Anxiety disorder can profoundly impact our lives, beyond the common symptoms of sensitivity to stress. One of the ways anxiety can disrupt our daily lives is through impaired cognitive functioning. Anxiety and inability to focus at work or school appear to be interconnected. As anxiety symptoms escalate, the mind struggles to stay on task. Short-term memory functions are affected by anxiety as well, causing difficulty in remembering tasks or projects that are due, only adding to the work performance challenges.
Nearly one in five American adults are affected by anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Learning techniques that can help manage the symptoms of anxiety and inability to focus is an essential strategy for individuals struggling with an anxiety disorder.
About Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The most common type of anxiety is called generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, with about 3.1% of the population, or nearly 7 million adults, struggling with this mental health disorder. GAD is characterized by pervasive worrying, so much so that it can impair daily functioning. The energy expended worrying about coulda, woulda, shouldas all day can be very taxing, impacting both energy levels and mental functioning. Individuals with GAD tend to ruminate over events that have already occurred, second-guessing themselves, or they may dwell on upcoming events and worry incessantly about anticipated outcomes. Fear and worry drive this disorder, with symptoms that include:
- Excessive worry
- Sleep disturbances
- Trouble concentrating
- Short-term memory problems
How Anxiety Can Affect Concentration
Individuals who struggle with anxiety often experience symptoms of mental confusion, foggy thinking, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. While these symptoms may ebb and flow depending on the day and the stress load, they can be very frustrating for those with anxiety disorder.
Persistently elevated stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, are the cause of the brain fog that plagues individuals with anxiety disorder. This stress response has an adverse effect on cognitive functions, such as anxiety and inability to focus and short-term memory functioning. Poor concentration and lack of focus are common symptoms of anxiety disorder.
5 Steps to Help Manage Anxiety Symptoms
Understanding how anxiety can affect cognitive functioning is the first step in creating a strategy for managing the anxiety and inability to focus. By accepting that you will have to make some adjustments to work or study habits, you can begin to put into practice these new methods and begin to improve your mental focus, leading to more productivity and a boost in self-confidence. Some tips for improving cognitive functioning at work include:
- Take short breaks often. Instead of attempting to plow through a large block of focused work time, which will lead to wandering attention and loss of interest in the task, break up the work into smaller segments with short breaks in between.
- Make a to-do list. Start each day with a list of items that must be accomplished during the day. Allow for free time during the day as well, to intersperse enjoyable activities that will help keep you from burning out.
- Practice mindfulness. Training yourself to stay in the moment can help improve focus and concentration on the project at hand. When the mind begins to wander, rein it back in and refocus on the present moment.
- Switch tasks. When you begin to find yourself spacing out and losing focus, switch to a different task. Alternating your attention between the two tasks can help relieve boredom and stimulate better concentration.
- Mind your own business. Anxiety can lead to excessive worrying about things outside your control. Too often the mind wanders to unproductive worrying that stokes anxiety and inability to focus. Keep your mind on the task at hand.
Residential Anxiety Treatment for Intensive Therapy
For many people with anxiety disorder, outpatient psychiatric services may provide the means to manage the disorder effectively. Some, however, may find their anxiety disorder worsening over time. When reaching the point where relentless worry causes impaired daily functioning due to anxiety and inability to focus at all, a residential anxiety treatment program may be the best treatment option.
The residential anxiety treatment program can take a deeper look into the issues that may be impacting the anxiety using a more focused approach. Upon intake, a thorough evaluation of the anxiety disorder will provide information, such as a detailed medical and psychiatric history and a review of medications, which can allow the psychiatrist to diagnose the specific features of the anxiety disorder. Using this as a template, an individualized treatment plan can be crafted.
The comprehensive treatment approach will involve several therapeutic sessions during the day, such as individual psychotherapy, group therapy, life skills, family therapy, mindfulness training, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and other relevant therapies. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals who struggle with anxiety and inability to focus by identifying disordered thoughts that may fuel the anxiety.
Anxiety Aftercare Services
It is important to continue to receive aftercare services following a residential program in order to reinforce the new strategies learned in treatment. Outpatient therapy is recommended on a weekly basis, which provides the ongoing support needed as the individual transitions back to their regular daily life. These sessions provide the necessary “tune-ups” when new stressors emerge that can trigger anxiety and psychological setbacks.
Finding a support group is also a beneficial aftercare activity. Being able to discuss daily challenges with others who struggle with anxiety disorder provides valuable peer support and creates a sense that one is not alone with these challenges. Group participants can also learn new techniques from each other for managing daily stressors and improving the quality of life.
Elevation Behavioral Health is a Leading Residential Mental Health Center in Los Angeles
Elevation Behavioral Health provides a proven, evidence-based treatment for the full spectrum of anxiety disorders in a residential setting. Elevation offers a warm, intimate escape from the stressors of daily life that keep your mental health reeling. At Elevation Behavioral Health you can focus your energy and attention on learning new ways to manage anxiety and improve focus. For more information about our program, please contact Elevation today at (888) 561-0868.
