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What is psychosis?

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Broadly speaking, psychosis is a lack of interaction with reality; it is a symptom of a variety of mental disorders, rather than an actual medical condition.

This page includes a full overview of psychosis, what induces it, some psychotic disorders descriptions and how it is treated.

Important facts about psychosis

Here are a few key points on psychosis. The main article includes more details and supporting information.

  • Psychosis is not a disease in its own right; it is a symptom
  • A common psychotic delusion is a belief that the individual is an important figure
  • Earlier diagnosis of psychosis improves long-term outcomes

What is psychosis?

Psychosis is a symptom rather than a disease
Psychosis is a symptom rather than a disease

Psychosis is an umbrella term; it means an person has sensory experiences of things that do not exist, and/or beliefs which have no real basis.

An individual may experience hallucinations and/or delusions during a psychotic episode. They can see things that do not exist, or hear them.

For the individual, this can be extremely frightening and, often, the symptoms can cause them to lash out and harm themselves or others.

Psychosis is classically associated with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and Psychosis is one of the defining criteria for schizophrenia although there are other symptoms.

Symptoms of psychosis

The classic signs and symptoms of psychosis are:

  • Hallucinations – hearing, seeing, or feeling things that do not exist
  • Delusions – false beliefs, especially based on fear or suspicion of things that are not real
  • Disorganization – in thought, speech, or behavior
  • Disordered thinking – jumping between unrelated topics, making strange connections between thoughts
  • Catatonia – unresponsiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating

Psychosis can come on quickly or slowly, depending on the cause. The same is real for schizophrenia, although symptoms may have a slow onset and begin with milder psychosis, if they stop taking their medication, some people may experience a rapid transition back to psychosis.

The milder, initial symptoms of psychosis might include:

  • Feelings of suspicion
  • General anxiety
  • Distorted perceptions
  • Depression
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Sleep problems

Hallucinations can affect any of the senses in a person with psychosis (sight, sound , smell , taste, and touch), but in about two-thirds of schizophrenic patients, hallucinations are auditory – hearing things and believing that they are real when they don’t exist.

Below are common auditory hallucinations:

  • Hearing several voices talking, often negatively, about the patient
  • A voice giving a commentary on what the patient is doing
  • A voice repeating what the patient is thinking

Bizarre delusions during psychosis

Paranoia is a common component of psychotic delusions.
Paranoia is a common component of psychotic delusions.

Examples of the kind of paranoid psychotic delusions – more likely to be associated with schizophrenia – and delusions of grandeur.

paranoid delusions – this can cause people with psychosis being too suspicious of individuals or organizations, believing they were planning to cause them damage.

Delusions of grandeur – obviously false but extremely hold the belief in special power or authority – for example, they believe that they are world leaders.

Diagnosis of psychosis

In this section, we will discuss the available tests and methods for diagnosing psychosis.

Early diagnosis

Early diagnosis of psychosis improves outcomes for the long term. However, that isn’t always achieved. The milder forms of psychosis that may lead to schizophrenia are left untreated for an average of 2 years, and even full psychosis can take several years before it gets medical professionals’ attention.

To increase early detection chances, guidance for healthcare systems drawn up by psychiatrists recommend that the “possibility of a psychotic disorder be carefully considered” in a young person who is:

  • Becoming more socially withdrawn
  • Performing worse for a sustained period at school or work, or
  • Becoming more distressed or agitated yet unable to explain why

For psychosis itself, there is no biological test, and if laboratory tests are carried out, it is to rule out other medical problems which could provide an alternative explanation.

Questions for patient and family

Psychosis is primarily diagnosed through clinical examination and history-the doctor examines the patient and asks about their symptoms, experiences , thoughts, and daily activities; they will also ask if there is a family history of psychiatric disorder.

First of all, other medical conditions are excluded, in particular delirium (sudden onset of a confused state), but epilepsy and a variety of other medical causes are possible.

Doctors may also check for any history of drug intoxication, both legal and illicit, and toxins, usually requiring a sample of urine to check this out.

When psychosis is narrowed down to a psychiatric cause, clearly defined requirements must be met before accepting a diagnosis. Psychiatrists generally rely on the American Psychiatric Association ( APA) to make psychiatric diagnoses, known as the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Brain scans

In the early stages of medical care, brain scans can be done so that other conditions – often treatable and reversible – can be ruled out.

