What is the Difference between Depression and Sadness?

Many people confuse depression with sadness. According to the American Psychiatric Association, sadness or grief is triggered by a specific event, such as the loss of a loved one, a job loss, or an end of a relationship. The feelings have a specific cause and are often temporary as the triggering event recedes into the past. That is not to say that the feelings that are triggering by such an event are not severe and may even need the intervention of a mental health professional. Feelings brought about by a physical assault or witnessing a catastrophe can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and require therapy to overcome.

What is the Difference between Depression and Sadness?

Depression is a far different disorder. The feelings of sadness are constant and have no specific triggering event. They can be caused by biochemistry, genetic predisposition, a personality disorder (i.e. low self-esteem) or something constant such as an abusive relationship or an abusive childhood. Sometimes a physical cause exists, such as a brain tumor, a vitamin deficiency, or even a thyroid condition.

Depression can be mild or severe. The condition is characterized by sleep disorders, a lack of energy needed to perform everyday tasks, eating disorders, a constant feeling of worthlessness, and even, in the most extreme cases, thoughts of self-harm or suicide. In general, the feelings must be constant for two weeks to trigger a diagnosis of depression.

Fortunately, depression is one of the more treatable of mental health disorders. Medications, psychotherapy (i.e. talking therapy), and even, in extreme cases, electroconvulsive therapy have been used to treat depression. People living with depression can often be taught exercises to relieve the symptoms. Regular sleep, a good, healthy diet, and avoidance of alcohol help to deal with the feelings of depression. Given treatment, roughly 80 to 90 percent of people with depression can enjoy relief from symptoms.

For more information contact us.

What is Anxiety and What Does It Look Like?

Anxiety is a normal human response to perceived stressful or dangerous situations. Life events, such as having a child or losing your job can make any individual anxious. Anxiety can be a combination of intense feelings of nervousness, a noticeable increase in sweating, racing thoughts and a more rapid heartbeat. It is a scary human emotion that in most cases, is temporary and completely harmless. But for some individuals, anxiety can be a debilitating mental disease that prevents them from living an enriched and fulfilling life. Below are the five most common anxiety disorders.

What is Anxiety and What Does It Look Like?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This type of anxiety is accompanied by persistent feelings of restlessness, usually lasting for months or longer, and is likely to affect all areas of an individual’s life, even towards things that may seem trivial in nature. They may have irrational fears about something for little to no underlying reasons.

Panic Disorder: This disorder is repetitive and ongoing but usually involves specific episodes. In these episodes, an individual may experience impending feels of doom, sudden loss of breath, chest pain, and heart palpitations. The feelings can be so intense that it can feel like a heart attack.

Social Anxiety Disorder: With this anxiety, individuals are usually characterized by feelings of insecurity or self-consciousness. They avoid social situations out of an intense fear of embarrassment, judgment, or humiliation from others. It is usually derived from some negative social experience, such as bullying.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: This involves intrusive fears of some horrible occurrence. To ensure this horrible occurrence does not happen, a set of obsessive guidelines and routines are followed. This could be washing your hands several times out of the fear of contracting germs or praying obsessively for a sick family member.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This is probably the most well-known type of anxiety disorder. It comes from experiencing or being witness to a traumatic event. It is uncontrollable and can be triggered in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, etc. The most commonly well- known cases of PTSD involve soldiers in the military who have come back from war.

It is important to know that anxiety does not look like just one symptom and can manifest itself in many ways. Pandora’s House of Psychiatry is a judgment free zone and committed to providing the best service, personalized and extensively tailored for you. If your anxiety is preventing you from living your life to the fullest, please contact us now. Take back control of your life today!

Three Reasons You May Need to See a Grief Counselor

After the death of a family member or loved one, everyone deals with grief in their own way. There is no one right way to deal with grief. While some people deal with grief through the support of their family and friends, others need the help of a grief counselor to appropriately deal with their grief. Here are three signs that you may need the assistance of a grief counselor.

Three Reasons You May Need to See a Grief Counselor

You Can’t Move On

It may be hard to function for a few days after the death of a loved one. While the pain of losing your loved one will never fully go away, you should eventually be able to get back into a regular routine. If you find that you can’t get out of bed or otherwise move on with your life, it might be time to seek the assistance of a grief counselor.  A grief counselor can help you deal with your emotional pain and establish a new regular routine.

You’re Feeling Overwhelming Guilt

There are many reasons that someone might feel guilt concerning the death of a loved one. Maybe, you didn’t encourage the person to see a doctor sooner, or you were there when the person died. Perhaps, you were both involved in a car accident, and while your family member died, you only suffered minor injuries. Survivor’s guilt can be difficult to deal with. A grief counselor can help you deal with any guilty feelings concerning the loss of your loved one.

