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telehealth

Telehealth Doesn’t Work for Everyone

There is no doubt that the current pandemic has created numerous obstacles for each of us. For those who were receiving in-person therapeutic services before the pandemic, the challenges were felt almost immediately. Scheduled appointments were put on hold indefinitely while healthcare officials scrambled to figure out how to best assist the community in need.

In 2019, 19.2% of adults reported receiving some form of mental health treatment, and 9.5% had received counseling or therapy from a mental health professional. As the pandemic took 2020 in a completely unexpected direction, people who depended on consistent mental health services were faced with sudden instability in their options for care. While healthcare providers and treatment professionals worked to find solutions for their patients, many people felt the immediate whiplash of change when in-person therapy came to a halt.

Between social distancing requirements and widespread fear of coming into contact with the virus, many people who need mental health services were no longer receiving the care they depended on. Furthermore, we saw a huge spike in mental illness symptoms across every section of the population as the pandemic’s compounding stress grew to affect nearly every aspect of our lives.

What Are Telehealth Services?

Although many people were unaware of telehealth services’ availability until the 2020 pandemic, this type of care was first used as a form of healthcare delivery in the late 1960s. The purpose of telehealth services is to allow a person to receive assistance in their homes’ comfort and safety by communicating through their smartphones or other mobile devices. In light of the restrictions caused by the ongoing pandemic, including social distancing requirements and widespread reluctance to meet in person, telehealth services offer a uniquely accessible approach for patients and staff alike to connect and continue care.

The Challenges Posed By Telehealth

As convenient as it is, telehealth isn’t a perfect solution. The lack of in-person services posed difficulties and complications with intakes, comprehensive assessments, and patient engagement. Some healthcare providers reported needing solutions for patients who couldn’t communicate through phone or video conferencing due to a lack of privacy in their living situations. The lack of in-person services also made it challenging for medical personnel to monitor medication and administer direct treatment.

On top of struggling to navigate the new world of online services, medical staff also had to quickly ascertain how to implement safe, effective care for their patients. Staff grappled with technological issues, a lack of HIPAA-compliant platforms, and the fact that telehealth options made it more difficult to foster a personal connection with their patients, which served to negatively counteract their efforts towards offering a successful therapeutic process.

While staff encountered obstacles as they attempted to reach their patients, their patients reported a dramatic rise in the negative emotions reported across the country. More people than ever were experiencing trouble with anxiety and depression due to problems related to the pandemic and the way that they were compounded by lack of direct treatment options.

The Digital Divide

Since the advent of the digital age, staff and patients alike have faced the increasing challenge posed by the divide that forms when all individuals are expected to rely upon technology. To people with fewer socioeconomic resources, struggling with disabilities, or living in disadvantaged areas, being able to depend on reliable access to technology isn’t always an option. 

Pew Research reported that people with disabilities, both physical and psychiatric, were three times more likely never to utilize online services and that about 20% did not even own an electronic device that could give them access to telehealth services. 

Exercising Caution With In-Person Services

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and numerous other healthcare officials have stressed the importance of social distancing. Many people are worried about coming into contact with someone infected with the COVID-19 virus or spreading it themselves, making the prospect of attending in-person services seem scary and irresponsible in many. For some, however, in-person services are the only way to receive the care they need. 

Many organizations, such as Achieve Medical Center, are taking every necessary precaution to provide in-person services to those in need while keeping everyone safe. At Achieve Medical Center, we leave ample space in between each appointment to allow for social distancing. Staff members wear masks at all times and thoroughly disinfect treatment areas between all sessions. The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty and discomfort, causing many to disregard their treatment needs. Remember that your mental wellness and your safety are both important parts of a healthy life.

 

No matter what else is happening in your life, your mental well-being should always be a priority. While telehealth services provide numerous benefits to those who can access them, they may not be perfect for meeting your needs. Both staff and patients have complained about the inability to connect and not being able to gain efficient care through telehealth services. For some individuals, having reliable access to telehealth services is simply not an option. While the ongoing pandemic has tremendously decreased the availability of in-person services, there are still some forms of care available to those in need. Treatment centers like Achieve Medical Center want you to get the help that works for you while respecting your boundaries and ensuring your safety at all times. You don’t have to go it alone. To learn more about how our services can help make a difference, call Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.

holistic

Taking a Holistic Approach to Mental Health

Many people who struggle with mental health disorders may hesitate to get help due to their stigma. Some may also not get help because they are not comfortable taking medication that might produce side effects. If a person has a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD, the symptoms can interfere with every aspect of their life. Taking a holistic approach to mental health focuses on treating the whole person instead of just the symptoms of the disorder. 