EEG testing (electroencephalography) records the electrical activity of the brain and may help rule out delirium, head injury, or epilepsy as possible causes of psychotic symptoms.

Causes of psychosis

The specific psychosis causes are not well known, but might include:

  • Genetics – research shows that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may share a common genetic cause.
  • Brain changes – alterations in brain structure and changes in certain chemicals are found in people who have psychosis. Brain scans have revealed reduced gray matter in the brains of some individuals who have a history of psychosis, which may explain effects on thought processing.
  • Hormones/sleep – postpartum psychosis occurs very soon after giving birth (normally within 2 weeks). The exact causes are not known, but some researchers believe it might be due to changes in hormone levels and disrupted sleep patterns.

Treatments for psychosis

Within this section we will discuss the psychosis treatments and some preventive strategies.

Antipsychotic drugs

The most popular therapy for people with a psychological disorder is treatment with a class of drugs known as antipsychotics.

Antipsychotics are effective in reducing symptoms of psychosis in psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia but they do not treat or cure underlying psychotic illnesses themselves.

Doctors most commonly use the so-called second-generation antipsychotics to treat psychosis. While their use in the United States is widespread, that is indeed controversial. These are not approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), except for clozapine (the U.S. branded Clozaril and FazaClo), which can be used under special supervision if no response to other antipsychotic medicines has been identified.

Acute and maintenance phases of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia antipsychotic treatment is in two phases-the acute phase of treating initial psychotic episodes and a lifelong maintenance therapy phase.

A stay in hospital is often required during the acute phase. A technique is often used, called rapid tranquilization. A fast-acting drug that will calm the patient should be used to make sure they ‘re not hurting themselves or others.

Schizophrenia treatment occurs in the community during the recovery process and antipsychotics help avoid more psychotic episodes, while relapses also occur, often due to a failure to take the medications. Many interventions and support may include lifelong treatment of schizophrenia, including the family’s role in care.

Psychotherapy can also be effective in treating symptoms of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, both cognitive and residual.

Types of psychosis

A number of disorders can display psychotic symptoms, including:

  • Schizophrenia – a serious mental health disorder affecting the way someone feels, thinks, and acts. Individuals find it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is imaginary.
  • Schizoaffective disorder – a condition similar to schizophrenia that includes periods of mood disturbances.
  • Brief psychotic disorder – psychotic symptoms last at least 1 day but no longer than 1 month. Often occurring in response to a stressful life event. Once symptoms have gone, they may never return.
  • Delusional disorder – the individual has a strong belief in something irrational and often bizarre with no factual basis. Symptoms last for 1 month or longer.
  • Bipolar psychosis – individuals have the symptoms of bipolar disorder (intense highs and lows in mood) and also experience episodes of psychosis. The psychosis more commonly occurs during manic phases.
  • Psychotic depression – also known as major depressive disorder with psychotic features.
  • Postpartum (also called postnatal) psychosis – a severe form of postnatal depression.
  • Substance-induced psychosis – including alcohol, certain illegal drugs, and some prescription drugs, including steroids and stimulants.

These are the main causes of psychotic symptoms, but also certain conditions and diseases, including:

Bipolar

What to know about unipolar depression

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Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression. The term “unipolar depression” refers to a type of depression that does not cycle through other mental states like mania. Bipolar disorders, on the other hand, cause in times of both depression and mania.

Unipolar depression, on the other hand, does not imply that a person is always depressed. People who suffer from major depressive disorder may go through periods of remission followed by periods of depression relapse. They may also feel better when their circumstances change, especially if they have atypical depression, a kind of major depressive disorder.

One of the most prevalent mental health diagnoses is unipolar depression. It can cause physical symptoms as well as substantial trouble managing everyday tasks and relationships, in addition to a melancholy or gloomy mood. In the United States, 7.8% of all people had at least one major depressive episode in 2019.

Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for unipolar depression.

What is unipolar depression? 

unipolar depression

Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression. This mental condition has an impact on both mental and physical health.

