Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety

Anxiety can leave us feeling perpetually wound and on edge. In fact, it is common to picture someone with anxiety as super high strung and irritable, ready to pounce. In reality, living with an anxiety disorder can be absolutely draining. Chronic fatigue and anxiety, therefore, often go hand-in-hand.

If you find yourself on fumes much of the time, it is important to consult first with a physician. The symptoms of chronic fatigue can be caused by a medical condition all on its own, such as chronic fatigue syndrome. However, fatigue may also be a symptom of a medical condition, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, or a side effect from a medication. These possible explanations for the chronic fatigue and anxiety should be ruled out first through a physical examination. If no health condition is present, however, the fatigue and stress being experienced may be due to an undiagnosed anxiety disorder.

About Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is the most common of the anxiety disorders. Nearly 7 million adults, or 3.1% of the adult population, struggle each year with GAD, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The symptoms of GAD include:

  • Excessive worry
  • Feelings of fear or dread
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Racing heart
  • Chest pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Short-term memory problems

GAD is just one type of anxiety disorder. Within the spectrum of anxiety fall several more types, including:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Specific phobia
  • Agoraphobia
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Selective mutism

Other mental health disorders that share traits with anxiety disorder include obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Why Does Anxiety Cause Chronic Fatigue?

Living with anxiety, regardless of the specific type within the spectrum of anxiety disorders, can be utterly exhausting. Anxiety churns so much energy on worry and fear, constantly elevating the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. This leads to physical and mental fatigue.

When the body is in the fight or flight mode it activates the stress response. This is how human beings are hardwired, fulfilling an innate survival instinct in response to a perceived threat. Someone struggling with an anxiety disorder can experience this stress response over and over in a given day, depleting the body’s energy reserves and resulting in the state of fatigue.

What are the Signs of Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety?

These piggyback disorders tend to manifest in a variety of ways that can lead to impairment in daily functioning. This is due to the unrelenting fear response that never allows the individual to replenish their emotional reserves. The term that applies to this condition is “stress-response hyperstimulation.” Anyone who has ever experienced a panic attack understands this. While in the grip of a panic attack event the body is experiencing a collection of involuntary responses, such as hyperventilating, racing heartbeat, nausea, sweating, chest pain, and headache which all require expended energy. After the panic attack has passed, the person feels emotionally and physically spent.

Some of the signs of the connection between anxiety and chronic fatigue include:

  • Sleep disturbances. Someone with an anxiety disorder may find themselves struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, or feeling exhausted even after getting plenty of sleep. Tossing and turning while worrying about work, finances, children, or relationships can keep your body in an emotionally hyper-aroused state, leading to symptoms of chronic fatigue.
  • Loss of Appetite. The body needs a certain number of calories and consistent good nutrition to function optimally. When in constant stress mode you may experience a diminished appetite, which then in turn causes you to feel fatigued. Lack of appetite as a result of anxiety can lead to chronic fatigue symptoms.
  • Brain fog. When we are emotionally taxed beyond our ability to manage the situation or demands of daily life we may find ourselves shutting down. Brain fog is a classic symptom of an anxiety disorder, due to the over-exposure to stress and issues that feel overwhelming.
  • Burnout. Mental burnout is very common in this fast-paced society. When the individual feels overwhelmed and overworked, they may find themselves nodding off at work or needing to take naps. Chronically elevated anxiety may be a contributing factor to the burnout and fatigue.
  • Mood swings. Mood swings are a common symptom of anxiety disorders. Moodiness can zap energy as well as lead to other interpersonal drama, all of it causing emotional strife and stress. This can contribute to the symptoms of chronic fatigue.
  • Even caffeine doesn’t help. One sign that anxiety may be stealing your energy and leaving you chronically fatigued is when you do not get a boost from an energy drink or a cup of coffee as you had in the past.

Using Holistic Therapies to Help Manage Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety

Stress can have a powerful impact on our physical and mental wellness, potentially contributing to health complications and mental health disorders. Relying on some stress-reducing holistic therapies can help calm the mind and reduce both chronic fatigue and anxiety. Some effective stress-reducing techniques include:

  • Mindfulness. Mindfulness involves practicing a type of meditation where the individual trains the mind to focus on the here and now, to remain in the moment.  By reining in distracting or disturbing thoughts, it is possible to redirect attention to the body’s sensations, such as breathing, as well as what you hear, touch, or see. This can help diminish anxiety, thus reducing fatigue.
  • Yoga. Yoga classes are offered in a variety of disciplines, so experiment with the different types of yoga at a local gym or via YouTube videos or apps. Yoga can benefit the individual in achieving deep mental and physical relaxation while also controlling anxiety levels, which can help reduce feelings of chronic fatigue.
  • Massage. Therapeutic massage can be beneficial for releasing symptoms of anxiety in the body by releasing the toxins that stress causes. Massage also relieves muscle tension caused by stress and worry by decreasing levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. At the same time, a relaxation massage can produce the feel-good hormones, neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
  • Guided imagery meditation. Another excellent form of meditation that helps combat anxiety is guided imagery. These recordings, apps, or YouTube videos offer a guided journey using visual descriptions or prompts that help lead the individual toward achieving relaxation and inner calm.

Evidence-Based Therapy for Anxiety Disorder

Individuals struggling with anxiety disorder may find that outpatient psychiatric services provide adequate tools to help manage the disorder effectively. However, for those who notice their anxiety disorder worsening over time, including further impairment in daily functioning, a residential anxiety treatment program may be the most appropriate treatment option.

A residential anxiety treatment program is beneficial for many reasons. By residing at the treatment center for a specified period of time, the individual is able to separate from the usual triggers that elicit the stress response and focus their energy on learning how to better manage these responses. A much more focused treatment approach allows for a deeper look into the issues that may be impacting the anxiety. Upon intake, a thorough evaluation of the anxiety disorder will provide important information, such as a detailed medical and psychiatric history and a review of medications, which allows the psychiatrist to diagnose the specific features of the anxiety disorder. Using this as a template, a customized treatment plan is designed.

A comprehensive treatment approach includes a variety of therapeutic elements throughout the day, including:

  • Evidence-based psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals who struggle with anxiety by helping them identify irrational thoughts that may fuel the stress response. Exposure therapy and other trauma-focused psychotherapies can help individuals confront past traumatic experiences that could be contributing to the anxiety disorder.
  • Medication. Some individuals may benefit from medications that help minimize anxiety, such as benzodiazepines and mood stabilizers.
  • Group support. Small support groups made up of others struggling with anxiety and led by a licensed therapist can help participants process the past traumas or recent situations that provoke anxiety.
  • Family therapy. Family-focused group allows family members to learn more about their loved one’s struggle with anxiety and how to be supportive of their efforts to manage it going forward.
  • Holistic therapies.Therapeutic activities that promote relaxation include mindfulness training, deep breathing exercises, yoga, aromatherapy, and art therapy.

The Role of Diet and Exercise in Managing Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety

Restoring overall health through diet and regular exercise is an essential aspect of managing anxiety. In addition to sticking with a healthy Mediterranean diet, there are actually certain foods that can help quell feelings of anxiety, including:

  • Yogurt
  • Whole grains
  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Eggs
  • Tumeric
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chamomile tea
  • Green tea

Getting regular physical activity is another positive lifestyle tweak in combating anxiety and fatigue. Cardio-focused activities, such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, and dance can help reduce cortisol levels while releasing endorphins and stimulating dopamine. Together these biochemical responses help regulate emotions while improving sleep quality and elevating mood.

