RLS

RLS and Comorbid Conditions

If you have restless legs syndrome (RLS), you know how annoying — and sometimes painful — the condition can be. 

You may feel a strong urge to move your legs, especially when you’re lying down or sitting for long periods of time. The sensation is often described as tingling, crawling, pulling, or itching.

RLS can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The condition is also associated with other health problems, including anxiety and depression.

In this article from New Exodus Health, we’ll explore the link between RLS and psychiatric comorbidities. We’ll also look at potential causes and triggers of RLS, common symptoms, and typical treatment options.

What Is RLS?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes a strong urge to move the legs in an attempt to quell the feelings of restless energy that run up and down them. 

RLS typically worsens during periods of rest or inactivity and improves with movement. As a result, the condition can make the sleeping process and times of rest extremely uncomfortable, giving the sufferer of RLS feelings of restless hopelessness.

RLS is a chronic condition that affects between 4% and 29% of adults in the Western world. The condition is more common in women than men and usually begins after age 40 — although, this condition can affect anyone at any age.

What Causes RLS?

The exact cause of RLS is unknown, but there are several theories. One theory suggests that RLS is caused by a problem with the brain chemical dopamine, which helps control muscle movement.

Other potential causes of RLS include:

  • Chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and kidney failure
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications, including anti-nausea drugs and anti-seizure medications
  • Iron deficiency anemia or other nutritional deficiencies
  • Hormonal changes in women due to menstruation or menopause

Symptoms of RLS can vary from person to person. Some people may experience mild symptoms that come and go without treatment, while others may have more severe symptoms that require medical intervention. 

Common symptoms include:

  • Restless legs that become worse at night
  • An urge to move your legs when they’re at rest or during inactivity
  • Sensations that feel like tingling, itching, crawling, burning, or throbbing in the legs
  • Pain or discomfort in the legs
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

RLS can also cause daytime fatigue, moodiness, and irritability. In severe cases, the condition can interfere with work and other aspects of daily life.

Diagnosing RLS

If you think you may have RLS, see your doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms. He or she may also order blood tests to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as iron deficiency anemia.

There is no single test that can diagnose RLS. Instead, the diagnosis is made based on a combination of factors, including:

  • Your medical history
  • A physical examination
  • Blood tests to rule out other conditions
  • A sleep study to rule out other sleep disorders

Treating RLS

There is no cure for RLS, but there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, traditional medications, and alternative methods — such as ketamine therapy.

Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms of RLS. These changes include: 

  • Exercising regularly 
  • Taking breaks during extended periods of sitting or standing 
  • Stretching your legs before bedtime 
  • Massaging your legs 
  • Taking a hot bath 
  • Adjusting your sleeping environment (e.g., using a supportive mattress) 

Medications

There are several medications that can be used to treat RLS, including dopaminergic drugs, iron supplements, and anticonvulsants. However, many of the typical medications prescribed and used to treat conditions like RLS often cause unwanted or uncomfortable side effects.

Alternative Therapies

Some people with RLS find relief from naturopathic, holistic therapies, such as acupuncture or massage. These therapies are not a cure for RLS, but they may help reduce symptoms.

Also, another breakthrough treatment option showing considerable promise is the use of ketamine therapy for RLS. 

This therapy uses a medication that is typically used as an anesthetic. However, the use of ketamine has recently been found to be effective in treating RLS symptoms and has shown promise in helping people overcome depression and insomnia.

Psychiatric Comorbidities of RLS

RLS is a chronic condition that can cause significant distress and disruption in one’s life. The condition is also associated with other health problems, including anxiety and depression.

It’s estimated that nearly half of all people with RLS also have a psychiatric or mood disorder. The most common comorbidities are anxiety and depression, but RLS is also associated with other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

RLS can also worsen the symptoms of anxiety and depression. For example, as mentioned above, the condition can cause insomnia, which can lead to fatigue and irritability. The condition can also interfere with work and other aspects of daily life, which can lead to social isolation and further distress.

Get the Treatment You Need at New Exodus Health

If you are struggling with RLS, or if you suspect that you may be suffering from a comorbid condition like anxiety or depression, New Exodus Health can help. We offer a comprehensive approach to mental health care, including ketamine therapy, for a variety of conditions.

Our team of medical providers has extensive experience helping people overcome the symptoms of psychiatric disorders and other chronic health issues.

We believe in treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. Our goal in treating the root cause of your conditions is to help you find relief from most — if not all — of your symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

If you think you may benefit from our services, please contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you on your journey to recovery!

 

[Contact New Exodus Health Today]

Panic Attack

How To Help Someone Having a Panic Attack

A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense fear. This fear can be accompanied by a number of symptoms, including a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, and shaking. 

Panic attacks can happen at any time, and they often come on without warning.