The following are the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder:

At least five of the following symptoms must be present:

  • Concentration issues: A person may find it difficult to concentrate, pay attention, or think coherently. It’s possible that some people will have cognitive fog.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide: An individual may experience intrusive thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide.
  • Depressed mood: On most days, a person feels sad or depressed for the most of the day. They can be feeling empty, hopeless, melancholy, or unsure about the future. These symptoms can appear in youngsters as behavioral difficulties or irritability.
  • Loss of pleasure: Activities that a person used to enjoy may now provide little or no pleasure.
    Weight or appetite changes:. Without attempting to gain or lose weight, a person may gain or lose 5% or more of their body weight, or suffer changes in appetite, such as eating too much or too little.
  • Sleeping issue: A person may sleep excessively or insufficiently.
  • Fatigue: When a person is physically and emotionally weary, it might affect their motivation and ability to complete everyday chores.

Only if a person’s depression symptoms are not caused by bipolar disorder or another medical condition will they be diagnosed. Their symptoms must be distressing and not be the result of medication or a physical ailment. They must also have never gone through a manic episode.

Secondary symptoms can cause as a result of depression’s symptoms, such as:

  • trouble studying or excelling at school
  • difficulties with self-care
  • trouble getting or keeping a job
  • relationship conflict

People who are depressed have a distorted vision of the world, which can affect how they think and feel about other people and themselves. Interpersonal difficulties, low self-esteem, rejection sensitivity, and other issues may arise as a result.

Causes

Major depressive illness is a multifaceted condition with genetic, psychological, social, and interpersonal causes. Depression is caused by the interaction of several factors. For example, a person may have a genetic predisposition to depression, which is subsequently activated by trauma or stress, resulting in symptoms.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes sadness, but they do know that changes in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters play a part. Antidepressants work by affecting brain chemicals including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, implying that these chemicals play a role in mood.

The following are some of the risk factors for developing unipolar depression:

  • some medical conditions, including thyroid disorders
  • family history of depression
  • trauma and adverse childhood experiences

How does it differ from other forms of depression?

The main distinction between unipolar depression and bipolar depression is that a person with unipolar depression simply has depression rather than the cycles of depression and mania that bipolar illness, or bipolar depression, is known for.

People who suffer from bipolar depression have bouts of depression comparable to those who suffer from major depressive illness, but they also have moments of mania, when their mood is extremely elevated. A person may be unusually happy during manic episodes. They could make rash or hazardous judgments, such as overspending money.

People who suffer from unipolar depression are not constantly depressed. Some people may look to be cheerful, act to be happy, or have periods when their depressive symptoms improve.

Atypical depression, a subtype of major depressive illness, is more likely to be persistent. It does, however, respond better to changes in circumstances, which means that when a person’s position improves, they may be happy and have less symptoms. This is not to be confused with the mood cycling seen in bipolar depression.

Depression does not always take the form of major depressive disorder. Other types of unipolar depression that don’t entail manic episodes include:

  • Postpartum depression: Following the birth of a child, this type of depression develops.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: This sort of seasonal depression is more common in the winter.
  • Persistent depressive disorder: The symptoms of this chronic form of depression are usually milder than those of major depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic depression: A person suffering from this sort of depression causes psychotic ideas. Delusions and hallucinations are examples of psychotic beliefs that are divorced from reality.

Symptoms

A low and depressed mood is a symptom of major depression. A person’s perception of the world may be largely negative, resulting in cognitive distortions that negatively impact their relationships, work, and school performance.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of depression:

  • unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • low energy
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • feeling hopeless about the future
  • being unable to get pleasure from hobbies, relationships, or other previously enjoyed activities
  • trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
  • slowed movements or speech
  • feeling restless or pacing
  • brain fog
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • eating too much or too little

Secondary difficulties, such as unemployment or low school performance, might cause as a result of depression symptoms.

Treatment

Antidepressants come in a variety of forms, with the best option dependent on a number of criteria. These are some of them:

  • the subtype of major depression
  • the side effects the person feels they can tolerate
  • the person’s overall health

Before getting relief from their symptoms, a person may need to take many drugs or different dosages of the same prescription. Working with a skilled psychiatrist and discussing side effects and other treatment problems may speed up the relief process.

Psychotherapy techniques, particularly those developed to treat depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy, can assist a person in better coping, implementing positive lifestyle changes, and managing life with depression.

Therapies that directly stimulate the brain, such as electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, may also help, especially if other treatments are ineffective.

Some people find that changing their lifestyle, such as exercising more, eating a well-balanced diet, practicing meditation, or taking up a new activity, is beneficial.

