psychiatric hospital

When a serious mental health condition results in significant impairment it is appropriate to explore therapeutic solutions that offer a higher level of care than outpatient care. A residential mental health program provides an alternative to the psychiatric hospital treatment environment. While a psychiatric hospital offers the highest level of care, with 24-hour monitoring provided for individuals whose personal safety is at risk, these settings are for short-term acute stabilization, after which the individual will transfer to a residential treatment program.

What is not well known is that some residential mental health centers also provide the same acute stabilization services as a psychiatric hospital, which can eliminate the need to transfer the individual from setting to setting. Once stabilized and evaluated, the patient care shifts to rehabilitation within the residential setting. This smooth transition is less stressful for the individual, and allows them to stabilize in a comfortable home setting versus a sterile hospital environment.

Residential mental health care is highly individualized, so the individual will receive targeted treatment protocols that align with their specific psychiatric needs. All aspects of treatment will conform the unique features of their diagnosis for optimum efficacy. Residential programs often feature multi-modal integrative approaches that combine evidence-based and holistic elements for a more comprehensive treatment intervention. If your loved one is in need of a higher level of mental health care, consider the residential mental healthcare setting to accommodate all their needs.

Levels of Care Defined

Mental health disorders impact nearly 44 million Americans every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Many people live with serious mental illness, not knowing how to go about finding help or simply avoiding treatment due to the perceived stigma attached to psychiatric disorders. Knowing how to guide a loved one toward appropriate treatment is essential.

Inpatient psychiatric care is available in two general levels of care:

Hospital facility

Generally, a hospital setting is reserved for the more severe psychiatric cases, with the primary goal of stabilizing the patient. A hospital setting is sterile and regimented, and freedoms are restricted to protect the safety of the patient, the staff, and other patients. The mental hospital environment offers 24-hour oversight of the patient and usually involves secluding the patient from others. The hospital setting is indicated for individuals who are on suicide watch or experiencing a psychotic break.

Residential facility

The residential treatment setting has a more home-like feel, providing a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and more personal freedom. Residential programs are considered a step-down from an inpatient hospital program, and are a good option for treating individuals with escalating mental health disorders that have not yet responded adequately to treatment. Residential programs may offer holistic therapies and recreational activities to complement core treatment methods.

If unsure about which level of care is most appropriate for your loved one, possibly the private practice psychiatrist can guide this important decision.

When is Residential Mental Health Treatment Indicated?

When someone is struggling with a persistent mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, that isn’t improving with current interventions, the next level of treatment may involve enrolling in a residential program. The residential setting can offer intensive, focused treatment included within a more comprehensive treatment plan than an outpatient program can provide.

Possibly the individual has been treated for an extended period of time through outpatient providers, but their condition is deteriorating. Even so, it is hard to know at what point to take the step to obtain a higher level of care.  Some of the signs that a higher standard of care is needed include:

  • Impairment in functioning. Impairment occurs when the mental health issue becomes debilitating, such as when major depression is so severe that the individual is has become suicidal or when anxiety causes such fear that the person is afraid to leave their house.
  • Non-compliant with medication. If the individual has become unable to continue taking necessary medications per the prescribed schedule, thus endangering psychiatric stability.
  • Dual diagnosis. Escalation in severity of a dual diagnosis, which is the coexistence of two mental health disorders simultaneously, such two co-occurring mental health disorders or a mental health disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder.
  • Sleep disturbances increase. When insomnia or other sleep disturbances prevent the individual from achieving quality sleep, which causes the mental health condition to worsen.
  • Severe mood swings. Mood swings that have become more intense in nature, to the point that the person is a risk to their own safety.
  • Dissociative behaviors. When the individual exhibits signs of detachment and lack of emotion.
  • Risk to self. Becoming a danger to self or others, such as by displaying violent behavior, talk of suicide, or suicide attempts.

When the symptoms of a mental health disorder become chronic and steadily worsen, it is time to seek more specialized treatment such as residential treatment.

Types of Mental Health Disorders Treated in Residential Settings

Living with a mental health disorder can present unpredictable developments from day to day. One day the individual is feeling stable and optimistic, where the following day they might be contemplating suicide. Mental illness is complex and does not progress in a straight line. Even the most closely monitored disorders can suddenly take an extreme turn for the worse.

