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Bipolar Depression Tough to Diagnose

Bipolar depression is often difficult to diagnose with some cases taking up to a decade of frustration before an accurate diagnosis is made. Without the correct diagnosis effective treatment cannot be accomplished. Research studies suggest that up to 50% of those with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed with unipolar instead of bipolar depression.

Bipolar Depression is Different Kind of Depression

Bipolar depression is the depressive phase of a mental health disorder called bipolar disorder, referring to the lows or depressive phase of the disorder. Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness where extreme mood swings occur from mania, or “highs,” to depression, or “lows.” The treatment options are different for the different types of depression, with proper diagnosis a critical component for successful management.

Bipolar Depression Disrupting Phase

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often more debilitating and disruptive than the mania phase as it typically lasts longer and occurs more frequently. In a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, those with Bipolar I report depression 3 times as often as mania, and for those diagnosed with Bipolar II, the low phase occurs 40 times as often.

Depression Episodes Dominate Function

While many may feel the general instability of the disorder has the greatest impact on daily functioning, it is the depressive episodes that often disrupt one’s life. Depression dominates the functional ability to work, actively participate in family and social groups, and it contributes to a significant decrease in motivation, desire, self-worth, and self-esteem.

Symptoms of Bipolar Depression

You may experience some or all of the following symptoms. A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation is in order if you have any of the following symptoms and are having difficulty with daily functioning.

  • Feeling sad, worried, or empty inside
  • Having little to no energy as a common occurrence
  • Feeling like you do not enjoy anything
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Difficulty with memory, focus, attention
  • Wanting to stay in bed
  • Difficulty with making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Be full of energy but feel very sad
  • Feel “down” for at least 2 weeks at a time

Bipolar Depression Evaluation and Treatment

Stop the daily struggle and frustration. Correct treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis. Call Dr. Hege, Atlanta’s bipolar depression psychiatrist who has the experience and expertise you need for treatment.

Adult ADHD and Major Functional Impairments

Millions of adults in the U.S. remain undiagnosed and thus untreated for adult ADHD. The estimated number of adults with ADHD, aged 18 to 44, range from 4.4% to 5.2% of the nation’s population, with only 10%-12% of those numbers receiving any kind of treatment at all. Adults who remain undiagnosed face the potential consequences of major functional impairments in education, work performance, or family and community life.

Adult ADHD Symptoms of Impairment

For an accurate diagnosis the symptoms of ADHD subtypes of inattention, hyperactivity impulsivity, or combined, must cause some type of impairment in two or more areas with clear evidence of significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning. Receiving a proper diagnosis from a qualified psychiatrist is critical as part of the diagnosis of adult ADHD follows a comprehensive evaluation to determine that the symptoms noted above are not due to another mental disorder.

Symptoms of Inattention

As part of the assessment for adult ADHD, at least six of the following inattention symptoms needs to persist for at least six months of time, with reported functional impairment involved:

  • Forgetfulness in daily activities
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Difficulty with organizing tasks and activities
  • Difficulty sustaining attention on tasks or during an activity
  • Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Does not appear to listen when spoken to directly
  • Frequently loses necessary items for work, tasks, or activities
  • Often avoids or reports dislike for tasks that require mental effort
  • Fails to follow through on instructions or direction, failing to finish work or duties

Symptoms of Hyperactivity – Impulsivity

Of the following symptoms, at least six must be present and have persisted for at least six months’ time. As with the symptoms for inattention, functional life impairment must also be seen.

  • Fidgeting with hands or feet; squirms around in seat
  • Excessive talking
  • Appears “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • May run or jump about during inappropriate times, or reports feelings of restlessness
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Difficulty waiting your turn
  • Difficulty engaging in quiet leisure time activities
  • May blurt out answers
  • May abruptly interrupt others with opinions, or butt into other’s conversations
  • Often getting up from seat when situation dictates remaining seated

Adult ADHD Psychiatrist for Comprehensive Diagnosis

It is time to discover if your functional impairments and life difficulty are from undiagnosed adult ADHD. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation and receive an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan.