While panic attacks can be extremely frightening, it’s important to remember that they are not harmful to your physical health. Panic attacks are a response to stress, and they can be managed with the help of a therapist, counselor, or medical professional. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a panic attack, there are steps you can take to help them through it. 

In this article from New Exodus Health, we’ll take an in-depth look at panic attacks, their causes, symptoms, and the mental health conditions that are often associated with them. We’ll also provide information on how to help and treat someone suffering from panic attacks — including the use of ketamine therapy. 

What Are Panic Attacks? 

Panic attacks can occur for a number of different reasons. They are often triggered by stressful or traumatic events, and they may also be caused by certain health conditions. 

Panic attacks typically last around 10 to 20 minutes, but the effects of the attack can linger for much longer. Many people who experience panic attacks become anxious about having another attack in the future, which only makes things worse. 

Some common symptoms of a panic attack include: 

  • Racing heart 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Pounding chest or feeling pressure in your chest 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Sweating and shaking 
  • Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings 
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy 
  • Fear of dying 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms frequently, it’s essential to seek help from a medical professional. Even though they’re not harmful, panic attacks can be very frightening and take their toll on your mental well-being. 

With the help of an experienced medical provider, you can learn how to manage your panic attacks and move on toward a stress-free life. 

What Causes Panic Attacks? 

While some people are more prone to panic attacks than others, there is no one cause; a number of different factors can contribute to their onset. 

The most common triggers that often lead to panic attacks include: 

  • Stressful life events or trauma 
  • Health conditions, including high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, thyroid problems, and more 
  • Certain medications 
  • Substance abuse 
  • Mental health issues, such as anxiety disorders or depression 

It’s important to note that it’s not always clear why panic attacks happen — even to the one experiencing them. However, with the help of a medical professional or counselor, you can learn how to manage these symptoms and prevent attacks in the future. 

Mental Health Conditions Associated With Panic Attacks

Several mental health conditions are often associated with panic attacks. These conditions include: 

Anxiety Disorders: People with anxiety disorders are more likely to experience panic attacks than those without an anxiety disorder. Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia. 

Depression: People with depression are also more likely to experience panic attacks. Depression is a common mental health condition that can cause various symptoms, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and fatigue. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event, such as a car accident or sexual assault. People with PTSD often have intrusive thoughts and flashbacks of the event, as well as feelings of anxiety and depression. Panic attacks are also common in people with PTSD. 

Help for Someone Having a Panic Attack 

If someone you know has a panic attack, there are things you can do to help them through it. Here are some tips for helping someone during this difficult time:

  1. Remain calm and supportive. Avoid reasoning with the person or telling them that they are “overreacting.” Instead, be understanding and reassuring. 
  2. Encourage the person to take slow, deep breaths. This can help regulate their breathing and ease some of their symptoms, including chest pains and dizziness. 
  3. Get them out of stressful environments if possible. Being in a noisy or crowded place during an attack can exacerbate symptoms and make it harder for them to recover. 
  4. Take note of any other physical or emotional symptoms they may have (such as tremors). Ensure that you are comforting them during the panic attack, providing assistance, and documenting their symptoms in case medical services arrive at the scene. 
  5. Most importantly, encourage the person to seek professional help if they have frequent or severe panic attacks. A medical provider can help them identify their triggers and develop coping strategies to prevent these attacks from happening again. 

Also, as we mentioned above, please remember that panic attacks can be extremely frightening, but it’s important to remain mindful of the fact that they are not harmful. If you remain calm, it will be easier for the one having the attack to calm down as well.

Get Treatment for Panic Attacks at New Exodus Health 

If you or someone you know is struggling with panic attacks, we can help. At New Exodus Health, we offer a variety of treatment options for panic disorders, including ketamine therapy.

Ketamine is a medication that has been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of panic attacks often associated with anxiety and panic disorders. If you’re interested in learning more about ketamine therapy, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your unique needs. 

Panic attacks can be very scary and overwhelming experiences. But with the proper support and treatment, it is possible to manage symptoms and live a healthy, happy, productive life. 

New Exodus Health is here to help you on your journey to recovery. Click the link below to get in touch with us and learn more about our services.

[Contact New Exodus Health Today]

Depression

What Is High-Functioning Depression?

Anyone can be depressed, regardless of age or gender. It can hit when you least expect it, but the symptoms often go away on their own with no lingering effect. But when symptoms drag out and begin affecting your quality of life, you may be diagnosed with major depressive disorder or depression. Some people often forge ahead, continuing to excel in their personal and professional lives, without realizing they may have a dangerous mental illness called high-functioning depression.

How Many People Have Depression?

Millions of people in the U.S. struggle with high-functioning and other kinds of depression, making it one of its most common and costly medical conditions. According to a U.S. National Institute of Mental Health study, depression will affect nearly 21 million adults in 2020.

Globally, the numbers are much higher. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression affects 5% of all adults worldwide or more than 280 million people. Because of this, WHO officials call depression a leading source of disability.

