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.

Bipolar Disorder: Adverse Consequences

New research on bipolar disorder presented in the journal Psychiatry Research reports that 100% of patients with bipolar disorder surveyed had experienced adverse consequences related to their disorder.  Having and living with bipolar disorder means everyone who comes in contact with you – family, friends, co-workers, the babysitter or grocery store clerk, are impacted in some way. The impact is tremendous and the consequences can become quite severe.

Living with Bipolar Disorder – Keeping Life in Check

Living with bipolar disorder means that the disorder becomes a close knit companion to every aspect of your life.  To minimize or avoid any adverse consequences there is a daily need to consider how your symptom levels affect the degree of effort exerted to keep behaviors and moods in a state functional for daily living. Even common routine daily living activities such as getting dressed, buying lunch out, or filling up the gas tank require effort.

Bipolar Disorder Examples of Adverse Consequences

Some of the most referenced adverse consequences those with bipolar disorder give are noted below:

  • Losing a partner – Odds are that if you or your partner have bipolar disorder you are 2x more likely than an average couple without bipolar history to divorce. Working to keep a relationship happy and healthy is hard, and adding in a mental illness makes it all the more difficult. When it comes to having a good “give and take balance” in a relationship those with bipolar disorder often require more “take” than they are able to “give,” and this may over time become too difficult for their partner to deal with.
  • Losing a job – Adverse consequences of having a bipolar disorder also include becoming unemployed. Research data has shown some hard statistics that only ½ of bipolar patients are employed at any given time, only 27% hold down a full-time job, their healthcare is more expensive overall, and productivity on the job is lower than those without bipolar disorder. While it is difficult to be consistent on the job when your emotions and behaviors are wavering up and down, being under the treatment of a qualified psychiatrist does give you an upper hand on dealing with the adverse consequences of bipolar disorder.
  • Being absent at work or as a parent/partner  With bipolar disorder there are days when you really cannot “get out of bed and go to work.” The depression can rob you of your energy to produce, work or accomplish even the simplest task. Absenteeism is a problem with bipolar disorder and is one of the common adverse consequences of the disease. Psychiatric management of your diagnosis will help make your daily effort to go “out into the world” more functional and less stressful for you. Following a prescribed regiment of medications and adjunct therapies does work, and it will work for you too.
  • Losing relationships with family – It is not easy to adapt to changes in mood and behavior. Not everyone can cope, and over time feel it is easier to just walk away. Bipolar’s adverse consequences are that mood swings, risky behaviors, mania and depression often leave family and friends confused, exhausted, and afraid that their own responses may trigger an unpredictable outburst or mood swing. Finding the right bipolar psychiatrist that can meet your needs and situation is crucial for a successful outcome.

Make the Call that Leads to Real Help

Help is just a phone call away. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment where your successful treatment for bipolar disorder can put those adverse consequences in check.

Dangers of Psychiatric Self-Diagnosis

Proper psychiatric diagnosis requires expert clinical knowledge, extensive training and a foundation from years of experience working in the field. In addition, a comprehensive understanding of psychological disorders and how they are related to one another can make a critical difference in choosing which treatment plan will be the most effective and successful.

Self-Diagnosis Delays and Prevents Correct Treatment

Psychology Today reports that with the ease of being able to “Google” anything today, hundreds of thousands of people self-diagnose reaching their own conclusions about what may or may not be “wrong.” Unfortunately self-diagnosis is often incorrect, delaying and often preventing proper treatment. For example, almost 70% of people who report anxiety as their main concern also have depression – with self-diagnosis, a second or even third disorder which needs to be treated can be completely overlooked.

Medical Problems Missed in Psychiatric Self-Diagnosis

While there is always a danger with the process of self-diagnosis of a psychological syndrome, one of the greatest dangers is that a serious medical disease may be missed. It is not uncommon for a medical problem to masquerade as a psychiatric syndrome, such as those that present with changes to their personality, depression, or psychotic behaviors – treating symptoms with over the counter medications from self-diagnosis would not be the proper treatment when the correct diagnosis may be a serious neurological, cardiac, or endocrine problem.