Our mental health may be more fragile than we realize, sometimes even completely sidelining us. We each have a certain capacity to withstand distressing events or situations, accessing our personal coping skills and emotional reserves as needed. But when events begin to spiral and multiply, those reserves may become depleted and any coping skills we have can become totally ineffective. This is when a depressive disorder can set in.
Depression is a very common mental health disorder, impacting more than 17 million Americans every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Depression takes a toll on families and employers, as the individual suffering from depression becomes increasingly disconnected from their daily responsibilities. Depression is also hard on relationships, causing frustration and confusion, and destabilizing marriages and friendships as a result.
When depression becomes so severe that you say, “I don’t want to get out of bed anymore,” it is time to get some help from a mental health provider. There are effective treatment methods available to help manage depression symptoms and improve overall quality of life.
The Signs of Severe Depression
It is difficult to describe severe depression to someone who has never experienced it. Family members and loved ones may wonder why you can’t just snap out of it and get back to functioning normally. It helps for these individuals to have a better understanding of just what depression, especially severe depression, looks like. Symptoms include a cluster of the following:
- Hopelessness. Negative emotions and dark thoughts begin to gather critical mass in major depressive disorder, such as feelings of hopelessness, despair, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, and shame. The individual sees him or herself in a negative light, and may blame themselves for perceived faults and flaws. As these thoughts become more pervasive and self-esteem plummets, the threat of self-harm increases.
- Changes in Eating Habits. When someone is suffering from major depressive disorder there may be a sudden change in their weight. Some may experience an increased appetite and eat more as a coping mechanism, resulting in weight gain. Others may become so depressed that they have no desire to feed themselves or take care of their nutritional needs, leading to weight loss.
- Loss of Interest. One of the predominant signs of severe depression is the individual’s sudden loss of interest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed. While in the darkness of depression, these individuals have no desire to attend social events or to socialize at all. This can eventually include going to work where feel forced to interact with coworkers.
- Sleep Disturbances. Severe depression can cause changes in sleep habits and rhythms. In some cases the individual wants to sleep excessively (hypersomnia). Major depression can also cause an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep (insomnia), featuring fragmented sleep patterns.
- Anger or Irritability. Anger symptoms are more prevalent in depressed men, although depressed women can also exhibit mood swings and irritability. The source of the anger may be due to feeling frustrated, or possibly the result of feeling out of control and unable to shake the depression. Depression can cause the individual to be easily annoyed and even prone to violent outbursts.
- Excessive Fatigue. A pronounced loss of energy is one of the common signs of severe depression, leading to comments such as “I don’t want to get out of bed anymore.” The individual feels so exhausted they can barely function. Even daily personal hygiene or fixing meals requires too much effort, so the individual may spend the majority of time in bed due to feeling drained.
- Increased Substance Use. Individuals with depression may begin to self-medicate through the use of alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse is a reaction to feelings of despair and hopelessness and wanting to numb the emotional pain. There is a real danger that addiction can form, leading to a dual diagnosis of major depressive disorder and a coexisting substance use disorder.
- Suicidal Ideation. Pay attention if your loved one who is struggling with deepening depression begins to obsess about death, or say their loved ones would be better off without them. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 90% of the individuals who have committed suicide had an underlying mental health disorder, usually depression or bipolar disorder.
When depression has reached the point when you think, “I don’t want to get out of bed anymore,” it is very serious. This is the point at which depression has become debilitating, severely impairing one’s ability to function normally and increasing the risk of suicide.
Different Types of Depression
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder is diagnosed in individuals who experience five or more of the diagnostic criteria most of the time for more than two weeks. To summarize:
- Persistent feelings of hopelessness or sadness
- Change in eating habits, weight gain or loss
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Irrational feelings of guilt or shame
- Slowed movements or thinking
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed
- Suicidal thoughts
Dysthymia (Persistent Depression Disorder)
This is a type of MDD that persists for more than two years. Someone with dysthymia may experience periods of severe depression alternating with periods of milder depression, but experiences no relief of the depressive symptoms for two years or more.
This involves MDD with psychotic features. The individual may experience delusional thoughts or hallucinations in addition to the symptoms of depression. There may be a theme for the illness, such as revolving around a serious illness or fear of poverty.
Some women experience serious symptoms of MDD during and/or after giving birth. The symptoms may be so severe that the mother is unable to care for her child or themselves, and often experience severe fatigue, anxiety, exhaustion, and profound sadness.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
In certain climates individuals may experience symptoms of MDD that are caused by a lack of sun exposure and vitamin D intake during the winter months. The individual may experience weight gain, hypersomnia, and isolation behaviors in addition to the symptoms of depression.
This disorder features alternating dramatic and unpredictable shifts between depressive and manic moods. The depressive episodes may last anywhere from a day or two to several weeks.