Outlook

Depression is difficult to cure and often chronic, thus a person may go through periods of remission before relapsing.

A complete depression treatment plan that combines medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes may help a person manage better through relapses of depression.

According to a 2019 study, several characteristics boost the chances of depression remission. These are some of them:

  • less chronic depression
  • not experiencing complicated grief
  • not having a history of childhood adversity
  • a better quality of life
  • less severe depression
  • employment
  • less anxiety

Conclusion

Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression.

It can have an impact on a person’s relationships, profession, education, and sense of self, among other things. Myths about depression might make it difficult for people to get help or seek it.

Although significant depression is difficult to treat, it is possible to achieve remission, especially when a person has access to thorough and experienced care.

People who are depressed should get mental health treatment as soon as possible. A person can often be referred to a qualified and supportive mental health practitioner by their primary care physician.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559078/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t5/
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0278584618300514
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558998/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/unipolar-depression
  • https://www.dovepress.com/atypical-depression-current-perspectives-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-NDT
  • https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4991044/
  • https://www.dbsalliance.org/education/depression/types-of-depression/
  • https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
  • https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18091079

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Anxiety / Stress

Hyperarousal: What to know

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People with post-traumatic stress disorder may develop hyperarousal, which is a collection of symptoms. What are the symptoms of hyperarousal and how can individuals deal with them?

Anxiety is common in patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This might make them more sensitive and unduly reactive to stimuli and occurrences in their environment. Hyperarousal refers to a condition of enhanced sensitivity.

We’ll look at the signs and symptoms of hyperarousal, as well as how to deal with it, in this post. We also look at ways individuals might assist loved ones who are suffering from hyperarousal manage better.

feeling jumpy
Signs of hyperarousal include feeling jittery, finding it really hard to focus solely, and being impulsive.

Hyperarousal symptoms

One of the symptoms of PTSD is hyperarousal. Hyperarousal may cause a person to:

find it difficult to go to sleep or remain asleep.
experience anger and quickly lose their temper.
find it difficult to focus.

  • feel constantly on-guard (hypervigilance)
  • be a little more impulsive than normal
  • feel as though their muscles are stiff in a different way than normal
  • more readily experience pain
  • feel as though their heart is racing a little quicker than normal
  • feel jittery and easily startled
  • Breathe faster or more slowly than normal.
  • have flashbacks of a horrific incident

Causes

Hyperarousal may be caused by a variety of factors

A traumatic event causes PTSD, which is a mental health disease. PTSD may be caused by a variety of circumstances, including:

  • domestic abuse
  • a robbery
  • a sexual assault
  • childhood abuse
  • a car crash
  • military experiences
  • a fire
  • a natural disaster
  • a terrorist attack

Many additional incidents may raise the likelihood of acquiring PTSD. Not everyone who has been through a stressful incident, however, will develop PTSD or hyperarousal.

How to cope

Experiencing hyperarousal symptoms, as well as other PTSD symptoms, may be upsetting. If a person detects these symptoms in themselves or someone else, they should consult a physician.

A person suffering hyperarousal may act in a self-destructive manner at times. This may involve things like driving too fast or drinking too much. It is critical for persons suffering from hyperarousal to get therapy in order to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

A person with hyperarousal might attempt a variety of coping tactics in addition to the therapies that their doctor may offer. The following are some strategies for dealing with various hyperarousal symptoms:

Having trouble sleeping

  • If you have hyperarousal and are having trouble sleeping, consider the following:
  • not consuming alcohol in the 6 hours before bed
  • exercising during the day
  • creating a calm atmosphere in the bedroom
  • sticking to regular bedtime and waking times
  • avoiding naps during the day
  • avoiding caffeine after midday
  • getting up to do something relaxing when unable to sleep for more than 30 minutes, then returning to bed once drowsy
  • reducing screen time, such as watching TV or using a laptop, in the bedroom
  • wearing an eye mask and earplugs to block out light and sound
  • practicing deep breathing before bed
  • practicing mindfulness, meditation, or yoga

Angry

a man crying
Weeping as a form of release may assist in coping with anger.