Elevation Behavioral Health Los Angeles Residential Anxiety Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health provides upscale residential mental health treatment, addressing the full spectrum of anxiety disorders. The intimate size of our holistic and evidence-based program provides a more attentive clinical staff that will partner with you, guiding you toward healing and recovery from this challenging condition. Our personalized treatment plans allow our clinical team to target the specific features of an individual’s anxiety disorder. For more information on how to overcome anxiety, please contact our team at (888) 561-0868.

 

 

i feel hopeless

It feels like a weight on your chest, depression does. That heavy feeling that zaps your energy and motivation, and stealing your quality of life. When battling depression, you struggle to find something, anything, to be grateful for, but usually find yourself saying to yourself, “I feel hopeless,” instead.

The idea of being hopeless is a total absence of the feeling that circumstances will improve with time. When in the pit of depression, it truly feels like that, as if all hope is lost. Depression is mysterious and complex, incomprehensible even. Why does it strike? What brings it on?

For individuals telling themselves daily, “I feel hopeless,” there is not always a clear path to recovery from a depressive episode. Some simply live their days out by suffering in silence, others retreat into isolation, and some begin to abuse alcohol or pills as a means of self-medicating depression. Most just wish they could snap out of it.

Knowledge is so important when it comes to understanding this mental health disorder, as it provides the key information that could give the person suffering a pathway out of the darkness of depression. Learn about the signs and symptoms of major depressive disorder, and about treatment options for managing it.

Understanding Depression

If you are struggling with depression you are in good company. More than 17 million Americans are affected by major depressive disorder annually, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. To date, science has not yet discovered the specific root cause of depression, however the following are known risk factors for developing the mental health disorder:

  • Family history of depression
  • Faulty mood regulation due to brain chemistry imbalance
  • Stressful or distressing life events, such as the unexpected death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, serious health challenge
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes, MS, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Medications that have depressive side effects

The DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing depression involves five or more of the following symptoms have been present most of the time for more than two weeks:

  1. Persistent depressed or sad mood
  2. Deep fatigue
  3. Recent unexplained weight gain or loss
  4. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  5. Slowed movements and cognitive functioning
  6. Lack of interest in the activities once enjoyed
  7. Persistent feelings of hopelessness and despair
  8. Irrational feelings of guilt or shame
  9. Thoughts of suicide

Treatment for Depression

What may have begun as a bout of the blues becomes concerning if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks. Symptoms of depression can be very disruptive to daily functioning, impairing job performance, parenting duties, academics, and relationships. If an individual is contemplating self-harming behavior such as a suicide it constitutes an urgent condition that should be acted on immediately. If no such acute event is present, then a visit to one’s medical primary care provider is a good first step. The doctor will conduct a thorough physical exam and order blood tests that will usually identify whether a medical condition is at the root of the depressive symptoms. If there is no related health problem, clinical intervention is appropriate.

Treatment of major depressive disorder follows a specific protocol involving antidepressants and psychotherapy:

Antidepressants. There are four categories of antidepressants on the market, including SSRIs, SNRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, and MAOIs. With about 30 different antidepressants available, the doctor will attempt to select the one that is best aligned for the patient’s specific diagnosis. There are various types of depressive disorders and each one may correspond to a particular type of antidepressant. Generally, antidepressants take about 4 weeks to begin alleviating the depression symptoms. It is common for a patient to trial 2 or 3 drugs before finding the right fit with the least side effects.

Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is prescribed alongside the antidepressants to provide an opportunity for the patient to work through any contributing emotional or psychological issues, such as grief and loss, a history of trauma or abuse, or relationship struggles. A therapist often employs the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in depression treatment, as this type of short-term therapy can help patients reshape their thought patterns toward more positive self-talk.

Holistic therapies. Complementary therapies can enhance the effects of the traditional therapies by helping the individual achieve a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind. Psychiatry has begun to add holistic therapies to the treatment plan, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage, gardening therapy, equine therapy, and art therapy.

Brain stimulation technology. Antidepressants are effective in up to 70% of depression patients, leaving a significant number of individuals in need of an alternative treatment route. One of the most promising alternative depression treatments is TMS therapy, a brain stimulation technology that helps normalize brain chemistry in the limbic region. TMS is usually prescribed for a 4-6 week period. TMS therapy is considered safe, with few side effects.

When a Higher Level of Care should be Considered

If chronic feelings of hopelessness are becoming concerning it is appropriate to seek a residential mental health program. Although feelings of despair are just temporary and will eventually pass, sometimes in the thick of if it may seem as if things will never change. This can cause some to consider harming themselves.

When this is the case, it is important to receive the highest level of mental health oversight. A residential mental health program will offer constant support and monitoring, as well as a more targeted approach to treating depression. The length of stay in a residential program is determined by the severity of the condition and whether there is a co-occurring substance use disorder. The residential setting provides a safe place to detach from daily life and focus all attention on getting well.

The residential rehab for depression treatment program will include a review of and adjustment of medications, intensive psychotherapy, and holistic activities. Treatment plans are individualized based on a careful intake process that includes psychological assessments, interviewing the individual, and reviewing mental health and medical history.

Moving Beyond Black or White Thinking

The mind is very powerful, with the potential to make substantive changes in our mental outlook and attitude. Negative, self-defeating thought patterns can keep us stuck in a hopeless place. Hopelessness involves thought patterns that are disordered. The individual suffering from depression might see their circumstances through a black or white lens; that nothing will ever improve if it hasn’t yet. These are the if-then thoughts—“If I don’t get that job then I will lose my home”—that limit our potential and trap us. These polarizing types of thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies, almost as if you are talking yourself into that dark corner of hopelessness.

In depression recovery it is important to soften the hard lines of these kinds of thoughts. Look for the gray area, or create it. Instead of thinking, “I feel hopeless,” why not shift that negative self-talk to something more constructive such as, “I might have felt hopeless lately, but I know that things will change eventually.” This small adjustment offers the reintroduction of the concept of hope, and hope is what gets us out of bed each morning. Instead of replaying that false narrative in your mind, the self-limiting story that you have convinced yourself is real, why not challenge that narrative? Break it down, analyze it, and then rewrite your story.

Be Kind to Yourself

Another aspect of depression recovery involves self-care. Depression can take a heavy toll on a person. Lack of sleep, fatigue, and unhealthy eating habits can leave us feeling depleted both physically and mentally. While in recovery, it is important to restore wellness by taking time to care for ourselves.

Getting daily exercise offers significant benefits to overall wellness. Physical activity produces the feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which can lead to elevated mood. Exercise also increases the production of certain neurotransmitters, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, all which help regulate stress and improve mental wellbeing.

Another important aspect of self-care is getting quality sleep. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is key to regulating the circadian cycle for a quality night’s sleep. Always aim for a minimum of 7 hours, with 8 hours being optimal. To help achieve quality sleep, practice additional self-care activities such as taking a warm bath before bedtime, using lavender essential oil aromatherapy, and avoiding heavy meals and caffeine late in the day.

Indulge yourself occasionally with a therapeutic massage. Massage can help detoxify the body and lymphatic system while reducing muscle tension and stress. In addition, massage provides human touch and a sense of connection and comfort.

Feelings of hopelessness are transient, if we allow them to be. Instead of fixating on self-defeating thoughts, be kind to yourself and seek affirmations, comfort, and hope through the aid of holistic depression treatment.

