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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.

Empty Nest Syndrome Can Overpower Ability to Function

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

Empty Nest Syndrome

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

Empty Nest Symptoms That Require Help

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

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

Empty Nest Syndrome Treatment

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

Abnormal Behavior and Failure to Function

There is no sharp line between what is considered normal or abnormal behavior; however, mental health professionals often look at how a person is able to function in society. When a person is unable to cope with life demands or perform the behaviors and tasks necessary for daily living, such as self-care, or meaningful interaction with others, they may be described as exhibiting abnormal or dysfunctional behavior.

Abnormal Behavior and Failure to Function

The following characteristics can be used to determine if a person is displaying a failure to function adequately. While experiencing any one from the list below may indicate the person may benefit from a psychological assessment and possible treatment, displaying several of these behaviors may be causing enough of a disruption in life that other people are recommending either medical or psychiatric evaluation.

  • Maladaptive behaviors or being a danger to themselves or others
  • Unpredictability and loss of control
  • Irrational behavior
  • Behaviors that cause others to be uncomfortable
  • Feeing personally distressed over behaviors
  • Behaviors that violate social, cultural, or moral standards
  • Feeling like you are suffering emotionally
  • Expressing incomprehensible or distorted thoughts or ideas
  • Behaviors or ideas that occur only rarely in society

Normal Behaviors in Comparison to Abnormal Ones

It is sometimes easier to define what is normal and look at what deviates from that point.  When looking at characteristics considered necessary to mental health the following list includes criteria that can be regarded as a base point for normal or ideal:

  • Positive view of self
  • The capability for growth and development of self
  • Feeling of autonomy and independence
  • Accurate perception of reality
  • Positive friendships and relationships
  • Ability to meet the changing demands of day-to-day life situations

Abnormal Psychiatric Evaluations

If you or your loved ones feel you are having difficulty functioning in daily life, are finding your behaviors and thoughts distressing, or are experiencing trouble in social situations, call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment today and bring your life back to a comfortable place.

Video Psychiatry Brings Sessions to You

The world today is fast paced, with often hectic and stressful schedules. Use of technology with smart phones, Wi-Fi tablets, Skype, and interactive video conferencing have transformed the way we live our lives and impact on how we connect personally, socially and professionally with others. The American Journal of Psychiatry reports Video Psychiatry, also called Tele-psychiatry, has become an accepted option in this high-tech world we live in. It may be a good option for you!

Ease of Access for Video Psychiatry

The availability to access video psychiatry sessions is more than a convenience and viable option to receiving needed mental health services – live video psychiatry sessions bring mental health services to those who are unable to travel due to medical, physical or emotional limitations, to those who are out of town, who have family or work obligations that make it difficult to schedule a workable time to come into the office.

Technology and Security of Video Sessions

Video psychiatric sessions can be set up from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection. Smart phones, laptops and computers can all be utilized for a session. The application used during set up of your session is secure and meets the federal government HIPAA requirements keeping your medical and personal privacy information safe.

Starting Video Mental Health Sessions

Dr. Hege, a leader in expanding his psychiatric practice to meet the needs and lifestyles of his patients, offers video psychiatric sessions. To receive this therapy option the doctor does require an initial in-office evaluation to determine what treatment plan will be most effective for you. While video sessions may be able to be arranged to begin by the second visit, some medical or psychological issues may require additional in-office visits — or may not be eligible. Be sure to ask about video sessions if this is something that interests you.

Georgia Video Psychiatry Appointments

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment and evaluation of your needs. Weekend and evening appointments available. See if video psychiatry sessions are the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

Learned Anxiety Passed From Parent to Child

Parenting can often be stressful and for those with an anxiety disorder it can be even more difficult to deal with anxiety-causing situations in a calm and rational manner. With evidence showing children can learn anxious behavior from their parents it is important for parents to learn and model coping strategies instead of “passing on” learned anxiety.