What Are the Symptoms of a Mental Health Disorder?

A mental health disorder can make it challenging for a person to do the things they usually enjoy. The Mayo Clinic states that mental health disorders can cause different symptoms and affect mood, thinking, and behavior. Examples of mental health disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors.

Struggling with mental health challenges can affect your job performance, create financial hardships and job loss, cause social isolation, and disrupt sleep patterns. Many people who experience mental illness may also experience fatigue, sleeplessness or oversleeping, and decreased nutritional consumption. 

Leaving a mental health disorder untreated can cause physical pain, such as headaches and stomach pains. Some symptoms of mental illness are severe and can be life-threatening. In extreme cases, symptoms can lead to suicidal thoughts. In milder cases, a person can function, go to work, and smile but still feel broken on the inside.

What is Holistic Treatment?

Holistic treatment is designed to help a person heal using therapy that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. Mindfulness, a common technique used in holistic therapies, teaches the individual to be present and consciously aware of their experiences as they happen. Yoga and meditation are healthy ways to incorporate mindfulness as the deep breathing techniques typically used with these methods can help increase blood oxygen levels in the brain. We cannot control how we feel, but we can control how we respond to our feelings using mindfulness. An open mind will help establish a central focus on total wellness, physical and mental health, sustainable relationships, and responsibilities.

According to the National Institutes of Health, some scientists believe that mental health disorders originate from problems between neurons in the brain. “For example, the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is lower in individuals who have depression. This finding led to the development of certain medications for the illness. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by reducing the amount of serotonin that is taken back into the presynaptic neuron.” 

Although some medications can help stabilize neurotransmitter activity, the origin of the problem can be more complicated. These complications can include nutrition insufficiency, neural pathway changes in response to trauma, socio-economic factors, or a combination of these factors. When you are mindful, you can be aware of your emotions and respond to them differently. It helps you to listen to your body and stay healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. Holistic therapy allows you to develop new and healthy ways to cope with anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health disorder symptoms.

Neurofeedback or biofeedback therapy is a noninvasive therapy used to help make slight changes in the body and reduce pain. Neurofeedback therapy gives a person the ability to perform new ways to control their body or improve a health condition. This therapy keeps track of brain activity and teaches the brain to reach a point of relaxation. The brain adjusts to environmental changes, helping individuals cope with emotions, form memories, and learn.

Finding Healthy Ways to Cope

Living with a mental health disorder impacts our physical health and breaks our spirit as we suffer from feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, isolation, and lack of confidence. Finding healthy ways to cope with the symptoms and negative thinking patterns associated with mental health disorders can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety of everyday life. Practicing mindfulness and incorporating healthy eating habits daily can improve mood, boost morale, and mend your broken spirit. Exercise is highly recommended for maintaining mental and physical health and gives us the ability to heal from the inside out. You can also try implementing self-care into your routines, such as taking a bath, journaling, or any other activities you find joy in. 

Getting Help for a Mental Health Disorder

At Achieve Medical Center, we realize there is no one-size-fits-all therapy for everyone. While medication can work for one person, it does not always work for everyone else. We work as a team to provide the best-individualized plan so you can feel better mentally, physically, and spiritually. We want to help you manage mental health disorders symptoms and discover ways to cope with anxiety and depression feelings. We offer comprehensive mental health services for the mind, body, and spirit.

Our neurofeedback therapy is a non-invasive approach that can help a patient manage symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, ADHD, sleep problems, addiction, disordered eating, trauma, and other mental health disorders. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder, get help today. Do not let the stigma surrounding mental health prevent you from getting the help you need. We want to help you feel better and achieve total wellness for a fulfilling, healthier life. You are not alone and do not have to suffer from mental health symptoms anymore.

 

At Achieve Concierge, we offer comprehensive mental health services that include treatments to heal the body, mind, and spirit. In some instances, a patient may benefit from psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or mindfulness. In other cases, a patient may require medication and life coaching. Our medical professionals learn about a patient and then offer comprehensive mental health services as part of a total wellness experience. Each person who struggles with a mental health disorder responds differently to treatment. We work as a team to help you identify strategies to manage mental health symptoms so you can live a happy, healthy, and meaningful life. At Achieve Concierge, we offer individualized support to help you cope with mental health disorders. We deliver a personalized plan tailored to your needs, so you can achieve total wellness that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. We offer same-day appointments in person, as well as telemedicine appointments. To find out more, call us today at (858) 221-0344.

adhd

Treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder commonly found in children that often lasts through adulthood. Neurodevelopmental disorders are disabilities associated primarily with the functioning of the neurological system and brain. Children with ADHD can have trouble paying attention, staying focused, controlling impulsive behaviors, or be overly active. At Achieve Concierge, we work with patients of all ages to determine the best treatment plan for their ADHD symptoms. 

