i feel like i'm losing my mind

Anxiety Can Make Daily Life Quite a Challenge

Anxiety can be so hard to live with. Constant worry and stress keeps you in a state of constant fight-or-flight mode at the slightest little trigger. You may try to reason with yourself, that the stress triggers are no big deal. Your brain, though, is locked and loaded to take you through the spectrum of anxiety symptoms. You just can’t seem to break the stress cycle.

Many who approach a doctor with their complaints about their symptoms have truly suffered. They are seeking ways to manage the stress so they can live a normal, happy life. This goal is very possible to reach with the right treatment plan. Anxiety treatment can help reduce the daily struggle and greatly improve your life.

am i losing my mindHelp! Anxiety Makes Me Feel Like I am Losing my Mind

Anxiety disorder is a broad grouping of mental health disorders, each with excess worry or fear driving it. Anxiety disorders are very common, with 40 million people struggling with one each year. This disorder is different from the common fear you might feel before having to make a public speech.

We all have felt afraid from time to time, like when we are pushed out of our comfort zone. Anxiety disorders, though, are very intrusive. Constant stress can be so difficult to manage that it impacts one’s lifestyle, career, health, and friendships.

When someone suffers from this problem, something will trigger a cascade of symptoms. There are many types of anxiety and each has its own unique features. The basic anxiety symptoms include:

  • Feelings of dread and fear.
  • Always being on alert for danger.
  • Racing heart.
  • Shaking.
  • Sweating.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Shortness of breath, holding one’s breath.
  • Stomach upset, diarrhea.
  • Feeling jumpy or restless.
  • Insomnia.
  • Headaches.

Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are varied ways that anxiety is expressed. For this reason, there are six types of the mental health disorder. The anxiety spectrum includes:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: GAD features constant worry for much of the day. This can result in headaches, muscle tension, nausea, and trouble thinking.
  • Panic disorder: Sudden and unexplained feelings of intense terror. This can cause racing heart, shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, and feeling dizzy. May lead to social isolation to avoid having an attack.
  • Social anxiety: Intense fear of being judged or critiqued. Fear of being embarrassed in public. Causes social isolation.
  • Specific phobias: Irrational fear of a certain thing, place, or situation. To manage this fear, the person will go to great measures to avoid triggers.
  • Trauma disorder: PTSD is about never getting over a trauma, even months later, It can lead to avoidance of people, places, or situations that trigger thoughts of the event. Flashbacks, nightmares, or repeated thoughts of the trauma stoke the symptoms.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: OCD involves worries about such things like germs, causing harm, or a need for order. This drives compulsive behaviors tin an attempt to manage the symptoms of anxiety caused by the fear.

How to Manage Anxiety

Do the symptoms of anxiety make you feel like you’re losing your mind? If so, it is time to meet with a mental health worker. At the first meeting, a therapist will assess what type of anxiety you are dealing with.

He or she will then design a treatment plan that will help you manage the symptoms. Treatment uses a combined approach with psychotherapy, drugs, and healthy actions that help to reduce stress.

Therapy for anxiety is based on the type you have. CBT is very helpful for people that struggle with excess worry and fear. It helps you to notice how your thoughts are driving the panic type response to a trigger. CBT then guides you toward changing those fear-based thoughts into more positive ones. Once the thoughts are reframed, the actions that follow will also be positive.

Anti-anxiety drugs from the benzo group can be helpful for some people. These drugs work swiftly to help calm nerves and relax you. In some cases, antidepressants are used to treat anxiety as well.

i feel like i'm losing my mind

Holistic Therapies That Help Manage Stress

Holistic therapies actions are now often found in the treatment plan for anxiety. This is because these activities can help improve the treatment outcome. They do this by teaching patients ways to achieve a relaxed state of being. Some of these include:

  • Yoga.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Deep breathing
  • Acupuncture.
  • Massage therapy.
  • Equine therapy.
  • Art therapy

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Expert Treatment for Anxiety 

Elevation Behavioral Health is an upscale residential mental health treatment center in Los Angeles. If you feel like anxiety makes you feel like you’re losing your mind, our caring team of experts can help. It is time to seek the treatment you deserve to regain your quality of life.

When your outpatient treatment is not giving the results you desire, consider a residential program. Treatment is much more focused, and the home-like setting gives you a chance to heal. Take a break from the stressors or triggers in your daily life. Enjoy our upscale private home and gorgeous setting. Our team will help guide you back to health and wellbeing. For questions about our program, reach out to us 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.

benefits of dual diagnosis treatment

The term dual diagnosis refers to a condition in which a person has both a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder simultaneously. Each condition worsens the other, intensifying symptoms and complicating recovery.