Common Dangers of Psychiatric Self-Diagnosis

When self-diagnosis is wrong then proper care and treatment can be delayed or the wrong treatment can be instituted which can negatively affect any hoped for outcomes. Receiving a proper diagnosis takes a well experienced psychiatrist or mental health professional to not only determine what the problem is, but to sort through what the problem is not. Some common dangers of psychiatric self-diagnosis include:

  • Missing the nuances a proper diagnosis demands – those with mood swings for example may self-diagnose manic-depression or bipolar disorder when they may have a borderline personality disorder with major depression, other complicating factors or different combinations of diagnoses altogether
  • Misdirecting the mental health professional with complaints related to self-diagnosis
  • Providing self-treatment based on an incorrect decision
  • Denial or inability to correctly interpret symptoms and behaviors displayed that disrupt one’s life
  • Many personality disorders are not openly reported as they are a problem to others, not one’s self

Self-Diagnosis versus Clinical Diagnosis

Self-diagnosis can have life-impacting consequences on one’s life. Discussing symptoms and noted behaviors with a clinical specialist is imperative to starting the treatment strategy that fits and is successful. If symptoms or behaviors are causing distress in your home, work or social situations, seek out a professional. There’s no issue with educating yourself about symptoms; however, leave the diagnosis to an experienced psychiatrist. Please call the office to set up an appointment and make sure you get the right diagnosis.

Bipolar Medications Need Critical Adjustments Over Time

The National Association of Mental Illness reports that bipolar disorder can be successfully treated following an accurate diagnosis. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, finding the correct medication regime is an essential part of treatment. The quantity and severity of bipolar episodes can be regulated via a medication maintenance program; however, the appearance of sporadic episodes of mania or depression require additional treatment, which can include medication adjustments and management.

Bipolar Medications Require Discovery Time for Optimal Dosage

Bipolar disorder is a complex illness that often requires patience by the patient. Determining the right bipolar medication(s) typically revolves around your psychiatrist making critical adjustments over time to achieve the desired effect. Mayo Clinic reports show some bipolar medications may take weeks to even months to take full effect; changes are often made one medication at a time to properly evaluate which one will not only work to relieve your symptoms, but which also has the least troubling side effects.

Common Medications for Bipolar Disorder

There are three main types of medications that are used to treat bipolar disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health defines these psychiatric medications as including mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and atypical antipsychotics. Examples of these three types of bipolar medications are:

  • Mood Stabilizers include the use of Lithium (Lithobid), and anticonvulsants such as valproic acid (Depakene, Stavzor), divalproex (Depakote), or lamotrigine (Lamictal). Lithium requires periodic blood tests. Common side effects include dry mouth, digestive issues, restlessness, weight gain, drowsiness, or dizziness. Medication may require periodic blood tests to determine medication blood levels and physiological effects on internal organs.
  • Antidepressants may be used by your psychiatrist depending on your symptoms. Some of these drugs include MAO inhibitors, tricyclics, or Symbyax. Common side effects with antidepressants include reduced sexual desire and response, weight gain, drowsiness, or increased appetite. Some of these bipolar medications require careful monitoring for potentially dangerous side effects.
  • Antipsychotics include aripiprazole (Abilify), olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), and quetiapine (Seroquel). Side effects may include weight gain, sleepiness, tremors, blurred vision and rapid heartbeat. Use of antipsychotics for bipolar disorder may also affect memory, attention, focus, as well as the possibility of causing involuntary facial or body movements.

Your bipolar disorder psychiatrist will determine which medications fit with your symptoms and lifestyle following a comprehensive evaluation. Adjustments and changes will be made over time to provide you with an optimal psychopharmacology regime that meets your unique needs. An experienced psychiatrist may also prescribe other medications such as anti-anxiety medications on a short term basis to address anxiety and poor sleeping patterns.

Atlanta Bipolar Disorder Psychiatrist

Dr. Hege, your bipolar disorder psychiatrist, can help turn your life around without years of suffering through misdiagnosis. Contact us today to request a consultation.