Childhood ADHD

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines neurodevelopmental disorders as “behavioral and cognitive disorders that arise during the developmental period that involve significant difficulties in the acquisition and execution of specific intellectual, motor, or social functions.” ADHD can affect a child’s school performance and lead to lower grades. A child with ADHD may also have more trouble in social interactions, being accepted by peers, and learning in school. 

It is typical for most healthy children to be inattentive, distracted, and hyperactive at appropriate age levels. A child who is suffering from ADHD has more trouble concentrating and paying attention than a healthy child does at the same age. ADHD symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. According to the Mayo Clinic, children who struggle with ADHD are at increased risk of alcohol and drug abuse and other delinquent behavior and tend to have low self-esteem.

Children who have ADHD can be hard to parent as their constant activity and inattentiveness can be challenging for adults to manage. Common parenting strategies can be ineffective for a child with ADHD. Positive reinforcement, rewarding good behavior and showing support can help improve a child’s self-esteem with ADHD. A daily structured routine at home and school also helps the child to know and understand expectations. Identifying strengths and building on them can boost a child’s confidence and sense of accomplishment.

Teens and Young Adults with ADHD

Social problems among peers in childhood can continue into teen years and adolescence. A lack of positive peer relationships in childhood can limit opportunities to practice and refine social skills, worsening existing deficits. Difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships can become increasingly disruptive for a teen with ADHD. 

Teens with ADHD have more difficulty complying with rules and need more frequent reminders and supervision. This need for supervision can be frustrating for the parent and teen and may lead to a cycle of escalating negative interaction. Showing love and support, reinforcing positive behavior, and finding opportunities where the teen can be successful, will help boost confidence and get the most out of their natural talents. 

Many teens with ADHD continue to experience significant symptoms in adulthood. An adult who struggles with ADHD may have difficulty organizing things, recalling details, and listening to instructions. ADHD can also make a person forget things, get easily distracted, and seem disorganized. This can make it hard for the person to get along with people at work, home, or school. 

Medications for ADHD

ADHD can be treated with stimulant medications, such as Adderall or Ritalin. Since these medications are stimulants, they can be addictive when not used as prescribed by a medical professional. Adderall and Ritalin raise levels of dopamine in the brain, which improves attention and focus. Stimulant use should be continually monitored by a healthcare professional to avoid the risk of prescription misuse. The misuse of stimulants is linked to psychosis, heart attack, cardiovascular problems, or even death.

Co-Occurring Mood Disorders

According to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), “In adults, approximately 38% of ADHD patients have a co-occurring mood disorder. Mood disorders are characterized by extreme changes in mood.” It also states, “Up to 30%t of children and up to 53% of adults with ADHD may also have an anxiety disorder.”

A mood disorder is a condition that affects a person’s emotional state. It can make a person sad, irritable, or depressed. It can also result in extreme happiness or mania. When a person is diagnosed with ADHD and a co-occurring mood disorder, both conditions must be treated simultaneously as a dual diagnosis for the best outcome. With the right treatment, symptoms of ADHD can become more manageable, and a person who lives with a mood disorder can feel more emotionally stable.

Treatment for ADHD

Many people who struggle with ADHD live happy and successful lives. There are many challenges for a person with ADHD may face. However, treatment is available for people of all ages who struggle with ADHD. Achieve Concierge provides medications, psychotherapy, and other ADHD treatments for children and adults. We understand the challenges associated with ADHD and determine the best treatment plan for each individual’s needs. We can design a treatment plan tailored specifically for you.