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Integrated Depression Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health is a luxury residential mental health treatment center in Los Angeles County. Elevation Behavioral Health provides an intimate setting for individuals in need of a peaceful place to heal from depression. This mental health and wellness program for depression is based upon a foundation of proven therapeutic modalities, such as CBT and DBT. Added to that are holistic therapies, such as yoga, mindfulness training, and meditation, to offer a fully integrated approach for treating depression. If you find yourself stating, “I feel hopeless,” it is time to see the support compassionate therapists who can guide you toward wellness. For more information, please contact Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.

 

holiday stress

We might enter the holiday season feeling wistful. We remember beautiful memories of holidays past, and have lots of ideas to make this year an amazing season. No matter how sincere our intentions are to be festive and jolly at Christmastime, it somehow doesn’t usually go that way. Partway through December the wheels come off as the To-Do list explodes and the calendar gets tighter and tighter.

All the efforts we make to participate in the seasonal fun can often turn south on us. We become overwhelmed as stress ratchets up, threatening to spoil the mood of the holidays. Stress and anxiety can become so intensified during this busy season that we might even find ourselves sidelined completely. Learning how to manage holiday stress is essential if we are to not only survive the holiday madness but also enjoy ourselves a bit, too.

Why the Holidays Stress Us Out

When we are little kids the Christmas season was all about waiting for Santa to bring us presents. Once we hit adulthood and have a family of our own, it comes as a bit of a shock how much work our parents must have done to make those holiday festivities so special. The season is rife with demands to shop and wrap gifts, plan holiday parties, decorate the house, and attend holiday events. It is exhausting.

When we feel overwhelmed, as if there are not enough hours in the day or enough energy in our bodies to keep up with the long list of holiday errands and demands it can lead to anxiety. Stores are more crowded, distracted drivers pose dangers on the road, and the closer Christmas looms the edgier people seem to be. Anxiety symptoms run amok as we begin to feel a loss of control over our lives and incapable of keeping up with expectations. Part of the dilemma is that we place excessive expectations on ourselves, attempting to manage all the spinning plates.

About Anxiety Disorder

We all feel stressed out from time to time, the normal response to situations that can push us out of our comfort zones or cause emotional distress. But when the symptoms of irrational worry and dread take over, even impairing daily functioning, it is time to discuss the symptoms with a mental health professional. Undiagnosed anxiety disorder can become more serious as time goes on, threatening to derail careers, relationships, and even cause health problems. With an array of treatment options available, there is certain to be one that fits the individual’s needs.

Anxiety disorder is the umbrella term for a collection of mental health disorders that share core symptoms:

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Feelings of dread and apprehension
  • Being perpetually on alert for danger
  • Racing heart or palpitations
  • Shaking
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Hyperventilating
  • Shortness of breath, holding one’s breath
  • Stomach upset, diarrhea
  • Feeling jumpy or restless
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Trouble concentrating, mental confusion, short-term memory problems
  • Headaches

The predominant trait of all anxiety disorders is a sense of having no control over the fear-inducing situation.

Different Types of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety can manifest in different ways. Any of the anxiety disorders can cause symptoms that can impair the ability to function in daily tasks. The types of anxiety that are included in the anxiety disorder spectrum include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD features intense and inappropriate worry for the situation at hand. The exaggerated and chronic worrying can result in impairment at basic daily functioning, as well as somatic symptoms, or chronic physical ailments, such as headaches, digestive problems, and muscle tension.
  • Panic Disorder. Panic disorder is characterized by unpredictable and intense physical symptoms that resemble a heart attack, such as chest pain, racing heart, nausea, shallow breathing, dizziness, and heart palpitations. Because the attacks come on suddenly without warning, people begin to isolate themselves to avoid a panic attack, which could result in agoraphobia.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety related to an irrational fear. In response to the fear, individuals adopt compulsive behaviors to help manage the anxiety that the irrational obsession induces. Examples are fear of contamination or germs, fear of angry, aggressive, or sexual impulses, or an obsessive need for orderliness, cleanliness, or symmetry.
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is related to the intense feelings of anxiety that follow experiencing or witnessing a trauma. An unresolved traumatic event, whether witness or experienced personally, leads to nightmares, hyper-arousal, and unwanted memories, which can lead to avoidance of any situations or people that might trigger the traumatic memories.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder. Social anxiety is caused by a deep fear of being judged or harshly criticized, or publically humiliated. Social anxiety is characterized by sweating, trembling, shallow breathing, nausea, feeling faint or dizzy, and heart palpitations, which may lead the individual to avoid all types of social interaction and events. This can lead to social isolation and loneliness, as well as negatively consequences to career and relationships.
  • Phobia. Specific phobias pertain to the intense and exaggerated fear of a person, place, or thing. The object of fear can lead to irrational and obsessive behaviors as the individual attempts to avoid encountering or triggering the extreme fear that it provokes, leading to avoiding any potential exposure to the specific phobia.
  • Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia involves intense fear that is triggered when the individual feels they are trapped, helpless, or may be publicly embarrassed, while on a train, bus, plane, in an elevator, or on a ship. This type of anxiety disorder may result after a series of panic attacks, and can lead to social isolation.

How to Cope with Holiday Stress and Enjoy the Season

We can still relish the joy of reuniting with friends and family over the holidays by relying on some helpful tips for dealing with holiday stress:

  1. Simplify the season. We tend to want to do it all, and then find ourselves struggling with stress overload trying to accomplish all the self-imposed goals. Whittle down the expectations to a few core things that make the season meaningful instead of trying to cram everything in.
  2. Remember the meaning of the season. It is nice to take note of the spiritual meaning of the holiday season and focus on that when stress threatens to overwhelm you. Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas for inspiration.
  3. Exercise. Keeping active during the holidays is a great way to manage the stress of the season. Exercise increases production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, both of which can help regulate stress.
  4. Limit sugar and caffeine. As tempting as it is to overindulge in sugary treats and rich coffee beverages during the festive season it is wise to limit these. Sugar and caffeine can cause heightened energy, which can make you jumpy, irritable, and restless.
  5. Change up the traditions. Even though we love holiday traditions, no one has to abide by a set script during the holidays. To help stave off excess stress, try changing things up this year. Maybe this year you pass on hosting the usual holiday party and pass the torch to someone else.
  6. Practice self-care. The demands of the season can exact a toll on wellness. Get enough quality sleep on a regular basis to be up for the challenges of the holidays. When stress ratchets up, go get a nice massage or taking a hot bath.

The Holidays Can Stroke Depression, Too

Even with all the holiday music and merriment, the season can cause some to become very depressed. Those who have suffered a recent loss in the family may be emotionally raw, and the season only reminds them that their loved one is no longer here. Others may suffer from feelings of loneliness and despair, as the season can make it appear that everyone has a loving posse surrounding them.

Depression symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent sadness
  • Slowed thinking and movement
  • Changes in eating habits and weight
  • Sleep problems such as insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feelings of shame or guilt that are inappropriate
  • Trouble making decisions or concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you are experiencing 5 or more of these symptoms for at least two weeks, it is possible you have major depressive disorder. It is important to be assessed by a mental health professional who can provide medication and therapy to help you stabilize.

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

When holiday stress generates ongoing anxiety symptoms it is helpful to benefit from psychological support. Generally, anxiety is treated using evidence-based therapies that target dysfunctional thought-behavior patterns. Psychotherapy can help us identify disordered thoughts that lead to excess stress, and learn how to reshape those thoughts. Examples of evidence-based approaches include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines or antidepressants, can also aid in the management of anxiety symptoms. Medications are usually provided as adjunctive to psychotherapy and holistic therapies, and are not always necessary for managing anxiety.