You Feel Like You Can’t Talk to Anyone

Perhaps, you don’t have any nearby family or friends, and you are struggling to find someone who understands what you are going through or someone who will listen to your struggles. Maybe, you feel like everyone around you is dealing with their grief differently, and you feel like they don’t share your same struggles or concerns. It might be time to turn to a grief counselor.

If you would like to learn more about grief counseling or you are ready to schedule an appointment, contact us.

How to Find a Psychiatrist Near You

“How do I find a psychiatrist near me?” While this sounds like a simple question, looks can be deceiving here. There are two main considerations you must make.

How to Find a Psychiatrist Near You

What Type of Psychiatrist do I Need?

The first thing you must consider is what type of psychiatrist you need. For anyone between the ages of 16 -18, you should consult with a child and adolescent psychiatrist. There are also generalized adult psychiatrists available. However, if you’re struggling with something more specialized (e.g. an eating disorder), you may want to find someone who specializes in this type of psychiatry. These psychiatrists tend to be more restrictive. Additionally, if you need an evaluation for a legal matter, you should seek out a forensic psychiatrist.

Will They Take My Insurance?

One of your biggest concerns will have to do with insurance. Whether a psychiatrist will take your insurance will depend partly upon where you live. In those areas where there aren’t a lot of psychiatrists, most will take insurance. These psychiatrists will typically only see patients for medication management though. However, in those areas where there are a lot of psychiatrists available many of them will split their time between seeing patients and managing medication. These psychiatrists may not always accept insurance though.

You may still want to see a psychiatrist who is either not in your network or doesn’t take your insurance. The choice is yours, but you should know that if they don’t take your insurance you will have a higher deductible and if you want to be reimbursed you must handle the paperwork yourself.

Now that you know what to look for in a psychiatrist, it’s time to make some phone calls. If you live in Collin County, make sure you reach out to Pandora’s House. In doing so you’ll find out why they’re highly recommended when you ask “Who is the best psychiatrist near me?”

What Is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette Syndrome, also known as Tourette’s or TS, is a neurodevelopmental disorder distinguished by the presence of chronic motor and vocal tics. The severity of TS can vary; according to the NINDS, it is estimated that one in 100 have a mild case, and around 200,000 Americans suffer from the most severe form of Tourette Syndrome.

What Is Tourette Syndrome?

Symptoms typically appear during childhood, and in many cases, the severity of one’s tics reaches its peak around the pre-teen years with symptoms improving post-adolescence. However, for some individuals, Tourette’s is a chronic lifelong condition with its own set of daily challenges to cope with.

What Are Tics?

Tics are uncontrollable movements, gestures, or vocalizations that are often sudden and repetitive. Tics are described as either simple tics (involving a limited number of muscle groups) or complex tics (involving several muscle groups).

The specific type of tics a person has and their frequency typically fluctuates over time. Tics can also change, evolve, or even react to internal or external triggers, including anxiety or stress.

Many people with Tourette’s notice their tics lessen or stop altogether if they are intensely focused on something. Some people may also experience premonitory urges — a sense that a tic is about to occur. While some may be able to suppress a tic when this happens, it can often make tics emerge more frequently afterward.

Motor Tics

Some examples of simple motor tics are grimacing, blinking, shrugging, and jerking movements. Complex motor tics can include jumping, twisting, hopping, or a combination of movements. More severe motor tics can include obscene gestures or actions such as hitting or punching that can cause self-injury to the individual.

Vocal Tics

Simple vocal tics can include barking, sniffing, whistling, or popping noises. Complex vocal tics typically involve words or phrases.

  • Echolalia is a type of vocal tic where the individual repeats something that someone else has said.
  • Coprolalia is a severe vocal tic involving inappropriate or crude language like swearing or racial slurs. It is perhaps one of the most heavily stigmatized symptoms, although only approximately 10%-15% of those with Tourette’s have this kind of vocal tic.

Living with Tourette’s

Many people with Tourette Syndrome don’t need any kind of medication for their condition, although it may benefit certain cases. Typically, the most effective ways to live with Tourette’s are to find healthy coping mechanisms and a support system that will help the individual live without their condition hindering their ability to live a normal life.

Options for Treatment

When it comes to treatment, speech therapy, behavioral therapy, or medication may be beneficial in some cases. Most often, there is no formal treatment necessary for Tourette’s unless the person’s tics are causing harm to the individual. In some cases, Tourette Syndrome can be accompanied by other conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, sleep disorders, or issues with social functioning, sensory processing, or behavior. Certain therapies can often help with concurrent problems in those with Tourette’s.

If you or a loved one suffer from symptoms of Tourette’s or any co-occurring conditions, Pandora’s House Psychiatry is here for you. Serving the Collin County community, we are committed to providing compassionate psychiatric care with understanding and trust. Contact us today for more information or to request an appointment.