 

ADHD poses significant challenges in children, teens, and adults and can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Developing social skills and maintaining relationships can be difficult for a child or teen living with ADHD. An adult with ADHD can have organizational problems and the inability to stay focused, making it hard to complete tasks at work or home. Often, those who have ADHD can also have an underlying co-occurring mood disorder. At Achieve Concierge, we offer treatment for all ages of people living with ADHD. We provide medications, psychotherapy, and other ADHD treatments and natural remedies tailored to a patient’s individual needs. Our patients experience a continuum of care that addresses not only healing for the mind but the body and spirit as well. While there is no cure for ADHD, treatment is available. We offer same-day appointments as well as telemedicine appointments. If you are struggling with ADHD, there is help available. To get more information about our services, call (858) 221-0344.

military mental health

Why Military Mental Health Services Are Essential

Mental health for service members is essential. Coming home to a life torn apart by politics, the coronavirus, and protests can be stressful. Trying to readjust to civilian life presents difficulties of its own. Regardless, if military individuals are transitioning out of the service or coming home after a tour, the fact is that talking with those who haven’t seen or experienced what they have is hard. Mental health services are necessary, but some military personnel seeking mental health have a difficult time.

Mental health treatment continues to carry a stigma. Military personnel can hesitate to seek help because they feel shame, embarrassment, or a fear of ruining their career. Military Medicine describes the reason military men and women are hesitant to seek mental health treatment as:

  • Military health and mental health services do not fully meet the complex needs of active duty service members. Military providers must balance obligations both to patients and to the military command. Due to this “double agency,” problems of trust and confidentiality become barriers to care. Increasing recognition of conflicting obligations has led to re-examinations of professional ethics in the military. Dealing with suicide or suicidality has become a significant source of burnout for military health professionals. Mental health professionals also address mass casualty events and wounded or injured children. Other barriers include stigma, a negative impact of seeking care on one’s military career, beliefs that care would not be useful, and lack of services in specific geographic regions.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

Disclosing your mental health issues and seeking treatment is to your benefit. There are dangers to not revealing your mental health. Military Medicine also reports:

  • Service members exhibit high rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol, other substance use disorders, behavioral problems, and adverse consequences of military sexual trauma. The mental health consequences of military service manifest themselves most dramatically in high rates of suicide, recently averaging 20 per day among veterans and over 1 per day among active-duty military personnel; more active-duty personnel have been dying from suicide than from combat.

Mental Health Concerns

Learning how to recognize mental health issues takes time. Often, especially when deployed, your mental health status is not a priority. However, even when deployed, it is essential to take care of yourself. Knowing what some of the mental health issues those in the military face and their causes is a step towards seeking treatment. The National Alliance on Mental Health discusses these three primary mental health issues:

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Traumatic events, such as military combat, assault, disasters, or sexual assault, can have long-lasting adverse effects such as trouble sleeping, anger, nightmares, jumpy, and alcohol and drug abuse. When these troubles don’t go away, it could be PTSD. The 2014 JAMA Psychiatry study found the rate of PTSD to be 15 times higher than civilians.
  • Depression: More than just experiencing sadness, depression doesn’t mean you are weak, nor is it something that you can simply “just get over.” Depression interferes with daily life and normal functioning and may require treatment. The 2014 JAMA Psychiatry study found the rate of depression to be five times higher than civilians.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A traumatic brain injury is usually the result of a significant blow to the head or body. Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue or drowsiness, memory problems, and mood changes and mood swings.

Seeking Help

If you recognize any of the signs or symptoms of these mental health concerns, seek help. Who can you turn to for help?

  • Therapists or counselors – many treatment providers, know and understand the difficulties you are going through
  • Primary Care Providers – if you are unsure of your mental health status or need to find out who to talk to your doctor is an excellent person to provide answers
  • Fellow military personnel who volunteer to help military personnel with mental health issues
  • Group sessions designed to address the needs of service members

Transitions

Transitioning from military life to civilian life presents new opportunities and new situations. Military life is different from private life. The skills you learned and needed in the military aren’t always useful in civilian life. You can transition from military life and find you need new skills for a job. Military life provides a rigid structure and sometimes that structure doesn’t exist in civilian life.

When you are in the military, you meet new people, make friends, and have shared experiences. These friendships and experiences can be challenging to replicate in civilian life. Finding a group or volunteering with those who were in the military can help you in the transition from military life.

Prepare yourself for questions and thoughts from those who didn’t serve. Some may want to know what you saw and experienced while others can needlessly express their opinions. You don’t need to answer questions or react to rude ideas.

