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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.

 

Opioid Addiction Recovery with Suboxone

Opioid addiction recovery often results in as many as 91% relapsing. The statistics for addiction relapse with opioid addiction recovery have higher numbers than for any other drug addiction. Research has also shown that at least 59% of those who had an opiate relapse do so within the first week of sobriety, 80% with a month after detox.

Opioid Addiction Recovery with MAT

Medication assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone significantly reduces relapse through its unique properties and therapeutic effects – relapse does not have to be an inevitable part of recovery from opioid addiction.  With prescription pain reliever drugs that contain opioids turning into a national crisis for substance and opioid addiction, there is treatment now available that benefits patients by helping keep them sober while reducing the side effects of withdrawal and curbing the cravings that typically lead to a relapse.

Suboxone MAT

Suboxone, which can only be prescribed by a qualified and certified professional, is a growing preferred option in the medication assisted treatment of opioid addiction. Suboxone can allow those in recovery to regain a state of mind that is free of withdrawal symptoms, free of cravings, and free of the drug-induced highs and lows of opioid addiction.

Opioid Addiction Recovery Plan Successful

Suboxone is a unique treatment medication for opioid addiction. One of the ingredients that make up Suboxone is Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is not used as a replacement for opiates, as an opioid blocker, or as a substitution for anything else – rather it is a partial agonist to the opioid receptors in the brain which activates the opioid receptors without allowing the “high,” yet allowing for some of the opioid effect of its own which functions to suppress withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Opioid Addiction Recovery Psychiatrist

If opioid addiction is interfering with your family relationships, work, daily functioning, and health, call the Suboxone doctor in Atlanta to begin your recovery. Return to living life to the fullest once again. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment to discuss the treatment options which will work for you.

Opioid Withdrawal Triggers Lead to Relapse

Combining the pain, fear, and opioid withdrawal symptoms often trigger relapse during recovery from opioid addiction. Proper management of symptoms during all phases of recovery can significantly improve the rate of success in recovery by alleviating common opioid withdrawal triggers that many fall victim to.

Opioid Withdrawal Triggers

Withdrawal from opioid addiction is often a physically and psychologically painful process where fear, pain, and physiological cravings often lead into a situation where relapse occurs. An addiction specialist can work with you to manage the opioid withdrawal symptoms which include emotional and physical distress, through medications such as Suboxone, Cognitive Behavioral therapy, or utilization of a network of adjunct recovery services.

Opioids in Both Prescription and Illegal Drugs

Opioids are drugs that are typically prescribed to treat pain. Opiates include prescription and illegal drugs such as morphine, Kadian, codeine, heroin, opium, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxycontin, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), Vicodin, Percocet, Fentanyl (duragesic). Opiates may be naturally manufactured from the opium poppy or synthetically formulated. Prescription opioid medications are frequently misused and abused leading to addiction.

Millions Abuse Opioids in U.S.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse report that over 4-million people in the U.S. abuse opioids. Withdrawal occurs when stopping or decreasing the amount of opioids you have become accustomed to taking.

Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid withdrawal triggers and symptoms vary from one person to another. Withdrawal symptoms may begin as early as 6 hours after stopping the drug. The most commonly reported withdrawal complaints include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Agitation, irritability
  • Hot and cold sweats or goosebumps
  • Racing heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Excessive yawning
  • Teary eyes and runny nose

Suboxone Addiction Specialist

Treatment, which includes management of opioid withdrawal triggers by a certified addiction specialist who is able to prescribe Suboxone, is vital to successful recovery and prevention of relapse. Call Dr. Hege for individualized attention to the complex process of addiction recovery.

Suboxone Vital in Opioid Addiction Recovery

Suboxone is vital in successful opioid addiction recovery. In the U.S the statistics show we have a national crisis on our hands – a government report published in March of 2018 indicate more than 115 Americans die every day after overdosing on opioids. The opioid addiction crisis includes misuse of prescription pain relievers where addiction to the medication takes over their lives, leaving them unable to just walk away from the drug.

Suboxone Prescription Restricted

Suboxone is a prescription medication designed for the treatment of opioid dependence and addiction. Following the enactment of the 2000 Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) Suboxone was one of the first medications impacted where prescription privileges were restricted to only qualified Suboxone doctors who have successfully completed specific training and met certification requirements.

Suboxone Vital Ingredients

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone with each ingredient having a specific purpose:

  • Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist which means that while it does activate the brain’s opioid receptors to help relieve withdrawal and cravings, however works to help break the pattern of compulsive drug seeking behaviors
  • Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which works by discouraging people from trying to get high by injecting the Suboxone. For someone who is opioid dependent, the result of injecting Suboxone leads directly to withdrawal symptoms

Suboxone Vital to Recovery in Two Ways

The ingredient buprenorphine in Suboxone tricks the brain into thinking an opioid is in their system, suppressing the withdrawal symptoms and cravings, yet they do not feel high or get a euphoric effect. Buprenorphine is part of the Suboxone vital key as it blocks the brain’s opioid receptor for approximately 24 hours so that prescription or illegal opioid cannot “get in.” This 24-hour opioid block helps to prevent relapse, one day at a time.