The Cost of High-Functioning and Other Types of Depression

All kinds of mental health disorders like high-functioning depression (also called dysthymia) affect people differently at home, work, school, and socially. One of the biggest detriments of depression is the economic burden it creates. According to the Center for Workplace Mental Health, the economic cost of depression is more than $200 billion each year. The American Journal of Managed Care paints an even more horrific picture, noting that treating depression accounts for nearly 46% of all healthcare dollars spent each year in the U.S.

Understanding High-Functioning Depression

According to the experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine, high-functioning depression or dysthymia is a weaker but long-term kind of depression. It’s also known as persistent depressive disorder. People who have it may experience occasional episodes of major depression.

High-functioning depression is a kind of depression that blends in, chameleon-like, or flies under the radar in most people’s lives until its consequences become unmistakably dangerous. Because it progresses slowly, it’s not only hard for people to recognize, but it’s difficult to be diagnosed. This kind of fabric soon becomes woven into the fabric of someone’s life, making it hard to distinguish it from just having a bad day or being afflicted by a more serious condition.

If you have high-functioning depression, it’s hard to stay upbeat even during what should be happy moments. People unfamiliar may describe you as gloomy, a regular complainer, and someone unable to have fun. Dysthymia may not be as severe as some kinds of depression, but your moods can run the whole gamut between mild, moderate, or severe. 

Symptoms of high-functioning depression to watch for include:

  • Not being interested in daily activities
  • You’re sad, empty, or have a low mood
  • You’re driven to succeed and don’t like excuses
  • You have a sense of hopelessness
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • You have poor self-esteem, criticize yourself often, and generally feel incapable
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions
  • You’re easily irritated and show extreme anger
  • You don’t do much and are less effective and productive than you used to be
  • Social activities are a turn-off
  • You feel guilty and constantly worry about the past
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Sleep troubles

There is no apparent reason for this kind of depression. Experts think chemical imbalances may cause it in the brain (problems with faulty neurotransmitters can be treated), but other factors are believed to contribute, too. There could be environmental, psychological, biological, and genetic influencers. Chronic stress is common in people with high-functioning depression. Still, genetics are thought to play a role as dysthymia tends to run in families – even though a specific gene hasn’t been identified.

High-functioning depression is a kind of mood disorder, often grouped with major depression, bipolar disorder, and mood disorders related to a pre-existing health issue or even from substance abuse or taking certain medications. These are attended by certain risks, like having a blood relative with mental illness, high stress in your life, certain personality traits, and whether you’ve been diagnosed with another mental illness.

In most cases, diagnosis involves:

  • A physical examination to document the personal and family medical history and rule out or confirm an underlying condition that may cause your symptoms.
  • A psychiatric assessment, with symptoms being compared to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria.

Treatment options may include counseling, antidepressants or other medicine, lifestyle changes, or ketamine therapy.

Suicide

Why Don’t People Talk About Suicide?

While people often talk about physical ailments or medical conditions, they rarely openly discuss mental health issues they may be experiencing. This could happen for many reasons, but prevention efforts may lag if we don’t understand why people don’t talk about suicide.

Warning Signs for Suicide

If you suspect that someone is contemplating suicide but aren’t ready to talk with that person yet, there are warning signs to watch for:

  • Potential substance abuse
  • Destructive behavior
  • The person self-isolates from loved ones and the community
  • Dramatic shifts in mood 
  • Impetuous or reckless conduct
  • Accumulating drugs or purchasing a weapon
  • Giving away personal belongings
  • Getting their personal affairs in order
  • Making the rounds with final good-byes

Facts About Suicide

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers suicide a serious public health risk. Here are some facts to be aware of:

  • Suicide resulted in nearly 46,000 deaths in 2020.
  • Suicide affects people of all ages and is a leading cause of death for people 10 to 64 years old.
  • More than 12 million adults thought about suicide in 2020.
  • Suicide results in one death every 11 minutes.
  • It’s estimated that suicide costs America $70 billion annually.

Risk Factors

The CDC estimates that 46% of people who die by suicide experienced a documented mental health condition. Risk factors to watch for include:

  • Family history.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Intoxication at the time of the suicide attempt.
  • Access to lethal means to attempt suicide.
  • History of abuse or traumatic situations.
  • Lengthy periods of stress and inability to manage it.
  • Suffering a personal loss or tragedy.

If you think someone is considering suicide, reach out to that person. Talking to them may be a key to prevention.

Are Women More Susceptible?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that women are more likely to try suicide than men, but fewer go through with it compared to men. This could be because men often use more lethal methods, including firearms, hanging, or suffocation. On the other hand, women make attempts by trying to poison themselves by overdosing on prescription or non-prescription medicine. Unfortunately, recent data paints a chilling portrait – that women may be starting to use more lethal means just like men.

