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High Functioning Anxiety Makes Success a Struggle

High functioning anxiety affects 18% of the 40-million adults who must deal with an anxiety disorder at any given time. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that this type of anxiety brings struggle and stress into their daily lives impacting overall satisfaction with a busy lifestyle.

High Functioning Anxiety Described

Most adults typically viewed as being successful, an overachiever, or even as having an “A” personality, are prone to having high functioning anxiety. While the general public perceives the positive outcomes from having this type of anxiety, it fails to see the struggle involved in getting there, staying there, dealing with constant worry, or with keeping up the effort of presenting a false persona to the rest of the world.

High Functioning Anxiety Diagnosis

In speaking about anxiety disorders, the type, high functioning, is not a real medical diagnosis, but rather a term being used more and more by mental health professionals to describe actions, symptoms, and emotions. This type of anxiety may exhibit many features of an anxiety disorder without the criteria for an actual diagnosis – they may have symptoms but are able to function through the struggle without life disruption.

Common Symptoms of High Functioning Anxiety

Some of the common signs that you may be struggling through life with high functioning anxiety include:

  • You are often told you are a Type A personality or a perfectionist.
  • You may have unrealistic expectations of yourself along with a fear of not meeting them.
  • You exhibit controlling patterns, habits, or strict routines
  • You find your life constantly busy and packed with plans and tasks to accomplish
  • You do not sleep well, tossing and turning throughout the night
  • You find yourself with frequent complaints of aches or pains, feel like there is a knot in your stomach, or find yourself biting nails, tapping your foot or cracking your knuckles as a sign of suppressed anxiety
  • You often keep your emotions bottled up, presenting a “false face” to others making it difficult for others to really know how you are feeling
  • You have a fear of disappointing or letting others down, often talking negatively about yourself
  • You cannot say “no” to the requests of others, often taking on more than you can realistically handle.

High Functioning Anxiety Psychiatrist

Even if the anxiety symptoms experienced are not interfering at work, home, or in social situations, they can still impact enjoyment and quality of life. Reducing the high functioning anxiety symptoms can end the struggle and lead to a more satisfying life all around. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential evaluation and determine the more effective treatment strategy for your needs.

 

Anxiety Signals Start With Small Signs That Disrupt Life

Anxiety is often a common occurrence in everyone’s life. Sometimes common anxieties look like worry about job security, thoughts about making a financial commitment, concerns about relationship or social issues, or worry about being late to an appointment. Anxiety signals can be a warning to help anticipate difficulties or issues, and then taking steps to prepare for them. Anxiety becomes a problem when it interferes with daily living and ability to function.

Symptoms of Anxiety Signals That Increase Over Time

Very often, small indications of anxiety become chronic, meaning they occur more and more frequently, and slowly the symptoms of anxiety begin to make one feel uncomfortable, out of control, or helpless. The following anxiety signals or symptoms may have started out as small annoyances, but over time began to impact and disrupt daily living and functioning.

  • Muscle tension
  • Feeling physically tired and weak
  • Having difficulty with remembering small details, meeting times or appointments
  • Finding it difficult to unwind and relax
  • Complaining of having an upset stomach more and more often
  • Having sweaty hands, heart palpitations, or shortness of breath without a medical reason
  • Worry begins to take over your thoughts
  • Sleep issues, sometimes not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep

Anxiety Signals for Help

When small symptoms start to add up, combine, or become chronic and more disrupting, it is a signal to a developing problem, alerting you to seek out help and treatment. The first step to easing your worry and anxiety is to listen to the messages your body is sending you and make an appointment with a mental health professional experienced in the evaluation and treatment of anxiety.

Atlanta Anxiety Specialist

If your body is trying to get you to listen to the message that anxiety is affecting your life, then it is time to make the call to Dr. Hege, an Atlanta psychiatrist specializing in worry and anxiety treatment. Make the call for a confidential appointment with weekend and evening hours readily available to meet your life demands.

Multiple Psychiatric Diagnoses Need Skilled Management

Research data has shown that while approximately one out of every five Americans experience a mental health disorder, approximately 45% of those numbers have multiple psychiatric disorders, meeting the criteria for two or more mental health disorders. Multiple psychiatric disorders may occur at the same time or one after the other, with the combination often worsening the disease course, symptoms and complaints.

Multiple Psychiatric Disorders Also Known as Comorbidity

Having more than one medical illness is also known as having comorbidity or a comorbid condition, a fairly common occurrence. As an example, it is often found that many adults with substance abuse issues are nearly twice as likely to also experience mood and anxiety disorders; and vice versa. While substance abuse disorders commonly occur with other mental health issues, it does not mean that one causes the other even if one of the problems appeared first.

Multiple Psychiatric Illness a Challenge to Treat

Those who are diagnosed with multiple psychiatric disorders make treatment challenging. Adults in this group very often require higher doses of medication, longer periods of medication prescribed, and may be more resistant to treatment overall. It takes a skilled psychiatrist to make the correct multiple diagnoses and one experienced enough to accurately plan and strategize a successful treatment approach.

Multiple Psychiatric Disorders Evolve Over Time

Having one mental illness can change your life and the way you interact at home, on the job and socially. Having to live life with two or more mental illness disorders make everyday life more difficult and often impossible for many. Mental health diagnoses can evolve and change over time where combinations of issues can manifest in a variety of ways making a diagnosis even more difficult.

Examples of Evolving Multiple Psychiatric Disorders

There is no one set combination of multiple mental health disorders. Having one psychiatric illness such as PTSD for example can evolve into Social Anxiety Disorder, addictive disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, eating disorders, and so on. A diagnosis of Major Depression may also be impacted by cocaine or alcohol addiction, panic disorder, or poly-drug abuse. The combinations that impact one’s life vary with severity, and degree of impairment with the multiple disorders each be severe or mild, or one more severe than the other; in addition the severity or impact of both or one can also change over time.

Multiple Psychiatric Diagnostic Psychiatrist

Diagnosis and treatment is often difficult to get right. Finding the psychiatrist that is able to evaluate and treat for multiple mental health diagnoses is critical in the development of the right plan for you. Call Dr. Hege for a convenient confidential appointment and comprehensive evaluation of your individual concerns.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is Worry Out-of-Control

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

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Defined

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

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Triggers

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

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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

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

Treatment for GAD

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

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Doctor

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

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.

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.

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.