Seeking mental health treatment while you are in the military or are a veteran may be right for you. Speaking with someone who will listen, help you build a treatment plan, and connect you with veterans’ support groups provides you with ways to process everything you experienced. Reaching out to others is a sign of strength. Transitioning from one lifestyle to another is filled with challenges. Take your time, be gentle with yourself, and reach out for help if you need it. There is help that is accessible, safe, and private. Mental health treatment during or after military service will make you stronger. If you are in the military and worry about continuity of care because of base changes, look for a treatment center that provides centers near your base. Achieve Concierge is proud to help those in the service. We have people available 24/7 to guide you in your questions. Achieve Concierge also has treatment centers in California, Alaska, and Oregon. For more information, contact us at (858) 221-0344.

botox and depression

The Benefits of Botox For Depression

Struggling with depression can be overwhelming. Major depression is a common mental health disorder that can create severe obstacles to activities. For those who suffer from major depression, living can become a burden.
The National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) data defines major depression as:

  • A period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and had a majority of specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy,
  • concentration, or self-worth.
  • No exclusions were made for major depressive episode symptoms caused by medical illness, substance use disorders, or medication.

NIMH also relays the statistics for the prevalence of major depressive episode among adults:

  • An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 7.1% of all U.S. adults.
  • The prevalence of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females (8.7%) compared to males (5.3%).
  • The prevalence of adults with major depressives episodes was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (13.1%).
  • The prevalence of major depressive episodes was highest among adults reporting two or races (11.3%).
  • An estimated 65% received combined care by a health professional and medication treatment.
  • Treatment with medication alone was the least common (6%).
  • Approximately 35% of adults with major depressive episodes did not receive treatment.

Standard Treatment

Standard treatment for major depressive episodes isn’t always effective. Researchers have discovered a surprising regimen for the disorder: Botox. You may be wondering “what is Botox?” Botox is well-known for its use as a cosmetic procedure to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

The Benefits of Botox

Botox is more than a remedy for wrinkles. Doctors have prescribed it for

  • Chronic migraines
  • Excessive underarm sweating
  • Overactive bladder
  • Crossed-eyes
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Severely cold hands
  • Cleft lip scars in babies
  • Painful sex
  • Severe neck spasms
  • Depression

Botox can aid in reducing symptoms from a major depressive disorder. Botox also doesn’t have the side effects some people experience with antidepressants.

A study titled “Efficacy of Botox versus Placebo for Treatment of Patients with Major Depression” researched whether or not Botox is an effective treatment for those with major depressive disorder. The study consisted of 28 patients with major depressive disorder. The patients were assigned to either receive a placebo or Botox. Researchers followed the patients for six weeks.

At the end of the first week, two of the researchers saw little difference between the patients in the placebo group and those in the Botox group. However, the results after six weeks were encouraging. The patients who were given Botox showed an improvement in their major depressive disorder. The same patients were also found to have little or no side effects from Botox. This finding offers hope to researchers, therapists, and those with major depressive disorder.

How Does Botox Relieve Symptoms of Depression?

Studies regarding the effectiveness of Botox for the treatment of major depressive disorder began in 2006. A study in 2016 published in the Journal of The American Academy of Dermatology theories demonstrated how:

  • BTA yields a cosmetic effect, which indirectly leads to improved mood
  • More pleasant facial expressions lead to positive social feedback with resultant mood improvement
  • Decreased glabellar muscle activation decreases afferent nerve signals back to the brain, thereby reducing “negative emotional feedback”
  • BTA itself reaches the brain, causing direct effects on emotional processing

A preliminary finding was the benefit of Botox can be linked to “facial feedback.” Emotions and their expressions can send feedback to the brain. Botox suppresses the contraction in the forehead that produces frown lines. The suppression of the frown lines may result in improved mood. For those who tried everything and still suffer from the effects of major depressive disorder, the idea of Botox may be worth considering.

What to Expect at a Botox Appointment

Before choosing a doctor to give you a Botox injection, take the time to find a doctor who not only specializes in providing injections but can also address your mental health needs. Here is the step by step procedure for getting a Botox injection:

  • The doctor will clean your face with an alcohol wipe
  • A medication will be injected to numb the area
  • Botox will be injected into the muscles between your eyebrows

Botox causes temporary paralysis of the fine or frown lines found between your eyes or on the forehead region. The paralysis is thought to suppress the mood feedback to the brain. Without a frown forming between your eyes, it is believed that depression is suppressed.

Botox Side Effects vs. Antidepressant Side Effects

Based on findings from the Mayo Clinic, Botox side effects can include:

  • pain, swelling, or bruising near the injection site
  • headache
  • flu-like symptoms
  • droopy eyebrow or eyelid
  • dry eyes or increased tears

The effects of Botox are thought to last for several weeks longer than when used for cosmetic purposes. On the other hand, the side effects of antidepressants can include:

  • nausea
  • sexual dysfunction
  • drowsiness
  • fatigue
  • increased appetite
  • weight gain
  • insomnia

When to Contact Your Doctor

Sometimes the use of Botox can result in severe side effects such as

  • muscle weakness
  • vision changes
  • problems speaking or swallowing
  • breathing difficulties
  • loss of bladder control

If any of these symptoms occur, you should immediately call your doctor and let them know. These side effects are not typical and only happen in rare cases.