Reasons Why the Topic of Suicide is Largely Avoided

One of the biggest reasons people don’t talk about suicide is the stigma underpinning the topic. Even now, it’s often a taboo subject. There are three kinds of stigma that we can talk about specific to suicide, but which also apply to many other sensitive topics:

  • Stigma is a big reason why some people don’t get help for mental illness. This is when someone perceives you badly due to a unique characteristic or personal attribute that they think is a disadvantage. This negative stereotype is often experienced by a person struggling with mental illness.
  • Social stigma. When talking about health topics like suicide, social stigma refers to the negative link between someone or a group of people who have a stake in certain features and an explicit disease. This could result in someone facing discrimination, being labeled, typecast, being treated apart from others, or experiencing a loss of standing because of a supposed connection with a disease.
  • Perceived stigma/self-stigma is when the person internalizes their perception of discrimination related to mental illness and fails to seek care because of it.

Other reasons people don’t talk about suicide may include public humiliation and shaming, which is part of the broader discussion of the dangers of the stigma of suicide. Today, with mobile devices, fast internet connections, and social media, instances of embarrassment have been known to drive people to suicide because they feel ashamed and can’t talk about what is going on.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If you’re considering suicide, get immediate medical care. Your healthcare provider or mental health specialist is best equipped to handle a diagnosis, which may rely on:

  • Your overall mental health. Assessment will include asking about symptoms, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and personal and family history of suicide attempts and mental illness.
  • A physical examination to determine if there’s a medical reason for symptoms.
  • Assessing evidence of alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Determining whether any medicine you take is affecting your mental health.

If you or a loved one is in an emergency, call the suicide prevention hotline for immediate help. Standard treatment options for non-emergency situations often include psychotherapy, prescription medicine, self-help, or ketamine therapy based on your health and the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Anxiety

Mood & Anxiety Disorders

Mood and anxiety disorders encompass many conditions under the broad category of mental health disorders. Common mood disorders are represented by several types of depression and related conditions. Mood disorders are more difficult to diagnose, especially in children or adolescents, because of how the symptoms crossover, and those symptoms are sometimes hard to express. 

Common Mood Disorders

There are many mood disorders, though you may be most familiar with those listed below. Symptoms may overlap, and you can have more than one mood disorder at a time. This can make treatment complicated, but one option worth considering is ketamine therapy, particularly in the case of depression.

  • Major depression means you have less interest in everyday activities, feel sad or desperate, and may experience other symptoms for two or more weeks.
  • Bipolar disorder I and II encompass a condition where someone has episodes of depression alternating with instances of elevated mood or mania.
  • A mood disorder caused by another health condition, like cancer, injuries, infections, and chronic illnesses. All of these can trigger depression symptoms.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is a kind of depression closely associated with months when there are fewer hours of natural daylight, generally in the fall and winter, with symptoms beginning to fade with warmer weather and longer days.

What causes mood disorders?

Depending on what disorder you suffer from, there could be several basic factors. Factors related to genetics, biology, your environment, and others have been identified as triggers for mood disorders.

Risk factors:

  • Family history.
  • You’ve had a mood disorder before.
  • Trauma and significant life stressors.
  • You were sick or were prescribed certain medications. “Depression has been linked to major diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease.”
  • Brain construction and how it works, particularly regarding bipolar disorder.

Common Anxiety Disorders

Occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear.” If you have anxiety that doesn’t go away and the symptoms worsen over time – affecting daily life, including job performance, schoolwork, and relationships – then you may be suffering from a more serious anxiety disorder.

Types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Agoraphobia, characterized by fear and avoidance of places or situations that might trigger panic and induce feelings of being helpless, trapped, or embarrassed.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder includes consistent and extreme anxiety and worries around ordinary, everyday activities or events. The worry is often out of proportion to actual danger.
  • Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent instances of unexpected feelings of deep anxiety and fear that reach peak intensity within minutes (commonly known as panic attacks).
  • Separation anxiety disorder, mostly in children, is extreme anxiety for a child’s developmental level and is linked to separation from someone charged with parental roles.
  • Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, involves high points of anxiety, avoidance, and fear of social settings because of feelings of embarrassment, worry about being unfairly judged or viewed negatively by someone else, and self-consciousness.

Anxiety disorders could be caused by:

  • Chemical imbalances in regions of the brain which control your mood.
  • Environmental factors and trauma.
  • Anxiety disorders may run in your family and be passed down from a biological relative.

Know the symptoms

Ketamine therapy can often treat anxiety and mood disorders symptoms, but it’s a good idea to know what they are before agreeing to treatment.

  • You feel sad nearly every day or almost all the time 
  • Low energy or feeling sluggish
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless 
  • Lack of appetite or binge eating
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Feeling fidgety, wound-up, or on-guard
  • Being easily tired
  • You feel out of control, and experience many other symptoms

Diagnosis & Treatment

A healthcare provider or a mental health specialist can diagnose mood and anxiety disorders. It normally involves a physical examination to look for an underlying medical cause for your symptoms and document personal and family medical history. Talking with someone who specializes in mental health has the same goals but focuses on your thoughts, feelings, and behavior as triggers for your condition. Your personal and family history of mental illness will also be explored, with your symptoms compared to specific mood and anxiety disorders criteria.