Holistic therapies are ancient practices that can help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety naturally. Using holistic methods to help achieve a state of relaxation can augment the overall therapeutic effects, and can be incorporated into daily life. Some examples of holistic therapies include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Deep breathing techniques
  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Guided meditation

Taking control of your life again is possible through the use of a multi-modal anxiety management protocol. When signs of crippling anxiety threaten to derail your holiday season, reach out and get some psychological support.

Elevation Behavioral Health Offers Upscale Residential Mental Health Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health offers evidence-based mental health treatment in a luxury residential setting in Los Angeles. At Elevation Behavioral Health you can focus your energy and attention on learning new ways to manage anxiety. For more information about our program, please contact Elevation today at (888) 561-0868.

What are the early warning signs of psychosis

If you or a loved one is experiencing the signs of a psychotic episode it can be an extremely frightening experience. Psychosis refers to a loss of contact with reality, when perceptions are altered to the point that it is difficult to know what is real or a figment of the imagination. A psychotic break often constitutes an urgent psychiatric event that necessitates acute stabilization within a hospital setting.

Psychosis is a symptom of a mental or physical illness, trauma, or substance abuse, and not an illness itself. In most cases, there are symptoms that precede the psychotic episode. There might be gradual changes in the individual’s usual behavior or demeanor that foretell the onset of the psychosis. So, what are the early warning signs of psychosis?

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Psychosis?

In most cases, psychosis does not just appear out of the blue one day. There are certain warning signs, although non-specific at first that usually precede a psychotic episode or psychosis. These include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Inattentive to personal hygiene
  • Social withdrawal, isolating behaviors
  • Decline in functioning at work, at school, or in self care
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling uneasy around others
  • Difficulty communicating thoughts
  • Having strong inappropriate emotions or no emotions at all
  • Fatigue, decreased motivation
  • Difficulty managing daily stress

While these symptoms are not necessarily specific to the onset of psychosis, they do provide an opportunity to see a doctor so further evaluation can be conducted. If wondering what are the early warning signs of psychosis, and recognizing them here in this list, it is appropriate to be assessed.

The next level of early warning signs of psychosis include:

  • Acquiring odd beliefs or expressing magical thinking. This can include claiming to experience déjà vu frequently, thinking that others can read their thoughts, or thinking that a dream is actually reality.
  • Being suspicious and mistrustful of even of friends, family members, teachers, thinking they are out to get you or are watching you
  • Going off on tangents in conversation, odd speech patterns, talking in circles, talking to self
  • Perceptual incongruence. This includes claiming to see shadow people, sounds seeming louder that usual

When these “attenuated” symptoms worsen over the course of a year there is a possibility that the person is at risk of developing psychosis.

Symptoms of Psychosis

While psychosis encompasses a wide range of symptoms, two primary characteristics define it. These include

Hallucinations: A hallucination is the experience of hearing, seeing, or feeling something that is not actually there. This can include hearing voices, seeing glimpses of people or objects that are not really there, or feeling strange sensations.

Delusions: Delusional thinking involves having strong convictions and beliefs that are inconsistent with the individual’s cultural identity, and are likely to be false. This includes such things as thinking some external power or force is controlling behaviors and thoughts, or that the individual him or herself has special powers, or believes that they are God.

Psychotic Disorders

When a mental health condition has psychosis as a primary symptom, it is then classified as a psychotic disorder. About 3.5% of the population will experience psychosis at some point, according to an article published in JAMA Psychiatry. Although psychotic disorders are among the most complex mental health disorders to treat, with a comprehensive approach to treatment, an individual with a psychotic disorder can learn to manage many of the symptoms in day-to-day life.

The different types of psychotic disorders include:

  • Schizophrenia, which may involve hearing or seeing things that are not there, delusional thoughts, erratic behavior, angry outbursts, moodiness.
  • Schizophreniform disorder is like schizophrenia but is a temporary disorder lasting one-six months in duration, and tends to affect teens and young adults.
  • Schizoaffective disorder, which combines features of schizophrenia with a mood disorder involving depressive or manic episodes.
  • Delusional disorder is characterized by false beliefs that the individual truly believes are true, such as thinking someone is out to murder you or your spouse is having an affair, for example, which lead to impairing behaviors.
  • Brief psychotic disorder is a short-lived disorder that is sometimes triggered by a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one or a car accident that lasts less than one month.
  • Shared psychotic disorder is one that involves two people who both believe in a delusional situation, such as a husband and wife who both believe the same absurd delusion.
  • Substance induced psychotic disorder is the presence of hallucinations or delusions occurring as a withdrawal symptom for several drugs, including alcohol, LSD, opioids, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and PCP.

What Causes Psychosis?

Psychosis is still being studied therefore the exact cause of the condition is still unknown. However some factors are thought to increase the risk of developing psychosis, including:

  • Mental illness. Psychotic features are present among the mental health disordered listed above.
  • Health conditions. Some illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors, strokes, HIV, and traumatic brain injuries may cause psychosis.
  • Substance abuse. Hallucinogenic substances such as LSD, marijuana, and PCP can cause psychotic reactions and may increase the risk of psychosis in some individuals. Amphetamines and some prescription medications can also have these side effects.
  • Trauma. Some traumatic events, such as a sudden death, sexual or physical assault, or military combat can possibly contribute to developing psychosis.

A psychotic episode or psychotic break refers to the onset of the prevailing symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations.

How is Psychosis Treated?

Treatment for psychosis is multidimensional. If the individual experiences a severe psychotic break, hospitalization will be necessary in order to subdue the individual with acute stabilization procedures. In this event, the patient is segregated from other patients and may need to be restrained initially to reduce the risk of harm to self or others.

Most individuals with the symptoms of psychosis will likely be treated through their mental health provider. Private practice interventions include medications, such as antipsychotic drugs. These include risperidone, olanzapine, ziprasidone, zotepine, sertindole, clozapine, aripiprazole, and amisulpride. These medications help to tame the overt symptoms of the condition.

The individual will also benefit from outpatient therapy that focuses on managing thoughts and behaviors. Psychotherapy might include cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, and psychoeducation efforts.

Living with psychosis can be challenging, as it impacts relationships, daily functioning, and the quality of life. There are some specialized services available, such as Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC) that can significantly improve functioning.

Residential Treatment for Mental Illness

If outpatient treatment options have not managed the symptoms adequately, or the symptoms continue to worsen, it is appropriate to consider a higher level of care. This becomes evident when the individual is struggling to perform even basic functions, has become isolated, has developed a co-occurring substance use disorder, or is vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, or suicide. Residential treatment provides the more intensive and targeted treatment protocols within a safe, structured setting.

Residential treatment encompasses the following interventions:

Medication management. 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.

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. Types of psychotherapy suited for psychosis include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive enhancement therapy
  • Social recovery therapy

Family psychoeducation. Family-focused therapy can assist family members by guiding them toward forming healthy boundaries, learning more effective communication techniques, and generally teach the family how to resolve conflicts and solve problems together.

Holistic therapy. Holist therapies are often utilized as complementary treatment for 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.