The important second benefit to buprenorphine is the “ceiling effect” which means that taking more Suboxone than prescribed will not result in feeling high. For someone addicted to opioids this is an important feature of the medication that assists in your working toward recovery.

Benefits of Suboxone Treatment

If you are addicted to opioids and need help in your recovery process, Suboxone vital in your comprehensive treatment program when prescribed and managed by a Suboxone doctor. The major benefits of Suboxone treatment include:

  • Reduction in cravings
  • Reduction in painful withdrawal symptoms
  • Stabilization of symptoms experienced through recovery
  • Ability to focus on your addiction treatment program
  • Management by a qualified and certified addiction expert

Suboxone Doctor in Atlanta Area

If the time has come to take control of your life and recover from your opioid addiction struggle, call Dr. Hege, Atlanta psychiatrist, a certified addiction specialist and certified Suboxone doctor.  Confidential and convenient appointments available evenings and weekends to meet your individual life needs.

Chantix Neutralizes Nicotine’s Effect

Smoking related disease result in nearly 6 million deaths every year with tobacco claiming a human life every 5 seconds somewhere in the world. In the U.S. more than 16 million Americans lives with a smoking related disease. In addition, smoking accounts for 1 out of every 5 deaths in the United States. Chantix is a medication prescribed to help those addicted to nicotine stop smoking and begin living without the health risks and financial burdens directly related to smoking.

Chantix Helps People Quit Smoking

Chantix, varenicline tartrate, is a prescription medication that was developed specifically to assist those who want to quit smoking. Chantix has two unique qualities and works on two levels:

  • It mimics nicotine, giving the feeling of mild nicotine effects while it helps ease withdrawal symptoms
  • It blocks nicotine from binding with the nicotine receptors in the brain so that the smoker does not get a “nicotine boost or kick” making smoking feeling flat, bland or no longer pleasurable

Nicotine’s Effect on Brain Chemistry

Nicotine effects the brain’s chemistry within 7 seconds of the first puff on a cigarette. Nicotine attaches to receptors that not only affect breathing, and heart rate, but also influence other neurotransmitters that effect appetite, mood, and memory. When nicotine attaches to its brain receptors, dopamine is released, which is thought to be responsible for reinforcing the pleasure/reward associations with smoking.

Chantix Breaks Cycle

The chemical process that occurs with smoking is tied to nicotine addiction. Since the effects of nicotine on the brain wear off within minutes, smokers continue to “dose” themselves throughout the day to prevent withdrawal symptoms and to continue to feel the pleasurable effects of nicotine. Chantix may take hours to wear off easing withdrawal complaints; in addition, Chantix blocks the “feel good” dopamine boost if a person does smoke while taking Chantix.

Side Effects of Chantix

Some of the most common side effects reported include nausea, headache, vomiting, drowsiness, GI upset, trouble sleeping, changes in taste, feeling dizzy, or difficulty concentrating. Your psychiatrist can help you manage any side effects experienced with other medication, nicotine replacement treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy, or adjunct therapy resources.

Stop Smoking Doctor

If you want to become an ex-smoker and enjoy the health and financial benefits that other non-smokers experience, call the office for a confidential appointment today.

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.

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.

Quit Smoking and Manage Withdrawal Symptoms

Addiction to nicotine is a difficult dependence to give up, and many smokers find themselves trying to quit smoking and kick the habit over and over again. Working with a knowledgeable mental health professional who can prescribe medication to not only help you quit, but help you manage withdrawal symptoms may be the only way you can finally succeed and break the hold nicotine has on your life.

Quit Smoking Statistics

If you are a smoker who wants desperately to quit smoking but have been unable to succeed on your own, you are not alone:

  • 70% of smokers want to quit
  • 40% of smokers will try to quit this year
  • 7% of those who try to quit will actually succeed on their first try; 93% will not
  • 50% of those who quit will relapse after drinking alcohol
  • 5% of smokers are able to quit cold turkey

If you are one of the 93% who are unable to quit the first time, second time, or successive times, it is time to seek the professional help you need in order to become an ex-smoker.

  • 90% of those who quit smoking before the age of 30 reduce their rate of death related to smoking
  • 50% of those who quit before the age of 50 reduce their rate of death from smoking

Signs of Severe Smoking Dependence

Smokers who are seriously dependent on nicotine may exhibit one or more of the following signs:

  • Smoking more than 1 pack of cigarettes a day
  • Smoking within 5 minutes of waking up in morning or from a nap
  • Continuing to smoke even when sick
  • Waking up at night to have a smoke
  • Smoking to help with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal

If you have even a couple of these signs of smoking dependence enlisting the aid of an addiction psychiatrist is thebest plan for success in smoking cessation.