If you suffer from either condition, ketamine therapy may help control the symptoms, but your healthcare provider will also probably recommend psychotherapy and certain other medicine.

Psychotherapy

What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

People who suffer from depression and chronic pain conditions often feel they have nowhere to turn if they can’t find relief through conventional treatment or medicine. They may try an alternative therapy, self-help strategies, or other methods to improve their mental and physical health, but what about Ketamine-assisted therapy?

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is used when treating psychological issues by talking with a mental health specialist, like a psychiatrist or psychologist. While undergoing psychotherapy, you learn about your illness, including your behaviors, feelings, moods, and thoughts. It’s a kind of “talk therapy” which helps you regain control of your life and react to stressful situations with healthy coping skills. There are numerous psychotherapy, each with a unique approach customized to your needs.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is powerful medicine, initially used for anesthesia in the early 1960s. Sixty years ago, it was field-tested to treat wounded U.S. combat troops fighting in Vietnam and began its march toward fame and widespread acceptance. Ketamine was formally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1970 for human use and as a veterinarian anesthetic. Since that time, its other medicinal value has been explored, including treating symptoms of mental illness.

Why use Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, in general, helps people deal with conflicts, reduce stress, and self-manage their symptoms. It’s a therapeutic approach that’s returned positive results for people dealing with illnesses such as:

  • Anxiety disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Mood disorders (bipolar disorder or depression)
  • Addictions (drug dependence, alcoholism, or gambling)
  • Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
  • Personality disorders including dependent personality disorder or borderline personality disorder 
  • Schizophrenia or other conditions resulting in detachment from reality

What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy? 

Ketamine-assisted therapy is a unique treatment approach utilized for mental health issues that don’t always respond well to other singular forms of therapy, such as depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, and some conditions of anxiety. It involves a combination of ketamine to improve and deepen the therapeutic procedure and the use of “talk therapy” and other consolidative forms of treatment to boost and lengthen the medicinal power of ketamine.

When dispensed in low doses, ketamine is a supplement to psychotherapy because it temporarily softens natural psychological defenses. It provides for more profound self-reflection and management of sometimes-painful symptoms of mental illness. 

Because it’s a dissociative medicine, ketamine produces psychedelic effects, some of which may foster a new understanding of the human psyche beyond personal identity. These kinds of experiences can offer clarity and vision into one’s psychological struggles, adding what some people consider a spiritual dimension to ongoing therapy and fostering a sense of interconnectedness and meaning to one’s life.

Ketamine therapy benefits

  • If a person responds to ketamine, it can quickly minimize life-threatening thoughts and behaviors.
  • Ketamine may relieve other symptoms of depression. It may also be helpful for treating combined instances of depression and anxiety.
  • It has a strong anti-depressive effect.

What about side effects?

All drugs have side effects, but ketamine may result in:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Queasiness and vomiting
  • Perceptual instabilities, with time, seemingly speeding up or slowing; overly stimulating colors, textures, and noises; and blurred vision

Psychotherapy can offer many benefits throughout several therapeutic sessions, including:

  • Helps you recognize and change behavior and thinking patterns known to be harmful or ineffective.
  • Helps people understand interpersonal issues that are bothersome, like unsettled grief, changes within social or work circles, and other relationship troubles.
  • Helps people with long-term suicidal thoughts and those experiencing eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • May improve self-awareness.
  • Helps develop positive coping mechanisms.

Alternative Therapies

Not everyone experiencing anxiety or more serious mental health issues feels comfortable going to psychotherapy or using medicine like ketamine. Fortunately, there are alternative methods you can explore to help manage symptoms of depression, chronic pain, and other conditions. These may include:

  • The use of dietary supplements “to promote health and wellness as well as to treat pain, depression, and anxiety.”
  • Mindfulness and other kinds of meditation help to better understand personal consciousness and the surrounding world.
  • Aromatherapy, uses natural aromatic essences to foster balance, harmony, and promote a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Final Thoughts

Symptoms of treatment-resistant depression, other mental illnesses, and chronic pain conditions pose significant challenges for millions of Americans regardless of age or gender. If ignored or untreated, they can have terrible consequences, but helpful options exist, including ketamine-assisted therapy.

Anxiety

Effects Of Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety or a more severe anxiety disorder, know that you’re not alone. You’re among a group of 40 million U.S. adults who experience related symptoms each year and struggle with the consequences. Anxiety symptoms can be harmful if left untreated, but, fortunately, they can be managed.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal part of our lives. You get worried about taking an exam or may breathe heavily for short periods watching a scary movie. But these feelings usually subside for most people. “However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).”