A dual diagnosis approach offers integrated treatment options, which significantly improves outcomes over traditional therapy approaches that do not differentiate the two conditions.

Diversity of Dual Disorders

Even though studies may group people together when they suffer from mental illnesses and addictions, most treatment providers agree that there is no single type of dual disorder. As a broad category, dual diagnosis involves a host of different possible illnesses and conditions.

From mild depression to severe bipolar disorder, any mental illnesses recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders can be part of a dual diagnosis when combined with substance abuse. These mental disorders become increasingly complex when a person suffering from the illness also abuses drugs or alcohol. Therefore, such situations warrant a dual diagnosis and a simultaneous treatment protocol.

The symptoms people experience vary greatly depending on the mental illness involved. Some forms of psychiatric illness can impair an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis, while another mental illness might only cause periodic impairment.

When substance abuse is added to the mix, the nature of dual disorders becomes even more diverse. For example, depending on the particular substance being abused, a person may feel sedated and calm, while another person may feel energized or paranoid. Both patients could have a dual diagnosis, but their disease modalities are unique, so the specific treatment paths would also be different.

Importance of Integrated Treatment

For the reasons noted above, effective treatment for individuals with a dual diagnosis necessarily involves an integrated treatment plan. This means that both conditions—the mental disorder and the addiction—will be treated at the same time.

If only one problem is treated at a time, it leaves the other problem in place. Since the two conditions aggravate each other, there is an elevated risk for continued imbalance that may severely impair recovery. For real, lasting improvement and healing to occur, both issues must be addressed together.

Effective integrated treatment can involve inpatient or outpatient programs, depending on the nature and severity of the symptoms. Both types of programs typically include the following features:

  • Parallel treatment of mental health and substance use disorders
  • Balanced use of psychotherapeutic medications, such as anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds
  • Group and/or individual therapy that builds self-confidence and restores self-esteem
  • Ongoing recovery strategy, including education, as well as the involvement of partners, spouses, children and family members<?li>

Reaping the Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

A study in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that many with a dual diagnosis had related issues that significantly impacted the quality of their lives. In addition to the symptoms inherent to their illnesses, they experienced things like:

  • Poor family and social relationships
  • Undesirable living arrangements
  • A history of arrest
  • Previous psychiatric hospitalizations
  • A history of abusing multiple drugs

Anyone struggling with the compound symptoms of co-occurring disorders could benefit from a dual diagnosis treatment. Integrated treatment offers better outcomes for severe cases of addiction, including users of multiple substances and users with severe forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia.

People with a dual diagnosis frequently need more intensive help in order to achieve sobriety. The diversity and effectiveness of integrated treatment offers the understanding care and specialized assistance they need.

Relapse Triggers

Addiction recovery is a long road, but it is one that is worth traveling. As with any journey, there are a plethora of ways to reach the destination—some longer, some shorter—but the important thing is to keep moving forward. Sometimes there are roadblocks, though. Sometimes things like peer pressure, cravings or depression slowly creep in and narrow the pathway until it is completely blocked, causing a relapse.

People on the path to recovery may stumble and fall down for a bit, but theycan always get back up. It’s just a matter of remembering the purpose of their journey and pushing forward. In order to continue on the path to recovery, it’s important to be able to recognize and combat common triggers of relapse.

Make New Friends

While people are in rehab, they’re away from everyone who they used to abuse drugs or alcohol with. They’re safe. But once they return to day-to-day life, that all changes. They’re submerged back into the world where they used, but all of a sudden they’re no longer using. It’s a huge life change. The good news is that with the right support group and sober friends, they will be able to enjoy life in a brand new way.

It is important for anyone in recovery to have a good network in place of people who support their sobriety. That way people know where to go and what to do when they begin feeling desperate—instead of turning back to drugs. They could even start to make a difference in other people’s lives. The important thing is removing themselves from as many triggering events as possible, including old friends.

Avoid Pink Cloud Syndrome

It is common for people who find their sobriety and start living in recovery to believe that they are no longer at risk for relapse. They’re living a new life, and addiction can’t touch them anymore. This is called pink cloud syndrome. The unfortunate truth is that addiction is a disease, and no matter how long they’re sober, they’re still in recovery.

People who experience pink cloud syndrome paint a false picture around themselves as a way to cope with the after-effects of addiction. They feel unable to cope on their own, so they remove themselves from reality. Sadly, this type of thinking only ends in heartache and, sometimes, relapse.

Deal with Stress in a Healthy Way

Sometimes the emotions, problems and situations that first led a person to using will also lead them to relapse. This means that they have to be especially careful during recovery when life gets tough. If a person loses a job, argues with their significant other or faces everyday challenges, it is vital that they are educated on how to handle high levels of stress without falling back into substance abuse. These life skills can be difficult to learn, but with the proper help from a professional counselor, they’ll be able to take anything the world can throw at them.