Before deciding to use Botox as a part of treatment for major depressive disorder, talk with your therapist about the pros and cons. Ask whether you will remain on an antidepressant, how it will work, and if it is right for you. Botox, when combined with the proper treatment, can be an effective way to help you cope with the symptoms of major depressive disorder.

Choosing to try something new for your major depressive disorder doesn’t need to be overwhelming. If you exhausted the standard care treatments prescribed by your doctor or therapist, take the time to ask about using Botox as a treatment for major depressive disorder. Studies show how Botox—when combined with therapy, and if necessary, an antidepressant—can improve your mental health.

Before you decide to start Botox, consult with your doctor or therapist on how you will decrease your current antidepressant. Also, trying genetic testing to see how certain antidepressants affect you is useful; ask your therapist if you can try genetic testing. Following all avenues to improve your major depressive disorder can help you understand your genetic predisposition to certain medications, how they can interact with your body, and if Botox can help relieve your major depressive symptoms. Call Achieve Concierge for more information at (858) 221-0344.

Cycles of Depression: Hope in Treatment

Cycles of Depression: Hope in Treatment

Depression is complicated. There is often a fear of vulnerability. Complicating it, even more, is the anxiety of being labeled. Then there is the advice given by friends and family. Despite the well-intentioned words, there remains a lack of understanding of how crippling depression is. People who suffer from depression are often masters of disguise.

The need to keep up appearances pushes them to drive away their feelings. For many, the promise of comfort found in substances is tempting. The first few times creates a sense of well-being. Unfortunately, people often believe that continued use will help them keep depression away.

Depression

Depression occurs commonly across the world. Those who are affected by depression are young and old, male and female. Complex interactions in social, biological, and psychological situations can contribute to depression. Adverse life events, such as loss of a loved one or a job, as well as trauma, can all contribute to depression—and feelings of depression can also layer on top of existing feelings of depression.

There are two types of depression: the World Health Organization defines the types of depression and their symptoms depending on the number and severity of symptoms; a depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. A key distinction is also made between depression in people who do or do not have a history of manic episodes.

Both types of depression can be chronic (i.e., over an extended period) with relapses, especially if they go untreated.

Recurrent depressive disorder: this disorder involves repeated depressive episodes. During these episodes, the person experiences a depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy—leading to diminished activity for at least two weeks.

Many people with depression also suffer from anxiety symptoms, disturbed sleep, and appetite, and may have feelings of guilt or low self-worth, poor concentration, and even symptoms that cannot be explained by a medical diagnosis. Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, a depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.

An individual with a mild depressive episode will have some difficulty in continuing with ordinary work and social activities, but will probably not cease to function completely. During a severe depressive episode, it is unlikely that the sufferer will be able to continue with social, work, or domestic activities, except to a limited extent.

Bipolar affective disorder: this type of depression typically consists of both manic and depressive episodes, separated by periods of normal mood. Manic episodes involve elevated or irritable mood, over-activity, pressure of speech, inflated self-esteem, and a decreased need for sleep.

Depression may lead to suicidal thoughts. Many people seek relief from depression by using alcohol or drugs. However, using alcohol or substances increases suicidal ideations, rather than decreasing those thoughts.

Depression and Alcohol or Substance Abuse

Feelings of depression are, at times, overwhelming. People, seeking to ease feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or stress can turn to alcohol or substances. The use of alcohol or substances can temporarily mask those feelings; however, using alcohol or substances doesn’t address the root of depression. Alcohol, drug, or marijuana users soon become dependent on these substances in a never-ending cycle.

Continued use of alcohol, drugs, or marijuana can increase feelings of depression. Talking to a therapist, a doctor, or joining a support group can help individuals begin to actually address their depression. For treatment to be successful, finding the right therapist is essential.

Treatment for Depression

The World Health Organization explains the types of treatments for depression:

Health-care providers may offer psychological treatments such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), or antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Health-care providers should keep in mind the possible adverse effects associated with antidepressant medication, the ability to deliver either intervention (in terms of expertise, and/or treatment availability), and individual preferences. Different psychological treatment formats for consideration include individual and/or group face-to-face psychological treatments delivered by professionals and supervised lay therapists.

