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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.

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.

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.

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.

Mental Health: Do You Have a Common Disorder?

There are many different mental health disorders and conditions that can be diagnosed and successfully treated by qualified mental health professionals. It may be found during a comprehensive evaluation that a person may have a primary disorder or illness with other psychiatric disorders present that require treatment as well.

Qualified Mental Health Evaluation Critical

Diagnosis of multiple mental illness in a person is not uncommon. In addition some mental illness disorders have components of others in them. Some examples: someone with PTSD who also presents with a depression component or a person who may be diagnosed with depression but who also has suicidal tendencies. Working with an experienced psychiatrist provides you with the skills needed to determine your individual issues and needs.

Common Mental Illness Diagnoses

The more common types of mental illness or mental disorders follow.

  • Anxiety Disorders: An anxiety disorder is typically diagnosed when a person’s response is not appropriate to the event or situation — if a person cannot control the response, or if the anxiety is interfering with normal daily life. Anxiety disorders usually come with feelings of fear and dread, physical signs of panic such as sweating and rapid heartbeat. Anxiety disorders do include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and other specific phobias.
  • Mood Disorders: These disorders involve chronic long lasting feelings of sadness, periods of feeling overly happy, or feelings that fluctuate from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. This category includes the most common mood disorders of bipolar disorder, depression and cyclothymic disorder (low and high mood swings not as severe as those seen in bipolar disorder). 
  • Impulse Control and Addiction Disorders: With a diagnosis or diagnoses of this type of mental illness comes the inability to resist urges or impulses as well as performing acts that may to harmful to themselves or others. Some examples of impulse control and addiction disorders are compulsive gambling, alcohol and drug addiction, pyromania or kleptomania. It is not uncommon for the person to become so involved with their addiction that they start to ignore their work, home and social responsibilities and relationships.
  • Personality Disorders: Those people with personality disorders generally have extreme and inflexible personality traits that cause distress and problems not only to the person with this mental health illness, but also cause disruption at work, school or in social relationships. With personality disorders the pattern of thinking and behavior are often so rigid that they interfere with normal daily living skills. Some examples of this disorder are antisocial personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This mental illness usually develops after a traumatic or terrifying event. People who are diagnosed with PTSD typically have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and often find themselves emotionally numb.

Expert Mental Illness Help Available

If you see yourself in one or more of the multiple descriptions above and are having difficulty with daily life functioning it may be time to take a proactive step; call for an appointment with a qualified mental health psychiatrist for evaluation.

Do I Have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

In today’s stressful and high anxiety environment it is not uncommon for many people to suffer from panic attacks, emotional distress, or develop feelings of fear or helplessness after a traumatic event. How can you know if you are suffering from PTSD or some other mental health issue? Below we mention some of the most common signs and symptoms of PTSD; however, it takes a qualified professional to make an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan to meet your individual needs.

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