Suicide Warning Signs
Recent statistics show that more people in the United States now die by suicide than in automobile accidents, with about 44,000 Americans choosing to end their lives annually. In many instances, especially in individuals who say, “I don’t want to get out of bed anymore,” there may be signs that an individual is despondent enough to possibly attempt suicide. These warning signs and symptoms might include:
- Symptoms of depression
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Humiliation or shame
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Isolating from family and friends
- Extreme fatigue
- Excessive sleeping
- Saying they are a burden to other
- Expressing hopelessness
- Saying they have no reason to live
- Sharing that they are in unbearable pain
- Gives away prized possessions
- Talks of killing self
In the event where a loved one is exhibiting a mental health crisis or several of the warning signs, immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.
Comprehensive Residential Depression Treatment
When someone is in the grip of depression they may not even be aware of how serious their condition has become. More often than not it is a loved one who becomes alarmed at the increasing severity of the individual’s depression symptoms that reaches out to get the person professional help. Depression treatment consists of a combination of antidepressant drug therapy and psychotherapy. Other complementary therapies, such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training can augment the effects of the traditional therapies. Changes in diet and getting regular exercise can also positively impact mood.
Medication is considered the first-line treatment element for individuals with a depressive disorder. Antidepressant therapy involves medications available as SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, or tricyclic antidepressants that help adjust brain chemistry and hopefully alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Evidence-based psychotherapies are an effective addition to antidepressant drug therapy in treating depression. Individual talk therapy sessions allow the therapist to guide the individual toward resolving unaddressed emotional issues that may be contributing to the depression. These may involve past trauma, childhood abuse, grief and loss, divorce, and other painful life events. Thought and behavior patters are also examined and adjusted through cognitive behavioral therapy.
Small groups discuss topics introduced by the therapist and engage in sharing their personal feelings and experiences. This provides a sense of connection and camaraderie with others who are also struggling with depression.
There is a growing trend in psychiatry to include holistic therapies among the treatment elements for depression. These activities can help reduce stress and induce feelings of inner peace.
In the event that an individual is suffering from a mental health crisis, such as a suicide attempt, a higher level of care is appropriate. A residential treatment program offers acute stabilization provisions, as well as extended care for severe depression. The residential setting provides a more intensive, customized treatment protocol for the individual with severe and persistent depression.
Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Comprehensive Depression Treatment
Elevation Behavioral Health is a full-spectrum mental health center providing residential mental health treatment, transitional housing, and outpatient services. Elevation Behavioral Health believes in an integrated approach to treating depression, offering evidence-based therapies, medication management, and holistic activities for a well-rounded program. For more details about our depression treatment program, please reach out to Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.
Can You Go to Rehab for Depression?
When you think of rehab, you probably think most often of drug and alcohol addiction. However, many people seek help at residential treatment centers every year for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and more mental health disorders. Inpatient treatment for depression can make a huge difference in the life of someone struggling with this difficulty.
If you are having thoughts about harming yourself, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.
Depression is not something to be taken lightly. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 3-5% of American adults are experiencing major depression in any given moment. Pause for a moment and think about this. Take a sports stadium holding 40,000 people. Statistically, that means 1,200-2,000 people in the crowd are experiencing depression. Of course, this is a generalized statistic and may not be true for any specific crowd, but it puts into perspective just how many people struggle with this difficult issue.
There are multiple different types of depression that one may experience. These may include major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, substance-induced depressive disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. As there are many types of depression, it is important to seek help from a trustworthy professional.
Although there are many resources available like anxiety and depression worksheets, self-help books, and support networks, dealing with depression often requires clinical expertise and therapeutic relationships. By working with a therapist and/or psychiatrist, you can get the help you need to address the depression and recover fully. Without help, depression can cause a number of dangerous symptoms throughout our lives.
According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, people with depression are four times as likely to experience a heart attack as those without depression. Depression is the cause of over ⅔ of suicides in the United States, and the National Institute of Health estimates that about 80% of those who find help show an improvement of symptoms in only four to six weeks of treatment. Unfortunately, over half of people who suffer from depression never seek clinical help.
Rehab for Depression and Anxiety Near Me
Although psychotherapy, support groups, and psychiatry can all be useful in treating depression, sometimes the individual benefits from a higher level of care. There are many different treatment centers that care for people struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Some of these rehabs address co-occurring disorders, or the presence of both a mental health disorder and substance abuse disorder.
At a treatment center for depression, individuals are offered professional care to help them recover. Through various methods of therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and more, the person works with a trained clinician to address their experience and build a life of recovery.
In many cases, medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers are prescribed. These medications are prescribed by a trained psychiatrist at the treatment center, and the person’s state of mind is closely monitored to see the way the medication is working. Together with the support network and therapy offered, the person can slowly begin to climb out of the depressed state.
Treatment centers that are primarily addiction treatment centers may not have the appropriate staff or program to address mental health disorders. Can you go to rehab for depression? Yes. But make sure you find a facility that is truly equipped to help. With proper help, people have the opportunity to fully recover and return to the lives they once knew or dreamed of.