Abruptly Stopping Psychiatric Meds Dangerous

There are numerous reasons why a person taking psychiatric medication will decide to stop taking them. The decision to stop made without mental health consultation may because they feel better and believe they no longer need the medications. Additional influences include family or friend pressure to stop, feeling a stigma is attached to those who take psych meds, fear of personality change, discomfort from side effects, or other personal reasons.

Stopping Psych Meds Abruptly Release Many Symptoms

Psychiatry Online reports abruptly stopping psych medication can quickly cause a rebound or return of the symptoms that had previously been held under control for months or years. Depending on the medication being taken, the consequences of stopping their use include withdrawal symptoms, occurrence of new symptoms, or even the appearance of worse symptoms then were experienced prior to the start of psychiatric treatment.

Going “Cold Turkey” with Psych Meds Life Threatening

The decision to stop taking psych meds without benefit of mental health or psychiatric planned medication reduction or change can be dangerous, even life threatening. Withdrawal can bring distressing reactions including potentially fatal seizures with unmonitored stoppage of psych meds. It is critically important to have medical guidance when stopping any psych meds that affect the central nervous system; the biochemical balance of the brain needs to adapt and stabilize to changes over time to prevent a medical crisis.

Management of Time Course and Side Effects Important

Working with an experienced psychiatrist specializing in psych meds ensures a smoother transition during reduction of medications if that is the decision you have reached. Other options your Atlanta psych med psychiatrist may present include switching medications, slow reduction in dosage, cognitive behavioral therapy, reducing or eliminating some psych meds while keeping essential psych medication in place, adjunct therapy, as well other proven strategies.

Psych Med Psychiatrist Alerts you to Expected Symptoms

Working with your Atlanta psych med psychiatrist is crucial throughout changes or reductions in prescribed psychotropic medications. Side effects and possible problems are more tolerable when you know what to expect as well as being aware of certain symptoms or behavioral changes that need to be immediately reported to your psychiatrist. Changes or return to prior dosages are more easily managed when you are working closely with your Georgia psychiatric med psychiatrist.

Slow Dose Reduction of Psych Meds Most Successful

Psych reports some psychiatric medication studies have shown the slower the dose is reduced the chance of relapse is reduced by one-half or more. With many psychotropic drugs however, such as antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, studies have not been well established to determine percentage of success or relapse. The best recommendation is to work closely with your psychiatrist to gradually make changes and adjustments over time.

Dr. Darvin Hege, a highly regarded Atlanta psych meds psychiatrist, brings decades of successful experience to your evaluation, program strategy, medication regime, and in working with you to achieve optimum results. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Psychiatric Illness and Pregnancy Require Careful Management

The Journal of Lifetime Learning in Psychiatry reports a growing number of pregnancies where psychiatric illness either predates or emerges during the course of the pregnancy. There are more than 500,000 pregnancies in the U.S. every year with a documented psychiatric illness and 33% of all pregnant women are prescribed a psychotropic medication at least once during the course of their pregnancy. While use of psychotropic medications may be a cause of concern of fetal safety during pregnancy, 30 years of research indicates many medications may be used safely. In some cases, discontinuing use of prescribed medications is not a safe option when reviewing the risks associated with psychiatric illness.

Psychiatric Illness Relapse up to 68% in those who Discontinue Medications

For many, pregnancy is a time of feeling both emotionally and physically well, however up to 20% of women develop a mood or anxiety disorder during pregnancy. Women with a history of psychiatric illness who choose to stop their psychotropic medications are found to be highly vulnerable to relapse. Women’s Mental Health online report studies show a 26% relapse rate for those who continue with psychopharmacology treatment as opposed to 68% that relapsed after discontinuing their prescribed psychiatric medication. Data indicates the risk of relapse was five times greater for those pregnant women who stopped their treatment medication for a mental illness or disorder. Relapse rates show similar findings for those women diagnosed with anxiety, panic, depression, mood disorder or bipolar disease.

