Understanding Causes and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting nearly 40 million American adults every year. Occasional anxiety is normal and can even be helpful since it enables the body to respond to danger. However, anxiety disorders lead to excessive and constant worry and fear that is often disproportionate to the level of risk. These can be crippling, hindering you from participating in daily life activities.

Understanding Causes and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Types of Anxiety Disorders

  • General anxiety – excessive fear and worry with no justifiable reason
  • Social anxiety – fear of being embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected during social interactions
  • Agoraphobia – fear and avoidance of places that could make you feel trapped and helpless, such as an elevator or public transportation
  • Specific phobias – fear and avoidance of particular objects or situations, such as fear of heights or spiders
  • Separation anxiety – fear of being separated from a parent or loved one
  • Substance-induced anxiety – intense worry and fear resulting from substance misuse or withdrawal
  • Panic disorder – sudden intense worry and fear that peaks into a panic attack

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

It is not clear what causes anxiety disorders. But researchers believe it is a cocktail of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors. The following factors could cause or trigger anxiety disorders.

  • Genetic predisposition – anxiety disorder can run in the family.
  • Trauma –  kids who witnessed or experienced traumatic events are at a higher risk.
  •  Personality – particular personality types are more susceptible to anxiety disorders.
  • Medical condition – diseases like heart disease and diabetes can cause anxiety disorder symptoms.
  • Alcohol and drugs – misuse or withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can cause or aggravate anxiety disorders.
  • Stress – stress build-up due to work, family, or finances can cause anxiety.
  • Other mental illnesses – people with other mental illnesses are at a higher risk of being affected

Symptoms of Anxiety disorders

Excessive fear and worry is the most common symptom of anxiety. You can also experience any of the following, depending on the type of anxiety disorder.

  • Feeling tense and restless
  • Sense of looming danger
  • Uncontrollable worry
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tiredness

Treatment

Managing anxiety disorders is crucial, especially if they interfere with daily life. Treatment involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Medication does not cure anxiety disorders but can help manage the symptoms. On the other hand, psychotherapy trains you to respond better to the illness emotionally.

At Pandora’s House Psychiatry, we treat our patients professionally with understanding and sensitivity. Contact us today to book an appointment if you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of Anxiety disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia Demand Effective Treatment

Schizophrenia is one of many serious mental illnesses that affects the way a person behaves and changes the way that they see the world. A person’s thoughts and emotions seem separate from reality, turning any interaction with society into something difficult and aggravating.

Signs of this disorder usually show up anywhere between the ages of 16 and 30 in some form of psychosis, though there are gradual downslides in a person’s cognitive abilities that can easily be dismissed as something else. The symptoms are usually very serious and demand treatment as a necessity to function in a healthy way.

When treatment isn’t available, a person with schizophrenia can move further and further away from reality. Thoughtful, knowledgeable, and proven treatments are the best way to control one’s symptoms and reenter reality.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia Demand Effective Treatment

Signs and Symptoms Of Schizophrenia

A person suffering from schizophrenia may display evidence of the following symptoms:

  • Delusions, or thoughts and ideas that are outside the realm of reality.
  • Hallucinations, or seeing and hearing things that simply aren’t there.
  • Disorganized thinking and speech patterns that impair effective communication.
  • Erratic and abnormal motor behavior, defined by unpredictable actions and unfocused theories and ideas.
  • Depressive negligence, or personal negligence, such as ignoring hygiene, lacking emotions, losing interest in activities, and not caring about anything at all.

While some symptoms, such as delusions, are usually present in everyone who suffers from schizophrenia, the type of symptoms, and the intensity of the symptoms, are different for everyone. With treatment, many of these symptoms can be controlled and remission is possible.

Schizophrenia Treatment Options

While you can’t prevent schizophrenia, there are treatment options available that can help a person return to their former lives. Antipsychotic medications can lessen many symptoms and cognitive behavioral therapy is highly suggested. Support from family and friends is essential for success and a coordinated care program can be life-changing.

Pandora’s House Psychiatry offers comprehensive and coordinated psychiatric services for people who suffer from schizophrenia. We are confidential, diligent, and effective. Contact us to schedule an initial appointment.

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD, is a developmental disability that affects one’s ability to learn, communicate, and understand social interactions. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 44 children in the U.S. were affected by ASD in 2018. There is no cure, but prompt therapy tailored to one’s needs can help minimize and manage symptoms.