When to Seek Inpatient Treatment for Depression
It may be helpful to seek help from a psychologist as a first step. As you build a relationship with a therapist, they will get to know you and your situation. Although depression often manifests in specific ways, we are all individuals. When a trained professional sees you in a clinical setting and begins to work with you to understand what’s going on, they can give you an educated recommendation.
If you think you may need help, reach out. Find somewhere that offers inpatient treatment for depression and give them a call. We can guess all we want, but the truth is that we generally can’t see the situation as clearly as an objective, trained third-party can. Although you may not feel that you need inpatient treatment, it could perhaps be beneficial.
The biggest piece here to remember is that there are professionals out there to walk you through your situation. Suffering from any depressive disorder is painful, difficult, and can leave us feeling hopeless. Nobody has to go it alone. There are people willing to guide you through finding treatment, but you need to seek help. Although it may not feel like it, depression can be treated. Sometimes it takes time and finding what works, but there are many methods of depression treatment, and psychologists and neuroscientists are continuing to learn more every day.
The signs may be quite subtle at first. A friend or loved one may seem “off” recently, with an unkempt appearance that is not their norm at all. A coworker may have let their quality of work slip, becoming incrementally substandard over time. Maybe you are plagued with an unsettling sense that someone is watching you, or have become increasingly suspicious of others.
These early signs of a potential psychotic break from reality may not seem worrisome when seen in isolation, but when a cluster of unusual symptoms begin to gather steam it may indicate that you or someone you care about is experiencing the sense of losing touch with reality.
Psychosis—including such features as hallucinations and delusional thinking—is the symptom of an underlying mental health disorder, not an illness itself. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, an estimated 100,000 Americans experience psychoses annually. Early intervention is key, so do not ignore the symptoms. These will center on difficulty recognizing what is real and tangible versus a figment of their imagination. Behaviors and thoughts will be unusual, not the norm for the afflicted person.
When you notice that you or a loved one seems to be losing touch with reality it is important to seek professional help. It may be that the symptoms are related to a physical or neurological condition that needs attention. If it is indeed the early signs of a psychotic disorder, receiving timely, proactive care is essential in containing the effects of the psychosis.
What are Psychotic Disorders?
Psychotic disorders represent the types of mental illnesses that feature around losing touch with reality symptoms. These disorders are characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and emotions, including seeing or hearing things that are not really there. When a mental health condition has psychosis as a primary symptom, it will be classified as a psychotic disorder.
According to an article published in JAMA Psychiatry, about 3.5% of the U.S. adult population will experience psychosis at some point. Psychotic features can be associated with severe anxiety, severe depression, and bipolar disorder, as well as identified as its own standalone mental health disorder.
The cause of psychotic disorders is still mainly unknown, although there are some theories exists to explain the cause. These include neurological malfunctioning, certain viral infections, extreme trauma or prolonged excessive stress, certain drugs of abuse, and genetics.
Treatment for this complex mental health disorder will rely on a comprehensive approach of multiple elements for the best recovery results. Generally, an individual with a psychotic disorder can learn to manage many of the symptoms associated with the disorder.
Different Types of Psychotic Disorders
Psychotic disorders emerge in varying ways and with differing features, while sharing core characteristics. The different types of psychotic disorders include:
- Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is the most common type of psychotic disorder. Symptoms of a schizophrenic episode embody the sensation of losing touch with reality, with audible and/or visual hallucinations, delusional thoughts, angry, erratic behavior, and extreme moodiness. Schizophrenia is diagnosed when the behavioral changes and psychotic features persist for more than six months.
- Schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder combines features of schizophrenia with a mood disorder involving depressive or manic episodes. This equates to someone with schizophrenia having extreme and unpredictable mood shifts between manic and depressive episodes, further complicating treatment protocol.
- Brief psychotic disorder. Brief psychotic disorder is a short-lived disorder that is sometimes triggered by a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a serious accident that lasts less than a month. Brief psychotic disorder is characterized as a burst or short, sudden episode rather than a persistent state.
- Schizophreniform disorder. Schizophreniform is similar to schizophrenia but tends to affect young adults and teens, and lasts 1-6 months in duration. About one individual out of 1000 will develop this form of psychotic disorder. Schizophreniform occurs equally between men and women, but in men it may emerge at a younger age.
- Shared psychotic disorder. Shared psychotic disorder, or shared delusional disorder, is a rare form of psychosis that involves two people who both believe in a delusional situation, such as a husband and wife who both believe the same delusion. The two individuals will transfer the delusional beliefs back and forth to each other.
- Delusional disorder. Delusional disorder features false and often suspicious beliefs that the individual believes are true, such as thinking someone is out to murder you or your spouse is having an affair. The types of delusions involve real-life situations that could actually be true, with features of paranoia. Most delusional disorders last for one month or longer.
