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Why Are Anxiety Disorders More Common in Minorities?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults.

But did you know that anxiety disorders are even more common in ethnic minorities?

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at anxiety disorders and why they are more common in minorities.

What Is an Anxiety Disorder?

An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by persistent and excessive worry about everyday situations that are not always in your control.

Anxiety disorders are different from normal anxiety or stress, which everyone experiences at some point in their lives. For people with anxiety disorders, the anxiety does not go away and worsens over time.

While there are many different types of anxieties that fall into many different categories, some of the most common anxiety disorders include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

An excessive worry about everyday things. People with GAD often have a hard time controlling their worry and may feel anxious about several different things, including:

  • Work
  • School
  • Health
  • Finances

People with GAD often feel like they are unable to control their worry, and it interferes with their daily lives, leading to depression that often accompanies GAD. GAD affects over 6 million adults in the United States.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is characterized by frequent and unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden period of intense fear or discomfort that can include:

  • An excessively elevated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath

People with panic disorder often fear having another panic attack and may avoid places or situations where they think an attack could happen.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Also known as social phobia, SAD is an intense fear of being judged by others or embarrassed in social situations. Common symptoms of SAD include:

  • Avoiding social situations
  • Feeling anxious when meeting new people
  • Intense worry about what others think of you

Suffering from SAD often feels like you are being watched or evaluated by others and may cause you to avoid social situations. SAD is the second-most common anxiety disorder, only behind specific phobias grouped together and affects over 15 million adults in the United States.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is characterized by the occurrence of intrusive and unwanted thoughts (obsessions) lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). People with OCD often have obsessions about:

  • Germs & contamination
  • Small or insignificant worries 
  • Order and symmetry

People with OCD often need to wash their hands constantly, check things repeatedly, or arrange things in a certain way. OCD can be very debilitating and significantly interfere with a person’s quality of life.

While these anxiety disorders are some of the more common ones, many others exist. Anxiety disorders are often accompanied by other mental health conditions, such as depression.

Why Are Anxiety Disorders More Common in Minorities?

Assessing the cause behind the disproportionate occurrence of anxiety orders in minorities can be difficult because there isn’t just one answer. Anxiety disorders are often caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Some studies have shown that anxiety disorders are more common in minorities because of the increased exposure to trauma and stress. Research shows that minority groups are more likely to experience:

Poverty

Poverty can be a major stressor and can lead to anxiety by causing financial, housing, and food insecurity. Many minorities don’t have the funds to access the health care they need to help battle anxiety disorders.

Discrimination

Discrimination causes feelings of isolation, exclusion, and rejection. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.

Violence

Exposure to violence can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially in young kids or teenagers. This leads to higher rates of anxiety disorders among many minorities.

All of these factors can lead to increased levels of anxiety.

How Do We Reduce the Number of Anxiety Disorders in Minority Groups?

Recognizing there is a problem is the first step to solving it. Under-representation of minorities is a key reason why many problems still exist despite being largely solved for the majority.

While we don’t have all the answers, a few basic things can help reduce the number of anxiety disorders that many minorities are suffering from.

Providing More Mental Health Services in Underserved Communities

This is probably the fastest way to solve many anxiety issues. By providing good resources for mental health in underserved and poor communities, we can help many struggling people.

Educating People on Why Mental Health Is Important

Helping people understand their struggles and letting them know they are not alone can be extremely enlightening and euphoric for someone suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Making Mental Health Education More Inclusive

To make sure everyone has the same opportunities, we need to make sure our mental health education includes all cultures and minorities.

Providing Treatment Plans and Other Medical Advice That Is Culturally Competent

When we understand the unique needs of different cultures, we can better provide care that meets those needs. From social groups talking about anxiety disorders to ensuring traditional medicine and alternate forms of help, like ketamine infusions, are available to everyone. 

By providing mental health services, education, and culturally competent care, we can help reduce the number of people suffering from anxiety disorders.

Evexia Wellness Centers Provides Support for Everyone

At Evexia Wellness Centers, we look to end the stigma behind many mental and physical health disorders.

We have a wide variety of services to help people suffering from things like anxiety disorders.

Our expert team of technicians are eager to sit down with you or your loved one and create a treatment plan that is right for them.

Our state-of-the-art ketamine infusion therapy offers a new and innovative way to help people struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more.

When infused into the bloodstream at a low dose, ketamine provides physical and mental relief from many mental health illnesses, like anxiety disorders.

Our incredible team at Evexia Wellness Centers would be thrilled to set up a free consultation with you or your loved one to get to know them and the issues they struggle with every day. 

Contact us today to get started on your journey to wellness!

[Learn More About Evexia Wellness Centers]

Migraines and RLS

Migraines and restless leg syndrome are two conditions that often go hand in hand.