Myra’s Story

Myra, an addict, shares her struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Myra sought help after her first attempt at suicide. While in treatment, Myra developed a greater understanding of the causes and manifestations of depression, and learned how to address those causes. She felt empowered. Unfortunately, Myra wasn’t comfortable asking her therapist about a new medication, because her current prescription didn’t alleviate her feeling of depression.

She didn’t feel better and began to wonder if therapy or medication would work. Two years later, she attempted suicide again. During the two years before her second attempt, Myra stopped going to therapy and neglected to take her medication for depression.

Finding the Right Fit

The next time Myra decided to seek help, she chose a treatment center that matched therapists with their clients’ needs. Myra sat in the office of her therapist and talked about everything but her suicidal ideations. Each session was a time to chat, talk about her career, family, and explain to her therapist how she didn’t have time to give in to depression.

Myra was good at keeping up appearances until one day she realized she was tired of pretending to be okay. Myra trusted her relationship with her therapist, and she opened up. She told her therapist about her episodes of depression. Together, they addressed Myra’s depression disorder. Myra and her therapist discussed what triggers her feelings of depression, her previous prescriptions, and what she used to alleviate her feelings of depression.

Her therapist explained that Myra had Treatment-Resistant Depression. After speaking with the doctor, Myra and her therapist agreed that including Spravato to her treatment would benefit her—a medication prescribed by a doctor for those with Treatment-Resistant Depression. Myra saw improvements in her depression after combining Spravato, therapy, and an antidepressant.

Depression is a common psychological illness and is treatable. Influences such as the death of loved one, job loss, and other life changes increase the chance of depression. Stress from trying to hide or address depression on your own adds to depression. It’s okay to acknowledge the signs of depression, including a lack of interest in hobbies, places, or people. The search for help is possible by reaching out to others. Talking with someone about feelings of depression should help alleviate those feelings. Feelings of depression can be addressed through comprehensive care. If you were previously in treatment for depression, but it didn’t work, there is an answer. Treatment-Resistant Depression isn’t something you have to live with. Addressing Treatment-Resistant Depression is possible with prescriptions such as Spravato. Specialized care tailored to meet each individual’s needs can create a positive experience in therapy. Treatment for depression offers hope. Contact Achieve Concierge today: (858) 221-0344.

Maintaining a Schedule for Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a Schedule for Work-Life Balance

As the stay-at-home orders are lifted nationwide, it is essential to maintain a schedule that works for you. It has likely been easier to keep a work-life balance without a daily commute, early alarm clocks, or filled social calendars. As we begin to go back to work, you must remind yourself how to continue balancing your work life and your home life.

Below are some tips you can use to bring yourself back to a stable balance while being away from home and still remain present for yourself and your family.

Write It Down

The first step for tackling any challenge is to write it down. You want to create a map to remind yourself where you need to be at any given point. Life can be uncertain and unpredictable, so take the time to build the foundation and structure your mind needs to maintain positive mental health benefits. This solid foundation will increase your productivity throughout the day.

A great way to start this process is to buy a planner that is visually pleasing to you so you are more inclined to use it. Consider picking up a simple planner from the local superstore or get a custom-made planner online. As long as it’s a planner that you can identify and use regularly, you are on the right track.

Try buying stickers, colorful pens, and specialized tools to color-coordinate your planner and make it your own. You can also add in spaces where you can doodle, create lists, or write down important information. When designing your planner, it is important to consider a successful work-life balance and then visualize what to do when there is an imbalance between them.

A great tactic to separate work/responsibility tasks from self-care and personal time is to separate the two by color. For example, make all work tasks green and all personal tasks blue. This way, you can see when you are dedicating more time to work than you are committing to yourself or personal matters.

Put an End to Procrastination

Once you have created a scheduled map of where you’re going, your next enemy to battle is procrastination. Almost everyone struggles with this issue, but it is something that you can train yourself to stop doing. Knowing your direction is half the battle of overcoming procrastination.

You are now priming each day with intention, which can eliminate the need for your mind to drift and avoid decisions that take up precious time and energy. Spend 21 days following your hour-by-hour schedule as carefully as you can. Train yourself to adhere to a timetable, so you no longer allow yourself to procrastinate.

Make sure to not put off tasks like working out, meditation, or a quick walk at lunchtime to put yourself in a fresh mindset to accomplish more things at work. Continue to take time for yourself to release and debrief from your workday. Make sure that you are prioritizing your mental health throughout your daily work routine.