- Substance induced psychotic disorder. Substance-induced psychotic disorder is the presence of hallucinations or delusions occurring as a withdrawal symptom for several drugs, including alcohol, LSD, methamphetamine, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and PCP. The intense psychosis experienced during the withdrawal phase reflects the impact of these substances on the brain structures.
What Are the Symptoms of Psychosis?
Generally, psychosis comes on gradually, with signs that indicate a developing mental illness. Those might include inappropriate emotions, a decline in personal hygiene, difficulty thinking straight or concentrating, a decline in job or academic performance, emotional detachment or intense inappropriate emotions, isolating behaviors, and acting highly suspicious of others. These are psychotic features, early symptoms of a possibly emerging psychotic disorder.
The primary feature of psychosis is losing contact with reality. While the different types of psychotic disorders will have unique features, there are some general symptoms that can indicate the onset of a psychotic disorder. The common symptoms of psychotic disorder include:
- Insomnia. Individuals will have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Persistent feelings of being watched. Individuals feel certain that they are being observed or followed.
- Increasingly disorganized thinking. Disorganized and disordered thought patterns increase in number and intensity.
- Mental confusion. Individuals may not recognize their surroundings or those around them, even if these are usually familiar to them.
- Auditory and visual hallucinations. Hallucinations involving things that are heard and things that are seen, but which in reality do not exist.
- Delusional thoughts. Delusional thoughts involve the false belief that certain events or objects have a grandiose quality, or some special personal meaning attributed only to them.
- Strange or disorganized speech or writing. Along with the mental confusion and disorganized thinking, the individual struggles to articulate their thoughts in spoken or written formats. They speech may come across as gibberish or nonsensical.
- Inappropriate behavior. The individual may lose the ability to control their behaviors to align with social norms, and begin to exhibit behaviors that are socially inappropriate, such as removing their clothing or urinating in public.
- Avoidance of social situations. When someone has a psychotic disorder they are unable to function appropriately at a social function or event. They may be ostracized or removed from an event, leading them to begin to avoid social situations altogether.
- Decline in academic or work performance. As the disorder worsens, there will be a marked decline in functioning at work or at school. The individual may be repeatedly absent, may be unable to keep up with projects or assignments, and may be terminated as a result.
- Unusual body positioning or movement. Unusual postures or uncontrollable muscle movements are sometimes caused by the medications the individual is one, or from an active psychotic episode when they are experiencing a break from reality. They may also exhibit spasms or pacing back and forth.
- Suspicious or paranoid behavior. The symptoms of paranoia or suspicion may be a response to perceived delusions, in which they feel they are being targeted for harm.
- Unusual preoccupation. The psychotic disorder may lead to a type of tunnel vision, where the individual becomes highly focused on or fearful about a particular person or situation.
- Irrational or angry behaviors. Angry outbursts or impulsive irrational behaviors are often a result of the person’s decreasing ability to communicate effectively.
- Inability to concentrate. Disordered and confused thinking contribute to an increasing inability to focus and concentrate.
- Loss of interest in appearance and hygiene. A common sign of severe mental illness is the loss of interest in maintaining personal hygiene habits. The person may become disheveled and do not bathe or practice dental hygiene, and may discontinue laundering their clothing.
- Personality changes. One of the first signs of psychotic disorder is a distinct change in personality. Someone who was formerly kind and caring may become distant, withdrawn, and cold. In some forms of psychosis, the individual may acquire more than one personality.
The earlier the emergence of losing touch with reality symptoms are recognized, and being proactive in getting the loved one professional help from a psychiatric practitioner, the better the clinical outcome.
Treatment for Psychotic Disorders
Generally, a residential setting provides a more intensive and tailored treatment approach in a setting that is safe and offers 24-hour monitoring and support. However, if the individual is displaying signs of a psychiatric break or has become a danger to themselves or others, they should be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for stabilization.
Treatment of psychotic disorders relies primarily on psychotherapy and psychotropic drug therapy will likely involve an integrated approach, including:
Psychotherapy: While in a residential treatment the individual will be involved in various types of psychotherapy. The focus for therapy involves helping the individual recognize irrational thoughts and behaviors and to replace those with healthy thought-behavior patterns. Individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy are all provided in a residential program as part of the psychotherapy piece of treatment for psychosis.
The individual cognitive behavioral therapy sessions allow the therapist to help the individual identify irrational thoughts and fears and maladaptive emotional responses.
Group therapy: Group sessions provide opportunities for small groups to discuss and share their mental health issues while being facilitate by a therapist who guides the topics. These intimate group settings provide a safe environment for sharing and foster peer support in the process.
Psychosocial interventions: An important component of treatment is assisting the individual in improving their ability to get along with others. These interventions can offer new communication skills, conflict resolution techniques, and vocational rehabilitation.
Medication: Medication will be prescribed depending on the specific diagnosis. In many cases medication will include antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. For some individuals with a psychotic disorder, these medications will necessary to help manage the disorder on a daily basis, and will likely be prescribed for a lifetime.
