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Finding an Addiction Specialist in Georgia

Finding the right psychiatrist for you that understands the addiction process, who can perform accurate comprehensive evaluations, develop a successful treatment plan and has decades of experience that can meet your specific needs and issues often involves a long frustrating search. Finding a psychiatrist who is also an Addiction Specialist dramatically shortens the list of potential psychiatrists.

Addiction Specialists Board Certified

Addiction psychiatry is a sub-specialty of psychiatry with certification given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Only psychiatrists may receive the addiction psychiatry sub-specialty certificate after meeting specific additional criteria and a certification examination.

Addiction Specialist Certification

A psychiatrist who is a specialist in addiction has professionally demonstrated the knowledge and skill to provide prevention, screening, intervention as well as the treatment for substance use and addiction. Any recognized psychological and physical complications of addiction are also addressed in the treatment plan. Addiction may include one or multiple types of substance abuse including either illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol, or prescription medications.

Addiction Medicine

Psychiatrists who dedicate themselves to improving the quality of provided treatment, keeping up-to-date on current education and research data, educate others and promote the comprehensive care of patients with addiction may hold membership in The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The ASAM is the leading addiction medicine professional society in the U.S. for those professional who focus on addiction and its treatment.

Board Certified Psychiatry

While physicians or psychologists need to be licensed, they can legally practice without having board certification. Board certification is an additional voluntary process where competence in a specialty area is demonstrated, where testing by peers has proven the level of skill and knowledge is at the very top of the medical profession. Board certified psychiatrists are often seen as leaders in their field who help shape the course of their medical profession for years to come.

Addiction Specialist Locally

Dr. Darvin Hege, psychiatrist, located in the Atlanta area, is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, as well as The American Society of Addiction Medicine, with more than 25 years of successful addiction evaluation and treatment. Call the office for a confidential appointment and put an end to your frustrating search for the right addiction specialist.

New Year’s Resolutions Include Mental Health

It is time once again to start thinking about setting New Year’s resolutions. While most people plan to work on or accomplish many great goals which include weight loss, working out, eating healthier meals, or quitting smoking for example, few think about setting mental health New Year’s resolutions.

Mental Health New Year’s Resolutions

Working to achieve or improve one’s own mental health is as equally important as becoming physically healthier. In fact, becoming more mentally clear, stable, or generally “happier” in life can have an impact on general health and feelings of well-being. It may seem easier to stop smoking, find a new job, make new friends, lose weight, or achieve any other goal you are working toward when your mental health is at its optimum level.

Changing “I Should” to “I Would Like”

With the New Year upon us it is a great time to take stock of how you are doing, or how you are feeling, as well as looking at where you may like to make a change. Mental health resolutions are positive goals – think of any changes you want to achieve as “I want to be,” or “I would like to be.” Avoid telling yourself that you “should” do this or you “should” do that as you are working to improve an aspect of your life, not judging current behaviors.

New Year’s Resolutions About You

When thinking about what resolutions to work on in the new year, make your mental health a priority. While losing weight or quitting smoking are very positive goals, remember that your mental health can make a big difference on how you and your family enjoy the new year together.

Mental Health Psychiatrist

Do something nice for yourself – make an appointment where any mental health issues you may be experiencing can be accurately evaluated and treated. Call the office for a convenient confidential appointment and put all your new year resolutions on the positive track to live better and feel better.

Holiday Blues May Signal Need for Help

During the holiday season, starting around Thanksgiving and going into the New Year, people may find themselves suffering from the holiday blues where the social demands of the season, inability to be with friends and family, along with unrealistic expectations and financial issues bring stress and depression. The mixed emotions of the holiday season may bring sadness or anxiety along with feelings of excitement and hope. Personal struggles during this time may make one feel isolated and alone.

Holiday Blues Physical Symptoms

For many, the holiday blues or seasonal depression, may be exhibited in physical symptoms that are also stress responses. Some of the symptoms include headaches, overeating, excessive drinking or substance abuse, difficulty sleeping, feeling tense or stressed out, or complaints of being too tired or fatigued. For those that do not develop clinical depression, the stress and anxiety can and often does develop into the holiday blues.

Holiday Blues vs Mental Illness

Holiday blues are different from a diagnosis of mental illness; however, short term mental health issues need to be taken seriously as they may lead to clinical anxiety and depression. While symptoms may be temporary during the holiday season, the blues can become a problem that needs to be addressed if they last more than two weeks.

Seeking Help for the Blues

If you find yourself feeling down or blue when winter arrives every year, with those negative thoughts and feelings lasting after the holidays have passed, you may have seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Having the holiday blues may actually be SAD which is a form of depression brought on by the change of seasons. Talking with a mental health professional about your symptoms is the first step toward finding a treatment that works for you.