Don’t Lose Hope

Relapse can be scary. But it is avoidable with a proper relapse prevention plan. People should take any opportunity to put an advantage in their corner. Paying attention to common triggers and learning how to cope with them in a healthy way—or avoiding them altogether—will allow them to stay on the path to recovery. It is a beautiful journey, after all.

getting treatment for addiction

When people make the choice to get addiction treatment, they should remember that getting help is not an admission of failure. People don’t need to feel bad about their choice not to fight this battle alone—that’s what treatment is for. Choosing to get help means that they recognize the problem, and they accept responsibility for their lives and their choices going forward.

There is a Japanese proverb that says, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” It doesn’t matter what people have been through in the past, or how many mistakes they’ve made; making the decision to get treatment is standing up that eighth time.

Choosing Treatment

Making the choice to get treatment can bring out a lot of emotions. Admitting to needing help, picking the right treatment center and experiencing the symptoms of detox can be overwhelming. That’s a lot of change.

Family issues often develop alongside addiction. Healing family ties will help people be able to move on from past traumas and disputes and focus solely on feeling better. Family will likely be their strongest support network, so it is important to be honest with one another and develop an open line of communication. Each wound that is healed is a great stride toward cleansing their lives and healing their mind and body.

Get the Right Information

Seeking treatment is most effective if a person chooses a facility that fits their personality and needs. To do that, it’s best to start gathering information about various treatment facilities. It’s important not to just pick the closest place, but instead choose the facility that is best equipped to deal with their particular situation. Out-of-state treatment is significantly more effective than in-state treatment because it removes people from their triggering areas of familiarity and makes it much more difficult to give up and go home.

The types of programs available and cost of treatment are also something to consider. It would be nice if people didn’t have to worry about the price tag, but that’s not realistic. They should look into how much the treatment will cost and what the payment options are. Talking to experienced counselors can help them make the right choice when it comes to treatment.

Follow Through with the Recovery Plan

After determining which facility is right for them, it’s time to follow through with the treatment plan. Just reading and learning about their condition and the various types of treatment is not going to make the problem go away. Making the decision to get treatment is hard, but taking control of their lives will lead themto a much happier, brighter future.

That first step can be scary. It’s stepping into the unknown, onto a path that they may not have walked before. But their new life of health and success will greatly outweigh these brief moments of discomfort.

Positive Effects of Antidepressants

One of the most significant medical developments in the past thirty years has been the emergence of antidepressant drug therapy. Antidepressants were the breakthrough intervention for the treatment of depression since the 1980s, and have been found to be efficacious for many other mental health disorders as well. Antidepressants are a cornerstone treatment element for depressive disorders, prescribed alongside psychotherapy and other interventions for best results.

About Antidepressants

Antidepressant drug therapy mitigates symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders, and personality disorders. These drugs help alleviate distress by balancing chemicals in the brain called the neurotransmitters. Nearly 13% of Americans aged 12 and older are on antidepressants, based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control.

Among those prescribed antidepressants, the highest prevalence was among adults aged 65 and older. Regarding possible over-prescribing of antidepressants for older adults, Dr. Donovan Mause, M.D., M.S. who specializes in geriatrics at the University of Michigan states, “Many patients are given antidepressants for non-depression diagnoses, such as anxiety, sleep, and neuropathic pain.”

When a doctor decides to prescribe an antidepressant, he or she will take into consideration the benefit versus risk ratio. This simply means that the overall benefit to the wellbeing of the patient is balanced against potential side effects. For many individuals diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or a mood disorder, an antidepressant regimen offers significant benefits that offset the possible adverse effects. For those who find side effects intolerable, alternative treatments for treatment are then explored.

There are five categories of antidepressants. These include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are designed to modulate how serotonin is processed. These drugs increase the level of serotonin in the brain and block the reabsorption, or reuptake, of serotonin, making more serotonin available for transmitting messages between the neurons. Drugs in this class include Prozac, Lustral, Cipramil, Faverin, and Seroxat.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). A newer type of antidepressant, the SNRIs work by blocking both the norepinephrine and serotonin neurotransmitters. These drugs include Cymbalta, Effexor, Fetzima, and Pristiq.
  • Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). Only one drug is represented in this class, which blocks reuptake of both dopamine and norepinephrine, Wellbutrin.
  • Tetracyclics. These are drugs that work by preventing neurotransmitters from binding with specific receptors on the nerves. These drugs include Ludiomil, Remeron, and Asendin.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclics block the reabsorption of serotonin and epinephrine into nerve cells after being released into a synapse. Tricyclics include Elavil, Tofranil, Pamelor, and Norpramin.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs work by blocking the effects of an enzyme called monamine oxidase, which breaks down serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine. Drugs include Nardil, Marplan, Emsam, and Parnate.