Non-Medical Ways To Cope With Anxiety

Dr. David Samadi, based at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island, New York, offers these tips for coping with anxiety.

  • Make changes where possible and let the remainder run its course.
  • Exercise as a way to release tension and help you get relaxed.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol as a means of relief.
  • Learn about anxiety disorders. 
  • Use stress management practices.
  • Ask your doctor for help in managing your anxiety.

Effects Of Anxiety

  • Heart problems, especially when under stress. These are characterized by an elevated heart rate which can boost your chances of an attack, stroke, or heart disease.
  • When you’re anxious, it’s natural for your heart to pump more blood, making your blood pressure increase. Anxiety itself doesn’t lead to high blood pressure, but rather it’s the frequent episodes of the fight-flight reaction which may promote high blood pressure issues. This can damage your brain, heart, and kidneys and boost your risk of stroke.
  • Stomach and gastrointestinal discomfort. Things like diarrhea, nausea, and stomach aches are widespread symptoms of continuing anxiety.
  • Asthma and breathing trouble. If you’re anxious, you can breathe rapidly as a result, and your airways become restricted. This phenomenon may lead to higher instances of asthma for people with anxiety, compared to those without.
  • Your immune system won’t work like it should, leaving you more susceptible to viruses like colds. When you’re suffering from anxiety, it triggers the delivery of stress hormones leading to many changes in how your immune system responds.
  • You may suffer from chronic muscle tension as your muscles tense and tighten because of anxiety. And if anxiety persists, the muscles can’t fully relax, resulting in chronic muscle tension. 
  • You may have frequent headaches, migraines and dental problems caused by clenched teeth. 
  • If you’re anxious or constantly under stress, you may binge eat and experience weight gain as a result. Anxiety causes us to crave chocolates and other sugary “comfort foods” because they dispense the body’s natural “feel-good” hormone, serotonin. As serotonin gets released, you experience temporary relief but also more frequent and continual cravings for less-than-healthy foods. 
  • You may experience sleep problems like insomnia, where you have trouble falling asleep. If you can’t sleep, you may be more susceptible to problems like heart disease, stroke, a compromised immune system, poor judgment, and even other anxiety disorders. 
  • Your healthcare provider may observe spikes in blood sugar levels. This is caused by the release of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine during the body’s fight-or-flight response to anxiety and stress. During this response, your liver may release warehoused glucose or blood sugar into your bloodstream to give your body an energy boost. Your body will eventually absorb the extra blood sugar, but repeated instances boost your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Anxiety can happen to anyone, and it’s a normal part of life. But if symptoms occur every day and linger for months, you may be at risk of developing a more serious anxiety disorder. In either case, a healthcare provider could:

  • Give you a psychological assessment. This would focus on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and look for a psychological basis for your symptoms, including personal or family history of mental illness.
  • Review your symptoms with criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, before deciding on a diagnosis.

Treatment may involve psychotherapy or options including ketamine infusion.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. The effects on the human body can be serious if the symptoms are brushed aside as just part of a bad day. If you experience symptoms, contact us today to learn more about treatment options and regain control of your life.

Uncategorized

Are OCD Thoughts True?

You got mugged and had a disturbing dream about what would happen if you encountered your assailant again – it left you shaking and sweating. But does that mean you’d really act that way? No, not necessarily. But you’re also fixated on celebrity news. Does that mean you have OCD? Maybe.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.”

Distressing thoughts or repetitive behaviors only become a concern if they start interfering with daily life and occur for at least an hour each day.

Are there disorders related to OCD?

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder. This disorder is known for an obsession with physical form lasting many hours each day.
  • Hoarding Disorder. This disorder means you’re compelled to collect large quantities of useless or worthless items, paired with excessive distress at the notion of tossing anything away. In time, this could render your living space unhealthy or perilous to be in.
  • Hair-Pulling Disorder
  • Skin-Picking Disorder

Many symptoms of these and other mental health disorders can be managed.

Risk Factors

Risk factors may include:

  • Inheritance or genetics. If you have a blood relative with OCD, you may be at higher risk of developing it yourself.
  • How your brain is structured and functions, as studies have revealed variations in the subcortical structures and frontal cortex of the brain in people with OCD. But exact connections are murky.
  • Your environment growing up is a risk factor, as well as Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.

Here’s What OCD Is Not

OCD features very specific behaviors centered around obsessions and compulsions, but certain personality quirks observed by casual observers and perhaps identified as OCD aren’t included in a formal diagnosis. These may include a penchant for collectibles (trading cards, comic books, toy figurines, etc.), fantasy sports or sports-related analytics, interest in celebrities (television and Hollywood stars, musical performers, etc.) or having a “crush” on said celebrity, closely following social media, or desire to own the latest mobile device.

Are OCD Thoughts True?