Why and How to Tell Your Family You’re Suffering from Anxiety

Anxiety can make you feel like you are completely alone in your life. Even if your life is filled with family and friends who love you, they probably have no idea that you are suffering from anxiety every day. Don’t suffer alone. Allow someone to help you through.

Why and How to Tell Your Family You're Suffering from Anxiety

Why You Should Tell Your Family

To alleviate your stress- By discussing your feelings with your family, you won’t have to hide your symptoms and feelings anymore. You can share when you start to feel worried about something and know that you have someone who will listen.

The relief of sharing your feelings- Once you share your worries and express the emotional pain you have been dealing with, you may feel some relief from your anxiety. Obviously, this will not solve the underlying issue. But by having an outlet to share your feelings, the bottled up feeling of worry may start to ease.

To get help taking the next steps- If you have even one or two family members or friends that you trust, ask them to help you through this. Explain your struggles and what you feel you need to do to move forward. Perhaps they could come with you to speak to a therapist or even just watch your children to give you some time away.

How You Should Tell Your Family

Speak with those you are closest to– You know which of your family members are most supportive. Speak to the person you feel most comfortable with first so that they can help you feel better and not judged for your feelings.

Ask someone to help you– Once you have opened up to someone you feel close to, ask them to be with you as you explain your feelings to other members of your family. Allow them to help you answer questions when you start to feel overwhelmed.

Tell them how they can help you- Make sure your family understands that your feelings are not their fault, but also be clear about how they can help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work or cleaning you have to get done, ask if someone could help you with that. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need to feel better.

Don’t allow the loneliness of anxiety to overtake you. Speak with those closest to you about how you are feeling and how they can help. If you do not have anyone you can speak to or you need further steps to help you through while suffering from anxiety, contact a therapist. The only way to get through is with support. Please contact us for further information.

How Dangerous Is Major Depressive Disorder?

Mental illnesses aren’t something that should be taken lightly. There are many forms of mental disorders, however, Major Depressive Disorder is one of the most debilitating. Of all the types of depression, this form is one of the most vicious, cold, and mind gripping of them all, and if you know a loved one who has been diagnosed with this disorder, there are a few things you should learn about it. After all, It just might save a life.

How Dangerous Is Major Depressive Disorder?

Major Depressive Episodes

It’s different for everybody, however, there’s a very common theme with MDD. Not only is it a silent killer, but it tends to sneak up on you when you least expect it. Your entire day could be going perfectly, but if any small or sudden inconvenience springs up, it could ruin your whole mood. MDD is the depression disorder for sudden, strong attacks of depression- rather than a prolonged state. Like most, it relies on triggers to be activated and can leave the person in a fragmented state of mind. Few things can help a person once they’ve entered an episode. Normally, in most cases, they simply either need to solve the issue that caused their episode, or wait it out and hope that they start to feel better. Major Depressive Disorder has been known to be a leading cause of suicidal tendencies, causing up to 25% more cases in young adults and teens.

How Can You Prevent Episodes?

Medication, weekly therapy visits, and an otherwise happy environment are all great ways to start the healing process. They all have their cons, however, and you should be aware of all of them when caring for somebody with MDD. Therapy, for example, is a great way to get things off your chest on a weekly basis- however, most people may find it to be tiresome and grow exhausted of it quickly. Medication can also cause a mental drain that affects the user in a hormonal way while taking the prescribed medication. The best advice is to make sure the affected know they have people to turn to in their times of need, and should be open when they are feeling an episode or an attack. As long as there are people to assist them, most will feel a security blanket begin to settle in, which can make MDD a little harder to affect them. It varies with everyone, though, so try all of these methods in hopes of keeping this silent killer at bay. Major Depressive Disorder certainly isn’t anything to take lightly.

Anxiety Disorders & Feeling Confined

Anxiety disorders often create difficulties for dealing with daily situations and tasks. Feeling confined is a common, consistent feeling that evokes the symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiety Disorders & Feeling Confined

Feeling Confined

Many people take for granted the ways in which their physical bodies are confined by situations and social norms. For those with anxiety, however, this confinement can create increased heart rates, trouble breathing, disorientation, and the desire to immediately escape the situation. It’s important to let others know when you experience anxiety as a result of confinement, as well as to work through these feelings with a mental health professional.

Seat-belts

Wearing seat-belts is required by law in most areas. Some people don’t wear seat-belts just because they don’t want to, while others, even those without anxiety, may fear being trapped by seat-belts if they get into a wreck. For those with anxiety, the feeling of physical confinement can start as soon as the strap touches the neck.