While the positive effects of antidepressants are well established, the list of adverse side effects somewhat taints the reputation of these medications. Fortunately, with about thirty different antidepressants on the market a doctor can trial a patient on a few before finding the best therapeutic fit with the least amount of side effects. Each trial may last 4-6 weeks, after which the psychiatrist can adjust dosages or switch the patient to a different antidepressant if the trial is unsuccessful.

What Are the Positive Effects of Antidepressants?

When antidepressants are combined with psychotherapy and holistic treatment approaches they can help the individual struggling with a mental health disorder achieve a better quality of life. Being considered one prong of a three-pronged wellness approach, antidepressants play a big role in managing difficult symptoms which otherwise cause impairment in daily functioning.

While antidepressants can take several weeks before noticing a meaningful difference in symptoms, the accompanying interventions—therapy and holistic activities—can provide some relief in the meantime. When the antidepressant does become effective, the individual will experience a leveling out of the distressing symptoms to varying degrees, including some that achieve full remission.

Once the mental health disorder symptoms are under control, the individual will be able to be more productive and present in their jobs and their relationships. This in turn leads to improvements across the range of daily life, including career, family, physical health, and relationships.

These Mental Health Disorders May Benefit from the Positive Effects of Antidepressants

While commonly associated with an essential treatment method for depression, it is true that antidepressants are also efficacious in the treatment of a range of mental health conditions. Such disorders may call for a combination drug therapy that includes both antidepressants and another psychotropic drug, such as antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, or mood stabilizers. Antidepressants have been shown to be helpful for the following conditions:

Depression

Depression is a common mental health disorder that impacts over 17 million Americans annually. There are several sub-types of depression, including seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, postpartum depression, and bipolar depression. Major depressive disorder is diagnosed when at least five of the following symptoms persist for more than two weeks.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Low mood, persistent sadness, feelings of despair and hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Change in eating habits
  • Sleep disorders
  • Loss of interest in daily life
  • Sluggish cognitive functioning or movements
  • Inappropriate feelings of guilt or shame
  • Thoughts of suicide

Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorders in the US, with approximately 40 million adults struggling with anxiety. There are several different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, phobia, panic and disorder.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Irrational worry and fear, feelings of dread
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nausea

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is classified as a mood disorder, and has four types, including bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic, and non-specified bipolar.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Intense mood swings between mania and depression
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Engaging in high-risk behaviors
  • Substance abuse
  • Intense irritability
  • Hyper sexuality
  • Rapid speech
  • Increased energy
  • Suicidal ideation

Personality disorder

There are several different personality disorders, including antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder, not all of these will benefit from antidepressants although some definitely do.

There are several personality disorders, each with unique features and symptoms. Generally, someone with a personality disorder might experience:

  • Distorted sense of self
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Emotional instability
  • Impaired relationships
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Delusional thinking

Binge Eating Disorder

Among the eating disorders, only binge eating disorder appears to benefit from the use of antidepressants. Possibly that is due to the relationship between the disorder and coexisting depressive disorder. Other eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, do not seem to benefit from antidepressants.

Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

  • Continual eating even when full
  • Stockpiling food, hiding food
  • Inability to stop eating
  • Gorging in isolation
  • Feelings of numbness while bingeing
  • Never feel sated, or satisfied after eating
  • Low self-esteem

What are the Negative Effects of Antidepressants?

Now that we have covered the positive effects of antidepressants, it is helpful to also mention the limitations or negative effects of antidepressants. This is important, as antidepressants are usually effective in 50%-70% of individuals who are prescribed them for managing a mental health disorder. The balance are individuals who are diagnosed as treatment-resistant, either due to a lack of successful mitigation of symptoms or side effects that caused the individual to suspend treatment.

Antidepressant side effects might include:

  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Treatment for Depression and Anxiety is a 3-Pronged Approach

  • Medication. There is a wide selection of antidepressants on the market for treating depression and also for treating anxiety. Each type of antidepressant varies slightly in how they function in the brain, making certain types best for treating depression and others better for anxiety or other mental health conditions.
  • Psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a behavioral approach that is very effective for treating depression or anxiety. CBT helps the patient identify irrational thoughts that leads to depressive symptoms or anxiety responses. The CBT therapist will guide patients toward developing more rational thought patterns. There are also exposure therapies for helping those with depression or anxiety that is related to a trauma.
  • Holistic activities. Acknowledging the powerful mind-body connection, establishing healthy habits that promote physical wellness and help to regulate stress is essential. Incorporating regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and stress-reduction activities helps round out the treatment approach. Some activities that help reduce stress and promote calm include yoga, deep breathing techniques, practicing mindfulness, guided meditation, acupuncture, massage, and aromatherapy.