Nutritional Psychiatry Reports Diet Affects Mental Health

While many people understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness, very few recognize a similar connection between nutrition and depression. Nutritional neuroscience and nutritional psychiatry are emerging disciplines where research is showing that nutrition is intertwined with cognition, behavior, and emotions.

Diet Affects both Physical and Mental Health

The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research reports data that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. While a healthy diet may help protect and bolster a person’s mental health, an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for both depression and anxiety.

Nutrition and Depression

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that by 2010, the diagnosis of depression will be ranked as the second leading cause of disability, just behind that of heart disease. Depression may be most commonly viewed as emotionally-rooted; however, nutrition can play a key role in the onset, severity, and duration of depression.

Nutritional Psychiatry Data for Food Patterns

The typical diet of people with depression is far from adequate. Food choices are often limited, meals frequently skipped, appetite is poor, there is an increased desire for sweet food, and a decreased desire for food rich in carbohydrates. These food patterns that precede depression are the same as those that are found to occur during periods of depression.

Depression Triggered by Diet

Eating a diet low in carbohydrates tends to precipitate depression as the production and release of “feel good” brain chemicals of serotonin and tryptophan are triggered by carbohydrate rich foods. For those with depression, their food choices may actually be contributing to their diagnosis.

Depression Psychiatrist Locally

While diet can be part of your overall treatment plan it is not a substitute for the medication and adjunct services that your psychiatrist prescribes following a comprehensive evaluation. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Mobile Mental Health Apps Can Be Risky

Digital health smartphone apps have shown unprecedented growth in the medical field along with the development of mHealth (mobile health) technology. Psychiatry and mental health services are enjoying the potential of mHealth technology with Mobile mental health apps that put personal health information into easily accessible smartphones, smart watches, and personal health monitoring sensors.

Mobile Mental Health Apps Risk

With the explosion of smart apps that can be found and downloaded from the App Store or Google Play for example, come the question of the usefulness and risk of these mobile mental health apps. The majority of apps for mental health have been developed without research, lack of scientific evidence that shows proof of effectiveness, or may have poor protection of your personal data.

Mobile Mental Health Apps Evaluation

Digital health technology is still fairly new; however, the American Psychiatric Association has taken a proactive step by developing an App Evaluation Model to help guide clinicians and patients in the quality of a mobile mental health app or mHealth tool being considered.

Five Steps in App Evaluation Model

The APA’s App Evaluation Model has five steps where each step is a foundation for the next level. It is important to evaluate each app to make an informed decision before “trying it out.” Apps that make it through the fourth and fifth step are worth your consideration and review by you and your therapist for functional use in your treatment program.

Five Steps of Review in App Evaluation Model

  1. Background Information: Is there a fee for the app or is it free? If free how does it support its development? Who is the developer? Is there advertising within the app? What platforms does it work with? When it was last updated and what were the updates (security, glitches, added services, etc.)? Are there in-app purchases or upgrades?
  2. Risk, Security, and Privacy: Is there a privacy policy? What data is being collected? Is personal data de-identified? Can you opt-out of data collection? Are cookies placed on your device? What data is shared? Who is it shared with? Can your information be sold to third parties? Is data kept on the device or uploaded to the web or cloud? What are the security measures? Is data encrypted? Is the app HIPAA compliant?
  3. Evidence: If your app review has proven acceptable for the first two levels, then it is time to evaluate evidence for potential benefits. What does the app claim to do versus what it actually will do? Are there any peer reviews or published evidence about the tool or science behind the app? Is there any feedback from users available? Does the app appear to be of value for your needs?
  4. Ease of Use: Is it easy to access? Can it be used on a long-term basis? Can you customize the features? Do you need an active internet connection to use? Does it work on the platforms that you have? Is it appealing and simple to use? Apps that are difficult to understand or manage will most likely fail to be used.
  5. Interoperability: Can it work with other electronic tools and devices? Can you export or print the data from the app? Can you upload the data to an electronic health record that your psychiatrist or medical professional can use?

mHealth Psychiatric Treatment

Dr. Hege is a leader in offering convenient options such as video psychiatry, evening or weekend treatment scheduling, and use of new technology in providing the best psychiatric treatment available to you. Call the office today for a comprehensive evaluation of your needs. You may qualify for video sessions, so if that interests you please be sure to ask about it.