Hyperarousal may make it difficult to maintain control over one’s emotions. The following coping techniques may be beneficial:

  • Instead of shouting, cry as a release
  • doing vigorous exercise or dancing
  • punching a pillow or something else soft
  • talking to an empathetic friend or family member
  • writing things down
  • creating expressive artwork
  • practicing deep breathing
  • practicing mindfulness, meditation, or yoga

Trouble concentrating

Individuals with hyperarousal who have trouble focusing may benefit from the following strategies:

  • trying to improve sleep quality
  • practicing mindfulness exercises
  • removing or turning off distractions, such as their mobile phone
  • improving concentration by working in short bursts and gradually increasing these periods by 5 minutes at a time
  • focusing on one task at a time

What can you do to support a loved one who suffers from hyperarousal?

helping hands image
An individual may help a loved one suffering from hyperarousal by hearing to them and without responding inappropriately to their symptoms.

Making a loved one aware of the following coping methods is one approach to help someone who is suffering hyperarousal.

Offering to attempt some of these practices with them, such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or meditation, may also be beneficial.

It’s crucial not to overreact to any hyperarousal-related behaviour. Being available to listen in a nonjudgmental, empathic manner may also be beneficial.

The most crucial thing you can do to support a loved one who is suffering hyperarousal is to make sure they’ve seen a doctor and gotten an accurate diagnosis. This will guarantee that patients get the appropriate therapy.

Treatment

There are a variety of hyperarousal therapies available to assist patients control their symptoms:

  • Exposure therapy: This sort of treatment allows a person with PTSD to relive terrible events and memories in a secure setting, reducing anxiety and panic.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): This is used in conjunction with exposure treatment and involves eye exercises that change how a person responds to a certain memory.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This is used in conjunction with exposure treatment and involves eye exercises that change how a person responds to a certain memory.

To assist treat hyperarousal and other PTSD symptoms, the doctor may prescribe the following drugs in addition to these therapies:

Conclusion

Hyperarousal is a typical sign of PTSD, which may be a long-term disease. People may, however, adopt a variety of coping skills to lessen the effect hyperarousal has on their everyday lives.

With the correct therapy, medications, and continuing support, PTSD may be effectively treated. If someone is having hyperarousal or PTSD symptoms, they should see a doctor for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Furthermore, if someone is worried about a coworker, friend, or family who may be suffering from hyperarousal or PTSD, they could urge them to get medical help or even volunteer to accompany them.

Similarly, if a person is concerned about a colleague, friend, or relative who may be experiencing hyperarousal or PTSD, they should encourage the person to speak with a doctor or even offer to accompany them.

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Anxiety / Stress

Different types of mental health professionals

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There are many types of professionals involved in mental health, including psychiatrists and psychologists. Depending on the condition a person has and its severity, the role of a mental health professional will vary.

Mental health is a wide-ranging and complex problem that requires various kinds of support or treatment.

There are different kinds of professionals who provide various services for mental health.

This article discusses various kinds of professionals in mental health, their services, and how to access them.

Visit our dedicated hub to discover more research-backed information to help support the mental well-being of you and your loved ones during this difficult time.

Assessment and therapy

mental health professional

To evaluate and diagnose mental health conditions and provide therapy, the following mental health professionals have the training and qualifications required.

Psychologist

Psychologists specialize in evaluating and providing psychotherapy and psychodiagnostic assessments of mental health concerns. They are not medical doctors and as treatment they do not prescribe medications.

In clinical psychology, psychologists typically have a Ph.D. and specialize in understanding the mind and human behavior. To practice, they also require a license.

There are many sub-fields of psychology, such as child or addiction psychology.

In diagnosing and treating mental health conditions, clinical psychologists have specialist training.

Psychologists can provide psychotherapy, using interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy ( DBT), to anyone with mental health symptoms.

However, medication from a psychiatrist or family doctor may also be required for some conditions. For instance, through psychotherapy alone, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are hard to manage.

Counselor

Counselors and psychotherapists are terms used interchangeably by some people. Nevertheless, although both professionals can provide talking therapy without drugs, they are different.

Counselors are clinicians of master level who provide advice and support to individuals with particular problems.

Some counselors specialize in mental illness treatment. Other counselors may address mental health related problems, such as marriage or addiction counselors.

Clinical social worker

The aim of social workers is to protect individuals ‘ rights and well-being. Depending on the setting, their roles can vary.

Some social workers specialize in the provision of support for mental health, while others offer more services for case management.