For patients with depression who do not respond to antidepressant drug therapy, there are some alternative approaches that may be helpful. These include brain stimulation techniques such as TMS therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, and deep brain stimulation.

Antidepressants remain the centerpiece of depression treatment protocols. While these medications do not work for everybody, the positive effect of antidepressants experienced by the majority of depression patients reinforces them for essential treatment of depressive disorders. Depression is a serious mental health disorder that should be diagnosed and treated to limit impairment. Giving antidepressants a trial run is a prudent step in stemming the impact of the symptoms on one’s life.

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Luxury Residential Mental Health Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health is an upscale residential mental health program based in Los Angeles that features an intimate, home-like environment. Elevation Behavioral Health treats a comprehensive list of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, personality disorder, mood disorder, and more, using a proven integrated 3-pronged approach including medication, psychotherapy, and holistic methods. If you are struggling with a mental health condition, contact our compassionate team at Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.

am i having a manic episode

Feeling a rush of uncontainable energy, you may find yourself racing around the web placing one order after another of items you don’t even really need. Or maybe you feel a wave of adrenaline that causes you to launch a dozen home projects at one, shooting through the rooms of your house like a pinball, and never really finishing a single task. If either of these examples sound familiar you may have asked yourself, “Am I having a manic episode?”

Mania is associated with signs of bipolar disorder, a complex mental health disorder that features unpredictable shifts between manic episodes and depressive episodes. When a manic episode presents itself there can be some serious repercussions that result from the high-pitched energy and euphoria that drive it. This is because along with that sudden boost of energy comes some very erratic and impulsive actions, not to mention intense irritability and insomnia.

When struggling with bipolar disorder, it is helpful to learn how to recognize the signs of the impending manic episodes, as well as the depressive ones. Seeing the warning signs can help you take proactive steps to rein it in before it explodes into uncontrollable behaviors that you end up regretting. Asking yourself, “Am I having a manic episode?” can get you in the mindset of preparation, which is all good.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are varying degrees of intensity of these episodes, so for that reason bipolar disorder has four classifications:

Bipolar I: Features both manic and depressive episodes that vary in duration, but at least one manic episode that includes psychotic features must last seven days or longer for the diagnosis to be made. The manic episode may have been shorter but was severe enough to require hospitalization. Mania is more prevalent in bipolar I.

Bipolar II: The individual experiences hypomania instead of mania, which is a less intense form of mania. Diagnosis will depend on the individual having experienced at least one hypomanic episode and one depressive episode. Depressive episodes are more prevalent in bipolar II.

Cyclothymic disorder: The individual experiences a milder form of bipolar disorder, with episodes of less severe mania and depression that resembles moodiness instead of bipolar disorder, and lasts more than two years. Untreated cyclothymic disorder can develop into bipolar disorder.

Unspecified bipolar: This classification involves abnormal mood disorder symptoms that do not fit into a specific pattern.

Approximately 5.7 million people struggle with this serious mental health condition, according to data provided by the National Institute on Mental Illness.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

It is still not fully understood how someone develops bipolar disorder. Some of the factors recognized as potential factors include a family history of bipolar disorder or mental illness, an imbalance in brain chemistry that diminishes emotion regulation, or a history of trauma or abuse. Also, certain substances, such as alcohol, hallucinogenics, benzodiazepines, and some heart or blood pressure medications have been found to provoke the symptoms of a bipolar disorder, if not igniting the disorder itself. Ongoing research is getting closer to understanding the genetic link or brain regulation issue that can cause bipolar disorder.

Brain structure differences themselves are being studied as a possible explanation for the onset of bipolar disorder. It is also thought that particular features in brain structure might predispose someone to bipolar disorder, especially in light of traumatic events or intensely stressful life events that might trigger a bipolar episode.

What Are the Symptoms of a Manic Episode?

The symptoms of a manic episode may come on suddenly and are often very intense. These symptoms include:

  • Euphoric mood, elation
  • Abundance of energy
  • Poor judgment
  • Increased activity levels, hyperactivity
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid speech
  • Irritability
  • Feeling jumpy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Engage in high-risk or impulsive behaviors
  • Take on multiple tasks at once
  • Aggression

How Bipolar Mania Impacts Daily Life

Whether a person spends their days at a job or as a student, a majority of hours will involve contact with other people. Healthy social functioning is essential for succeeding in all realms of life. When manic episodes erupt they will hinder the ability to function optimally in daily life.

