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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 Uncategorized

Mental Health Experts on Depression

Depression is a widespread and significant medical illness that negatively influences how you feel and how you act. Depression may cause feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. While no cure exists for depression, there are several different treatment options available with ketamine infusions being a newer option which has a 70% success rate nationally.

RISING DEMAND FOR HEALTHCARE

A poll of almost 1,800 psychologists published in November 2020 indicated they were seeing a flood of patients experiencing anxiety disorders compared to pre-pandemic levels, and 60 percent were found to be treating more patients with depressive disorders. Of those psychologists, about 30 percent said they were treating more patients overall. The increased workload is becoming daunting. Two mental health professionals chimed in on their pandemic-era capacity.

Brooke Huminski, a psychotherapist and licensed independent clinical social worker in Providence, RI, who specializes in treating people with eating disorders said, “Never at any time in my practice have I had a five-person waiting list.”

Austin, Texas-based Dr. Gregory Scott Brown, the director of an outpatient psychiatry clinic, said the influx of patients seeking care has forced him to hire an additional nurse practitioner to help treat more patients. “I’m busier than ever and just don’t have room,” he said. “I’m full.”

IT’S OK TO FEEL BAD IN ROUGH TIMES

People who experience symptoms of depression and other mental health illnesses often struggle with feeling that if they’re not happy all the time, then something’s seriously wrong with them. But according to Dr. Jennifer M. Gómez, Assistant Professor, the Department of Psychology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development, Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, good mental health doesn’t mean you’re happy 24/7. Many everyday emotions are “integral parts to being alive,” she said. In fact, Dr. Gomez said that reacting happily following bad news, especially during a global pandemic, “would be abnormal.” She said, “If you’re struggling, there’s nothing inherently wrong with you.”

Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson, Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, agreed and stressed, “When people say, ‘it’s okay not to be okay’, I want you to really hear that.” She further noted there is no playbook for navigating such unprecedented stress levels and the human body wasn’t built for it.  

A common form of treatment for people who suffer from depression is psychotherapy, traditional medications, and now newer treatment options like ketamine. Mental healthcare professionals stress that it’s important to find a treatment you’re comfortable with and stick with it as prescribed.

DEPRESSION MEANS PRIORITIZATION

During high-stress moments in life, whether it’s the effect of a global pandemic or something else, mental healthcare professionals say it’s important to stay centered, and prioritize little things to help remain grounded. Joey Lusvardi, a psychiatric physician assistant, and Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, Assad Meymandi Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reiterated that mental health is the foundation we build our lives upon, and we can’t ignore the little things – cleaning the house, maintaining personal hygiene, and reaching out to friends and loved ones with Zoom calls and other mediums.

TYPES OF MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

Many kinds of mental health care professionals can help diagnose and treat depression and other conditions. They often work in in-patient facilities like general hospitals and psychiatric facilities, and out-patient facilities, such as community mental health clinics, private practices, and schools. 

The following professionals handle assessment and therapy:

  • Psychologists, who typically hold a doctoral degree in clinical psychology or another specialty such as counseling or education. They specialize in evaluating someone’s mental health through clinical interviews, psychological assessments, and testing.
  • Counselors, clinicians, therapists, and other masters-level health care professionals are trained to gauge a person’s mental wellness and employ therapeutic techniques based on certain training programs.
  • Clinical social workers are trained to diagnose your mental health through therapeutic techniques built on certain training systems. They also have experience in advocacy services and case management.

Some healthcare professionals can issue prescriptions to treat depression symptoms, but it varies based on state laws. One innovative new treatment is ketamine infusion therapy. They include:

  • Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors with specific psychiatric training. They can identify mental health conditions, prescribe, and monitor treatment and provide therapy.
  • Psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioners who provide assessment, diagnosis, and therapy for mental illness or substance use disorders.
  • Primary care physicians and pediatricians, though you may be better served by seeing someone who specializes in mental healthcare.
  • Family nurse practitioners can offer general medical services which are like those of a primary care physician, depending on each state’s laws.
  • Psychiatric pharmacists are advanced-practice pharmacists specializing in mental health care.

Exodus Health offers innovative new treatment alternatives that have been shown to rapidly improve the symptoms of depression in hours versus the weeks that antidepressants can take. If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of depression.

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