It can be a daily struggle for those who suffer from both to cope with the symptoms.

This blog post will discuss migraines and RLS, how they affect day-to-day life in those diagnosed, and how they can manifest together to cause many issues for those dealing with them.

What Is RLS?

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs.

This urge is often accompanied by a tingling or crawling sensation in the legs.

RLS can occur at any time, but it is most common at night when a person is lying down.

RLS is a mild condition that may cause only minor discomfort for some people.

However, for others, RLS can be a debilitating condition that interferes with daily life.

The cause of RLS is unknown. However, some risk factors may contribute to RLS development, including iron deficiency, kidney failure, and Parkinson’s disease.

Many women in different pregnancy stages have also reported experiencing RLS.

What Are the Symptoms of RLS?

The most common symptom of RLS is the urge to move the legs.

This urge can be accompanied by:

  • An inability to keep the legs still
  • Discomfort in the legs
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

RLS not only causes physical discomfort but many mental health issues as well.

Those with RLS often suffer from:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

What Is a Migraine?

A migraine is a headache characterized by severe pain, throbbing, and often nausea and vomiting.

Migraines can last for hours or even days, leaving those affected feeling drained and exhausted.

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they are thought to be caused by genetic and environmental factors.

Migraines may be triggered by:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes in women (during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause)
  • Sensory stimuli (bright lights, loud noises, strong smells)
  • Changes in weather or barometric pressure
  • Certain foods or food additives

What Are the Symptoms of Migraines?

Migraine symptoms can vary from person to person, but the most common migraines happen in four stages.

Prodrome

This stage can happen hours or even days before a migraine headache and provides an early warning that a migraine is coming.

During this time, people may experience:

  • Changes in mood
  • Increased urination
  • Food cravings
  • Neck stiffness

Prodrome symptoms are often followed by aura symptoms.

Aura

Aura is the second stage of migraine and usually lasts less than 60 minutes.

During the aura stage, the nervous system is affected, and the effects build up gradually, causing:

  • Pins and needles feeling in the hands and feet
  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Visual disturbances (flashing lights, zig-zag lines, or temporary blindness)

Since the aura stage is very short, it leads directly to the migraine attack.

Migraine Attack

The main attack is the third stage and the most difficult to deal with.

Having multiple migraines every month can leave someone feeling hopeless and extremely irritated.

Migraine attacks can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with everyday activities.

Postdrome

The final stage of a migraine headache is the postdrome.

This stage often happens after the pain of the migraine has subsided.

This is when all of the hard work the migraine puts your body through is finally released, leaving you feeling completely exhausted and drained.

Postdrome symptoms can last for a day or two, and sudden head movements can often worsen the effects of coming down from the migraine.

Migraines and RLS: How Do They Affect Each Other?

There are a few different ways that migraines and RLS can interact and affect each other.

The first is that people who experience RLS are more likely to suffer from migraines.

Studies have shown that up to 25% of people who suffer from migraines also have RLS.

It has also been found that a vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the two issues, but scientists are still studying how the deficiency affects migraines and RLS.

The second way that migraines and RLS can interact is that the pain from RLS can trigger migraines.

The discomfort in the legs caused by RLS can lead to increased stress and tension, which are both migraine triggers. 

RLS can also cause sleep deprivation, which is another trigger for migraines.

Lastly, migraines and RLS can cause similar symptoms.

Both can cause pain, fatigue, and mood swings.

They can also both be worse at night and interfere with daily activities.

If you suffer from both migraines and RLS, it is essential to speak to your doctor about the best way to manage your symptoms.

Evexia Wellness Centers Can Help

Evexia Wellness Centers can help provides those suffering from migraines and RLS with the relief they need.

We offer various services using ketamine-assisted therapy to help our patients heal and find the relief they need.

Ketamine has been shown to be an effective treatment for migraines and RLS, and our team of experts can help you find the right treatment plan for you.

Most medicines that we use today are often ineffective for days or weeks before the patient starts to notice any relief.

However, with ketamine-assisted therapy, patients can feel the effects of the medicine almost immediately. Ketamine binds to receptors in the brain quickly, sending hormones to the rest of your body that will help to reduce pain and improve mood.

If you are struggling with migraines or RLS, there is hope, and Evexia Wellness Centers can help.

We would love to talk with you about your unique situation and see how we can help. You can schedule a free consultation by clicking here.

It’s time to free yourself or your loved one from the psychical or mental pain that can come with migraines and RLS.

[Learn More About Evexia Wellness Centers]

Is Anxiety a Mood Disorder?

Many people experience anxiety in everyday life, but they roll with the changes and continue with their lives. It’s considered a quite common mental health issue and skirts the boundary line between what’s normal and what could be signs of a more fundamental problem. One of the most common questions people ask is whether or not anxiety is a mood disorder.