Dr. for Holiday Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder

Don’t miss out on all the joy and fun of the holiday season. If you are experiencing the blues of the season, feeling depressed or anxious, call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment where a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan can help put you on the positive track to enjoying life once again.

Sex Differences in Mental Illness Between Men & Women

The American Psychological Association reports the results of a study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology that shows sex differences in mental illness. Women more likely to receive a diagnosis of anxiety or depression, while men display higher incidences of substance abuse or antisocial disorders. In addition, women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men, at 29% and 17% respectively.

Sex Differences in Expression of Emotions

Diagnosis and percentages of many mental health disorders are affected by the gender differences of internalizing or externalizing emotions. Study on sex differences found that women with anxiety disorders typically internalized their emotions, resulting in withdrawal, loneliness, and depression. Men were found more likely to externalize emotions, leading to aggressive, impulsive, and non-compliant behaviors.

Sex Differences of Four Common Mental Illness Types

Looking at four common mental health disorders, gender differences are easily identified:

  • Depression – One in four women require treatment at some point in their lives compared to one in 10 men.
  • Anxiety – Women are 2x as likely as men to experience an anxiety disorder. Approximately 60% of those diagnosed with phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder are women.
  • Eating Disorders – This type of disorder is more common in women than men; 1.9% of women, compared to 0.2% of men may experience anorexia in any given year. Up to 1% of women report bulimia during the course of a year.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – More women than men are affected by PTSD. The risk for the development of PTSD after a traumatic event is 20.4% for women and 8.1% for men.

Social Factors Related to Gender Differences

Looking at gender or sex differences, there is also a sex-based difference in the perception of distress and patterns of seeking help. Women tend to report a greater number of physical and psychological issues and are more likely to seek help than men. Women, possibly due to seeking help quicker and more often, are prescribed psychotropic medications more often than men.

Society affects perceptions of acceptable behaviors with men often criticized for expressing feelings of worry or weakness, or intolerance for women expressing anger or antisocial behavior.

Psychiatric Treatment Sensitive to Gender Differences

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment to discuss any mental health concerns that are impacting your daily life and relationships. While we may have differences in how we react or respond to life challenges and stress, a comprehensive and accurate evaluation with development of a successful treatment plan is just a phone call away.

Mental Illness Affects 1 in 4 Americans

According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of Americans experiencing at least one episode of mental illness over the past year continues to rise, up to 46%. The National Institute of Mental Health published a statement that 25% of North Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental condition. Along with a rise of those with a mental health disorder is a documented increase, of up to a third, in the number receiving treatment.

Global Mental Health Conditions

The most common mental health disorders which are diagnosed globally include anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, depression, ADD/ADHD spectrum, bipolar disorder, insomnia, and schizophrenia. Recent studies show that mental disorders and substance abuse are the leading cause of non-fatal illness worldwide.

Mental Illness Criteria

Looking at the criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), research of the National Institute of Mental Health found that 46% of adults were found to have at least one mental illness within the categories of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, impulse-control disorders, and substance use disorders. While the percentage indicates those with at least one disorder, most met the criteria for more than one diagnosis.

Common Mental Illness Categories

The mental illness categories reviewed fall into four broad groupings, with American adults having at least one, if not more, mental health disorder within one of these four categories at some point in their lives.

  • Anxiety Disorders including all types of anxiety, phobia, PTSD
  • Mood Disorders which include major depression and bipolar disorders
  • Impulse-Control Disorders which include various behavioral issues, ADHD
  • Substance Use Disorders including alcohol and drug abuse

Mental Illness Diagnosis and Treatment

Receiving an accurate diagnosis and treatment for your mental illness can change your daily struggles into living your life with a positive outlook and plan. Call Dr. Hege for a convenient appointment that meets your busy life schedule.

Neurofeedback Treatment Options for ADD/ADHD

Neurofeedback, or EEG Biofeedback, is a useful adjunct tool being used in the treatment of ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Neurofeedback is a learning strategy where a person is taught to alter their brain waves or electrical activity so that new brain wave patterns are produced that are more “in line” with those seen in individuals who do not have a mental health diagnosis or disability.