Risks of Discontinuing Psychiatric Medications During Pregnancy 

It is critical to develop, pre-pregnancy if possible, a good working relationship with an expert not only in psychiatric treatment, but with a psychiatrist who combines a long standing history of successful individualized treatment strategizing, with the ability to tie in adjunct therapies or cognitive behavior intervention. Some of the risks involved in stopping psychiatric medications during pregnancy include:

  • A decrease in the likelihood to receive adequate prenatal care
  • A decrease in the ability to make good decisions
  • An increase in use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal substances
  • An increase in the potential to take part in dangerous behaviors
  • Delivery of a child with low birth weight, or fetal growth retardation in depressed mothers
  • Preterm delivery as a complication with mothers experiencing anxiety, panic or distress
  • Increased risk for development of pre-eclampsia for mothers experiencing depression or anxiety/panic
  • Increased risk of immediate treatment for infant respiratory distress, hypoglycemia or other health issues

Atlanta Mental Health Pregnancy Psychiatrist

Careful management of mental illness medications along with cognitive behavioral therapy during pregnancy can provide the optimal outcome for mother, family and baby. Dr. Darvin Hege is committed to providing individualized treatment planning that works for you.

Call to schedule a personal appointment with Dr. Hege today.

Open Discussion with Psychiatrist Promotes Optimal Treatment Plan

For most people, making an appointment to see a psychiatrist about behaviors or symptoms that are impacting their personal, academic or work life is a hard first step to take. Psychiatrists are specialists who are not there to judge you, but to work with you to find the best medication and treatment regime for your specific needs – making that first appointment takes you in a positive direction toward turning your life around.

Psychiatric Help Needed by Thousands Who Never Seek Treatment

The website Every Day Health reports that almost 66% of adults with depression will never seek treatment. For those with addictive behaviors, a chronic history of substance abuse, or mental health issues that are causing havoc with one’s life, only approximately 35% seek help, usually when they are faced with a failed relationship, loss of their job, failing college grades, or a criminal record.

Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation Needs Full Disclosure by Patient

The initial evaluation appointment with your Atlanta psychiatrist follows an organized plan that includes finding out about your issues, concerns, behaviors, symptoms and areas where you are having difficulty, and the information you give will affect the treatment strategy and time frame of the recovery process.

An experienced and practiced psychiatrist like Dr. Hege understands patients may hold back or alter important information out of embarrassment, fear, anxiety or trust issues. Accurately answering questions, and describing symptoms and behaviors experienced will lead to building a sound foundation for a successful treatment plan.

Common Information to Discuss During Comprehensive Evaluation

Many points and issues are discussed during a comprehensive evaluation with your psychiatrist. Talking about one area of concern may lead to a whole new set of questions. Some common topics that may be discussed include:

  • Medications currently taking – include prescription medications and their dosage, as well as all over-the-counter (OTC) herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements or pain medicine you use. Discuss any products that may have caused a side effect or left you “feeling bad.”
  • Stress in your life – stress comes from many different directions such as work, home, friends, children, money, debt, weight, pain, loss, worry, etc.
  • Self Medication – use of drugs or alcohol to help you “cope” with life
  • Physical Symptoms –  includes trouble sleeping, poor appetite, voracious appetite, feeling run-down, loss of energy, loss of interest in sex, low frustration tolerance or any other symptoms that are interfering with your daily routine
  • Suicidal or Homicidal Thoughts – discuss any thoughts about hurting yourself or others with your psychiatrist; thinking may not mean follow through but this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed right away

Atlanta Mental Health Management Psychiatrist

Dr. Darvin Hege, a highly regarded Atlanta mental health management psychiatrist has a long history of successfully planning and implementing individually based treatment plans.

Schedule an evening or weekend appointment with Dr. Hege and start positively changing your life.

Medication Management Can End the Dark Cloud of Depression

Major depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America reports that having a major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for adults into their mid-40’s. While each person is affected differently, everyone  is impacted when depression interferes with their home, work, school and personal life.

Major Depression Statistics

Healthline reports 1 out of 10 people experience depression following a loss, traumatic event or life change. In addition, the phrase “having the blues” is commonly understood as having a sad or emotional time. Major depression affects almost 15 million adults in the U.S. during the course of a year, with the median age of onset at 33 years old. The incidence of depression is higher than reported as many men and women fail to seek help, continuing to struggle on through daily life.