There are intensive case management programs that offer community support and transitional housing to help individuals with a psychotic disorder to integrate back into the community following residential treatment. Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) is a treatment approach that uses a team of mental health professionals and specialists who help the individual in a variety of areas. Another approach that also provides assistance for individuals with mental illness is called Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). Services include:

  • Case management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Family support and medication
  • Support groups
  • Help with education and employment
  • Teach patients how to manage daily problems proactively
  • Help encourage patients to take their medications

CSC can offer someone a well-rounded source of adjunctive support over and above medication and psychotherapy for the best possible outcome for living with a psychotic disorder. Early detection and intervention will lead to a more positive clinical outcome, so if you or a loved one are experiencing the early or attenuated symptoms of psychosis, make an appointment with your doctor to be evaluated.

Elevation Behavioral Health Residential Mental Health Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health is an upscale, private residential mental health treatment center serving Los Angeles, California. In this luxury, intimate setting, individuals experiencing psychosis will receive the most effective therapeutic interventions within a compassionate and nurturing environment. Elevation Behavioral treats all forms of mental health disorders, including psychotic disorders, using a proven integrated approach. If you are wondering what are the early warning signs of psychosis, contact our compassionate team at Elevation Behavioral today at (888) 561-0868.

 

i dont want to get out of bed

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
  • Fatigue
  • 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.

Psychotic Depression

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.

Postpartum Depression

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.

Bipolar Disorder

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
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Humiliation or shame
  • Anger
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Aggression
  • 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

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.

Psychotherapy

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.

Support groups

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.

Holistic therapies

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.

how to ask for help with depression

I’m fine, how are you?”

This reflexive response to the routine “How are you” question is many times a bold-faced lie. How much easier it seems in the moment to just lie about how we really are rather than deal with our own personal reality. We want to appear normal and happy as we walk through our days, hoping to just blend in and get our obligations checked off the list. Parenting…check. Work…check. Lunch with friend…check. Dinner with family…check. Day in and day out we resolutely put on a false front to detract from the bleak, gray mood that sits right beneath the surface.

Living with depression is incredibly exhausting, and trying to fake our way through the days only adds to the exhaustion. Ignoring the huge elephant in the room eventually takes its toll, however. No one can continuously suppress feelings of hopelessness and despair forever. Eventually, the piper must be paid.

Suicide rates are steadily rising across age groups and demographics. How many of those lives might have been saved had they been more open about their suffering? How many would have gotten help in their darkest hour? Sometimes just asking for someone to sit with you is all the help you might need in the moment, but too often loved ones are unaware of how dire the situation is because the person hesitated to reach out.

Knowing how to ask for help with depression is a learned skill. It requires a leap of faith, as the risk of appearing weak or damaged or crazy is very real. But taking that leap is necessary if we are to ever reclaim our quality of life and our ability to function at an optimal level. Learning how to ask for help with depression is, therefore, absolutely necessary to achieve a restoration of mental wellness and to once again experience joy.

10 Tips How to Ask for Help With Depression

The stigma surrounding mental health issues is one of the most difficult barriers to overcome when in need of help. To remove that barrier takes guts. Here are some helpful tips to help do exactly that, although they usually require vulnerability. Many will learn that exercising these suggestions can open doors and open hearts.

  1. Practice saying the words aloud in front of your mirror, while on a walk, or while driving: I don’t feel well. I am scared. I need to talk to someone. Just uttering these short phrases out loud can prepare you for actually communicating them with a friend or loved one. Practice them until they roll off the tongue.
  2. Don’t buy into the stigma. Resist believing that you are somehow flawed because you are experiencing depression. Understand that mental health is just one aspect of the human system, and is at least as important as our physical health. Acquire a new attitude about the importance of paying attention to mental wellness.
  3. Acknowledge when you are not coping well. The signs may be popping up at work where your productivity has been impacted or your low mood has coworkers worried about you. It could be showing up at home, where your ability to care for the kids or even make a meal is hindered by the depression.
  4. Ask someone for a referral. The idea of scouring pages and pages of mental health providers in your network may be simply overwhelming. Ask a trusted friend for the name of a therapist that they liked, or ask your primary care physician to recommend you to a psychiatrist that they refer their patients to.
  5. Once you find a mental health provider you may be afraid to take that first step. If you resist making the phone call and setting up a consultation, ask a spouse, family member, or trusted friend to sit with you while you make the call. Sometimes you just need some physical support to follow through.
  6. Ask a friend to come over. Even if you are not yet ready to take the next step and get help, having someone in your court is essential. A trusted friend who you feel comfortable sharing with can provide the opening to revealing what is really going on with you. Just invite the friend for a visit and be willing to be real with them.
  7. Get informed. If you suspect you are suffering from clinical depression it can be very helpful to get educated about the diagnostic criteria for this mental health challenge. Go online and read up on the signs of depression and the treatment options. Knowledge is power. Once you recognize yourself in the description of depressive disorder it may be easier to reach out to a doctor.
  8. Know your own limits. We may try to tough out the difficult chapters in life on our own. Many are resistant to asking for help, thinking it is a sign of weakness. But acknowledging the signs of distress—impairment in daily functioning, ignoring hygiene, excessive absences from work, and sleep disturbance—is a call to action. Be aware of your inability to cope and get help.
  9. Join a support group. Maybe you are already being treated for depression and it appears to be escalating. Your mental health provider can refer you to a support group where individuals come together to discuss their challenges with depression and offer mutual support. These participants will recognize your need for a more intensive treatment protocol or even hospitalization if you are suicidal.
  10. Write a letter. Sometimes verbally describing the illness is too daunting. The thought of sitting in front of someone and sharing about the dark aspects of depression can be simply impossible. Try expressing your pain in a letter or email to a trusted friend or family member. Writing can allow for more openness than face-to-face conversation, especially regarding something so sensitive and personal.

Diagnosing Depression

The DSM-5 has listed specific symptoms related to depressive disorder, and stipulates that a cluster of 5 or more symptoms persist most of the time for more than two weeks to receive the diagnosis. These include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or despair
  • Loss of interest in pleasure or activities once enjoyed
  • Mood swings
  • Irrational feelings of guilt or shame
  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • Slowed cognitive and motor functions
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Sleep disturbances, insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Irritability
  • Unable to concentrate or make decisions
  • Suicidal ideation

The psychiatrist may use screening tools to help in diagnosing the depression, such as the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) or the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). A physical exam can help rule out a medical condition or medications as the cause of the depression symptoms. Such health conditions might include diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, lupus, and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Different Types of Depression

There are different forms of depression within the depression spectrum, each with unique features, including:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) (see above symptoms)
  • 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 no relief of the depressive symptoms for two years or more.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. A severe form of PMS that features extreme mood swings, sadness, irritability, and anger.
  • Psychotic Depression. 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 poverty, for example.
  • Postpartum Depression. 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, exhaustion, and anxiety in addition to the profound sadness.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In certain climates individuals may experience symptoms of MDD that are caused by a lack of sun exposure during the winter months, which can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. The individual may experience weight gain, hypersomnia, and isolation behaviors in addition to the symptoms of depression.
  • Bipolar Disorder. This disorder features alternating dramatic and unpredictable shifts between depressive and manic moods. The low mood episodes can last days or weeks.

 

Comprehensive Depression Treatment

When someone experiences feeling lost and depressed to the point that his or her daily functioning is impaired, it is essential that they learn how to ask for help with depression. Depression is highly treatable and should never be ignored. Attempting to ride out the depression may lead to their symptoms worsening, reducing their quality of life, and even risking suicide.