Neurofeedback and Therapeutic Applications

Use of neuro or EEG biofeedback has been extensively researched with findings freely shared with the professional community. Clinical reports show that neurofeedback has been effective as a therapeutic tool with:

  • ADHD/ADD
  • Addiction disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Numerous other mental health issues and concerns that affect personal happiness, work, family, or social relations

Common Procedure for Neurofeedback

The use of EEG biofeedback or neurofeedback is painless and non-invasive. Sensors are placed on the scalp and on both ears. Brain waves are measured with use of an amplifier and a computer-based instrument that processes the brain activity and then provides the proper feedback. As the brain responds to the training and cues given, new learning takes place where new brain wave patterns are established in response to the stimuli given.

Successful Outcomes of Neuro or Biofeedback

The brain is able to use the training and feedback to make adjustments and improve its own performance, with the ultimate goal of changing the brain patterns to those comparable of those without a mental health disturbance. Training is a learning process and results occurs gradually. Progress may be seen or felt in 10 sessions, with more severe cases taking 40 or more training sessions.

Neurofeedback as Adjunct to Psychiatric Therapy

Dr. Hege, a well experienced and regarded Georgia psychiatrist, utilizes a select network of mental health therapists, some who use advanced clinical strategies such as neuro or biofeedback, as an adjunct to the services he offers. Call the office to discuss your needs and the treatment options available to you.

Emotional Numbness or Emptiness Blocks Hope

Many people may find themselves at different times in their lives feeling like there is a lack of meaning or purpose in their life. This emotional numbness or feelings of emptiness can develop into a chronic condition that may point to several other mental health concerns, a side effect of medications, or the body’s reaction to becoming overtaxed emotionally and physically.

Emotional Numbness and Emptiness

Trying to describe the feeling of being emotionally numb or empty is often difficult. Some report an absence of feeling, or feeling that something is missing inside of them. Others may report feeling disconnected, having an “empty space” inside, feeling isolated, despondent, with no hope for the future. Many patients with emotional numbness are unable to express what — if anything — they are feeling.

Causes of Emotional Numbness

Two of the most common causes of emotional numbness or feelings of emptiness are depression and anxiety. Elevated stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, some medications, and becoming physically over-fatigued can also trigger feelings of emotional emptiness.

Emotional Numbness may lead to Unhealthy Behaviors

While feelings of emptiness and numbness may leave a person feeling isolated, anxious, or disconnected, they may choose to fill that void by taking part in activities that are unfulfilling or unhealthy, like compulsive shopping, eating, or use of alcohol or other substances. Reach out to friends and family for support and make an appointment with a mental health professional to determine if your emotional void is caused by current medications, a diagnosable mental health or physical condition.

Getting Help

Review what you’re going through with a mental health professional. Some medications may be helpful, or if you are taking some already, they may need to be adjusted to help you stay balanced. Also, talk therapy in combination with other treatments can be great for working through your feelings, and Dr. Hege has many great references he may recommend to help you get the treatment that is best for you. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis to determine the cause of your psychological numbness and emptiness. There is hope for change. Make the call today and begin to experience the joy of living once again.

Sleep Problem Connection with Adult ADHD

Recent research presented at the 2017 European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Conference (ECNP) in Paris, France, has presented the theory that many of ADHD cases may be in fact an issue associated with a lack of regular circadian sleep. Past data does show that approximately 75% of adults with ADHD also have sleep problem but the medical field has thought that to be a separate problem.

Sleep Problem and Adult ADHD

There is extensive evidence that indicates adults with ADHD also tend to display sleep problems. In a theory presented at this year’s ECNP data was presented that suggests that ADHD and circadian problems (sleep issues) are intertwined in a majority of patients. While all ADHD problems may not be associated with circadian patterns, it does appear to be an important element.

ADHD and Physiological Sleep Phase

Symptoms and behaviors indicating a connection between adult ADHD and circadian or sleep problem rhythm include:

  • Changes in level of sleep hormone melatonin delayed by 1.5 hours from those without diagnosis of ADHD
  • Changes in sleep-related movement patterns are delayed
  • Core body temperatures associated with sleep are delayed which corresponds to the delay of melatonin changes
  • Those with ADHD often have great alertness in the evening (opposite of the general population)
  • Sleep related disorders associated with adult ADHD include restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • Approximately 70% of those diagnosed with adult ADHD show over-sensitivity to light, with many needing to wear sunglasses during the day; this light sensitivity may be associated with a circadian shift.

While a disturbance of the natural sleep or circadian system may be physiologically connected to ADHD, it may also have links to other mental illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder. Further research will help in the development of alternative or adjunct therapies, such as bright light therapy or use of melatonin in the evening, to be used as part of a comprehensive ADHD treatment plan for those with a sleep problem.

Adult ADHD Treatment Options

Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive mental health evaluation to determine all adult ADHD treatment options, including medication and adjunct therapies, available for your individual needs.

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.