Anxiety is best described in simple terms. It’s something that causes momentary fear, trepidation, and uneasiness. Depending on the situation (a test at school, an important work presentation, a blind date), you may notice a short-term change in heartbeat (from ordinary to fast) and breathe (from normal to shortness of breath). Still, these feelings or physical indicators clear up for most people. Anyone can have anxiety, regardless of their age or gender.

How Anxiety Differs from a Mood Disorder

I asked the question, “Is Anxiety a Mood Disorder?” The answer is mixed. Like many mental health conditions, anxiety is complex and nuanced.  

The biggest differentiator between it and any mood disorder is that feelings and physical reactions associated with anxiety are primarily short-lived and non-consequential. But if anxiety becomes more common and long-lasting, and its symptoms affect your ability to manage daily life, you may have early signs of a far worse mood disorder.

What is a mood disorder? 

When healthcare providers and mental health specialists talk about different kinds of depression and bipolar disorders, they’re often lumped together into a mental health classification called mood disorders. These can affect kids, teenagers, and adults, but children and teens don’t present the same warning signs as adults. And it’s often more challenging to diagnose mood disorders in kids because – unlike adults – they’re not always able to express their feelings.

For someone with a mood disorder, their overall emotional comportment or mood can be distorted or unpredictable compared to what’s happening, interfering with their ability to function in everyday life.

The American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychology calls a mood disorder “a psychiatric condition in which the principal feature is a prolonged, pervasive emotional disturbance.”

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms vary by person depending on many factors, like overall mental and physical wellness, the situation, and personality traits. But healthcare providers and mental health specialists have come up with a general list of symptoms that tend to appear at some point in nearly all kinds of mood disorders, including:

  • You experience sadness, anxiety, or low mood
  • You feel hopeless or helpless
  • You have poor self-esteem
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • You hold onto extreme guilt about things you shouldn’t
  • You’re preoccupied with death or suicide
  • You’re no longer interested in things you used to enjoy doing
  • Your life is filled with relationship issues
  • Problems sleeping
  • Changes in eating habits or weight
  • Low energy
  • Problems concentrating or decision making
  • You often complain of headaches, fatigue, or stomach problems – things that don’t get go away even with treatment
  • You run away from, or threaten to run away from, home
  • Overly sensitive to criticism, failure, or rejection
  • You’re easily irritated, hostile, or aggressive

Many of these symptoms can be treated with medications like ketamine or counseling.

Mood disorders have many potential causes, including biology, genetics, and the environment, but there are also many risk factors to be concerned with. You may be predisposed to have a mood disorder depending on your family history, previous diagnosis with other mood disorders, traumatic or stressful life changes, medical problems or conditions, or physical changes in your brain.

Collectively, mood disorders affect nearly 10% of U.S. adults and even more children and adolescents. Common anxiety disorders include postpartum depression, high-functioning depression (also called dysthymia), seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, and others.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Treating anxiety or a more serious mood disorder first depends on getting diagnosed by your healthcare provider or mental health specialist. A diagnosis is a three-step approach involving:

If you’ve been diagnosed with a mood disorder, successful treatment may include counseling, diet and lifestyle changes, certain medicines, or even ketamine infusion therapy.

Details Of Chronic Pain Management

You broke your ankle years ago and seemed to recover nicely. You’ve had no intervening accidents and illnesses that you can recall, but you’ve been experiencing non-specific discomfort for several months. Your lower back and knees hurt, often most of the day, every day. You may be experiencing chronic pain.

WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?

One online resource identifies two kinds of pain: “acute and chronic. Acute pain lets you know that your body is injured. It usually doesn’t last long. It should go away as your body heals. Chronic pain lasts much longer. Chronic pain may last months or even years. Chronic pain may interfere with your daily activities. And because the pain lasts so long, people who have chronic pain may also have low self-esteem, depression, and anger.”

SYMPTOMS

Chronic pain affects your physical and mental wellness. While it can be nearly perpetual, pain may be more significant sometimes due to greater stress or activity. Symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Searing pain
  • Tiredness
  • Sleep trouble
  • Loss of strength and flexibility, lower activity
  • Moodiness (depression, anxiety, irritability, etc.)

The journal Pain reported that nearly 61 percent of the people who reported chronic pain as part of the study also had depression, most with “severe” level symptoms.

WHAT CAUSES CHRONIC PAIN?

Sometimes, chronic pain is the result of an old injury or infection or may be caused by a disease. Despite the best efforts of doctors, researchers, and other medical or mental health specialists, sometimes there is no identifiable trigger for your pain.

Conditions that may trigger or lead to chronic pain:

  • Infections
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Back pain
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nerve damage
  • Previous surgery

Depression and stress can worsen different pain types, including chronic pain.