Depression treatment focuses on modulating brain chemistry through the use of antidepressants, and learning new thought/behavior patterns through the interventions of a psychotherapist. Complementary activities round out the treatment protocol:

  • Medication. There are about 30 antidepressants on the market for treating depression, each varying slightly in how they function in the brain. Often, there is a need to trial a few different drugs before the best fit is determined.
  • Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy modalities are selected based on the specific issues underlying the depression. Psychodynamic therapy is a longer-term approach that delves into childhood issues that might be factors in the depression, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help the patient identify irrational thinking that leads to depressive symptoms. There are also exposure therapies for helping those with depression is related to a trauma.
  • Holistic. Incorporating regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress reduction activities, such as yoga and mindfulness meditation, can enhance the clinical results.

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 all types of depression, using a proven integrated approach. If you are struggling with depression, contact our compassionate team at Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.

 

is burnout a mental illness

Anyone who has experienced job burnout knows it is awful, but is burnout a mental illness? According to the newest revisions to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Classification of Diseases, or ICD-11, burnout is new recognized officially as a “syndrome.” This has the condition falling into the realm of mental health concerns without officially labeling it as a mental illness. As a syndrome, burnout could result in a mental illness.

This new designation is a welcome one, as it now offers individuals suffering from workplace burnout something they can’t point to in order to explain their symptoms. As workplace pressures continue to escalate, employers need to address the conditions that might contribute to burnout and find workable solutions. This might mean integrating wellness breaks into the workday, such as providing yoga classes or guided meditation. Other solutions might address better time management, prioritizing of projects, and ways to streamline emails and other time zappers.

Employees are at their peak performance when a healthy life-work balance exists. The fast-paced, ever changing workplace cultures of today can make achieving that balance very challenging. But companies that make their employee’s mental health a top priority will benefit with a more productive, positive work environment.

What is Burnout?

It is understood that most every job description involves a certain amount of drudgery or an occasional sense of being overwhelmed by demands. Tasks that revolve around mind-numbing, rote, and often boring functions that sap energy and decrease job satisfaction. When the weight of these mundane tasks begins to prevent someone from completing their core job functions in a given workday, long hours, weekends, and disruption of private time can ensue. Not only are these functions providing no personal growth or financial gain, but they are demanding so much time that pressure just continues to build when attempting to keep up with the workload.

The opposite situation can also lead to workplace burnout. Some bosses pile on so much demanding work that performing to expectations feels impossible. Maybe the skills required to successfully complete projects have not been adequately taught, leaving the employee feeling completely stressed and incompetent.

Burnout is the physical and mental exhaustion that results from keeping up with relentless routines for an extended period of time. Work-related projects then bleed into personal family time, which then prevent the employee from engaging in the activities and hobbies they enjoy in their time off. This is where work-life balance becomes skewed, as the demands of the job exceed the rewards and little time is available for pleasure.

Signs of Burnout

When chronic workplace stress causes frayed nerves, anxiety, and intense fatigue, is it any wonder that one might wonder is burnout a mental illness. In a way, yes, burnout is a mental illness, although not yet defined as a mental health disorder in the DSM-5. As a syndrome, burnout has the ingredients that can evolve into an anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder. The symptoms of burnout include:

  • Depletion of energy, fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of detachment toward job
  • Somatic symptoms, such as chronic digestive issues, headache, or physical weakness
  • Reduced work performance
  • Negative emotions such as cynicism or hostility towards job, management, fellow coworkers
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Stress on relationships
  • Substance abuse

Feeling overworked and stressed out is a normal part of being a working adult. But when there is no relief and one’s personal health and mental wellness begins to suffer, burnout then becomes a very real possibility. When burnout occurs, the individual may no longer have any energy left to give. They may feel indifferent and detached and basically stop caring.

How Burnout Can Lead to Serious Mental Health Conditions

Back in the day, when someone had reached maximum burnout and completely melted down it was termed a “nervous breakdown.” Is burnout a mental illness? No, but left unchecked burnout can have dangerous consequences, both psychological and physical. This is due to the perpetually elevated levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, keeping the person in a constant state of fight or flight and reducing immunity to illness. Over time, it may reach a critical peak that can result in the following conditions:

  • Depression. Someone who is burned out can become listless, sad, hopeless, and detached. Other depression symptoms include changes in sleeping and eating habits, fatigue, irritability, difficulty making decisions, and suicidal thinking.
  • Anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorder features feelings of being out of control while experiencing excess fear, worry, or dread. Anxiety also features insomnia, palpitations, sweating, shallow breathing, restlessness, and racing thoughts.
  • Sleep disorders. Hypersomnia, or excessive sleeping and insomnia, or an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, can have significant adverse mental health effects, as well as negatively impact physical health and wellbeing.
  • Coronary heart disease. A large study out of Israel followed 8,800 employees for over 3 years. They found that among those who scored in the top 20% of the, 79% had an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

What Causes Burnout?

Anyone can go through difficult stretches in their career when expectations and demands were so high that the workload and stress burden seems unsurmountable. However, some people have particular personality traits that may make them more susceptible to workplace burnout. They are, in a way, prewired for burnout. These traits include:

  • Perfectionism. Some individuals set such a high standard for excellence that they can place an inordinate amount of undue stress upon themselves. The added stress of constantly striving for perfection throughout the workday can result in burnout.
  • Unwilling to delegate. A desire to control the outcome of every task and assignment can result in an unwillingness to let go and trust the team’s abilities to help manage various aspects of the projects. This means the individual is perpetually engaged in every step of an assignment which can lead to burnout.
  • Being a martyr. Some employees may sacrifice their health or mental wellness for the sake of being a high performer who delivers results. This means that their lives revolve around the adulation and positive strokes of work, and that they will throw themselves on the sword to make sure everything is successfully completed on time. These individuals also ignore self-care and work-life balance
  • Poor time management skills. Undeveloped organizational skills can lead to wasted time in completing tasks. Not prioritizing can allow mundane activities to swallow up vast amounts of time leaving insufficient time for getting the higher-level tasks completed on time.

How to Prevent Burnout and Manage Stress

Being cognizant of the dangers of slipping into burnout means having a healthy respect for maintaining balance in life. This means being proactive about how your time is spent and protecting wellness by establishing healthy boundaries. Many well-meaning supervisors are simply not aware of the pressures they are placing on staff members or that the tools for them to succeed have not been provided. Employees need to understand that it it falls on them to communicate openly with supervisors regarding the nees for support or tools that will allow them to succeed.

Burnout prevention can involve the following actions:

  • A change of perspective. Instead of seeing work demands as impossible to complete, view them as challenges to embrace and conquer. Ask yourself how you can shift a negative attitude toward one of positive productivity.
  • Prioritize self-care. In the whirlwind of life, no one will carve out opportunities for self-care for a person. It falls directly on each individual to incorporate wellness activities and balance into the workweek.
  • Have outlets for stress. It is essential to have a network of support in one’s life, whether that is a spouse, a best friend, a support group, or a therapist. These individuals can provide a safe place to vent and share frustrations, while acquiring helpful tips for better managing stress.
  • Identify time-wasters. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to feeling overwhelmed. Over use of social media during the workday, spending too much time socializing at work, or refusing to delegate routine tasks all sap time that could better be used towards productive endeavors.

Treatment for Burnout

When stress levels remain perpetually high and daily functioning becomes impaired, it is important to seek out the professional help needed to reclaim wellness and balance in life. Depending on the degree of burnout or whether there is a mental health disorder involved, the individual has the option of receiving treatment in an outpatient setting or a residential setting. Generally, the longer the mental health disorder has endured, and the more it has impaired functioning, a residential program offers the best venue for treatment. An outpatient approach is fine when the problem is less entrenched.