Adjunctive therapies: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is reserved for the most severe forms of psychosis in individuals who are not responsive to the medications.
Holistic therapies: Increasingly, holistic therapies, most of which are derivative of Eastern practices, are utilized for the treatment of psychosis or other mental health disorders with psychotic features. Activities such as yoga, mindfulness training, guided meditation, acupuncture, and massage therapy are helpful in controlling stress and promoting relaxation. Patients can learn how to initiate mindfulness exercises on their own at any time of day, which is helpful when sudden symptoms emerge.
Transitional housing. In some instances, it may be beneficial for the individual to reside in a transitional housing environment following residential treatment. This type of housing provides a safe, supportive home environment that allows the patient to gradually readapt to regular daily life, while having the therapeutic support available at all times.
When Does a Psychotic Break Require Hospitalization?
When someone experiences a psychotic break, or the sense that they are no longer tracking with reality, it may be appropriate to consider hospitalization. This might be a psychiatric hospital or a psychiatric wing within a general hospital. This level of care is distinct from residential care, in that the hospital environment is equipped to manage a psychiatric emergency. In the hospital setting the individual will likely be segregated from other patients and may be need to be restrained to avoid the risk of self harm or harm to others.
In the hospital settling, the individual will receive very close observation. Medications will be reviewed and adjusted, and the emphasis will be on acute stabilization measures. This process of stabilizing the individual may take a couple of days, before they can step down to a residential mental health treatment center.
When Severe Depression Causes Psychosis
In some severe cases of depression, the emotional anguish may cause an individual to exhibit a break from reality with symptoms of hallucinations or delusions. The actual diagnosis may be coined depression with psychotic features or psychotic depression. In the case of depression that is so profound that it sparks feelings of losing touch with reality, there may be a co-occurring medical condition or substance use disorder that is contributing to the symptoms.
Psychotic depression features the following symptoms:
- Sleep disturbances
- Experiencing hallucinations, voices or visions, telling them they are worthless or evil
- Delusional thoughts
- Suicidal ideation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Falsely thinking they have another disease or illness
In the case of major depression with psychotic features the risk for suicide is heightened. Extra attention must be paid to identify the warning signs of suicide, such as the individual talking about taking his or her life, acquiring the means by which to commit the act of suicide, giving away their prized possessions, commenting that they are a burden to loved ones, isolating behaviors, or increased substance abuse.
When Severe Anxiety Causes Psychosis
Can severe anxiety cause psychosis? Research suggests that symptoms of psychosis may be preceded by an extreme even, such as a panic attack or trauma. The intense emotional distress suffered as a result of anxiety can trigger psychotic symptoms. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, OCD, or PTSD can result in psychotic symptomology. These symptoms resolved with treatment involving both benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
When this condition occurs it may be referred to as a psychotic break or a nervous breakdown. The symptoms are clearly related to the anxiety disorder, rather than a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Stabilizing the individual should be the first step in care, followed by enhanced treatment for the core anxiety disorder.
Co-Occurring Psychotic Disorder and Substance Abuse
There is still not a coherent causal relationship between psychotic disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder. However, there is a high prevalence of these two disorders coexisting. Whether the substance abuse is in response to the unsettling effects of a severe mental health disorder or if the symptoms of psychosis are drug-induced are two valid examples of how the psychotic disorder and substance use disorder become intertwined.
In addition, the treatment picture can become muddied when the patient is using drugs or alcohol. According the authors of a study on this type of dual diagnosis, entitled Substance abuse and schizophrenia: Pharmacotherapeutic intervention [Green, M.D. et.al.], “The typical antipsychotic medications are effective for the treatment of psychosis but may have only limited efficacy in patients with these co-occurring disorders because patients continue to use substances while taking them.” The study examines the benefits of MAT for co-occurring alcoholism in this population, showing that naltrexone has shown positive benefits in an integrated treatment plan.
When treating an individual for dual diagnosis, success is dependent on the individual receiving individual psychotherapy to address the thought patterns and self-talk that may perpetuate the cycle of substance abuse. A comprehensive rehabilitation program will provide specialized dual diagnosis programming that includes both one-on-one psychotherapy, peer-based therapy, 12-step programming, and continuing care services.
Elevation Behavioral Health Leading Residential Mental Health Center in Los Angeles
Elevation Behavioral Health is a luxury residential mental health program featuring an intimate, home-like environment. Elevation Behavioral treats all forms of mental health disorders, including psychotic disorders, using a proven integrated approach. If you are feeling you’re out of touch with reality, contact our compassionate team at Elevation Behavioral today at (888) 561-0868.
Those who have ever taken a yoga class know firsthand the sense of calmness and well-being that follows, and they’ve probably experienced the sensation of lightness in the muscles brought on by long, gentle stretches. The health benefits are well-documented, but its benefits for those in addiction recovery go far beyond improving physical health.