Residential treatment centers are staffed with psychiatrists and therapists that are trained in treating a wide array of mental health disorders. These conditions might include:

Anxiety disorders. The anxiety disorder spectrum features a variety of ways that anxiety can manifest in dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns. The common thread in all anxiety disorders is the expression of irrational fear and worry, which drive the associated symptoms in each different type of anxiety disorder, including phobia, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety.

Depression. Depressive disorders feature a persistent low mood, fatigue, sleep disruption, slowed motor and cognitive functioning, sudden weight change, loss of interest in usual activities, and thoughts of suicide. There are different types of depressive disorder, such as major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Trauma disorder. Features prolonged emotional suffering following witnessing or experiencing a highly traumatizing event. When the symptoms persist for more than a few months it is diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mood disorders. Mood disorders are complex mental health disorders and feature abrupt shifts between moods to varying degrees. These include bipolar disorder I, II, and cyclothymic disorder.

Personality disorders. Personality disorders involve established patterns of behavior that are considered to be out of alignment with societal expectations, such as borderline, narcissistic, antisocial, histrionic, or paranoid personality disorders.

Psychotic disorders. Psychotic disorders, or psychosis, refer to mental illness that features a break from reality. Symptoms might include hallucinations, delusional thoughts, and paranoia.

Eating disorders. Disordered eating patterns can result in serious health conditions and even death if not stabilized. These include anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Each residential mental health program will have a specialty area that the program focuses on, so not all residential programs treat all of the above mental health disorders.

What to Expect in a Residential Mental Health Center

Treatment at a residential mental health facility includes interfacing with the psychiatrist, psychotherapists, social worker, and other mental healthcare providers as needed.  Various forms of therapy are available to augment the psychotherapy, including occupational therapy, art and music therapy, and recreational activities.  Some residential facilities also include complementary holistic therapies, such as massage, meditation, and yoga to promote overall mental and physical wellness.

Residential treatment interventions include:

  • Medication. A broad list of medications are available that help manage the symptoms of a particular mental health disorder. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxiety medications, and mood stabilizers are prescribed together with psychotherapy other treatment measures.
  • Psychotherapy. There are different types of psychotherapies for treating various mental health disorders. The most commonly used are cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, solutions-focused therapy, exposure therapy, and attachment therapy.
  • Adjunctive therapies. Therapeutic activities that compliment the psychotherapy and enhance treatment results. These can be such therapies as eye movement desensitization (EMDR) or neurofeedback.
  • Recreation and fitness. Exercise offers both psychological and physical benefits and is integrated into the treatment milieu. These activities might include swimming, participation in sports such as tennis or golf, gym workouts, hiking, or walking.
  • Experiential or holistic therapies. To further augment the effects of the traditional therapies, experiential activities such as mindfulness meditation, yoga classes, art and music therapy, and deep-breathing techniques, are often included in the treatment plan.

When a loved one’s mental health condition has escalated to the point where a higher level of care is necessitated, residential mental health facilities can provide a comprehensive approach to treatment and healing.

Elevation Behavioral Health is a Leading Residential Treatment Center in Los Angeles

Elevation Behavioral Health is a luxury residential mental health treatment center in Los Angeles, California. Nestled in a tranquil canyon above Malibu, Elevation Behavioral Health provides an intimate setting for individuals in need of healing, versus the cold, institutional psychiatric hospital setting. The spacious and beautiful private home features unmatched luxury in both the interior appointments and exterior grounds.

This mental health and wellness program is built upon a foundation of proven therapeutic modalities, such as CBT and DBT. Added to those are holistic therapies, such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training to offer a fully integrated approach to mental health treatment. When a mental health condition becomes debilitating, finding healing in a serene, relaxing environment with compassionate therapists and upscale accommodations can be a godsend. For more information about our residential program, please contact the team at Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.

 

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 anxiety and fatigue. 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 fatigue, 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.

what is dual diagnosis

For a long time, people experiencing the symptoms of mental health disorders where treated separately from those needing help with drug or alcohol abuse. Mental illnesses were sometimes ignored or those with overlapping conditions were frequently denied treatment for their psychiatric disorders until the substance abuse was under control.

This began to change in the 1990s with the advent of dual diagnosis treatment. This relatively new concept in addiction recovery involves recognizing that someone can experience mental illness and substance abuse simultaneously.