Treatment for burnout can involve the following elements:

  • Psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) provides a short-term evidence-based approach that helps the individual examine dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns that lead to burnout.
  • Medication. In some cases, antidepressants or sedatives may be warranted for helping to managing the symptoms of burnout or accompanying depression or anxiety.
  • Addiction treatment. When excessive stress and burnout has resulted in a substance use disorder the individual will benefit from progressing through a dual diagnosis addiction recovery program.
  • Holistic therapy. Learning how to regulate stress is integral to treatment for burnout. These activities include deep breathing, yoga, meditation, massage, and other relaxation inducing activities.

Elevation Behavioral Health Treats Burnout and Related Mental Health Disorders

Elevation Behavioral Health is a Los Angeles-based residential wellness center that offers a diverse array of customized therapies for individuals suffering from burnout. The intimate, private residential program offers luxury accommodations and amenities in a highly desirable setting. The expert psychiatric staff provides the best blend of evidence-based therapies and holistic therapies to guide the individual back to a balanced state of wellness. For questions, such as is burnout a mental illness or more information about the program, please contact our team at (888) 643-7135.

 

 

how to stop self destructive behavior

Men and women who carry out self destructive behavior demonstrate the habit over and over again without repose. These behaviors include every aspect of life, from work to family to romantic relationships; the list literally goes on forever. These behaviors have negative impacts on their lives, which serves them with rejection, disappointment, and failure to find happiness. Subsequently, the ramifications of these self destructive behaviors form a downward spiral to various levels of suffering. The unintended consequences of such behavior have negative impacts not just for the victim themselves, but also for those around them. Each behavior can be stacked on another and lead to a complex layering of social dysfunction.

Often, the individuals suffering from these routines or involuntary behaviors are aware of the situation, but are either unwilling or unable to rectify the urge to self-sabotage. Sometimes the behaviors themselves have a positive feeling, but that feeling eventually degrades over time. This may lead to the individual seeking more damaging behaviors to fill the void of the initial issue that started it all. How to stop self destructive behavior becomes important when it reaches a level that threatens safety, well-being, or life in general. That is why it is important to understand the generation of such self-defeating rituals and what they are.

Signs of Self Destructive Behavior

How to stop self destructive behavior? First, you must identify those behaviors, so you can deal with them accordingly. These include:

  • Self Mutilation or Injury (NSSI)
  • Substance Misuse or Abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Vaping or Smoking
  • Eating Disorder (IE: Bulimia, Anorexia)
  • Hermit Syndrome
  • Abusive Relationship Seeking
  • Cell Phone/Tablet Addiction
  • Gambling
  • Unsafe Sexual Practices
  • Sleep Escapism
  • Suicide Attempts
  • Violence Towards Others

Many of these behaviors tend to appear together or replace each other when going untreated. Addictions form and patterns emerge that cause pain and suffering for those afflicted. Many times, these signs are hidden in plain sight under social conventions that are considered acceptable in society. For instance, social drinking or smoking can seem harmless from the casual observer, but might be a gateway into more harmful behaviors.

The Environment Becomes Us

Human beings are complex animals with intricate social, cultural, and religious traditions, which are triggered, shaped, and exploited by mechanisms of an economic system. The environmental pressures and stresses truly impact the development of human beings throughout their lives. Often, the human psyche is too weak to thwart the advancement of pressures in advertising and social networks. These networks include childhood groups, cliques, and teams, as well as family and work relationships. Everyone is pulling and picking at everyone else in some form or another, which is why peer pressure can trigger certain behaviors early in development.

How to stop self destructive behavior that originates in childhood is one of the first aspects that must be addressed. Many studies suggest that adults that suffer from self destructive behavior and habits have histories of childhood trauma in their early developmental years and throughout adolescence. These moments of disruption, chaos, or even abuse build the foundation of poor choices and bad habits. Verbal, physical, and sexual abuse contribute to the likelihood of severe outcomes for those involved, which may include life threatening, self-harming types of behaviors. Issues will also arise due to neglect or psychological abuse by parents or guardians, which may be another source of these negative behaviors. This is why it is important for family, teachers, and neighbors to intervene when these problems become apparent. Society, as a whole, must take responsibility for everyone in the community rather than just themselves if we are truly to tackle these social ills.

Changing the environment is usually helpful when dealing with issues that may be triggered or enhanced by a place where these behaviors originated. This sometimes means taking drastic measures and removing the individual from the environment that created the original trauma. It is necessary to retreat from negative spaces that contain triggers and enabling factors, so one can separate from the places the toxic behavior manifests. Safe spaces or even places of solitude should be considered when dealing with behavior issues.

Meditation and Mindfulness as Treatment

If you struggle with self destructive behaviors, the practice of mindfulness meditation has the potential to release the sufferer from the attachment to the behavior. The process of detaching oneself and perceiving your actions with a nonjudgmental attitude creates a shift in perspective. This perspective can lead a person to discover themselves as the object of awareness, rather than a victim of an experience. Taking this step back, this practice can remove the ego and replace it with a sense of observation that can be used to dismantle the negative behaviors that have taken over the individual. This newly acquired and practiced discipline, if harnessed, can have life changing results.

There are other aspects of mindfulness involving diet and exercise that can help pull the afflicted from the behaviors by replacing the old routines with new, healthier ways. Yoga and exercise in general can stimulate healthy endorphin production that can ease the transition away from the unhealthy emotional chemical dependencies. Adding swimming to someone’s routine can also promote a state of equilibrium and renewal. Bringing fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables to one’s diet can also help reinforce the transition with necessary vitamins and fiber for a healthy gut biome. The gut biome is very important in the production of amino acids and other building blocks of a healthy immune system that promotes general well-being.

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Self Destructive Behavior Programs

Elevation Behavioral Health is a Los Angeles-based residential recovery program that offers behavior corrective services and comprehensive trauma and self harm treatments for individuals with destructive behaviors ranging from substance abuse to suicidal tendencies. Our luxury accommodations in beautiful and serene settings help provide a comfortable and healing environment while patients engage in comprehensive treatment programs geared towards their recovery.  For more information about the program, please contact Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 643-7135.

constant panic attacks

Panic disorder can be a very debilitating condition, to the point where staying in the safety and comfort of one’s home seems like the best solution. But isolating oneself in order to avoid the potential panic attacks only leads to more impairment, negatively impacting career and relationships, as well as possibly leading to depression in addition to the anxiety disorder.

A panic attack can be a highly distressing experience. In fact, those who experience panic attacks describe them as feeling like they are having a heart attack. Because of the severity of the symptoms, many will seek emergency medical care.

It is understandable why, when experiencing constant panic attacks, it seems like the best thing to do is just stay away from anything that might inadvertently trigger a new one. But the difficulty with that strategy is the nature of panic disorder itself. Typically, the attacks are not predictable and may not follow any usual trajectory. This means that a trigger could be just about any thing, any person, or any situation.

With this in mind, should an individual be attempting to avoid the constant panic attacks that render them hostage to the disorder, getting professional treatment is the appropriate path to take. Mental health providers can offer solutions in either an outpatient or residential setting, with the decision as to which is best resting on the severity of the panic disorder.

About Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is one of the mental health disorders within the anxiety disorder spectrum, and affects 2.7% of the adult population in a given year, and 4.7% over the course of a lifetime.  Panic disorder features unpredictable and intense physical symptoms and is more prevalent in women, with double the number of women experiencing this debilitating disorder than men.