Prescription Medications to Stop Smoking

Your psychiatrist has numerous medications available to prescribe and can provide referrals to support and adjunct services when developing your treatment plan to stop smoking, end nicotine addiction, and reduce any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

The medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Chantix (varenicline) – this medication not only lessens the pleasure one gets from smoking by interfering with nicotine receptors in the brain; it also reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Chantix helps you lose your craving for smoking and nicotine.
  • Zyban, Wellbutrin or Aplenzin (bupropion) – the medication bupropion is known under three different brand names. It is an extended release anti-depressant that helps reduce cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Nortriptyline – this is an older anti-depressant drug that helps reduce tobacco withdrawal symptoms
  • Clonidine – this medication, used to treat high blood pressure has also been shown to help people quit smoking. When used as part of a smoking cessation plan it is often given in pill or skin patch form.
  • Other medications and even anti-smoking vaccines are being tested in Europe and the United States but are not yet FDA approved. Your psychiatrist has access to the most effective medications and strategies for a successful program to quit smoking with the least interference from withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine Addiction Psychiatrist

If you want to successfully quit smoking call Dr. Hege for a convenient evening or weekend appointment and begin a new life as an ex-smoker.

Sexual Side Effects and Psychiatric Medications

Reporting a sexual side effect while using psychiatric medications is a common complaint for both men and women. The severity of sexual side effects vary widely depending on the person, how they react to their medication, the specific medication prescribed, the dosage taken, and any co-existing medical disorders such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Sexual Side Effects

Psychiatric medication may effect sexual function in a number of ways. The severity of sexual side effects may be minor, may ease up as your body adjusts or become a continuing issue that impacts life enjoyment. Sexual side effects include:

  • Erectile problems
  • Orgasm difficulties
  • Problems with arousal and satisfaction
  • A change in the desire for sex

Statistics of Sexual Dysfunction

Most of the research available on impaired sexual function and psychiatric medication focus primarily on depression and antidepressants. Sexual dysfunction however is also a concern for those diagnosed with anxiety disorders, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia to name a few. While 35% to 50% of those with untreated major depression report some type of sexual issue, those taking SSRIs (anti-depressant medication) report 30% to 40% delayed orgasm, 20% report decreased libido, and 10% of men complain of erectile function.

Impact of Psychiatric Medications on Sexual Function

The following classes of medication listed indicate some common drugs within each class that have more reported sexual side effects versus those with fewer reported sexual side effects:

Antidepressants:

  • More reported side effects: Celexa (citalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Fewer reported sexual side effects: Wellbutrin, Aplenzin, Forfivo XL (bupropion), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Remeron (mirtazapine), Viibryd (vilazodone)

Antipsychotics:

  • Increased side effects: Cozaril (clozapine), Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Fewer reported effects: Abilify (aripiprazole), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Seroquel (quetiapine)

Sedatives:

  • Increased sexual side effects: Valium (diazepam), Mellaril (thioridazine)
  • Less reported effects: BuSpar (buspirone)

Reduce Psychiatric Sexual Side Effects

The solution is not to stop the medication you need for your mental health issues but rather to work with your psychiatrist to find an effective medication or combination of medications that work for you and reduce any sexual dysfunction that you have been experiencing.

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment – there are many avenues of treatment available to help you live a full and satisfying life. Let Dr. Hege help.

Withdrawal Drug Antabuse Effective for Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal is a difficult feat to accomplish with the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can torment a person for weeks and weeks. The odds for beating cocaine addiction dramatically increase with proper psychiatric care and cocaine withdrawal medication management. Working with an experienced psychiatrist trained in addiction and recovery can help you reach and maintain recovery from a life controlled by cocaine cravings.

Cocaine Withdrawal Medication Antabuse Effective

Working with a specialist with decades of experience treating patients with primary and secondary substance abuse and addiction issues is paramount to a recovery plan that is successful. One of the medications that may be prescribed to help manage cocaine addiction withdrawal symptoms is:

  • Antabuse / Disulfiram: This medication will help to minimize cocaine cravings and has been shown to improve abstinence and the recovery rates during the first three months of recovery. While Antabuse is generally used in the treatment of alcohol abuse it has shown positive results in the treatment of cocaine addiction as well.

Antabuse Effects on Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine primarily affects the neurotransmitter dopamine which directly affects the reward center of the brain – cocaine dramatically increases the level of dopamine in the brain which in turn causes feelings of euphoria that is commonly associated with the drug. In addition to increasing dopamine levels, cocaine increases norepinephrine which makes one feel they are full of energy. Euphoria combined with high energy makes cocaine addiction doubly difficult to recover from.

Use of Antabuse / Disulfiram blocks a specific form of dopamine which is an essential component in the body’s production of norepinephrine; Antabuse has a dual effect on the effects of cocaine use attacking the two main effects it has one the brain and body. Use of Antabuse makes using cocaine an unpleasant experience. While research data is bringing better understanding to the use of Antabuse with cocaine withdrawal, use of this medication is proving to be an effective part of a cocaine recovery treatment plan.

Cocaine Withdrawal Treatment Locally

Dr. Hege, a specialist in addiction and recovery, is a psychiatrist with over 25 years of successful treatment experience. The time has come to start on the road to your recovery. Call the office for a confidential appointment and comprehensive evaluation.