Professionals in Mental Health Need to Match Your Need

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

Similarities and Differences among Mental Health Professionals

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

Mental Health Professionals

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

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

Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

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

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

Myth and Misconception Behind Psychiatric Sessions

Many people who have never seen a psychiatrist or mental health professional often have misguided perceptions or believe a myth about what to expect. If your idea of what goes on in a psychiatrist’s office comes from what you have seen on soap operas or in the movies you may have a set of expectations that could actually limit the ability of the therapist to do their best for you.

Pre-Appointment Mind Set

While it is important to make that appointment for help with any emotional, psychological or behavioral issues you or a loved one may be having, it is equally important to have an accurate idea of what to expect during your psychiatric session times. Having accurate perceptions in place will allow you to get the most out of each session and facilitate an active one-on-one working relationship where your therapist can develop and implement a successful individualized plan of treatment.

Common Myths about Therapy

Understanding what reality versus a myth is can let you take full benefit from your mental health services. Some of the most common misconceptions are:

  • “Therapy is supposed to make me happy.” While you may feel that you are happier with life and more comfortable overall, the intent of therapy is to assist you in becoming fully functional and connected with family, friends, work situations, school.
  • “I want to be cured in one session.” The entire process of therapy takes time with no quick fixes. Each person is unique with their own needs, perceptions, and motivation for change. The therapist needs to develop an individualized plan, making changes as progress evolves. Many people have more than one issue or concern which may require a higher level of coordination of services, or use of more than one type of medication.
  • “I want to be told what I need to do.” Many people go into a therapy session expecting to be told what to do to change their life or solve their problems. While a mental health professional will explore options, outcomes, or may refer for adjunct or group services, a therapist will guide rather than tell you what you need to do.
  • “Talking to friends and family is just as good as seeing a psychiatrist.” Having a good support base is important when you are going through a rough time, but mental health professionals have the training and experience to understand and treat basic to complex problems. A therapeutic relationship is also confidential, where you can feel free to discuss things you have never been able to talk about before.
  • “Only people that are crazy go see a psychiatrist.” Life is often stressful and full of challenging events and changes. In today’s world, getting help for psychological or behavioral issues is seen as part of keeping oneself healthy in both mind and body.
  • “If I try harder I should be able to get better on my own.” Sometimes people struggle for months and years before seeing psychological help. A medical, biological or behavioral component to some disorders require more than just trying harder to get better.

Having the courage to know you need professional assistance and seek out a psychiatrist to help you lead a full functional life is a sign of strength. Take the first step toward feeling better and making a positive change in your life – call the office for an appointment.

Binge Eating Disorder Managed With Vyvanse

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

Cause of Binge Eating Disorder

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

Diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder

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

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

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

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

Degree of Binge Eating Disorder Exhibited

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

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

Treatment for B.E.D.

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

Binge Eating Disorder Psychiatrist

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

Stop Smoking: Anxiety, Craving Areas of Brain Activated

The American Cancer Society reports that 20%, or over 40 million American adults currently smoke. With public education efforts it is well known that smoking has a multitude of damaging effects on the body including heart disease, stroke, oral cancer, colon cancer, or emphysema. In addition 90% of lung cancers can be linked to smoking. The difficulty with quitting is that smoking is both a physical and mental process; the addictive qualities of nicotine compare to heroin addiction.

Quitting Without Medication

Research data show that only 4 to 6 percent of adults who try to quit by themselves succeed. Use of nicotine replacement therapy, support groups or quit-smoking aids brings the success rate up to 16 to 24 percent. That number increases to between 25 and 33 percent when medications like Zyban or Chantix are added into a medically monitored treatment plan. Being able to quit smoking is a difficult task best tackled with a physician or psychiatrist who understands the addiction and the medications that work.

The Addiction of Nicotine

Two recent prominent studies have reported results that pinpoint specific regions of the brain that make it difficult for some people to be successful at quitting smoking. The one region, interpeduncular nucleus, is packed with nicotine receptors, with this area triggering anxiety responses during nicotine withdrawal. The other region of the brain, the insula, a large region that is viewed as the seat of addictive urges and cravings.  The insula becomes active when a smoker not only craves a cigarette, but when they are just thinking about smoking — a double-edged sword of anxiety and cravings to face when trying to quit smoking.

Quit Smoking with Nicotine Withdrawal Doctor

Call Dr. Darvin Hege to break the physical and psychological addiction that nicotine has on you. He may prescribe medications, nicotine replacement treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychological support adjunct groups or other individualized treatment options to help you succeed and break the nicotine habit. Call the office today.