Untreated panic disorder can be highly disruptive to daily functioning, with the constant fear or dread of the next potential panic attack. This is because it is very hard to predict when a panic attack might be forthcoming, which causes those who suffer from panic disorder to remain in a place where they feel safe and in control. About 50% of those with panic disorder have symptoms of agoraphobia. This can have devastating impact on the individual’s quality of life, placing significant limitations on normal functioning.

Signs and symptoms of panic disorder may stem from past traumatic events, a family history of anxiety disorders, a major life event, such as divorce or sudden loss of a loved one, and major life stressors. However, in many cases there is no known cause or trigger for the onset of the attacks. Symptoms of a panic attack might include:

  • Chest tightening, chest pains
  • Racing heart
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Hot flashes
  • Feeling out of control
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling very weak or faint
  • Shortness of breath
  • A strong feeling of terror or doom
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Fear of death

To meet the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for panic disorder the individual would experience the persistent worry about impending panic attacks for at least one month, would experience significant impairment in functioning, and cannot be related to a substance use disorder or a medical condition.

What Causes Panic Disorder?

At present, the exact cause of panic disorder is still unknown. According to the Mental Health America website, research has identified a connection between panic attacks and a “suffocation alarm mechanism” in the brain, which causes the individual to feel their life is in peril. There are, however, some identified factors that could contribute to the disorder. These include:

  • Biology. Panic disorder may run in families, primarily when there are family members who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
  • Environmental factors. This can include stressful life events, loss of a loved one, exposure to trauma, history of abuse
  • Personality traits. Some people possess certain personality traits that may contribute to an exaggerated reaction to a stimuli.
  • Stress regulation malfunction. This is a chemical issue in which the individual’s production of cortisol and adrenaline are easily triggered and difficult to manage once triggered.

Treatment for Panic Disorder

Treatment for panic disorder will range from outpatient care through a private mental health provider to inpatient or residential care in a mental health treatment center. The level of care is dependent on various factors, such as the severity of the symptoms, the degree of daily impairment in functioning, the length of time with the disorder, and whether there are co-occurring mental health disorders present.

Outpatient. Outpatient treatment is available in several formats, including a private psychiatric practitioner, an outpatient treatment center, or a partial hospitalization program, often referred to as a day program.

Residential. A residential program will involve an extended stay at a mental health treatment center. These may be a private care facility that is in a home setting with a small number of patients, or a larger mental health treatment facility. The residential setting allows for a more intensive, customized treatment protocol based on the specific features of an individual’s panic disorder diagnosis. Also, in a residential setting there is more flexibility in trialing different combinations of treatment elements and therapies.

Treatment elements for panic disorder include:

  • Psychotherapy. Using evidence-based psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (using the panic control treatment protocol), virtual-reality CBT, prolonged exposure therapy, and panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy (PFPP)
  • Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Group therapy, including skills-training group and support groups
  • Medication, including tricyclic antidepressants, MOAIs, SNRIs, and benzodiazepines
  • Relaxation techniques using holistic therapies

Holistic Methods for Managing Anxiety

When someone is besieged with constant panic attacks—some up to several attacks per day—it is wise to access holistic therapies to help manage the anxiety. These practices can significantly reduce chronic anxiety symptoms that may underlie the panic disorder. Incorporating at least a few of these into a weekly routine will go a long way toward regulating anxiety in general:

Yoga. Yoga uses movement and breathing focus to bring about deep relaxation, as it helps release muscle tension.

Mindfulness. Mindfulness helps us to reduce stress by focusing our thoughts to the present moment instead of becoming distracted by worries or past events.

Massage therapy. Massage can help release toxins from the body, resulting in muscle relaxation and a calm mind.

Aromatherapy. Several essential oils used in aromatherapy induce relaxations, such as lavender oil, bergamot, rose, ylang ylang, and German chamomile.

Exercise. Regular physical movement, especially cardio activities, can help promote a happier state of being while also reducing stress and aiding in better sleep quality.

Nutrition. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, there are certain foods that help anxiety in particular, including Brazil nuts, eggs, fatty fish, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, yogurt, green tea, and chamomile tea.

How to Manage a Panic Attack

When a panic attack strikes it is very helpful to have some proven coping skills at the ready. It is wise to get familiar with these strategies by practicing them in advance. Tips for managing a panic attack include:

  • It will pass. Remind yourself that it is temporary, not life threatening, and try to stabilize your self at the very outset of the event. A grounding technique involves observing your surroundings and finding five items you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one item you can taste. This pattern helps to distract from the feelings of fear being experienced.
  • Deep Breathing. Concentrate on slow, deep breathing. Deep breathing technique should be practiced on a regular basis so it becomes second nature when needed during an attack. Deep breathing involves breathing in through the nose slowly for 4 or 5 seconds, filling both the lower lungs and upper lungs, allowing the chest to expand. Hold the breath for 4 seconds, and then slowly exhale through the mouth for 5 seconds, pushing the air out entirely. Repeat this pattern several times until you feel your body begin to relax.
  • Go with it. Try not to fight the panic attack, but instead accept you are having one and reassure yourself it will soon pass. Use positive self-talk, such as telling yourself, “I have survived these before,” or “This too shall pass,” or “I am going to be fine, everything will be okay.” These affirming thoughts can override the sense of fear while helping you feel you are in control.
  • Get help if needed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it is just to have someone accompany you so you can get outside in the fresh air. Sometimes, just taking a short walk, alone or with a friend, can help you get through the panic attack. If you fear the panic attack is out of control, ask someone to get you to the hospital for an evaluation.

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Residential and Outpatient Treatment for Panic Disorder

Elevation Behavioral Health is a private mental health provider located in a luxury home setting in Los Angeles, California. The intimate setting nestled in a beautiful hillside location offers the healing environment so helpful to individuals suffering from constant panic attacks. At Elevation, a compassionate and knowledgeable staff will nurture the individual while teaching new techniques and coping skills that will help them manage panic disorder going forward.

The program is integrative, meaning that treatment involves a blend of evidence-based psychotherapies, adjunctive therapies, medication, and holistic therapies. The goal is to help each individual reclaim a sense of control over their world and to enjoy a better quality of life. For more information about the program, please reach out to our team at (888) 561-0868.

losing touch with reality

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 symptoms around losing touch with reality. 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 viruses, 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, embodies the sense of losing touch with reality, with audible and/or visual hallucinations, delusional thoughts, angry, erratic behavior, and extreme moodiness.
  • Schizoaffective disorder, combines features of schizophrenia with a mood disorder involving depressive or manic episodes.
  • 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.
  • Schizophreniform disorder is like schizophrenia but tends to affect young adults and teens, and lasts 1-6 months in duration.
  • Shared psychotic disorder is one that involves two people who both believe in a delusional situation, such as a husband and wife who both believe the same delusion.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Persistent feelings of being watched.
  • Increasingly disorganized thinking
  • Mental confusion
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Delusional thoughts
  • Strange or disorganized speech or writing
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Decline in academic or work performance
  • Unusual body positioning or movement
  • Suspicious or paranoid behavior
  • Unusual preoccupation and fears centered on a person or situation
  • Irrational or angry behaviors
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of interest in appearance and hygiene
  • Personality changes

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.

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 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 be released 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

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.

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 losing touch with reality, contact our compassionate team at Elevation Behavioral today at (888) 561-0868.