Determining the Dual Diagnosis

Although dual diagnosis is a broad category, there are two key factors involved in determining whether the diagnosis is warranted.

An individual must meet the criteria for mental illness as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is an official guideline for mental health professionals and is used for diagnosing and treating patients. A dual diagnosis also requires symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction or abuse.

In other words, someone experiencing a mental health condition could be using drugs to self-medicate, in an effort to improve their troubling mental health symptoms. On the other hand, if someone is abusing drugs, they could trigger or intensify an underlying mental health condition.

The diagnosis does not require identifying which of these issues developed first; it only requires that both be present.

Co-Occurring Symptoms and Dual Diagnosis

When both a mental health illness and a substance use disorder coexist, they are referred to as co-occurring disorders. People with mental health disorders are more likely to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder than are those without mental health disorders.

According to information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Alliance of Mental Illness, the frequency of co-occurring disorders is significant:

  • Approximately 7.9 million adults had co-occurring disorders in 2014.
  • About one third of people experiencing mental illnesses also experience substance abuse.
  • About fifty percent of those living with severe mental illnesses also experience substance abuse.
  • Men are more likely to develop co-occurring disorders than women.
  • Military veterans, individuals with lower socioeconomic status and people with general medical illnesses have particularly high risk for co-occurring disorders.

Dual diagnosis is a relatively new approach for identifying and treating people with these co-occurring disorders. Unlike times in the past, where one set of symptoms may have been ignored or left untreated, individuals with co-occurring disorders can now receive integrated treatment.

With a dual diagnosis, practitioners can address mental and substance use disorders at the same time, creating better outcomes for their patients.

Benefits of Dual Diagnosis

Although there are numerous variables for treating someone with a dual diagnosis, it commonly involves an integrated intervention. In this treatment, the patient receives care for both the substance abuse and any identified mental illness.

Addiction often has to do with trauma, anxiety, depression and chemical imbalances in the brain. Those struggling with addiction frequently try to relieve their own pain through drugs or alcohol.

But if they have struggled with an undiagnosed mental illness, getting a dual diagnosis can bring great relief. Identifying a specific mental condition that may be contributing to the substance abuse can give a tremendous sense of hope and open new doors for effective treatment.

Mental disorders and addiction have multiple underlying causes, but dual diagnosis treatment deals with these simultaneously, enabling a full and lasting recovery.

alcohol drinking and coronavirus

In the early days of the coronavirus stay-at-home orders, it kind of took on a sense of one big vacation party. People were suddenly thrust into isolation with little time to prepare psychologically—or practically—for the adventure that could become a much more enduring situation than anyone had anticipated. At the outset, back in mid-March, there was a frenzied sense of gathering the basics before the stores ran out. But it wasn’t until it became clear that the lockdowns were going to last months, not days, that a spike in more alcohol drinking and coronavirus case counts became simpatico.

It isn’t hard to grasp why people in quarantine might gravitate toward the bottle. Tensions were high, as we sat glued to our sets watching the global map light up in deep shades of red and burgundy. The feeling of having no sense of control over something so scary and so huge naturally resulted in more alcohol drinking, and coronavirus fear escalated in kind.

Whether the boost in alcohol consumption started due to fear of the unknown, or just a good excuse to party, the end result of excessive drinking may be devastating. To one degree or another most of the nation has been stuck at home with little to keep themselves occupied outside of binge watching and beer. Newly established patterns of increased alcohol consumption during coronavirus may result in newly diagnosed alcohol use disorders at the other side of this.

Awareness is your friend, when looking for ways to set boundaries and avoid acquiring a drinking problem during the pandemic. Being cognizant of drinking behaviors, aware of what triggers them, and admitting if you are displaying the signs of an alcohol use disorder can make the difference between experiencing a short-lived uptick in alcohol use, or ending the quarantine with an alcohol addiction.

Problems Caused by Excessive Drinking During the Coronavirus

Whether it’s Zoom “quarantini” hours or sitting in the dark sipping whiskey, people who are stuck at home are engaging in higher levels of alcohol drinking, and coronavirus offers them a good excuse. With few other options on a Friday night, it’s easy to see why the living room becomes the new speak easy.