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

Signs

Indications of ASD typically began to manifest around the age of 2 or 3, though some developmental delays can be identified as early as 18 months. Research has shown that the earlier the intervention, the higher the chance of a positive outcome later in life, so it’s important to be aware of what to look out for.

Developmental Signs of ASD:

  • Does not show facial expressions by 9 months of age
  • Does not point to demonstrate interest by 18 months of age
  • Does not play with other children by 3 years of age
  • Does not know how to pretend by 4 years of age
  • Does not sing or dance by 5 years age

Repetitive Behavioral Signs

  • Lines up toys and objects
  • Repeats words or phrases
  • Upset by minor changes
  • Obsessive interests
  • Strict routines

Miscellaneous Signs

  • Avoids eye contact
  • Delayed cognitive skills, including language
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Hyperactivity
  • Epilepsy or seizure disorder
  • Gastrointestinal issues

Screening

There are three main methods of screening a child for autism:

Developmental Monitoring

This is the most basic level of screening. It involves the ongoing process of watching a child grow and develop. Parents should be observing their child for developmental milestones in learning and behavior. There are many resources online that can be used to aid in this process. They can tell you at what age certain skills and abilities typically develop.

Developmental Screening

This is the next level up in screening.  It’s more formal and takes a closer look at developmental milestones, especially at 9, 18, and 30 months of age. It’s performed by professionals in the healthcare or community setting.

Developmental Diagnosis

If development does not appear to be on the right track, a formal evaluation can be performed by a trained specialist such as a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, or occupational therapist. The child may be given structured tests to evaluate strengths and weaknesses in different areas. This is the most extensive form of screening for ASD.

Treatment

As of 2013, the American Psychiatric Association no longer recommends that healthcare professionals classify autism into subtypes. Instead, Autism Spectrum Disorder is used as an umbrella term, and categorization is based on the amount of support someone requires. The range is from level 1 to level 3, with level 3 autistic patients requiring substantial support to live their lives.

Types of treatment:

  • Behavioral: Reinforcement of desired behaviors and discouragement of undesired ones. Widely accepted as an effective form of treatment.
  • Developmental: Focuses on improving specific skill sets such as language.
  • Educational: Treatment in a classroom setting based on consistency and visual learning.
  • Social-Relational: An approach that highlights improving social skills and emotional bonds.
  • Pharmacological: There is no medication that treats the core of ASD, but some medications can help curb symptoms and ease related medical conditions.

For more information on ASD and to set up an appointment to speak with us at Pandora’s House Psychiatry, click here. We’re dedicated to serving our community with diligent psychiatric care, emphasizing sensitivity, understanding, and trust.

Depressive Disorders: Future-Focused Treatment and Recovery

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Major Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. In 2020, an estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode.

Depressive Disorders: Future-Focused Treatment and Recovery

WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

Depressive episodes can vary among people, but they are commonly defined by some combination of the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or despair
  • High levels of irritation and anger
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed
  • Sleep pattern changes like insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Reduced appetite, weight loss or weight gain
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Moving and/or thinking more slowly than normal
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and failure
  • Brain fog, trouble concentrating, memory loss
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts
  • Unexplained physical symptoms, such as back pain or headaches

For most people experiencing a depressive episode, their symptoms have a moderate to severe impact on their day-to-day functioning and mood.

WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?

It is difficult to pinpoint exact causes of depression and every patient is different. Common causes of depression include brain chemistry, hormone levels, family history, trauma, medical conditions, substance use, and chronic pain. Risk factors include sex, genetics, socioeconomic status, vitamin deficiencies, substance abuse, and medical illnesses.

HOW IS DEPRESSION TREATED?

Depression is a serious mental health condition, and it requires treatment from professionals with a clear understanding of the disorder. At Pandora’s House Psychiatry,  we focus on treating the immediate symptoms of depressive disorders and helping patients with long-term recovery. The future can be a scary concept when you are dealing with depression, but with the right treatment, patients are able to reclaim both their present and their future.

Treatment for depression usually includes a combination of psychotherapy and medication. By conducting a thorough evaluation of your mental health, our psychiatrists will help create a treatment plan that focuses on the tools that will benefit you the most.  We are dedicated to serving you with sensitivity, understanding, and trust. If you, or someone you love, is suffering from depression, contact us today to schedule an initial appointment.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Those who suffer from bipolar disorder have moods that swing like a pendulum. Extreme highs can turn into debilitating lows, often suddenly and with no apparent trigger. These rapid changes in disposition can affect energy levels and make it difficult to think clearly. It’s estimated that around 2.8% of U.S. adults struggle with this mental illness, though it’s believed that many cases go undiagnosed. Here’s everything you need to know about bipolar disorder.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Two Moods

The two sides of the bipolar coin are mania and depression.