TIPS FOR COPING WITH CHRONIC PAIN

If you have long-term pain and want to treat it on your own, here are some strategies to consider.

  • Learn to manage your stress levels and identify the triggers.
  • Stay active and engaged. Sometimes the best cure is distracting yourself, often through hobbies or interacting with family and friends.
  • Find a support network outside your family or friends. A peer group of people with chronic pain can offer the emotional support lacking elsewhere.

WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT?

Chronic pain management is complicated and time-intensive. It can be especially challenging and demanding for medical professionals who may be working to help relieve your pain without assistance from other specialists. You can then imagine how hard it is for the patient to relieve their own symptoms, often working alone and dealing with other complications from the condition.

The usefulness of many kinds of interventions is enhanced when all medical and mental healthcare specialists concerned work together as a team. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a multiskilled collaborative strategy offers a range of viewpoints and talents that can improve outcomes and lower stress on individual providers working diligently on a patient’s behalf. One of chronic pain management challenges is for multidisciplinary teams to find solutions while not becoming stressed themselves.

Ideally, a multidisciplinary team works in one setting, making it easier to collaborate with peers – not to mention for the patient who may have to go from one specialist to another. Such collective effort benefits if one specialist is identified as the primary care coordinator (this may also depend on whether you’re receiving treatment via public or private health insurance or are paying out of pocket for treatment) and all interested parties – the patient and specialists – have a good rapport.

Chronic pain management may include a primary care provider, addiction specialist, pain clinician, nurse, pharmacist, mental health specialists, other specialists (social worker, marriage and family therapist, counselor, etc.), and physical or occupational therapists.

DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT

A medical professional can diagnose your chronic pain and recommend treatment. You’ll probably have a physical exam and different tests to figure out the source of your pain, like blood tests, muscle and bone density tests, an x-ray or MRI, and other procedures as needed. Depending on the outcome of these exams, your healthcare provider may offer treatment like physical or occupational therapy, pain medicine, or something else. Successful diagnosis may also depend on a psychiatric assessment. A mental health specialist will review your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and personal and family history of mental illness as triggers for chronic pain.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Most people who suffer from chronic pain symptoms come to the realization they can’t treat it on their own. Store-bought pain medicine or a dip in a hot tub only go so far. Contact us today to learn more about innovative new treatments to help you find relief.

can depression cause chronic pain

The Connection Between Depression And Pain

You get depressed occasionally and often notice you have headaches and minor back pain to go along with it. So it makes you wonder – are they related? Chances are very high that pain and depression are linked, but the more you know, the greater your chance of treating both conditions.

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.” It triggers feelings of sadness and lack of interest in once enjoyable activities. Depression is characterized by emotional and physical problems, to the point where it interferes with daily life.

Types Of Pain

The five most familiar kinds of pain are:

  • Acute pain, which only lasts minutes to about three months – and in rare cases, six months.
  • Chronic pain can be steady or intermittent, persisting for months or years.
  • Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve injury or injuries to the nervous system.
  • Nociceptive pain is triggered by harm to body tissue.
  • Radicular pain happens when your spinal nerves get squeezed or inflamed.

Most pain symptoms are treatable.

Depression Risks

You can be depressed at any age, but it often starts in adulthood. We know that depression can now happen in children and adolescents, though it’s sometimes characterized by irritability more than low feelings. If you had high levels of anxiety as a child, you’re at greater risk of chronic mood and anxiety disorders as an adult.

Risks may include:

  •     Personal or family record of depression
  •     Big life changes, trauma, or stress
  •     Certain illnesses and medications

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine, pain and depression have a long, interconnected history dating back to the early 1960s. At that time, the medicine was used solely as a pre-surgical anesthetic – gaining fame for treating wounded U.S. combat troops in Vietnam – before scientists discovered it had other curative applications. By the end of the decade, ketamine had become a sought-after option for reducing not only symptoms of physical pain but mental health issues that wouldn’t respond to conventional therapy.

The Connection Between Depression And Pain

Pain and depression are inextricably linked. Depression can trigger pain and pain can lead to depression, resulting in a vicious circle that is hard to break free of. Sometimes the circle makes the pain worsen the symptoms of depression, leading to depression, making feelings of pain even worse. For many people, depression results in unexplained physical symptoms like back pain or headaches. This is often the kind of pain that is the first or sole warning sign of depression. 

If you experience pain and its resultant problems, then you know it can beat you down over time and alter your mood. Chronic pain is likely worse, causing many problems that can trigger depression, such as problems sleeping and ongoing stress.

According to study results published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “pain and depression are closely correlated from the perspectives of both brain regions and the neurological function system, whereby chronic pain may lead to depression. One of the important causes for chronic pain leading to depression appears to be the crucial effect of common neuroplasticity changes on the occurrence and development of the two disorders in question. Nevertheless, current efforts in this field fail to sufficiently and explicitly explain their connection. Further investigations into the common neuroplasticity changes shared by pain and depression are warranted to promote the identification of new drug targets and to free patients from chronic pain-induced depression.”