Opioid Addiction: Power Beyond Death

Opioid addiction has a powerful pull on those who use them, whether legally through prescription drug use or through illegal drugs such as heroin. Once addicted to opioids, a person typically requires professional intervention with medications such as Suboxone, as well as family and community support systems to beat the addiction. While the general public may not understand the intense addictive qualities of opioids, new research documentation may lead to greater awareness of the growing problem of opioid addiction in our society.

Addictive Cravings Detectable After Death

The Medical University of Vienna, Department of Forensic Medicine, published results in December 2016 that demonstrated addictive craving for opioid stimulation continues to exist up to nine days after a person has died. A protein in the brain’s reward center is altered with opioid use, making it more stable and able to react to an opioid stimulus in a type of memory function – this addictive craving can still be detected after death, indicating not only the power opioid addiction has, but the difficulty an addict has in trying to withdrawal from and quit opioids.

Post-Mortem Dependence Memory

The Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy reports on a study showing that the effects of chronic opioid stimulus can be identified post-mortem. The brain protein FosB that has been altered by opioid use, turns into DeltaFosB which becomes increasingly stimulated with chronic use and opioid addiction. DeltaFosB is found in the region where memory is formed which may make addiction and withdrawal all the more harder to achieve. DeltaFosB shows stimulation continues to exist nine days after the person has died – researchers believe that in living addicts the effect may last for months, making professional help all the more critical.

Psychiatric Opioid Addiction Treatment

When addictive cravings persist in the brain for months during and following withdrawal it is imperative to seek psychiatric opioid addiction treatment options. Call the office for a confidential appointment and expert care.

Weight Gain or Mental Illness: Which Came First?

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

Obesity and Mental Health Bring Health Issues

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

Mental Health Illness’ Contribution to Weight Gain

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

Which Came First? Weight Gain or Mental Illness

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

Psychiatric Medications and Gaining Weight

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

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

Medication Specialist

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


Are Your Psych Med Side Effects Worse Than Benefit

Depending on the person and the type of psychiatric medication they are taking, the side effects experienced are wide and varied. Some are often an annoyance while others become just too much to live with on a daily basis, making thousands of patients left to decide if the side effects are worth the treatment and management of their disorders or diagnoses. When side effects for psychotropic medications lead to the belief a person is actually worse off taking the drugs, it is time for a full comprehensive exam and medication review by a qualified and experienced psychiatrist.

Unbearable Side Effects

Many people report that their side effects make living with a disorder or mental health diagnosis worse than the struggle through life without any medications. Some of the side effects that lead people away from medication are debilitating movement disorders, intense restlessness and agitation, sexual dysfunctions, or potentially life-threatening health risks. A review of some of the main side effects of the common classes of psychiatric drugs follow:

Common Side Effects of Antidepressants

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Sexual problems

Common Side Effects of Anti-Anxiety Medications

  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nightmares

Typical Side Effects of Stimulants

  • Difficulty in falling asleep or in staying asleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache

Less common effects include:

  • Personality changes – appear emotionless or flat
  • Motor or verbal tics

Possible Effects of Anti-Psychotic Drugs

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Appearance of tics and tremors
  • Seizures
  • A lowered number of white blood cells

Less common effects related to physical movement include:

  • Rigidity
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness

Common Side Effects of Mood Stabilizers

  • Itching, rash
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Slurred speech
  • Heartbeats that are fast, slow, irregular or pounding
  • Seizures
  • Tremors or shaking of hands
  • Changes in vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blackouts
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hallucinations (visual or auditory)
  • Swelling of face, tongue, throat, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs

Side Effects or Symptoms Requiring Immediate Attention

Call your doctor right away or seek emergency mental health treatment if you experience any of the following:

  • Thoughts of suicide or dying, or attempting suicide
  • New or worsening depression
  • New or worsening anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • New behaviors of aggression, anger or violence
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Unusual changes in behavior or mood
  • Extreme insomnia or restlessness

Manage Medication Side Effects Successfully

If psychiatric medications are causing you side effects that are becoming more and more intolerable, call the office for a comprehensive review for medication management of your mental health disorder or concern that will allow you to enjoy life once again. Call Dr. Hege, a local highly esteemed and experienced psychiatrist with decades of successful treatment planning while keeping those annoying side effects to an absolute minimum.

CARA: Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

CARA is a bill that has made its way through the House and Senate and was just officially signed into law by the President of the U.S., which effectively changes the way the nation looks at the opioid epidemic. CARA looks to bend drug policy away from punishment and makes a push toward a public health approach by providing hundreds of millions of dollars into increased treatment resources and award grants to address the national epidemic of addiction to heroin and prescription opioids.