Bipolar disorder can stress work relationships. An employee who exhibits mood swings on the job is likely to be viewed as unstable, which can disrupt career aspirations or even result in termination if the mood swings are seen as harmful to other employees. Additionally, the work performance of someone with unmanaged bipolar disorder will suffer as projects and assignments will be late, poorly executed, or missed entirely.

For children, having a parent with bipolar disorder can be confusing and destabilizing. Children will not understand why their parent is really happy and energetic one day and sad and tired the next. This can cause the children to become anxious and tentative, not knowing what to expect from this parent from day to day.

A similar conundrum exists for the significant others involved in a close relationship with the individual. The unpredictable mood swings, and the fallout from the manic episodes, can place so much pressure on a relationship that it is likely to fail.

Bipolar can also result in diminished health. A manic episode may result in getting inadequate sleep over a several day period, adversely impacting health and wellness. Impulsive behaviors can result in high-risk situations that lead to injury or damages.

What Steps Can Be Taken to Manage a Manic Episode?

The symptoms of a manic episode may emerge suddenly and without much warning. When you find yourself thinking, “Am I having a manic episode?” there may be very little time to proactively manage the oncoming symptoms. Seeking out the help of your support system and reaching out to your doctor or therapist can help deflect an episode. Better yet is learning the actions to take prior to a manic episode developing. Some proactive steps include:

  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Adhere to medication
  • Engage in weekly psychotherapy

In addition, the earlier the individual receives treatment for bipolar disorder the better the outcome. According to the author of an article published in The Lancet, Sameer Jauhar, Ph.D., “As a consultant psychiatrist this is something I see again and again. People who are identified early and get effective treatment quickly are able to avoid further episodes and achieve extraordinary things, while others who the system doesn’t serve so well can get stuck for years.”

Psychiatric Intervention for Bipolar Disorder

Management of bipolar disorder begins with first stabilizing the mental health condition. Bipolar disorder can lead to extreme acting out that may put the individual or others in harm’s way. A residential mental health setting will provide the acute stabilization services and 24-hour monitoring, followed by an individualized treatment plan.

Generally, bipolar disorder will be treated and managed by both medication and therapy. The medications might include lithium, antidepressants, or anticonvulsants. A period of trialing the medications and making necessary adjustments can fine tune this important treatment element for bipolar disorder management.

Psychotherapy includes a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, which will assist the individual in identifying distorted or irrational thought patterns and change them, along with interpersonal and social rhythm therapy. This type of therapy is useful in helping the bipolar patient learn how to predict an oncoming manic or depressive episode and better manage them. In addition, IPSRT emphasizes the importance of maintaining key relationships, of establishing healthy routines, and of managing stress.

Learning How to Relax

When you find yourself spinning out of control, wondering, “Am I having a manic episode?” that is the time to take the initiative and employ some effective relaxation techniques. Being familiar with these holistic activities can provide an arsenal of healing tools that will come into play when a manic episode threatens. These relaxation activities include:

  • Deep breathing. Breathing becomes shallow when we are irritable or filled with adrenaline. Slowly drawing in the breath, holding it, and then fully releasing it is a quick way to alleviate feelings of anxiety. Deep breathing exercises can be done anywhere at any time.
  • Meditation. Meditation can be as individual as the person engaged in it, but will usually involve a period of quiet time to reflect or pray. Some may benefit from accessing a meditation app that provides guided imagery that increases the sense of peace and wellbeing.
  • Yoga. Yoga is an ancient practice that uses slow, purposeful movements and poses that can help open up energy flow. Combined with meditation and focused breathing, yoga can induce peace of mind.
  • Aromatherapy. Essential oils are made from plant and flower parts and distilled into a potent form of oil. These are used in aromatherapy, or breathing in the essence of particular oils that can boost mood and calm the mind.
  • Working out. A moderately rigorous workout of 30-60 minutes can help induce emotional stability due to the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
  • Mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness helps to center the individual in the present moment. This can be particularly helpful during a manic episode, as it helps to rein in distracting thoughts and forces the individual to pay attention to the rhythm of their breathing.
  • Art therapy. Working through emotions using an art medium can be very relaxing, as well as a great outlet for expressing feelings. Art therapy can involve painting, drawing, sculpture, or crafts.
  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient Eastern medical practice that opens up blocked energy flow in the body by inserting tiny needles in particular regions. This can induce relaxation and improve overall mood.

The combination of these stress-reducing activities with cognitive behavioral therapy and possibly antidepressants can help effectively manage bipolar disorder and improve the quality of life.