Fortunately, many symptoms linked to mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder, etc.) and chronic pain conditions can be managed.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosing pain and depression normally depends on:

  • A physical examination to rule out a medical cause for your pain or depression symptoms.
  • A psychiatric assessment to understand your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and personal or family history of mental illness.

If your symptoms have a psychological component, your healthcare provider will compare them to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders before recommending treatment.

Treatment may include pain medicine, psychotherapy, or ketamine infusion therapy.

Final Thoughts

If you suffer from ongoing pain or depression, don’t let the symptoms control your life. If ignored, pain and depression can lead to even worse physical and mental health conditions. The good news? Once symptoms are recognized, they can often be treated with ketamine to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to learn more.

best ocd treatment near me

Signs of OCD

You’ve had a contentious relationship with germs for as long as you can remember. Rubber gloves never keep your hands clean. Chaos and disorganization keep you awake at night almost every day – and you never feel better until you make things “just right.” It sounds like you might have OCD.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.

Trying to ignore or half your obsessions may only lead to even more distress and anxiety. You’re compelled to perform habitual acts for stress relief. Even with self-defense attempts, intrusive thoughts or urges keep returning. Such ritualistic behavior is the underpinnings of OCD.

Ketamine for OCD

Using ketamine to treat symptoms of OCD is growing in popularity. Ketamine is a medicine that was introduced as a pre-surgical anesthetic in the early 1960s and was field-tested in Vietnam for treating wounded U.S. combat troops. From there, it became apparent it offered additional medicinal value, as a fast-acting way to reduce symptoms of chronic pain conditions, mental illness, and OCD – conditions that have not always responded favorably to conventional treatment like psychotherapy.

Signs of OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder encompasses obsessions and compulsions. But you may only have one or the other. You won’t recognize that your obsessions and compulsions are extreme or unwarranted – but they consume an inordinate amount of time and obstruct your daily living including social, school, and other obligations.

Common obsessions in OCD may include:

  • Fear of contamination from bodily fluids, germs, household items, or environmental pollutants.
  • Fear of losing control, fear of acting on an impulse, or fear of unpleasant images in one’s mind.
  • Fear of being harmed or harming someone else. For instance, of being harmed during a fire or burglary, or someone else is harmed due to your own carelessness.
  • You’re obsessed with perfectionism, like evenness or exactness or afraid of losing something of perceived value.
  • Other obsessions (about gender identity, illness, or superstitious ideas).

If you have OCD, obsessive thoughts are constant, compulsive behaviors are inflexible. Not doing either one can result in significant distress. Countless people who experience OCD know or think their obsessions aren’t true; others have limited insight and may believe they’re true. But even if there’s a hint their obsessions aren’t realistic, you have trouble extricating yourself from the obsessive thoughts or halting the compulsive acts.

Obsessions are often thematic (fear of contamination, problems with uncertainty, unwanted thoughts, and so forth) and have specific symptoms:
  • You have an intense fear of being polluted by touching an item that someone else touched.
  • You question whether you actually secured the door, for instance, or shut off the stove before leaving your house.
  • You’re gripped by extreme stress when an item isn’t orderly or facing a certain direction.
  • You have thoughts about calling out obscenities or acting improperly in public.
  • You sometimes have unpleasant erotic images.
  • You try and avoid, at all costs, any situation that could trigger obsessions, like shaking hands.

If you suffer from OCD, you’re not alone in your grief. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America calls it the “most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.”

How to Treat & Diagnose OCD

  1. See a medical doctor for a physical examination. During your visit, the doctor may perform blood tests or other procedures to reveal an underlying cause for your symptoms. 
  2. See a mental health specialist for a psychiatric evaluation. The goal here is to examine thoughts, behaviors, and feelings as triggers of your OCD symptoms. You’ll be asked about your personal and family history of mental illness, and whether it’s okay to talk to family or friends about your illness.

Criteria in the DSM-5 may be referred to before final diagnosis. Treatment could include ketamine therapy.

Final Thoughts

OCD is nefarious in its ability to convince you that you’re only imagining things – you’re not really thinking or doing that for such-and-such a reason. But that’s probably the first sign there’s something amiss with your state of mental health. Learning the symptoms is your first, best line of defense. To learn more about the innovative treatments for OCD that can help you find relief, contact us today.

how-does-it-feel-to-have-chronic-pain

What Does it Feel Like to Have Chronic Pain?

You banged your knee on the corner of the kitchen table, but the pain went away, eventually. That was acute pain, specific and with a known cause. But what about your lower back pain that’s haunted you for years? What caused it? These are the enduring mysteries of chronic pain.