Any high-quality treatment program will take a holistic approach to treatment that addresses issues of body, mind and spirit. At Elevation Behavioral Health, yoga is an integral part of our program because it strengthens and soothes body, mind and spirit, promotes mindfulness, reduces stress and fosters good physical and mental health.
Yoga and Mindfulness
Yoga brings the mind and body into the present, where focus is on what’s happening in the here and now. How does the body feel? What is the state of mind? What emotions are present? Being in tune with one’s physical and mental state is the cornerstone of mindfulness, and practices in mindfulness, including yoga, are fast becoming proven therapies for preventing relapse, according to an article published in the journal Substance Abuse.
Mindful recovery is all about being aware of thoughts and attitudes, accepting them as they arise, observing them non-judgmentally, and learning to reshape them. Practicing mindfulness through yoga can help people in recovery navigate cravings, make healthy lifestyle choices and—perhaps most importantly—recognize the early signs of relapse.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, stress is a major trigger for relapse. Stress and the body’s response to it can be mitigated through yoga practice, according to Harvard Medical School, which cites a study that shows it helps to reduce the body’s stress responses like muscle tension and increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Yoga can even help the body learn to respond to stress in healthier ways.
Mental and Physical Health
Regular yoga practice bolsters the immune system and improves overall health, according to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga. It strengthens the muscles, and it improves flexibility and promotes balance of mind and spirit. A healthy body is central to long-term recovery, as is a healthy mind. Yoga can help improve mental health by relieving anxiety and depression, enhancing a sense of self and helping to heal emotional wounds, according to the American Psychological Association. This can be particularly helpful for those whose addiction is rooted in trauma.
A Holistic Approach to Treatment is Best
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out that everyone’s pathway to recovery is different, and a holistic approach to treatment should include a variety of research-based alternative and complementary therapies. As one of a number of holistic therapies offered through our program, yoga can help individuals in recovery develop a higher level of self-awareness, improve self-esteem and foster other healthy lifestyle choices that can improve the chances of successful long-term recovery.
Every morning, the clients of Elevation engage in mindful meditation to start out the day with calmness and mental clarity. In recent years, practicing this mindfulness has become a mainstream practice, and for good reason. According to Mayo Clinic, physicians recommend meditation to help their patients manage the symptoms of a wide range of conditions, from cancer to asthma and heart disease to insomnia.
What Exactly is Meditation?
When someone thinks of meditation, images of people sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting “ohm” may come to mind, but the truth is, it is simply the act of quieting the mind and focusing your attention on the present moment, and it can be done anywhere and in any position.
During meditation, when conscious thoughts arise, they’re simply acknowledged and then sent along like a leaf floating downstream. the practice has a number of far-reaching benefits for people in recovery.
Meditation and Stress, Anxiety and Depression
It’s understood that stress and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are major factors for substance abuse and relapse.
Meditation is a potent stress reliever, according to Journal of Substance Abuse. The study found that practicing the holistic method reduced incidents of stress-related relapse among participants in an outpatient addiction treatment program. Meditation also helps the brain and body respond better to stress in general, further mitigating stress as a factor in relapse.
A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness helps ease anxiety and depression, which are also associated with substance abuse and relapse. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, notes that mindfulness helps people recognize unhealthy thoughts and mindfully replace them with those that are healthier.
Becoming free of negative thought patterns is a major consideration in addiction treatment, because negative thoughts foster negative behaviors. Clarity of thought gained through mindfulness is associated with making better choices that positively impact life in recovery.
Meditation and Cravings
Regular meditation can have a big impact on cravings as well. Increased mindfulness leads to fewer negative automatic responses to cravings as practitioners learn to listen to their body and mind and respond to its cues and sensations with mindful awareness and deliberateness. As they learn to accept thoughts and feelings without judgment, evaluate their attitude and quiet the mind’s chatter, it becomes easier to respond to cravings and other negative experiences in healthy and productive ways.
Meditation as Part of a Holistic Approach to Treatment
A large body of research points to the range of benefits of mindfulness in recovery. A high-quality treatment program that takes a holistic approach to treatment offers the best chances for long-term recovery.
Beating an addiction isn’t easy, but a holistic program that addresses issues of body, mind and spirit through various traditional and non-traditional therapies like meditation can lead to real and meaningful change and a better chance of successful long-term recovery.
What is Dual Diagnosis
When a person has a substance abuse problem and also has accompanying mental health issues, this is known as a dual diagnosis. Also known as co-existing disorders, a person might find themselves chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol while also experiencing a disorder like depression, anxiety, or bipolar.
Addiction specialists need to discover all co-existing disorders to ensure a comprehensive dual diagnosis is reached. After complete identification, rehab programs need to treat all issues for successful recovery.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports:
- A third of people with mental illness and half of people living with severe mental illnesses also have substance abuse problems.
- A third of all alcohol abusers have been diagnosed with a co-existing mental illness.