Symptoms of Major Depression

While symptoms experienced with major depression vary from person to person, Mayo Clinic reports indicate there are numerous symptoms that are reported time after time. These major depression symptoms include

  • Feelings of being sad and unhappy that last more than 2 weeks
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in taking part in normal daily activities
  • Either insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • 5% change in weight (up or down) in a one-month period
  • Overwhelming fatigue and tiredness, slowed movements
  • Poor ability to focus, concentrate or make decisions
  • Dwelling on thoughts of death and suicide
  • Unstable emotions (agitation, crying spells, angry outbursts, self guilt, etc.)

Reaching out for psychiatric help for major depressive diagnosis is critically important and can significantly ease the physical and emotional aspects of the disorder. Find the best psychiatrist who has years of experience and a track record of successful depression treatment in Atlanta.

Depression Usually Accompanied by Other Mental Disturbances

There are many mental health issues that often accompany depression which need to be considered in a complete diagnosis and treatment plan. Psychological disorders may be triggers to depression or may manifest themselves as a consequence of the depressive episode. In either case, prescribing a specific medication mix is paramount to effective treatment.

Each disorder needs to be addressed separately as well as comprehensively for an effective treatment plan to succeed. Research shows common co-existing anxiety disorders include PTSD, OCD, panic, general anxiety, and social phobia; substance abuse of alcohol and drugs are also often seen co-existing with depression.

Individualized Treatment by Expert Atlanta Depression Psychiatrist

Dr. Darvin Hege, a well known Atlanta depression psychiatrist, has a long successful history of treating major depression. Each person needs their program designed using a medication management regime that fits their specific needs, triggers, and possible co-existing illness.

Call now and take the first step in breaking through the dark cloud toward happiness and contentment.

Choosing the Right Psychiatrist Affects Treatment Success Rate

In Atlanta and the surrounding area there are thousands of mental health professionals available to provide treatment for ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, narcotic addiction, anxiety, panic attacks, alcohol and nicotine withdrawal. The American Psychiatric Association reports that people often decide which specialist to call based on a referral from your primary physician, family friend, crisis center, or by picking the advertisement that “looks the best” in the telephone book.

Many Reasons Affect Selection Process of Mental Health Providers

Individuals have certain needs that come into play when looking for a mental health professional. Accessibility is often a reason to choose one specialist over another. An office close to a patient’s home or work may allow convenience to take precedence over quality of service. In addition, the time available to schedule an appointment that does not interfere with work, family, or child care issues is a major concern of patients. Some psychiatrists even offer online video follow-up sessions for some types of treatment after an initial in-office appointment so patients don’t have to drive to the office every time.

Finding the Best Mental Health Professional to Meet Your Needs

When facing mental health issues on your own or with the support of family and friends, choosing the proper specialist makes a difference in the effectiveness and success of your treatment program. While developing a trusting relationship with your mental health provider is important, selecting an experienced professional with a long track record of success also makes a significant difference in relapse rates and in the ability to finally live a fully functional life.

CBT and Medication Management Has Highest Rate of Treatment Success

Choosing a mental health specialist that promotes both cognitive behavioral counseling and medication management is the most desirable. Treating the whole person with psychological issues has the highest rate of treatment success.

Psychiatrists Treat Both Mental and Physical Aspects of Psychological Issues

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health illness or disease, substance abuse, addiction and recovery. Atlanta psychiatrist Dr. Hege designs an individualized treatment program to provide relief of symptoms, anxieties and fears right away. Withdrawal symptoms are carefully planned for and managed. Medication adjustments are made as you progress through the treatment program.

Dr. Darvin Hege, a highly regarded Atlanta psychiatrist, believes in treating the whole person. Dr. Hege may refer you for adjunct therapeutic sessions such as cognitive behavioral treatment and EEG biofeedback. Dr. Hege may also recommend family/couples therapy or participation in the Evening Recovery Program as part of your comprehensive treatment plan.

Atlanta Evening and Weekend Psychiatrist

Atlanta psychiatrist Dr. Hege specializes in adult ADHD, addiction, anxiety and bipolar disorders, substance abuse and depression with over 25 years of successful intervention and medication management. The doctor is conveniently located in Atlanta and offers both evening and weekend appointments.

For a confidential and private initial appointment, call Atlanta psychiatrist Dr. Hege.