If you have anxiety and you find yourself constantly trying to get the seat-belt away from your neck, you have difficulty breathing while you’re driving, or other anxiety symptoms occur, it’s likely this is a result of seat-belt confinement anxiety. While it’s important to follow laws, it’s also important to take care of yourself. Pull over if you need to and take a few minutes to calm and center yourself. Also consider exploring options for added seat-belt padding and other aids that may relieve the feeling of confinement.

Elevators

Standing in the confined space of an elevator can be a huge source of anxiety, and for those with anxiety disorders, the feeling can become overwhelming. Keep in mind that it’s okay to tell others, even strangers, about your anxiety if you have to get into an elevator. If you have more anxiety while alone in an elevator, wait on another person to ride the elevator with you. Also look for alternative stair routes and work with a therapist to adapt your breathing and calming techniques to different circumstances.

Masks

COVID-19 and mask-wearing is a significant, often extreme, source of anxiety for those with anxiety disorders. The masks confine our most basic human function: breathing.

Instead of trying to just deal with the added anxiety, do everything you can to create windows of time when you’re not wearing a mask throughout the day. Let your employer know that you suffer from increased anxiety due to mask-wearing, and that you may need to step outside for a moment when the anxiety symptoms increase. Explore mask options to find the one that is most comfortable and least restrictive, while still being protective.

To schedule an appointment with a caring counselor in the North Dallas area, contact us today.

Treatment-Resistant Depression and Why You Shouldn’t Lose Hope

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can be a pretty scary diagnosis to have thrown at you. The phrase “treatment-resistant” immediately conjures a hopeless outlook for treating your depression. To be given this diagnosis you must have already failed at least two different treatments, with adequate dosing and duration confirmed. Not only is it frustrating to continue trying different medications, as well as deal with side effects, but it is also frustrating to find out that typical medications won’t work for you.

Treatment-Resistant Depression and Why You Shouldn't Lose Hope

This doesn’t mean there is no hope for treating your depression. Resistant does not mean untreatable. It just means we have to fight a little harder. It also means we should explore other treatment options.

There are several treatments that have been shown to work well in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been shown to be very successful in treating TRD, and unlike what movies may show, it is actually quite safe and done by specially trained medical professionals. Another treatment that has been shown to work is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). TMS works by delivering painless magnetic pulses in order to stimulate regions of the brain that are involved in mood and depression.

There is also another treatment that has been gaining traction, Ketamine. In the past this medication has been used as an anesthetic, but research has shown that in smaller doses it can have a very rapid, positive, effect on severe depressive symptoms, particularly in patients with TRD. Ketamine has to be given as an intravenous infusion, but the FDA recently approved esketamine, which is a slightly different version of the ketamine molecule, to be used as a nasal spray in outpatient settings, under physician supervision.

All of this means that there are now more options for treating TRD. It also means that being given a diagnosis of treatment-resistant depression does not have to conjure the same hopeless feelings as it has in the past.

Contact us at Pandora’s House for further help and information.

What Is Bipolar Depression?

Bipolar depression is a subpart of bipolar disorder. It is the “lows” or an extreme sense of hopelessness those with bipolar disorder experience. If you have bipolar disorder, you experience unpredictable patterns of mania and major depressive episodes. Dealing with bipolar disorder can leave patients and their caretakers feeling frustrated. The mental health professionals at Pandora’s House in Farmersville, Texas, help restore hope by providing treatment tailored to each patient’s specific needs.

What Is Bipolar Depression?

Signs You May Be Experiencing Bipolar Depression

The differentiating factor between bipolar depression and unipolar depression is the manic episodes (the “highs” of those with the disorder experience. Bipolar depression is often misdiagnosed, so be sure to mention any episodes of mania you may experience.

Here are signs you may have bipolar disorder:

  • You’ve experienced a mania or hypomania episode
  • You feel depressed almost every day
  • You can’t sleep at night
  • You have trouble staying up during the day
  • You suffer from feeling worthless or guilty nearly every day
  • Your symptoms disrupt major areas in your including family, work, and social life

Depressive symptoms must be evaluated by a mental health professional to be properly diagnosed.

Long-term Effects of Bipolar Disorder

Left untreated, bipolar disorder can lead to some serious long-term effects. You may have memory issues and trouble focusing or paying attention. You can also have problems with impulse control, making decisions, planning, and even remembering words. People with bipolar disorder are also at risk for self-harm and suicide.

Treatments Available for Bipolar Depression

Since antidepressants can trigger manic episodes, bipolar treatment usually includes a cocktail of mood-stabilizing drugs. The treatment plan may consist of an anti-manic drug like lithium, an antipsychotic drug, or both. Along with medication, patients usually participate in one-on-one talk therapy or support groups.

Managing bipolar depression can be frustrating when you face it alone. If you or a loved one has a bipolar disorder, call Pandora House in the North Dallas area at (972) 784-064 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.