Mania

The mania phase is characterized by increased mental and physical activity. Extreme cases may trigger psychosis (a loss of perception of reality).

Symptoms include:

  • Elevated energy levels and decreased need for sleep
  • Agitation
  • Euphoria
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Increased talkativeness and distractibility
  • Poor decision-making (impulsiveness)

Depression

Depressive episodes invoke a feeling of emptiness. They often put a chronic strain on day-to-day activities (work, school, relationships).

Symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, sometimes manifesting as irritability in children and teens
  • Loss of interest and energy
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Slowed behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts

Types

Bipolar disorder can be categorized by the frequency, duration, and intensity of episodes.

Bipolar I Disorder

The most extreme form. Manic episodes last for at least seven days. Major depressive episodes last for at least two weeks. Mixed episodes involving symptoms of both mania and depression are also possible. May require hospitalization.

Bipolar II Disorder

Similar to bipolar I, except the manic episodes are less severe (hypomania).

Cyclothymic Disorder

Also known as cyclothymia. Persistent manic and depressive episodes that are not intense enough to be classified as the types described above.

Cause

As of now, diagnosis is based on symptoms rather than brain imaging or any sort of diagnostic test.  There is still much to learn about the root cause of bipolar disorder, though research suggests that there is a genetic element to its development, being more likely to occur in those with a family history. Because of the broad range of symptoms, it can sometimes be difficult for mental health professionals to distinguish bipolar disorder from other mental illnesses.

Treatment

Medications

Current medications only treat the symptoms of bipolar disorder rather than the source. The most commonly used drugs are mood stabilizers such as lithium or valproate. They help curb the frequency of mood swings, evening out one’s temperament. Because of the many side effects associated with these drugs, a thorough benefit vs risk analysis should be discussed with your doctor prior to use.

Psychotherapy

Also known as “talk therapy,” psychotherapy helps patients identify triggers and manage difficult emotions.  Mental health professionals provide a support network, offering compassion, education, and tools to combat the symptoms of bipolar disorder. It is often used in tandem with medication.

Let Us Help

If you or someone close to you is struggling with bipolar disorder, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Pandora’s House is dedicated to serving the community with diligent psychiatric care backed by sensitivity, understanding, and trust.  Click here to set up an initial consultation. 

Starting Fresh and Starting Over: 5 Tips for Rebuilding Your Life After Addiction

Recovering from addiction is a process that must be approached one careful step at a time, and a misstep at any point can derail your road to recovery and set the stage for a dangerous relapse. Even now, your sober friends and family members may not understand the true nature of recovery, and they may assume that rebuilding your life will be easy now that you have made it through the rehab process. The belief that the end of rehab is the end of temptation is all too common, but as a recovering addict or alcoholic, you know that is not the case. Now that you have achieved your hard-won sobriety, it is time to protect it with all your heart, and here are Pandora’s 5 tips for starting fresh, starting over and rebuilding your life after addiction.

Starting Fresh and Starting Over: 5 Tips for Rebuilding Your Life After Addiction

Focus on how far you have come.

The road to recovery is a long one, but now that you are sober, the most significant part is now behind you. Instead of worrying about what is still to come, try to focus on how far you have already traveled on the long road to recovery.

Remember that substance-use disorder is a disease.

Now that you are clean and sober, it is more important than ever to see addiction for what it is; a serious illness with dangerous implications. Once you realize that addiction is not a moral failing or a simple lack of willpower, you can move forward with a greater sense of confidence.

Make amends to those you have harmed.

Addiction and alcoholism can do enormous harm, and not just to the addict. When you were struggling with addiction, you may have hurt those closest to you; with theft, with the loss of trust and with ill-chosen words. Making amends can be part of your recovery, and a great way to start rebuilding those previously burned bridges.

Join a recovery support group.

Everyone needs support, especially those in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction, and the right support group can make a world of difference as you seek to maintain your hard-won sobriety. Seek out local 12-step programs, attend family support sessions with your loved ones and find support wherever and whenever you can.

Focus on your good health.

Staying healthy is a big part of staying clean and sober, so look for ways to improve your physical and health while focusing on relaxation and other forms of emotional healthcare.

For more help on rebuilding your life after addiction, call us and make an appointment.

Empowerment and Mental Health: What is the Connection between the Two?

