysfunctional case of insomnia that may stem from medical or physical issues, environmental health concerns, or mental health concerns. Insomnia disorder belongs to a group of sleep-wake disorders where the classic symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep for sufficient amounts of time, or where one wakes up prematurely toward the end of the sleep cycle.

PTSD Sleep Disruption

Insomnia is one of the most common forms of sleep disruption. Those with PTSD exhibit unusually erratic night to night changes in their sleep patterns which are not typically consistent or predictable. In addition, they have an increased change of experiencing sleep disruption associated with nightmares which are reported in 19-71% of cases. Nightmares are one of the core symptoms of PTSD with the unwanted reliving of traumatic events during sleep.

Insomnia and PTSD

Trouble sleeping and nightmares are two symptoms of PTSD. Some of the other issues that may disrupt sleep if PTSD is an issue include:

  • Worry or negative thoughts about general problems; worry that they are in danger; worry that they will be unable to fall asleep
  • Those with PTSD may use alcohol or drugs to help them cope with their symptoms, which in fact will have a negative impact on restful sleep
  • Fear of falling asleep and having a nightmare
  • Many with PTSD feel the need to be on guard in order to protect oneself from danger, finding falling asleep difficult and often waking at the slightest noise
  • Medical issues that are commonly found in people with PTSD which include chronic pain and stomach problems which may make going to sleep a challenge.

PTSD Sleep Issues Psychiatrist

Many people experience insomnia in their life; however, if sleep disturbances are having a negative effect on your home, work and social life, it may be time for a mental health evaluation to determine the root cause of the sleep disturbance. Call the expert in evaluation and treatment of PTSD and sleep disruption – call Dr. Hege today for a confidential appointment that can lead to restful nights and dreams.

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.

ADHD Spectrum Disorders Make Life Challenging

ADHD spectrum disorders affects 4% to 5% of adults. The disorder presents a number of ongoing challenges for individuals. Some of the traits associated with the disorder can undermine a person’s best of intentions throughout normal life situations. ADHD is divided into three different types: inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type, and combined type.

ADHD Inattentive Type

Being diagnosed with the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD, which is also called ADD (attention deficit disorder) finds more women than men falling into this category. This type of ADHD/ADD spectrum disorder is often missed by professionals without the background and experience to recognize the more subtle symptoms and complaints.

ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

For those with the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD, all aspects of their life are typically challenged due to problems with focus, restlessness, forgetfulness, organization, distractibility and memory issues. Receiving a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional can accurately pin-point if this type of ADHD is the problem or if another diagnosis is discovered.

ADHD Combined Type

The most common type of ADHD is the combined type, characterized by inattention, distractibility, hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. For those with the combined type, they may find they are full of ideas, yet impatient and restless where plans and thoughts become lost and never fully realized. The symptoms and complaints with this diagnosis may vary widely and as with the other sub-types of ADHD, the treatment plan depends on an accurate and complete diagnosis.

ADHD Disorder Symptoms

Some of the more common complaints and symptoms of ADHD spectrum disorder follow. ADHD/ADD is not just a black and white diagnosis. All the symptoms fall on an ADHD spectrum where some traits may be a constant challenge for you, others less often, or rarely:

  • Poor attention to detail and making simple errors due to not paying attention or rushing things
  • Easily distracted; struggle to finish long or complex tasks; trying to work on several things at once; feeling disorganized at home or work; noise and activity distracting; tend to daydream; is absent-minded
  • Poor listening skills; tune out during a conversation; lose track of what you are talking about
  • Do not follow instructions well, jumping in without reading directions or guide; difficulty sticking to routines, schedules or plans; dislike repetitive tasks
  • Often misplace or lose common items like a phone, keys or remote; work space is often cluttered; often forgetful and lose track of what is being worked on; buy things already owned forgetting you have it
  • Feel restless and often fidget; often feel the need to get up and move around; very difficult to sit still and listen quietly
  • Difficulty with waiting your turn; often blurt out thoughts and ideas; interrupt and intrude when others are talking; often very talkative and dominate the conversation
  • Hard to unwind and relax; falling asleep is difficult; feel like you are driven by a motor and often go, go, go, until crashing
  • Easily bored and often move on from one idea to another, one job to another, one hobby to another

ADHD Spectrum Disorder Psychiatrist

Life is challenging enough without ADHD. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation for an ADHD spectrum disorder diagnosis. Correct treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis. Call the office today for an appointment.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is Worry Out-of-Control

Experiencing anxiety is a normal part of life, with general and specific worries related to health, family, work, finances, or change. While some anxiety may motivate you to take action, developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, disrupts your life and the lives of those around you. GAD, both a physical as well as a mental health disorder, is the most common and widespread type of anxiety affecting millions of people around the world. With professional help, GAD is treatable.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Defined

Typically, those with GAD suffer from relentless, unspecified worry about general everyday things. For those with generalized anxiety disorder there is a general feeling of unease or dread that follows your thoughts as you move about the day. The tension and worry is less intense than a panic attack but becomes a chronic situation making normal life and relaxation impossible. GAD is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, tension, and nervousness without a specific reason which can affect one’s health and physical well-being.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Triggers

The worry about everyday things or the future is a common complaint from most people; however, with GAD the worry rises to a new level where daily activities are filled with exaggerated worry and tension without relief. For those with generalized anxiety disorder a simple comment, about work or family for example, can spiral thoughts out of control disrupting home life, job performance, and social relationships. Triggers to anxiety can be simply the thought of getting up and going to work, going grocery shopping, a news report, or not being able to get in immediate contact with a friend or loved one.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Physical and mental health symptoms make it hard to function, and they interfere with daily life. Having any of the symptoms below that re-occur and interfere with your daily life and happiness could be helped with treatment from an experienced mental health professional.

  • Persistent worry about everyday things
  • Difficulty controlling worries or feelings of nervousness
  • Feelings that you worry more than you should
  • Difficulty with falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feeling restless and having difficulty relaxing
  • Having headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches or unexplained pains
  • Finding yourself sweating a lot, feeling short of breath or light-headed
  • Feeling irritable, on edge, tense, or nervous
  • Complaints of fatigue, tiring out easily, or having low energy
  • Worry or anxiety, magnifying small events out of proportion
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Muscle tension to back, neck, shoulders
  • Feeling that your anxiety and worry is interfering with your daily life

Treatment for GAD

A psychiatrist specializing in anxiety disorders for a comprehensive evaluation is the first step in developing an accurate treatment plan. Medical issues or other mental health issues may make a GAD difficult to diagnose. GAD is often treated with medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and other strategies that your psychiatrist recommends.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Doctor

GAD is mentally and physically exhausting. Break free from the chronic worry, calm your anxious mind, and get back to living. Call the office today.