Learned Anxiety and Risk Factors

Stress and anxiety is having an unprecedented impact not only on adult mental, emotional and physical health, parental anxiety is also affecting the children. With children often looking to their parents reactions to different situations and events, a consistently anxious parent may pass on those emotions and feelings to their child. The development of anxious behavior in children may be a combination of genetic risk factors and learned behaviors.

Mirror Neurons Reflect Back Anxiety

In humans, part of our brain is equipped with the ability to recognize and understand the emotions that others express around us. The term “mirror neurons” refers to this ability to reflect back the emotions we see and is the reason that for example an infant will smile back at us when we smile at them. Mirror neurons however respond to all kinds of expressed emotion, including, anxious behaviors. Stressful parenting is often contagious – when your own anxiety neurons are firing, your child’s anxiety neurons are firing too.

Strategies of Change

Working with a mental health professional experienced in the successful treatment of parenting with an anxiety disorder can help you effectively manage your own issues which in turn will help your children manage their own learned anxiety and stress. Passing your anxiety disorder onto your children is not inevitable. Management of your anxiety disorder will help your children learn how to effectively cope with situations of uncertainty, doubt, or anxiety.

Find a Doctor to Help Manage Anxiety

End your struggle with anxiety, stress, and finding daily life difficult to find calm and peace. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment. Convenient weeknight and weekend appointments are available.

Co-Occurring Disorders with PTSD

Many people may think they have anxiety because they suffer from social anxiety, or they have difficulty making quick decisions or any decision at all. Or some may feel as though they seem to be functioning in “survival mode” in order to just get through the day. While it may be determined that they do have anxiety, in some instances, they may actually be suffering from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as one or more co-occurring disorders.

PTSD Statistics

It has been estimated that almost 8% of Americans will suffer from PTSD symptoms at some point during their life. Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, with the numbers 10.4% and 5% respectively. Approximately 3.6%, or 5.2 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during the course of a given year.

PTSD Symptoms

Three different kinds of symptoms are experienced with PTSD:

  • First set of symptoms involve reliving the trauma in some way
  • Second set of symptoms occur when you purposefully stay away from places or people that remind you of the trauma; you become isolated from other people or feel numb
  • The third set of symptoms include feeling irritable, startling easily, or feeling on guard

Examples of PTSD Symptoms

While there are numerous symptoms reported with PTSD, following are some of the more commonly reported issues:

  • Loss of confidence in trusting your own instincts
  • Social anxiety
  • Difficulty at times separating reality from imagination
  • Waking up frequently at night; having a “fitful” sleep
  • Finding yourself flip-flopping on making a decision
  • Difficulty with short term memory retention
  • Finding it difficult to focus on a task, conversation, idea; difficulty with following through to the end of a thought process
  • Physical or mental lethargy
  • Feeling hopelessness, despair, or depression
  • Becoming exhausted after even small tasks; simple things become “just too hard to do”
  • Making poor life choices where you feel shame instead of making choices to change the situation to the positive
  • Confusion as to why you feel in a “fog” or feel “shell-shocked” by life in general
  • Exhibiting addictive behaviors as a means of escape

Co-Occurring Conditions with PTSD

Those that suffer from PTSD are also commonly diagnosed with other disorders such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety, difficulties with memory or cognition, as well as other problems with mental health or physiological changes.  The disorder itself is associated with impairment of the ability to function in social or family life – it is common to see problems with relationships, family discord, difficulties in parenting, and job instability.

For men, more than half with PTSD also have problems with alcohol; the most common co-occurring issues for men in order are depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse.

For women, just under half of those with PTSD experience depression; the next most common co-occurring mental health issues are specific fears, anxiety, problems related to alcohol.

PTSD Psychiatric Care

PTSD is not just a “veteran’s ailment.” PTSD can occur across every socio-economic status and life stage. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment at one of his convenient weekend and weeknight office hours for a comprehensive evaluation that addresses your primary and co-occurring issues.