However, there is one reality that cannot be escaped, no matter how much of a buzz a person gets on, and that is that alcohol is extremely bad for us. The substance itself actually acts like a poison in our bloodstream, injuring our livers and causing myriad health issues. Mostly, though, the fact is that alcohol is extremely addictive, and alcohol addiction is a deadly progressive disease.

Some of the very real problems stemming from excessive drinking during the pandemic include:

  • Aggression, domestic violence
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsive or high risk behaviors
  • Neglecting to complete work-at-home assignments
  • Decreases the body’s immune system and the ability to fight Covid-19

Why do People Turn to Alcohol?

Because of alcohols relaxing effects, it makes perfect sense that it would be an attractive panacea during times of stress. Alcohol use disorder often co-occurs with mental health disorders, especially depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. The quieting effects of alcohol can become a source of self-medicating the discomforts of a mental health issue.

But there are other reasons, some still not clearly understood, as to why some individuals gravitate toward alcohol abuse. Some of these factors include:

  • Genetics. Some individuals have a family history of addiction, indicating a genetic predisposition towards developing the problem.
  • Began using alcohol, drugs or nicotine at an early age
  • History of physical or sexual abuse, trauma exposure, or growing up in a home where family members engaged in substance abuse
  • Brain chemistry
  • Personality traits, such as gravitating toward high-risk behaviors, impulsivity, or having a mental health disorder

There are also new scientific discoveries that are beginning to shed more light on the role of specific genes in determining who will develop an alcohol problem. A study out of Sweden sheds light on how a certain group of rats gravitated toward alcohol instead of following the majority of rats towards the artificial sweetener, Saccharine. The study found that the rats that opted for the alcohol had a reduced expression of a particular gene, called GAT-3, which controls the neurotransmitter GABA and influenced the attraction to alcohol.

In humans, postmortem tissue of individuals who were alcoholic, it was discovered that they had less GAT-3 in the amygdala area that the brains of people who were not addicted to alcohol.

“This is one of the relatively rare cases where we find an interesting change in our animal models and the same change in the brains of people with alcohol addiction,” stated Dayne Mayfield, one of the researchers out of University of Texas that worked with the Swedish team.

What is an Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) covers the diverse spectrum of alcohol abuse—from binge drinking in early years to excessive drinking that causes negative consequences in daily life to full-blown alcohol dependency. Compulsive drinking that results in alcoholism has significant negative consequences for the individual and their families.

For a diagnosis of AUD an individual must have any two of the eleven criteria present within a 12-month period. The number of the criteria met will determine the severity of the AUD. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria include:

In the past year have you:

  1. Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  2. More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  3. Spent a lot of time drinking, being sick, or getting over a hangover?
  4. Experienced cravings to drink?
  5. Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family?
  6. Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  7. Given up or cut back on activities that were important to you in order to drink?
  8. More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your risk of injury?
  9. Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Have you had a memory blackout?
  10. Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect your want, or found that your usual number of drinks had less effect than before?
  11. Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating?

Answering yes to 2-3 of these items is considered a mild AUD, 4-5 is considered a moderate AUD, and 6 or more yes answers indicates a severe AUD.

Quarantine Increases Risk of Co-Occurring Alcoholism and Depression

Co-occurring substance use disorders with mood disorders are very common in normal times, but becoming more prevalent during the coronavirus crisis. Alcohol addiction when coupled with depression can be particularly challenging to treat.  According to data reported in the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it is estimated that about 9.2 million of the 20 million adults who had a substance use disorder also had a major depressive episode.  Of that group, the most prevalent substance used was alcohol. Of that segment, only 7.7% of those with a dual diagnosis of major depression and alcohol use disorder received specialized dual diagnosis treatment.

It is crucial that someone battling both alcoholism and depression get the appropriate dual diagnosis treatment. Increased alcohol drinking and the coronavirus stressors have significantly ramped up the need for dual diagnosis interventions. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that in 30% of suicides, blood alcohol levels were above the legal limit and that 50% of those suicide deaths also involved major depression. Alcohol is, after all, a depressant, and will only compound the effects of a major depressive episode.

Getting Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder During the Pandemic

Residential treatment provides the most intensive approach to alcohol recovery treatment. During the pandemic, addiction treatment facilities were designated as essential services, allowing residential programs to continue to operate. Guidelines published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine provide safety precautions that are tailored to residential rehab facilities.