What is Chronic Pain?

Pain is different for everyone, but there are two kinds of physical pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain signals that your body is injured. It normally doesn’t last long and should subside as your body heals. Chronic pain is continual and may last months or even years. “Chronic pain may interfere with your daily activities. And because the pain lasts so long, people who have chronic pain may also have low self-esteem, depression, and anger.”

The Symptoms of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain symptoms include moderate to severe pain that does not subside as expected following an illness or injury. It has been described as aching, burning, electrical, or shooting. You may experience soreness, tightness, or stiffness in the impacted area of your body. While chronic pain symptoms and their physical and psychological effects can be daunting, research has proven the efficacy of certain new treatments, including the regular, ongoing use of ketamine therapy.

What Causes Chronic Pain?

Occasionally chronic pain has a clear cause. You could have a long-term illness such as cancer or arthritis that can trigger ongoing pain. But diseases and injuries can also produce changes to the body that instill a higher pain sensitivity. These differences can remain in place even when you’ve healed from the original disease or injury. So, an injury like a sprain, broken bone, or a short-term infection can leave you experiencing chronic pain.

Some people also experience chronic pain unrelated to a physical illness or an injury. Healthcare providers deem this reaction psychosomatic pain or psychogenic pain.

What Does it Feel Like to Have Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is real and different for everyone it touches. Some people plow through the pain, determined to get out of bed every morning and do what needs to be done – go to work, get the kids ready for school, volunteer at the local food bank. Unfortunately, the pain is so uncomfortable and pervasive for some people that it’s eaten away at their resolve and eventually controls their lives.

If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain, you know the emotions and reactions it stirs up too well. Chronic pain is inexplicably linked to what goes on in the brain and triggers reactions throughout your body and mind you may not be prepared to handle.

Kristen Domonell has a unique perspective on what chronic pain feels like, noting that “getting up in the morning is no joke.” She also relayed the presence of odd or bad dreams, often of little things in her life which you may be able to relate to, like seams in an article of clothing.

In a post vetted by Dr. Sarah Jarvis MBE, author Sarah Graham relayed the feelings that many people experience due to chronic pain. One person described the pain as “bolts of electricity” through their bones. Another mentioned that chronic pain resulted in insensitivity to the point where their skin felt on fire.

Managing symptoms and the feelings they cause is a matter of determination and resolve to live as normal of a life as possible.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will inquire about your medical history, and providing as much information as possible will assist in finding the right treatment. Be honest about where the pain is, its severity, and frequency. Also, describe what makes it better or worse. Your doctor will perform an exam and do tests to help find the cause. Other health problems will be discussed – as well as anxiety, mood, sleep patterns – which could influence treatment options.

Tips for Managing Chronic Pain

If you suffer from chronic pain, talk to a doctor about treatment options. There are other ways to cope with the pain on your own, however, including: 

  • Stretching exercises
  • Practicing good posture
  • Yoga
  • Staying active and maintaining a daily routine
  • Reduce stress with relaxation techniques
  • Don’t do more than you can handle
  • Take care of other mental or medical conditions
  • Stay positive
  • Stay engaged with others

Chronic pain, while serious, can be managed with novel medications like ketamine. 

Final Thoughts

Chronic pain affects all aspects of your life. The most effective treatment relieves symptoms and offers support. You may be able to manage the pain at home with store-bought pain relievers, but the pain could require therapy, prescription medication, or even surgery. One treatment worth learning about is ketamine therapy. Contact us today to learn more!

Can-PTSD-really-Cause-Memory-Loss

Can PTSD Cause Memory Loss?

One of your loved ones survived a traumatic experience, and besides exhibiting symptoms of such an event, has also begun struggling in other ways. One unexpected symptom, which is possibly PTSD-related, is memory loss. Thankfully, new PTSD treatments for symptoms including memory loss are available. Ketamine infusion therapy is one such new therapy option. 

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a traumatic event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”

Most people who survive trauma could have short-term problems coping and adjusting, but with time and self-care, they often recover. If symptoms worsen, persist for months or even years, and restrict your daily life, you could have PTSD.

The Brain and Memory

The brain serves a vital role in how memories are processed and retrieved, and memory function can be impeded by physical or psychological injury because of a traumatic experience. People with PTSD can experience memory loss or intrusive memories. The temporal lobe, part of the cerebellum, is essential for short-term memory, plus “speech, musical rhythm and some degree of smell recognition.” The hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala are critical players in memory function and retrieval.

PTSD Symptoms

PTSD symptoms fall into four categories: Intrusion, avoidance, changes in cognition or mood, and adjustments in arousal or reactivity. People with PTSD report experiencing such symptoms in the days after the trauma. But diagnosis depends on symptoms lasting more than a month and causing severe distress or problems with someone’s daily life. Many people get symptoms within three months of the event, but symptoms can show later and often last for months and occasionally years.