One of the key powers of OCD as a mental health super villain is its ability to convince someone exhibiting known symptoms that their thoughts are true. But that’s not the case. One of the reasons you may think your distressing or uninvited thoughts are real is because of how much time the average person spends each day in thought. According to psychologists at Harvard, most people spend nearly 47 percent of their day thinking of something not related to what they’re doing. All totaled, time spent in conscious thought in any day may be close to 70 percent.

OCD symptoms, in other words, cause many people to think continuously about what’s bothering them. 

Common OCD symptoms – obsessions:

  • Fear of becoming infected by someone or your surroundings
  • Unnerving prurient thoughts or images
  • Fear of shouting out vulgarities or insults
  • Intense concern with order, evenness, or precision
  • Repeated intrusive thoughts of noises, pictures, words, or numbers
  • Worry of losing or getting rid of something valuable

Common OCD symptoms – compulsions

  • Unnecessary or ritualized actions (brushing teeth, hand washing, showering, or using the toilet)
  • Continual cleaning of household items
  • Ordering or displaying things in a specific way
  • Continually checking appliances, or locks, switches 
  • Constantly seeking endorsement or reassurance
  • Repetitive counting to a specific number

Ketamine infusion may be one way to cope with OCD symptoms, but there are self-help techniques like being willing to accept risk, expecting the unexpected, it’s your responsibility, don’t waste time trying to stop thoughts, and many others.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Ways to diagnose OCD may include:

  • Psychological evaluation: talking about your thoughts, feelings, and behavior to see if you have obsessions or compulsive behaviors that inhibit your quality of living. If given permission, your doctor may talk to your friends or family.
  • Comparing your symptoms to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association.
  • A physical exam to help rule out any ailment that could be triggering your symptoms and to look for any related problems.

After diagnosis, you may be treated with psychotherapy, certain medicine, or ketamine infusion therapy.

Final Thoughts

According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, about 1.2 percent of adults have OCD symptoms each year. That means you’re not alone, but it also means that resources are dedicated to learning about the condition and how it can be treated. Contact us today to learn more about treatments that can help you find relief.

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6 Signs of Living With Social Anxiety

You’re at an office holiday party surrounded by co-workers and people you’ve never met before. Suddenly, your boss nudges you to a podium to give a speech about last year’s record sales numbers. You immediately begin to sweat, tremble, your mouth feels dry, and you feel nauseous. What’s happening?

WHAT IS SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER?

“It’s normal to feel nervous in some social situations. For example, going on a date or giving a presentation may cause that feeling of butterflies in your stomach. But in social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, everyday interactions cause significant anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment because you fear being scrutinized or judged by others.” All of the fear and anxiety results in avoidance and disruptions to your daily life, work, school or other activities.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?

While it doesn’t have one specific cause, there are many risk factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of developing a social anxiety disorder. A person who’s naturally more reserved and someone who’s experienced trauma like childhood abuse or neglect are at a greater risk of developing the disorder. Additionally, someone with a first-degree blood relative – a parent or sibling – who has the disorder is up to six times more likely to experience a social anxiety disorder.

RISK FACTORS

Several factors can boost your chance of getting social anxiety disorder, including:

  • Family history. You’re at greater risk of developing social anxiety disorder if your biological parents or siblings suffer from the condition.
  • Children who are harmed by teasing, rejection, ridicule, bullying, or humiliation may be more susceptible to social anxiety disorder. Plus, other negative things in life, like family conflict, trauma or abuse, may be linked to social anxiety disorder.
  • Children who are restrained, shy, timid, or withdrawn when dealing with new situations or people can be at greater risk.
  • Even though social anxiety disorder symptoms normally begin in the teen years, new social or work demands – meeting new people, giving a public speech, or making a big work presentation – may trigger first-time symptoms.
  • Something that draws attention to yourself, like facial disfigurement, stuttering, or Parkinson’s disease tremors can make you feel self-consciousness and trigger the disorder in some people.

6 SIGNS OF LIVING WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY

If you think you have social anxiety but aren’t ready to see a healthcare professional for diagnosis, you can look for several signs which may indicate you have the disorder. Self-diagnosis can never replace the opinion of a trained professional– but it may help you better understand what you’re dealing with. The following may be signs you’re living with social anxiety.