Political Support for CARA

While the opioid crisis has been progressively growing in this country for more than a decade with opioid and heroin related deaths growing more than 400% in a 10 year period, it has relatively recently come to the attention of U.S. national policymakers. The U.S. Senate passed the bill with a vote of 92 to 2, and the House followed suit and passed the bill with a vote of 407 to 5. President Obama has completed the process this past week by signing the bill into law on July 22, 2016.

Emphasis of CARA

The new bill, CARA, shifts the emphasis of treatment away from abstinence and toward the new emphasis of medication-assisted treatment. Use of medications as part of a comprehensive treatment plan has proven to be the most successful and most effective for those who want to end their opioid addiction. CARA will also allow qualified practitioners to more than double the number of patients that can be treated with specific medication, buprenorphine for example.

Benefits of CARA

When fully funded with approximately $800 million in funds each year, CARA will provide grants that will:

  • Expand access to opioid overdose reversal drugs (i.e., naloxone)
  • Support for addiction treatment services including those that use buprenorphine and other medication assisted treatments
  • Develop and enhance recovery services
  • Develop a link between recovery services and other recovery support systems
  • Provide state grants for opioid abuse education, treatment and recovery efforts
  • Provide for a prescription drug monitoring program across the country
  • Provide grants to develop prevention systems addressing overdose deaths

Local Treatment for Opioid Addiction Available

Dr. Hege has been providing treatment for opioid addiction / substance abuse for decades. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

EEG Biofeedback and Adult ADHD

EEG Biofeedback or Neurotherapy is a relatively new technique that has provided patients positive results when included as part of their therapeutic treatment plan. Mental health professionals have found that EEG Biofeedback delivers individual benefits for those diagnosed with adult ADHD. Many patients often report benefits that rival ADHD medications such as Adderall or Ritalin, with positive results lasting for years, allowing these patients to remain medication free.

What is Neurofeedback or EEG Biofeedback?

The terms of Neurofeedback or EEG Biofeedback are interchangeable, describing treatment that utilizes a computer to measure brainwave activity or the electrical activity of the brain while thinking about or performing specific tasks. This feedback is presented initially on a computer monitor, where through training and practice, a person learns how to change the manner in which their brain functions. The goal of EEG Biofeedback with adult ADHD is to teach a person how to produce a mental state that is not only appropriate to a situation, but allows them to use it on a daily basis to exhibit successful behaviors at home, work, school or social situations.

Neurofeedback Clinic near Atlanta

Dr. Darvin Hege, an adult ADHD psychiatrist, works closely with CRG – Cognitive Rehab of Georgia for those patients that need adjunct therapy added to their comprehensive ADHD treatment plan. Dr. Hege provides his decades of experience in developing and strategizing an individual mental health treatment plan that works, referring to a select few medical associates in the community.

Meeting Unique Needs of Adults with ADHD

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential comprehensive evaluation. The unique needs for adults with ADHD are covered through use of multiple interventions that may include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, EEG Biofeedback and other compensatory strategies in designing a treatment plan that is as individual as you are.

College Transitions with Mental Health Disorders

College students with psychiatric disabilities are entitled to reasonable academic accommodations as provided by the American Disabilities Act of 1990 and 2008 amendments. The University of Washington through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education reports that tens of thousands of adult students report having a mental illness. Students with mental illness may experience symptoms that interfere with their educational goals and create a “psychiatric disability.”

Mental Health Intervention for College Transitions

Without mental health intervention, proper medication if prescribed as part of the treatment plan, or adjunct services, college students with mental health issues may experience severe disturbances in thinking, emotions or functional life skills. These disturbances may bring a diminished capacity to cope with the demands and stress of college life, which include a time of significant transition, a new lifestyle, friends, an alternate way of thinking, and exposure to new cultures along with the pressure of academic rigor and expectations.

College Transitions and Substance Abuse

Academic demands, new peer pressures, and poor ability to adapt and cope to the new environment of a college campus may result in students struggling with mental health or psychiatric disorders. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse report 45% of college students binge drink and almost 21% abuse prescription or illegal drugs, often due to the students’ struggle to feel adequate and cope with their new life situations. Partnering with a qualified college transition psychiatrist can help steer the college student toward positive management of both their psychological issues and academic success.

Symptoms of College Psychiatric Disability

Some of the most common symptoms exhibited by adult students with developing psychiatric disabilities include:

  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Exhibiting increased anxiety, fear, suspicion, or blaming of others
  • Confused or disorganized thinking
  • Denial of obvious problems and resistive to offers of help
  • Displays of extreme highs or lows in mood
  • Marked personality changes over time
  • Talking about or thinking about suicide

College Transition Psychiatrist

Developing a strategy and treatment plan, as well as stabilizing any psychiatric issues, can help to minimize psychological and mental health issues that would otherwise prevent a successful first college experience. Call the office for a confidential appointment.