Can PTSD Cause Memory Loss?

One of the hallmarks of a person living with PTSD is the influx of harmful memories of their trauma. Because of intrusive memories, avoidance kicks in with the person trying to stay away from anything, which triggers terrible recollections of the event. Conversely, much research has answered the question: Can PTSD cause memory loss?

According to Kristi Samuelson Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Colorado and a PTSD researcher, experts are in disagreement as to how or why PTSD wreaks havoc with memory functions – either boosting it or causing the brain to bury memories, so they’re rarely recalled. But PTSD changes the brain’s ability to remember.

There are frequent disturbances to the trauma recollection process itself, she says. Some people who report PTSD symptoms can retrieve memories with stunning clarity. In contrast, others tell of wide-ranging amnesia for crucial aspects of trauma and doubt about the sequence of events. Though, the remembrance is splintered for many people, with some parts crystal clear and others missing or jumbled. “Many trauma survivors dissociate at the time of trauma,” Samuelson says. “Core areas of the brain go into survival mode, making it impossible to encode what is happening.” Disassociation can shut down the region of the brain accountable for processing experiences from before, according to a study published in Current Psychiatric Reports in 2017.

Thankfully, some symptoms of mental illness, and specific physical pain conditions, have responded favorably to different therapies, including ketamine treatment.

Brain Exercises for Better Memory

People who have PTSD may keep their memory and higher brain functions in a healthy state by using daily mental exercises. Some brain exercises to consider include:

  • Recall testing by memorizing a daily grocery list or route to work.
  • Switch up and use your opposite hand, or whichever is weaker. Switching to a non-dominant hand is difficult and requires mental focus.
  • Mental math, drawing a map from memory or reading books aloud.

PTSD Diagnosis

PTSD is most often diagnosed by licensed medical professionals who specialize in mental illness and have experience with patients experiencing trauma-related symptoms. Diagnosis typically involves a physical and mental health exam and confirmation of symptoms as spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, fifth edition).

PTSD and Ketamine

Ketamine was battle-tested on U.S. combat troops during the Vietnam war as a pre-surgical anesthetic – a demographic which later included veterans who have PTSD and related illness in the greatest numbers since 1980. But ketamine has proven helpful in soothing symptoms of PTSD and other conditions.

Final Thoughts

If you or a loved one suffers from PTSD and experiences memory loss or symptoms of the condition, reach out for help. Numerous online and other resources are available, including the National Center for PTSD, the PTSD Foundation of America, and many other local, state, and national organizations near you.

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What Is Atypical Depression

The number of Americans suffering from depression is significant – about 15 million people every year. But that number will jump in 2020 due to COVID-19 and its effects, driving millions more into its depths as they struggle with illness, death, financial hardships, and other societal changes never imagined.

WHAT IS ATYPICAL DEPRESSION?

WebMD defines atypical depression as “a subtype of major depression or dysthymic disorder that involves several specific symptoms, including increased appetite or weight gain, sleepiness or excessive sleep, marked fatigue or weakness, moods that are strongly reactive to environmental circumstances, and feeling extremely sensitive to rejection.”
Major depression or dysthymic disorder have a common “specifier” – atypical depression. People suffering from atypical depression have frequently faced depression first early in their lives, normally in their teens.

SYMPTOMS OF ATYPICAL DEPRESSION

Besides mood reactivity, someone suffering from atypical depression may experience two or more of:

  • A bigger eating habit, resulting in significant weight gain
  • Sleeping an excessive amount of hours
  • Feeling as if your arms and legs are very heavy, also known as leaden paralysis
  • You have increased sensitivity and intense reaction to rejection or criticism, resulting in considerable work and social impairment

These symptoms are different than you might experience with typical depression, which includes insomnia and loss of appetite. Unfortunately, the mood of people suffering from atypical depression usually does not get better, even when something good happens.
It is not uncommon for a person with atypical depression to experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Depressed mood or sadness for the entire day or nearly every day
  • Loss of enjoyment in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Major change in appetite or weight
  • Insomnia or too much sleep nearly every day
  • A state of being rundown or physical restlessness that is observable by others
  • Loss of energy or fatigue almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or excessive guilt nearly every day
  • Problems with making decisions or focusing almost every day
  • Repeated thoughts of suicide or death, suicide planning, or suicide attempts

RISK FACTORS FOR DEPRESSION

Over the years, research has begun pinpointing several factors that appear to increase the risk of triggering or developing depression:

  • Personality traits, such as being too dependent and having low self-esteem, being pessimistic or self-critical
  • Stressful or traumatic events, including instances of sexual or physical abuse, the
  • loss or death of a loved one, a bad relationship, or money problems
  • Blood relatives with a history of bipolar disorder, depression, alcoholism, or suicide
  • History of an anxiety disorder, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health ailments
  • Abuse of recreational drugs or alcohol
  • Serious or chronic illness, including stroke, chronic pain, cancer, or heart disease
  • Taking certain medications, like some high blood pressure drugs or sleeping pills – always talk to a doctor before using any medication

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

While the roots of depression are unknown, there are factors which boost the risk, including:

  • Family history
  • A substantial loss — from divorce, death, or separation — that could trigger an underlying susceptibility to depression as opposed to normal grief
  • Interpersonal disputes and related emotions like guilt
  • Any type of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Any kind of major life experience such as changing or ending a job, moving, retiring, graduating, or social isolation in people with a biological predisposition to depression
  • Any type of major illness such as COVID-19, heart disease, cancer, stroke, or HIV
  • Drug or alcohol misuse

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

Diagnosis of atypical depression or any other normally involves:

  • A physical exam to rule out or link depression to an underlying physical health problem.
  • Lab or blood tests to ensure your thyroid or other organs work as expected.
  • A psychiatric evaluation and questionnaire to review your symptoms, thoughts, feelings, behaviors.
  • Consulting with criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Following a medical and psychological evaluation, a positive diagnosis will likely result in your health provider recommending treatment. Options like psychotherapy, self-help, hospitalization, and the use of a newer form of treatment like ketamine infusion therapy to treat mood changes may be discussed. Ketamine and esketamine are administered via infusion therapy or as a nasal spray and are known to help manage your depression symptoms.

CONCLUSION

Depression and other mental illnesses are treatable with psychotherapy and drugs like ketamine, but the key to managing symptoms is recognizing them and seeking immediate care. If you think you suffer from atypical depression, contact us to get help today.

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When Is Depression Crippling?

Everyone gets depressed occasionally. It is a normal part of life. Looking forward to something that does not return desired results can lead to mood changes, weight fluctuation, loss of sleep. In most cases, the symptoms are temporary. But if they drag on for weeks, they can be crippling.

WHAT IS MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER?

A person suffering from clinical depression, sometimes also called major depressive disorder, must either experience a lack of interest or joy in daily activities or depressed mood regularly for two weeks. Such depression when observed usually denotes a substantial difference from what would be considered the person’s usual daily mood. Mood shifts can harm how a person functions at school, work, or at home, but the symptoms can often be treated with medications like ketamine.

WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER?

Mental health professionals use the same criteria when diagnosing mental illness. That criteria is spelled out in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

A person suffering from a mental illness may be diagnosed when five or more of the following, including depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, are present for two weeks:

  • Depressed most of the day, nearly every day as indicated by subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful)
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by subjective account or observation)
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide”

WHEN IS DEPRESSION CRIPPLING?

According to most mental healthcare professionals, depression becomes crippling for different people at different times, based on many factors. But the one thing most agree on is this: Depression is crippling when it begins restricting basic functioning, such as going to work and living normally. Some people with depression have episodes that persist for a few weeks or months. For others, depression is a crippling ailment when it resists treatment and becomes a lifelong struggle.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE DEPRESSED?

The number of people suffering from depression is unknown, mostly because it is a mental health condition that goes unreported and untreated for many reasons – embarrassment, lack of healthcare, the belief that it will “just go away.” The number of U.S. adults affected by depression could be 15 million annually.

HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE DEPRESSION?

Diagnosis of crippling depression follows a standard pattern. First, a medical doctor will perform a physical, ask about your medical history, and run tests that may rule out a condition that causes the depression. Second, or instead of a physical, a mental health provider will perform a psychological exam that focuses on emotions, moods, and behavior. Finally, the results of one or both exams will be compared to criteria in the DSM-5 for final diagnosis.

HOW DO YOU TREAT DEPRESSION?

There are many ways to treat depression, which you and your doctor or therapist will talk about and decide on. Options include psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, self-help, medication, and in some cases hospitalization. In-patient therapy will occur regularly, often spanning the course of several months or longer to help manage symptoms.

DOES MEDICINE WORK?

In many cases, a doctor or mental healthcare provider will prescribe anti-depressants to be used in conjunction with some form of therapy. Over the last several years, government and private research has looked into the efficacy of drugs like ketamine, which improve neurotransmitter function in the brain, to ease symptoms of depression. Ketamine, or esketamine, is dispensed via infusion therapy or a nasal spray. It was originally used as an anesthetic during the Vietnam war.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you or a loved one is depressed, seek care immediately and do not wait until the symptoms become crippling. A medical doctor or mental health provider will work with you to design a treatment program, possibly including psychotherapy or drugs like ketamine.
If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine we can help. Ketamine has been shown to provide rapid relief from the symptoms of depression where other medications have failed. Contact us today.

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