To maintain safe treatment facilities, rehabs have adopted these precautions:

  • Screening (or testing) for COVID-19
  • Do thorough cleaning and sterilization procedures multiple times per day
  • Isolate clients who may later show symptoms of COVID-19
  • Limit or prohibit visitors and have them use PPE
  • Provide PPE for staff

With these measures in place, residential rehabs are able to continue providing essential services to individuals in need of timely treatment for an alcohol use disorder.

Fortunately, online A.A. meetings, free for those who utilize them, are available now using Zoom Internet technology. Now, those in recovery who desire to connect with a recovery community can do that without even getting into a car. While online A.A. meetings are not new, during the pandemic the Zoom platform is making them available far and wide, along with other recovery groups like SMART Recovery.

Elevation Behavioral Health Leading Provider of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health provides comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment for individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder and a co-occurring substance use disorder. Our luxury accommodations and stunning setting help to provide comfort and healing while engaging in the comprehensive treatment program. Our campus has been completely configured for safe distancing and cleanliness through the pandemic. Client safety is our top priority. For more information about the program, please contact Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.

Inability to Focus

Anxiety disorder can profoundly impact our lives, beyond the common symptoms of sensitivity to stress. One of the ways anxiety can disrupt our daily lives is through impaired cognitive functioning. Anxiety and inability to focus at work or school appear to be interconnected. As anxiety symptoms escalate, the mind struggles to stay on task.  Short-term memory functions are affected by anxiety as well, causing difficulty in remembering tasks or projects that are due, only adding to the work performance challenges.

Nearly one in five American adults are affected by anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Learning techniques that can help manage the symptoms of anxiety and inability to focus is an essential strategy for individuals struggling with an anxiety disorder.

About Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The most common type of anxiety is called generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, with about 3.1% of the population, or nearly 7 million adults, struggling with this mental health disorder. GAD is characterized by pervasive worrying, so much so that it can impair daily functioning. The energy expended worrying about coulda, woulda, shouldas all day can be very taxing, impacting both energy levels and mental functioning. Individuals with GAD tend to ruminate over events that have already occurred, second-guessing themselves, or they may dwell on upcoming events and worry incessantly about anticipated outcomes. Fear and worry drive this disorder, with symptoms that include:

  • Excessive worry
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Short-term memory problems

How Anxiety Can Affect Concentration

Individuals who struggle with anxiety often experience symptoms of mental confusion, foggy thinking, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. While these symptoms may ebb and flow depending on the day and the stress load, they can be very frustrating for those with anxiety disorder.

Persistently elevated stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, are the cause of the brain fog that plagues individuals with anxiety disorder. This stress response has an adverse effect on cognitive functions, such as anxiety and inability to focus and short-term memory functioning. Poor concentration and lack of focus are common symptoms of anxiety disorder.

5 Steps to Help Manage Anxiety Symptoms

Understanding how anxiety can affect cognitive functioning is the first step in creating a strategy for managing the anxiety and inability to focus. By accepting that you will have to make some adjustments to work or study habits, you can begin to put into practice these new methods and begin to improve your mental focus, leading to more productivity and a boost in self-confidence. Some tips for improving cognitive functioning at work include:

  1. Take short breaks often. Instead of attempting to plow through a large block of focused work time, which will lead to wandering attention and loss of interest in the task, break up the work into smaller segments with short breaks in between.
  2. Make a to-do list. Start each day with a list of items that must be accomplished during the day. Allow for free time during the day as well, to intersperse enjoyable activities that will help keep you from burning out.
  3. Practice mindfulness. Training yourself to stay in the moment can help improve focus and concentration on the project at hand. When the mind begins to wander, rein it back in and refocus on the present moment.
  4. Switch tasks. When you begin to find yourself spacing out and losing focus, switch to a different task. Alternating your attention between the two tasks can help relieve boredom and stimulate better concentration.
  5. Mind your own business. Anxiety can lead to excessive worrying about things outside your control. Too often the mind wanders to unproductive worrying that stokes anxiety and inability to focus. Keep your mind on the task at hand.

Residential Anxiety Treatment for Intensive Therapy

For many people with anxiety disorder, outpatient psychiatric services may provide the means to manage the disorder effectively. Some, however, may find their anxiety disorder worsening over time. When reaching the point where relentless worry causes impaired daily functioning due to anxiety and inability to focus at all, a residential anxiety treatment program may be the best treatment option.