- More than half of all drug abusers have been diagnosed with a co-existing mental illness.
Dual Diagnosis Signs & Symptoms
Since dual diagnosis is a mental health and substance abuse disorder occurring simultaneously, there are many combinations of disorders that exist. The symptoms of dual diagnosis vary widely. Some of the symptoms include:
- Isolation from friends and family
- Sudden behavioral changes
- Using substances under unsafe conditions
- Acting out risky behaviors while under the influence
- Loss of control over using substances
- Doing things out of character to obtain drugs or alcohol
- Developing tolerance to substances
- Relapsing on substances after treatment
- Legal problems
- Showing withdrawal symptoms from substances
- Feeling like drugs or alcohol are needed to function
- Extreme mood changes
- Confused thinking
- Concentration and memory problems
- Thoughts of suicide
Diagnosis of Co-Occurring Disorders
To properly diagnose dual disorders in a person, a professional performs an assessment that details the signs and symptoms being experienced. Since symptoms of substance abuse can mimic the signs of mental health disorders and vice versa, it might take a few days or weeks of observation before an accurate assessment can be made.
The following methods are used to evaluate and diagnose addiction and mental health disorders:
- Interviewing the client, family and friends about past and current psychiatric symptoms and substance use.
- Conducting lab tests to detect the presence and quantity of drugs or alcohol that are currently in the body.
- Holding a physical exam and/or lab tests to look for any physical problems that could cause psychiatric symptoms.
- Completing a checklist regarding alcohol or drug use, psychiatric history and health.
Treatment for Dual Diagnosis Disorders
Treatment for dual diagnosis is usually a program of medication, therapy and behavioral counseling. All disorders must be treated at the same time to be effective and to prevent relapse.
There are several treatments available for dual diagnosis: psychopharmacology, psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.
Psychopharmacology treats each disorder with prescription medications. Ongoing assessments are made to track the effectiveness of treatment of each disorder.
Psychotherapy uses counselors and therapists to help resolve mental or emotional problems by discussion. Root causes of substance abuse and trauma are uncovered and analyzed.
Behavioral therapy examines behaviors, focusing on the negative consequences and harmful effects. Positive behaviors are developed to avoid these negative consequences using improved judgements. Positive and negative reinforcements are used to foster better decisions.
When someone who suffers from a mental health disorder also has a substance abuse problem, they have what is called co-occurring disorders, also commonly called dual diagnosis.
Co-occurring disorders could come about as an individual with mental illness subsequently develops a dependency on drugs or alcohol as they seek relief from unpleasant psychiatric symptoms. It could also happen when someone who has a substance abuse disorder then develops mental health disorders from the changes in the brain’s chemistry and structure that addiction can cause.
Typically, it’s difficult to determine which condition came first. Either way, all conditions need treatment at the same time for effective results. Many different variations exist with co-occurring disorders.
Common Co-Occurring Disorders and Addiction
Eating Disorders and Addiction
The brain is stimulated by pleasurable activities. Using drugs and alcohol can stimulate the same reward center of the brain, producing pleasurable effects. Gratifying stimulation comes from eating and enjoying food, and that experience can also block any unwanted, negative feelings and emotions. When pursuit of gratification to avoid negative feelings increases, an addictive cycle develops.
When food or the denial of food is the stimulus, it can lead to eating disorders such as bingeing or anorexia. People in this type of cycle frequently incorporate illicit substances to get the same stimulation, leading to the development of co-occurring disorders.
Depression and Addiction
Depression is found to be a common mental health issue among substance abusers. People who are depressed often use drugs and/or alcohol to block painful thoughts, memories and emotions.
On the other hand, people who frequently drink alcohol—a depressive substance—may bring on sadness as alcohol affects the brain with its depressive properties. Unfortunately, depression and substance abuse feed upon one another, which creates a continuing cycle of both.
OCD and Addiction
It is currently thought that OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is likely caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals. There are theories that this imbalance of brain chemicals also causes alcoholism and drug abuse, so the two are tightly interrelated. OCD sufferers also use substances for relief from obsessive thoughts, and regular use can lead to the development of addictions.
PTSD and Addiction
People who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) experienced traumatic events. Difficult symptoms from PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, sleeplessness, mood instability and paranoia. Many PTSD sufferers turn to readily available drugs or alcohol for relief and to numb themselves.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Proper treatment from trained professionals helps people suffering from co-occurring disorders to reach sobriety and manage psychiatric symptoms, opening up a healthy and productive life made possible by effective and comprehensive addiction programs.
Psychopharmacology: Medication is needed to treat any remaining psychiatric symptoms once detox is completed.
Psychotherapy: Group and individual therapies are needed to address mental health and addiction issues at the same time.
Behavioral Management: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches coping skills for how to respond to negative thoughts and actions. It teaches individuals to replace negative behaviors with positive ones, and rewards are given for positive actions. CBT has been proven effective in modifying addictive behaviors.