Elevation Behavioral Health Offers Integrated Bipolar Treatment Program

Elevation Behavioral Health is a residential mental health program that provides comprehensive treatment for individuals with bipolar disorder. Elevation Behavioral Health elevates mental health interventions to a more intensive and focused level of intensity. At Elevation Behavioral Health, patients find themselves in a compassionate, nurturing environment that promotes emotional healing. Interventions are designed to help stabilize the severity of the mood swings, to learn new ways to recognize and manage oncoming symptoms, and to teach relaxation techniques. If you have been wondering, “Am I having a manic episode?” please contact Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.

 

warning signs of bipolar meltdown

Bipolar disorder is a complex and destabilizing mental health disorder that requires specialized interventions and psychiatric expertise to adequately manage. Those individuals living with bipolar disorder struggle daily with the challenges related to this confounding and unpredictable mental health condition.

There are different types of bipolar disorder with unique features, but the prevailing characteristics revolve around intense mood swings, shifting from manic episodes to depressive episodes. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong diagnosis, but with expert care and medication compliance it is possible to achieve normal functioning.

That said, there is a high degree of instability associated with bipolar disorder. Mood swings can escalate to such a degree that they become debilitating. When the disorder becomes so disruptive to daily functioning it may constitute a psychiatric crisis. Knowing the warning signs of a bipolar meltdown can help prevent such a crisis.

About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder features extreme shifts in mood that are unpredictable and often disruptive to daily functioning. Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, emotions, and behaviors accompany the mood swings. Individuals with bipolar disorder shift from manic to depressive episodes periodically, often without any predictable pattern. In most cases, bipolar disorder emerges in the teen or early adult years, and affects approximately 5.7 million people, according to statistics provided by the National Institute on Mental Illness. Of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder, more than 80% will have a severe form of the mental health disorder.

It is not yet totally understood how someone develops bipolar disorder. Some of the factors that are recognized as potential causes include a family history of bipolar disorder or mental illness, a problem in brain chemistry that affects mood regulation, a history of trauma or abuse. Certain substances, such as alcohol, hallucinogenics, benzodiazepines, and certain heart and blood pressure medications have been found to provoke symptoms of bipolar, if not the illness itself. Ongoing research is getting closer to understanding the genetic link or brain regulation issue that can cause bipolar disorder.

Manic episode:

  • Elated, euphoric mood
  • Abundance of energy
  • Increased activity levels
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid speech
  • Irritability
  • Feeling jumpy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Engage in high-risk behaviors
  • Take on multiple tasks at once

Managing a manic episode

At the outset of a manic episode the individual may find their symptoms getting out of control. Abnormal energy levels may prevent someone from sitting still and completing assignments at school or work. Minimal sleep over several days can impact health and wellness. Impulsive behavior can result in high-risk situations that lead to injury or material damage.

When the symptoms of a manic episode emerge there may be a very short window to proactively manage the oncoming symptoms, which is why it helps to recognize the warning signs of a bipolar meltdown. Seeking out the help of a support system such as a doctor or therapist can help prevent an episode from becoming full-fledged. Taking these proactive steps might help prevent a manic episode:

  • Medication compliance
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Using relaxation techniques
  • Continue with outpatient therapy

Depressive episode:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, empty
  • Very low energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Decreased activity level
  • Forgetful
  • Overeating or under-eating
  • Excessive worry
  • Lack of joy or pleasure
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Thoughts of suicide

Managing a depressive episode:

Possibly a stressful or sad event has triggered the episode, but many times it is just a characteristic of bipolar disorder to experience these sporadic bouts of depression. Because bipolar depression can be extreme, it is essential to identify the signs as early as possible that a depressive disorder is emerging.

As with the prevention of a manic episode, being aware of the signs of depression is a proactive response to identifying a bipolar depressive episode. When the patterns emerge, such as sleep problems, extreme fatigue, a change in eating habits, and persistent feelings of sadness, it is important to see the doctor, and also avoid alcohol and drugs. The doctor may make a change in medications or prescribe additional CBT therapy.

Different Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are four different types of bipolar disorder with varied features in terms of which mood episode is predominant. These types include:

Bipolar I Disorder. Bipolar I is the most common and most severe form of bipolar disorder, characterized by manic episodes that last for at least seven days or with manic symptoms so severe that acute stabilization in a hospital setting is necessary. The depressive episodes may last two weeks or more.

Bipolar II Disorder. Bipolar II is defined by a pattern of manic and depressive episodes, but not to the same severity of Bipolar I.

Cyclothymic Disorder. Cyclothymic Disorder, or cyclothymia, is features repeated periods of manic symptoms and depressive symptoms lasting at least two years, however the symptoms do not reach the diagnostic criteria for manic or depressive episodes.

Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar Disorders. This category includes bipolar disorder symptoms that do not fit into the above categories.

What to Expect in Residential Bipolar Disorder

Even knowing the warning signs of a bipolar meltdown, some individuals with this disorder may find that their efforts to manage it through outpatient practitioners are unsuccessful. Deteriorating bipolar disorder can become debilitating, with serious impairment in daily functioning and a significant reduction in quality of life.

Residential treatment provides a space for healing. In this setting, the individual will be free from external triggers that agitate the disorder, allowing them to attain a sense of calm while receiving specialized treatment. Treatment for bipolar disorder includes the following:

Medication: Mood stabilizing medications, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, are the most commonly prescribed drugs for treating bipolar disorder. The specific type of bipolar disorder will dictate the medications. Lithium is the predominant medication prescribed for controlling bipolar disorder, in addition to anticonvulsants and SSRIs. Medication compliance is essential for maintaining emotional stability.

Psychotherapy: Thoughts can influence behaviors, and negative thoughts can lead to self-destructive behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used form of psychotherapy for treating bipolar disorder. CBT therapists will guide the individual to identify thought distortions or triggers that lead to the disruptive behaviors, and help them change these destructive thought patterns.

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy.  IPSRT provide life skills that helps the patient learn how to better predict and manage the bipolar episodes. This therapy focuses on the importance of maintaining a consistent daily routine, in addition to improving interpersonal relations and stress management.

Holistic: Experiential and holistic therapies can aid in the healing of severe bipolar disorder symptoms and promote overall wellness. These activities might include massage therapy, yoga, deep breathing techniques, practicing mindfulness, guided meditation, and aromatherapy.

Lifestyle: Because establishing a healthy routine is an essential aspect of managing bipolar disorder, inpatient treatment centers will counsel patients on diet and exercise. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule, getting regular exercise, eating nutritiously, and managing stress are all intrinsic to achieving stability and reducing the probability of a relapse.

Minimizing Bipolar Disorder Relapse

Although there is no cure for bipolar disorder, the condition can be managed using a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments. By being vigilant and proactive with these interventions, an individual can expect to enjoy more stability and overall wellness while living a productive life.

Following residential treatment, it is helpful to continue to integrate the holistic methods introduced there into daily life. These practices help to regulate stress, which is a trigger for bipolar. In addition to the relaxation methods, using the new thought and behavior patterns learned through CBT training becomes a foundational coping mechanism. Continuing to receive ongoing outpatient therapy is another aftercare effort that should be included following inpatient treatment.

Bipolar disorder doesn’t only impact the individual, but also affects those within their orbit. Bipolar support groups can be very helpful to both the individual with the disorder and their loved ones, as these groups offer helpful tips and strategies for family members managing life alongside someone struggling with bipolar disorder. Not only with the family support help the family better understand their loved one’s BPD, but it can help to foster a calmer and better functioning family dynamic.

An important aspect of maintaining quality of life following treatment is learning how to spot the warning signs of a bipolar meltdown. Even the most diligent adherence to ongoing continuing care efforts, a relapse is still a possibility. In fact, according to a study published in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, at least 75% of those with bipolar disorder will experience relapse. Some warning signs include sleep disturbance, increasing irritability, restlessness, trouble concentrating, isolating behaviors, feeling “flat,” and suicidal thoughts.

Can Bipolar Disorder Become a Disability?

In severe cases of bipolar disorder, where the individual is so impaired by the disorder that they are unable to function effectively on the job, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may be available. There are various considerations the Social Security Administration will review prior to approving benefits, but knowing that a bipolar disability may warrant SSDI benefits provides peace of mind to individuals with extreme cases.

The SSA Blue Book details the evaluation criteria that will determine whether the person meets the eligibility threshold. Generally, benefits will be considered if impairment exists in the work environment after a history of consistent manic and/or depressive episodes resulting in two of the following three restrictions:

  • Severe limitation of daily activity
  • Inability to interact normally with coworkers or management
  • Deterioration of mental health despite treatment that helped previously

Regardless of whether the applicant for SSDI meets the above criteria, they can still qualify if they have a medical history that documents a minimum of two years with a diagnosed affective (mood) disorder, including bipolar disorder.

Elevation Behavioral Health Treats Bipolar Disorder

Elevation Behavioral Health is a Los Angeles-based residential mental health center that offers a wide array of services for individuals in need of more intensive intervention for bipolar disorder. Using a blend of evidence-based and holistic treatment methods offers a more comprehensive approach. The beautiful private facility offers upscale accommodations and spa-like amenities, which enhance the overall treatment experience. For more details about our treatment program for bipolar disorder, please reach out to Elevation Behavioral Health today 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.

 

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.