The residential anxiety treatment program can take a deeper look into the issues that may be impacting the anxiety using a more focused approach. Upon intake, a thorough evaluation of the anxiety disorder will provide information, such as a detailed medical and psychiatric history and a review of medications, which can allow the psychiatrist to diagnose the specific features of the anxiety disorder. Using this as a template, an individualized treatment plan can be crafted.

The comprehensive treatment approach will involve several therapeutic sessions during the day, such as individual psychotherapy, group therapy, life skills, family therapy, mindfulness training, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and other relevant therapies. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals who struggle with anxiety and inability to focus by identifying disordered thoughts that may fuel the anxiety.

Anxiety Aftercare Services

It is important to continue to receive aftercare services following a residential program in order to reinforce the new strategies learned in treatment. Outpatient therapy is recommended on a weekly basis, which provides the ongoing support needed as the individual transitions back to their regular daily life. These sessions provide the necessary “tune-ups” when new stressors emerge that can trigger anxiety and psychological setbacks.

Finding a support group is also a beneficial aftercare activity. Being able to discuss daily challenges with others who struggle with anxiety disorder provides valuable peer support and creates a sense that one is not alone with these challenges. Group participants can also learn new techniques from each other for managing daily stressors and improving the quality of life.

Elevation Behavioral Health is a Leading Residential Mental Health Center in Los Angeles

Elevation Behavioral Health provides a proven, evidence-based treatment for the full spectrum of anxiety disorders in a residential setting. Elevation offers a warm, intimate escape from the stressors of daily life that keep your mental health reeling. At Elevation Behavioral Health you can focus your energy and attention on learning new ways to manage anxiety and improve focus. For more information about our program, please contact Elevation today at (888) 561-0868.

I Don't 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.

Holistic Nutrition Education

Good nutrition education is an important factor in addiction recovery. Prolonged drug and alcohol abuse take a major toll on physical health, and getting the body’s systems back to their optimum functioning should be a major consideration in treatment. A healthy diet impacts everything from the intensity of withdrawal symptoms to mood, level of alertness and overall sense of well-being.

Self-care is a major focus in addiction treatment, and good self-care includes eating properly and staying hydrated. Nutrition education is the first step in helping people in recovery begin to eat better, which is usually the first major essential lifestyle change.

Good Nutrition from the Get-Go is Essential

Detoxification is the first step in treatment. From the very start, eating healthy food is crucial for fueling the internal repairs that are taking place, which may include recovering from malnutrition and enhancing the functioning of the body’s systems. The National Institutes of Health points out that good nutrition during the detox process can ease a range of withdrawal symptoms, including cravings, gastrointestinal discomfort and sleep problems.

A Healthy Diet Helps Prevent Relapse

Research shows that enjoying good overall health and a high sense of physical well-being makes people less likely to relapse. One reason for this is that the pleasant physical effects of eating healthy food often lead to other healthy lifestyle choices like exercising, meditating and taking steps to reduce stress. Combined, these can dramatically reduce the risk of relapse.

A Healthy Diet Can Help Reverse the Effects of Substance Abuse

Chronic alcohol and drug abuse can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies, neurological problems, anemia and liver damage, among other health issues. Good nutrition helps to reverse much of the damage done by substance abuse.

Weight gain and weight loss may occur as a result of addiction and poor nutrition. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is largely a matter of eating a nutritious diet and getting plenty of exercise.

The Importance of Nutrition Education in Treatment

Addressing the many various and highly individual aspects of an addiction, including physical health, is absolutely essential for successful recovery, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

To that end, Elevation takes a holistic approach to treatment that includes a wide range of traditional and alternative therapies that address body, mind and spirit. Nutrition education is an integral part of our programming, as it should be in any high-quality treatment program.

Nutrition education helps our clients make informed, healthy choices that strengthen the body’s systems, improve mental functioning, help stabilize the mood, and foster a higher sense of well-being, all of which are crucial for successful long-term recovery.

Understanding basic nutrition is essential for knowing how to optimally fuel the body for the long fight ahead, and knowing how to choose and prepare healthy food is vital for maintaining a healthy diet once treatment is complete. Nutrition education encompasses all of these aspects to help people in recovery maintain overall wellness and good health.