To promote emotional wellness, they can evaluate the mental health of a person and use therapeutic techniques.

Usually, they work with individuals who have complex needs. For example, after discharge, a social worker may work in a psychiatric hospital to provide psychotherapy or help individuals reintegrate back into the community.

Social work is a broad field and can in various ways support individuals with mental health issues. Some social workers, for instance, specialize in domestic abuse. To provide assistance, they may work with other mental health professionals.

Those able to prescribe medication

Medications can be prescribed by the following mental health professionals.

Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are medical doctors that specialize in psychiatry.

A range of different types of treatments are provided by psychiatrists, including prescribing medications and psychotherapy.

A psychiatrist’s treatment can also provide general medical treatment. Many individuals with mental health conditions also have physical health issues that can be helped by psychiatrists. They will, however, typically refer individuals to other general healthcare specialists and providers.

All types of mental health conditions are treated by psychiatrists, including but not limited to:

They will adapt treatments for each person. For instance, in individuals with bipolar disorder, they might recommend psychotherapy to relieve symptoms of depression.

Some prefer to specialize in sub-fields, such as psychiatry for teenagers or forensics.

In several places, including private practices and hospitals, they will work.

Psychiatric nurse, or mental health nurse practitioner

Depending on their level of training and qualification, psychiatric nurses may provide assessment , diagnosis, and counseling for different mental health conditions.

They can prescribe medicine in some states.

Psychotherapist

For someone who performs psychotherapy, ‘Psychotherapist’ is a protected title in some jurisdictions. It is an umbrella term that includes all talking treatments and the many approaches and methods of therapy. For instance, to provide psychotherapy, a psychiatrist or psychologist must undergo training.

Different kinds of psychotherapy exist. Some individuals, for instance, prefer to specialize in psychoanalysis, which aims to understand unconscious behavioral drivers.

A GP ‘s role in mental health

Although general practitioners (GPs), or family doctors, do not specialize in psychiatry, they can still support individuals with mental health problems, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

People with any mental health disorder should discuss their symptoms with a family doctor.

For several individuals, the first point of call for treatment is family physicians. They may understand the signs of a mental health condition and work together to provide treatment or counseling with other mental health practitioners.

Some drugs can be administered by family physicians, such as antidepressants. They can also, with another mental health professional, recommend psychotherapy.

Choosing a mental health professional

When choosing a mental health professional, a person should consider:

  • their qualifications and experience
  • the area they specialize in
  • the techniques they use
  • whether or not they prescribe medication

Talking to a family doctor first to get recommendations on the best choices will help.

People with mental health problems should know what kind of therapies are most helpful.

For several conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders, psychotherapy is a common method of treatment. Psychologists or psychologists may be certified psychotherapists.

Psychotherapy is now commonly available online. Via video conferencing tools or other channels, these interactive approaches seek to provide therapy. They are easy and convenient ways of accessing timely assistance for mental wellbeing.

Some individuals often take drugs, such as antidepressants, to assist with mental health problems. These drugs may be administered by a family doctor or psychiatrist.

Counseling should be considered for individuals who are having unique challenges they need help with. Counseling, for example, may assist couples with relationship problems that can affect their mental health.

There are also several therapy resources available online. Talkspace and BetterHelp, for instance, both have online counselling, psychotherapy, or both.

Cost

Depending on the kind of mental health care, the cost varies. But this can be costly.

The cost of mental health care can be covered by health insurance policies. This could include health policies for families or employees.

Medicaid cover can also be given to those with a limited income. Online therapy can be a cheaper option for some people.

Seeking help from a mental health professional

Mental Health America highlight some warning signs that might indicate a mental health problem:

  • confusion
  • long periods of depression
  • extreme mood swings
  • disproportionate fear, worry, or anxiety
  • difficulty socializing
  • extreme changes in appetite and sleep
  • delusions
  • hallucinations
  • irritability
  • suicidal thoughts
  • strong feelings of anger

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can call 800-799-4889.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Summary

An individual may be helped to understand and recover from mental health problems by many practitioners. Medications and psychotherapy may be offered by psychologists and other medical doctors. Psychologists and other mental health professionals can provide psychotherapy or counseling, but not medication.

When selecting a mental health provider, people should ask what kind of treatment they want to get. The nature of the mental health condition is also important. A family practitioner will help you through this.

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