Mental Illness Warning Signs and Symptoms

Many people at one time or another wonder if they have a mental illness, but would they actually meet the criteria under one of the more than 200 clinical mental health conditions that can be diagnosed? One person out of every four, or an estimate of 450 million people worldwide do have a mental health problem that would benefit from professional treatment.

Mental Illness Categories

There are generally five major categories for the hundreds of mental health conditions that one may be diagnosed with. These categories include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, and dementia.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Research data from clinical reports of those diagnosed with a mental illness show that three-quarters of all cases begin to show signs by the age of 24. Learning about early warning signs or symptoms and seeking a diagnosis and receiving early intervention can help to reduce the severity of an illness, possibly even delay or prevent a major mental illness episode.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

The following list may indicate the need to seek a professional mental health evaluation to determine if treatment for a mental illness is recommended. The warning signs and symptoms of mental illness include:

  • Change in the ability to function at school, work, in social situations
  • Finding it difficult to complete or perform familiar daily or routine tasks
  • Withdrawal from normal or typical social behaviors and interaction
  • Loss of interest or apathy at work, within the family, in social situations, for previous enjoyable activities or hobbies
  • Problems with concentration, memory, rational thought and speech; illogical thinking
  • Increased sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells, or touch, with avoidance of situations that are felt to be “over-stimulating”
  • Dramatic changes in sleep and/or eating patterns
  • Significant changes in personal care and appearance
  • Feeling disconnected from one’s self or with one’s surroundings
  • Paranoia, fear, suspicious of others, nervousness
  • Rapid or dramatic shifts in mood
  • Displaying odd, unusual, or peculiar behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming others

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Illness

Recognizing small changes in thinking or behavior, or feeling that “something is not right” is a good time to make the call to a qualified psychiatrist for a comprehensive evaluation. Whether the reported symptoms be psychologically or medically based, a full assessment can successfully direct the course of treatment. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment to discover why your concerns and difficulties are occurring.

 

Empty Nest Syndrome Can Overpower Ability to Function

With the end of summer and start of fall, thousands of parents across the country find themselves sending one or more children off to college. The lifestyle change that often occurs abruptly during this period of time is typically referred to as the empty nest syndrome where a parent faces dealing with middle age, loss, loneliness, sadness, fear, and depression. While seeing a child off to begin a new chapter in their lives is a joyful time with reason to celebrate, the changes and emotions can also interfere with a parent’s ability to function at work or home to such a degree that professional help is required.

Empty Nest Syndrome

Being impacted by the empty nest syndrome is normal and can be felt from when the first child leaves home to when the last child moves off to college or to start a new life elsewhere. College, employment, marriage, or military service are but a few reasons that a child may leave their family home. A change in the household status may bring a multitude of feelings and fears to the surface. It is normal to experience strong emotions during this time of change. It is not normal to let those feelings interfere with your daily life.

Empty Nest Symptoms That Require Help

The following more severe symptoms have been known to occur with empty nest syndrome and do indicate a need to seek mental health services as soon as possible. These emotions and feelings require professional treatment as they are impacting one’s ability to function with daily life tasks and in their social and more intimate relationships. If you or a loved one recognize any of the listed symptoms it is important to make the call for psychological help.

  • Feeling your life is no longer useful
  • Feeling there is nothing left to live for
  • Feeling like there is no joy left in your life
  • Feeling you have lost your sense of identity
  • Excessive crying and weepiness
  • Avoiding friends at work or in social situations
  • Calling in at work to the extent it affects the job performance
  • Turning to drugs and or alcohol to help deal with the situation
  • Worry and anxiety about child’s safety that brings paralyzing fear
  • Finding mood affects your appetite or ability to eat
  • Poor sleep patterns or insomnia related to worry or fears
  • Thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself

Empty Nest Syndrome Treatment

Treatment is available and can help you return to a functional life at home, work and in social situations. Change the sadness and fear into joy and excitement – call Dr. Hege, an expert in successfully treating those with empty nest syndrome for a confidential appointment today.

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.