  • You’re so self-aware that you become physically ill. Everyone at some point is concerned with how others will judge and accept them, but with social anxiety, you’re so preoccupied with it that worry and fear overwhelm every fiber in your body until you become physically ill.
  • You may blush, feel nauseous, or suffer other physical symptoms. It’s normal to be nervous sometimes in public, but blushing elevates your discomfort to a whole new game. You find yourself struggling to hide the heat and redness creeping up your neck and into your face – all the while, someone nearby smirks or laughs at your pain.
  • You worry for weeks prior to a big event, succumbing to something called anticipatory anxiety. 
  • You suddenly discover that you can’t talk – to anyone. Your mouth becomes dry, the words stuck in your throat, as thoughts race through your brain, and you’re powerless to control them.
  • You’re worried about humiliating yourself and avoid anywhere other people congregate.
  • You can’t stop worrying – about nothing, and everything. The fear is unreasonable but it’s all you think about.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY

Your doctor may offer a diagnosis based on:

  • Physical exam to help decide if a medical condition or medicine has triggered symptoms of social anxiety.
  • Talking about your symptoms, how often they happen, and when they happen.
  • Review a number of scenarios to see if you become anxious.
  • Self-reported questionnaires about your symptoms.
  • Criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Treatment depends on the degree to which social anxiety disorder affects your daily life. The two most popular forms of treatment for social anxiety disorder are counseling, medications, or both.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Social anxiety can be debilitating in certain situations, but with commitment and proper care, you can learn to overcome the symptoms and regain a semblance of control over your life. Some people turn to medicine or counseling, while others have discovered the benefits of ketamine therapy to manage their symptoms.

Depression

What Is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness worldwide, but its symptoms are often misperceived as “just a bad day.” But if symptoms linger for months or years and interfere with daily life, you may be experiencing the first warning signs of something called persistent depressive disorder.

WHAT IS PERSISTENT DEPRESSIVE DISORDER?

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD), also called dysthymia, is a chronic form of depression. You can lose interest in normal daily tasks, lack productivity, feel hopeless, and have poor self-esteem and an overall sense of failure. These feelings linger for years and may substantially restrict your relationships, work, school, and daily activities. And the symptoms may lead to other related conditions, both mentally and physically worrisome, but can often be managed with treatments like ketamine.

TROUBLING STATISTICS

While PDD isn’t as serious as major depressive disorder, a diagnosis can only be made after experiencing a mix of depressive symptoms for two-plus years, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It affects a little more than one percent of the adults in the United States. Almost 50 percent of these cases are deemed “severe,” with the average age of occurrence being 31 years.

The condition can harm children and adolescents, too. Research shows that about 11.2 percent of 13 to 18-year-olds are affected by it in their lives, with girls more likely to experience depression than boys.

KNOW THE SYMPTOMS

  • Lasting anxiety, sadness, or “empty” moods.
  • Less ability to think, focus, and/or make decisions.
  • Low energy and fatigue.
  • Feeling desperate.
  • Weight and/or appetite changes caused by under- or over-eating.
  • Changes in sleep habits, leading to fitful sleep, problems sleeping, early morning wakeups, or getting too much sleep.
  • Poor self-esteem.

But symptoms are manageable. Some people believe PDD can be treated with therapies like psychotherapy, traditional antidepressants, or newer options like ketamine – and have seen improvement in their lives. The catch is being persistent.

“Persistent depressive disorder is difficult to live with and its symptoms are hard to manage — but they are manageable,” said Heather Jones, who’s suffered from depression for 25 years, beginning when she was a teenager. “If you are feeling as I was, that you have tried so many things and nothing has fully helped, keep trying. Keep advocating for yourself and stay on top of new treatments.”

 

WHAT CAUSES PDD?

According to the World Health Organization, depression and its many forms is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, but PPD – like so many others – is missing a root cause. No one knows what causes PDD. It could be linked to some changes in the brain involving a chemical called serotonin, which helps your brain make judgments and handle emotions. Other medical problems and continual life stressors may play a part.

Gender may be important, too, as women are more likely to develop PDD. Some research indicates that genetics could also play a role, passed down between blood relatives.

PDD VERSUS DEPRESSION

Persistent depressive disorder is a kind of depression. It’s less harsh than major depressive disorder — but it’s continual. Most mental healthcare professionals agree with the diagnosis requirement, that it lasts two years in adults and at least a year in children and teens. During this timeframe, symptoms can be severe and don’t subside or lessen on their own. Some forms of depression can be caused by seasonal changes, for example, but not persistent depressive disorder.

DIAGNOSIS

Depression often occurs with other illnesses, like heart disease or cancer. It can also happen with anxiety disorders or substance abuse. Often, people who suffer from PDD symptoms grow used to the mild depressive warning signs and don’t look for help. However, early diagnosis and consistent treatment is key to recovery.

A diagnosis may be made by a licensed doctor or other medical professional specializing in mental healthcare. The goal of both is to uncover a physical reason for the symptoms or discover a personal or family history of mental illness that could be considered a precursor to PDD onset.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

The traditional form of treatment for PDD is psychotherapy with the goal of altering distorted views of oneself and your environment. Psychotherapy, either in-patient or out-patient, also works to better relationship skills, and recognize and manage stressors. In the last several years, however, researchers and doctors have discovered that a treatment featuring the use of ketamine holds great promise for treating depression symptoms. In some cases, ketamine and other treatments are used as a last-resort effort.

If you or someone you love suffers from depression, you may be able to find relief with ketamine treatment.

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