Many are times when you hear about words like empowerment and mental health. They are so common that they are sometimes considered buzzwords or vague terms — they cover a lot but don’t go into specifics.

A patient with adverse mental illness can greatly recover with the advancement of their personal power, which can be done through giving more community opportunities and treatment partnerships. Here, we discuss how empowerment can improve mental health, improving their way of life in the process.

Empowerment and Mental Health: What is the Connection between the Two?

What is Mental Health Empowerment?

In the mental health context, empowerment refers to the control, level of choice, and influence that patients suffering from mental health issues have over their lives. Mental health empowerment can be achieved by:

  • Respecting the decisions made by people over their own lives
  • Remaining respectful and non-judgmental
  • Providing encouragement and support to every decision that people make regarding their lives
  • Focusing more on the positives, abilities, and strengths
  • Having a genuine relationship with the person suffering from mental health issues. They should always be comfortable discussing their feelings and how they want things done

When done correctly, mental health empowerment can play a massive role in the patient’s recovery through its holistic and person-centered approach.

How to Achieve Mental Health Empowerment 

The two targets of mental health empowerment are:

Treatment Partnerships

Strategies that facilitate treatment partnerships focus more on recovery endorsement than approaches that suggest poor prognosis, more collaborative treatment options, and community-based treatment services, rather than depending on institutions located far away.

While focusing on treatment options that work for individuals is somewhat efficient, they are not sufficient on their own. This begs for alternative solutions that can be used along with treatment partnerships.

Community Opportunities 

Usually, the community is responsible for discrimination and stigma that worsen the patients’ mental health issues. Along with treatment partnerships, communities with more realistic views and more accommodating to patients with mental illnesses rather than stigmatizing and discriminating against them are more helpful in mental health empowerment.

Battles to do with mental health are so big that an individual’s and the doctor’s efforts alone might not be sufficient. Communities that understand, support, and respect other people’s life choices play a massive role in mental health empowerment.

Get the Help You Need

At Pandora’s House Psychiatry, we understand the challenges of poor mental health. We focus on helping patients improve their quality of life and facilitate a full recovery. Along with our professionals, we have a warm, safe, and supportive atmosphere needed for the wellbeing of our patients.

Is the psychiatric treatment offered right for you? You can contact us with us to find out.

Understanding Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders

Disruptive, impulse control, and conduct disorders are a group of mental health disorders that can begin in early childhood and teenage years. People who suffer from these disorders have more aggressive behavior toward other people. Many people can become angry and have occasional outbursts. But if these behavioral problems interrupt personal relationships, education, or work, it becomes a problem. In that case, a mental health disorder may need addressing. Common disorders within this group are oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, kleptomania, and pyromania.

 Understanding Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders

 Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder:

  • Problems with authority
  • Showing anger or resentment
  • Talking back to parents or teachers
  • Trying to annoy others
  • Blaming others for their bad behavior
  • Acting spiteful to others

 Symptoms of conduct disorder:

  • Bullying or starting fights with others
  • Being physically harmful to animals and people
  • Destroying the property of others
  • Stealing from others
  • Lying to others
  • Skipping school or running away from home

  Symptoms of intermittent explosive disorder:

  • Shouting or yelling at others
  • Throwing temper tantrums
  • Hitting or smacking others
  • Breaking or throwing things
  • Making threats to harm others or animals

Symptoms of kleptomania:

  • Lacking the ability to control the urge to steal
  • Feeling enjoyment after stealing things that are not necessary for survival
  • Feeling bad after stealing but continuing to do it
  • Having an uncontrollable urge to steal
  • Retaliating is not the reason for stealing

Symptoms of pyromania:

  • Lacking the ability to control the urge to set fires
  • Having no reason to set fire other than the obsession with fires
  • Feeling pleasure before and after starting fires

Causes of disruptive, impulse control, and conduct disorders.

The environment that a child grows up in can play an essential role in some mental health disorders. A neglectful parent or a very authoritative parent can lead to children developing disruptive, impulse-control, or conduct disorders. A child who has a family member with a mental illness can mimic some of the aggressive behaviors that they display. Some conflicts between caregivers in a child’s life can also contribute to the development of these disorders.

Treatment options.

Treatment options for these disorders include working on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The goal of treatment is to help people learn to use more self-control and manage emotions more efficiently. If a child has one of these disorders, treatment can involve working with the parents. For example, therapists can teach parents to realize their reactions to aggressive behaviors. Treatment will also help parents communicate and discipline children with these disorders. The goal is to treat the mental health condition before it worsens as an adult. The wellbeing of someone who is suffering is the primary focus of treatment. They can learn to react better to stressful events and form better relationships.

If you or someone you love is suffering from mental health disorders, we can help provide a better quality of life. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!  Contact us to schedule an appointment with our professionals.

Gene Testing Cracks Code for Drug-Metabolizing Effects

Genetic tests today are so advanced they provide biological clues related to medical risk factors and personality traits. Although there is no absolute evidence that gene testing predicts you will develop a certain mental disorder, pharmacogenomics tests do shed light on whether a specific medication could assist with an existing psychiatric diagnosis.

Gene Testing Cracks Code for Drug-Metabolizing Effects

How does gene testing help?

Pharmacogenomic tests zero in on genetic variants that tell professionals about how your body metabolizes or processes various drugs. Such key information leads to more helpful dosing because everyone’s body responds differently to specific drugs. For example, genetic and psychological factors contribute to antidepressant side effects reported by individuals.

Researchers say some of the most prevalent pharmacogenetics tests include CYP2C19 as well as CPY2D6 and CPY2C9. Depending on a person’s “CYP phenotypes,” a prescriber works to find the optimal starting dose and type of antidepressant medication. In fact, prescribers often use genetically informed guidelines.

Which drugs are not tolerated by everyone?

CYP2D2 is the enzyme identified as influencing the metabolism of various opiates, including oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone and tramadol. CYP2C19 is associated with the metabolism of carisoprodol, diazepam, clopidogrel and several antidepressants. Meanwhile, CYP2CD is the enzyme credited with metabolizing NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

If you have had past trouble tolerating a certain antidepressant or other medication, consider gene testing. Your prior conditioning, anxiety and expectations based on preconceived ideas could influence drug tolerability, so it’s important to work with trained professionals who understand drug tolerability, genetic influences and neuroticism.

Should I obsess over my genes?

When it comes to a treatment plan – particularly more complicated concurrent therapies — understanding drug interactions is paramount to achieving safe and effective outcomes. Avoid adverse consequences with proper gene testing. At the same time, relax knowing we have scientific-based guidelines and treatment solutions. Although it’s tempting to analyze your specific genes for personality, mental health and physical health risks, ultimately your power is in mental health resources and support.

At Pandora’s House Psychiatry, we specialize in psychiatric mental health solutions for adults, adolescents and children. Talk to us about our at-home telemedicine and telehealth options for those who desire proven methods for coping and improving their quality of life. Improving mental health often means boosting life span and productivity as well as increasing the sense of self-worth. For more information about treating anxiety disorders, bipolar related disorders, substance abuse, gene testing and more, please contact us today.

 

Neurodevelopmental disorders and their treatment

Neurodevelopmental disorders can come in a number of forms. They include:

Neurodevelopmental disorders and their treatment

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a broadly defined condition that can have significant impacts on how someone who has it communicates, behaves, and interacts socially. Autism affects people in different ways and to different degrees. No medical test, such as a blood test, exists for autism. However, a trained professional can diagnose the condition in someone at an early age and prescribe a course of treatment that can help someone with autism function better.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD manifests in the person diagnosed with the condition having difficulty maintaining focus, moving about constantly, even in situations where it is inappropriate, and acting on impulse without thinking through the consequences of the action. No cure exists for ADHD, but a combination of medication and psychotherapy can help to reduce the symptoms and increase the patient’s ability to function.

Specific Learning Disorder causes a child to have difficulty mastering a number of skills in school. Dyslexia is a condition that causes one difficulty learning to read. Dyscalculia causes difficulty doing math. Dysgraphia causes a student difficulty learning to write. These conditions sometimes manifest along with ADHD and cause a great deal of frustration for a child suffering from one or more of them. Children with learning disorders can benefit from early diagnosis and a specialized form of education to help them to overcome the condition,

Motor Disorder is a catchall phrase that can include conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Dystonia, and Rhett’s Syndrome that causes involuntary movements. Motor disorders can be treated with medication to a certain extent, as well as physical therapy and even surgery in some cases. No cure exists for any of the conditions classified as a motor disorder and treatment is lifelong.

Tourette’s Disorder manifests in involuntary movements and vocal sounds. A movement tic may involve blinking, shrugging one’s shoulders, or even jerking one’s arm. A vocal tic can include grunting, whistling, or shouting out a specific word or phrase. No cure exists for Tourette’s, but a combination of medication and behavior therapy can help someone with the condition keep the tics under control.

For more information on neurodevelopment disorders contact us.