Avoid Multitasking

While it is impressive to juggle a lot of projects at once, science shows us that multitasking decreases the quality of our work. Create a checklist of things that you need to accomplish for the day and list them by importance. Don’t worry about your ability to complete everything — focus on the quality of the work you can do. Whatever does not get checked off the list at the end of the day goes to the top of the checklist the next day as the most critical items.

This method ensures that you will not be focused on multitasking and possibly completing the same amount of work but at lower quality. You want to dedicate all of your time to one task and give it the best effort you can, then move on to the next item on your list.

Make sure that you also remove any outside distractions such as social media, texting, internet surfing, or chatting with colleagues. There are several website blockers that you can use, so even if you are tempted to get on social media, you will be unable to. Keep your work area clean and distraction-free, as it will be too easy to pick up whatever is at hand and become distracted.

Another great way to release yourself during this time is to use the Pomodoro method and allow yourself a specific time for distraction. The Pomodoro method is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have, rather than against it. Using this method, you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. Make sure to set a timer so you don’t get lost in the never-ending abyss of social media or the internet.

Whatever system works best for you, the goal is to continue having a healthy work-life balance outside the home.

Looking for life coaching or guidance from qualified mental health professionals who can help you get a routine started? Achieve Concierge is here for you. Our expert mental health services are designed to make you a top priority. Your personal mental wellness, work, and lifestyle needs will be taken into account at every step of treatment. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (858) 221-0344.

Ways to Help Children with ADHD Manage Online Learning

Ways to Help Children with ADHD Manage Online Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic threw off everyone’s 2020 plans. The virus not only shut down our malls, schools, pools, and gyms — it shut down our way of life. Children went home one Friday afternoon from school, unaware that they would not be returning until August. There was no way to prepare ourselves for the reality that we would all be quarantined inside.

Learning from home via Zoom and only connecting with friends in online classrooms can be detrimental to social growth for any child, but the challenges for students with learning disabilities, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), need particular attention. The goal is to help children with ADHD and other disorders receive the same quality of education as their peers.

School’s Out

We all understand that there was no way around online classes once everyone was sent home for the school year. Teachers were forced to move lesson plans online, and parents have stayed home with their families for months. Without any time to plan, the idea to televise education inevitably left no room for children with learning difficulties. Children being asked to maintain classwork and schoolwork on their own with ADHD is incredibly difficult.

What Teachers Can Do

As educators, you care deeply about the children you teach and want to provide the best level of education that you are capable of giving. Check in on your kids who have ADHD/ADD. Reach out to the parents and see what you can do to help give these children the education they need. In brick and mortar classrooms, children with learning disabilities often have tutors and extra time for concept retention.

This resource is instrumental to a child’s development, and it would also be an excellent at-home resource for parents and children. Another way to help your students with ADHD is to continuously check your volume levels while teaching a live class. Some of your students may have sensory issues. If excessive yelling is used during your live stream, they may not be focused on what you’re saying, but how loudly you’re saying it.

Another thing to be mindful of is your movement. Arm flailing or pacing can be distracting for students with learning disabilities. Consider recording yourself teaching as if your students were in front of you. By reviewing these recordings, you’ll see if you sway, pace, make large hand movements, or fidget with your clothing.

What Parents Can Do

Having the entire world shift is stressful and unexpected, and it generates a lot of unnecessary stress on your children as well as yourself. If your child is struggling with ADHD and learning from home, they need your help as well. Carve out 1-2 hours every night or every other night with your child to help them with their homework or perhaps teach them a new concept at school.

There are plenty of free websites that can help with learning new concepts in math, science, language arts, or social studies. If you are feeling helpless, no worries! Reach out to your child’s teacher and let them know that your child is struggling. It is always okay to ask for help. Another great way to keep your children on task is to create a set schedule with your child.

Tell your child what they will be learning, why they are learning about it, and how long they will be learning it. It could reduce anxiety or restlessness if your child knows exactly how long the lesson will last, followed by an allotted amount of free time. If you are using Zoom or another online live classroom setting, make sure the lesson is recorded so your child can view the lesson in chunks and retain the information more effectively.

Realizing the Difficulties

It’s no secret that children with ADHD already have a difficult time learning in traditional brick and mortar schools. Now that they have to learn online from home with hundreds of distractions, the difficulty is likely even greater. It is challenging to keep the attention of a child with ADHD, so be prepared to spend more time instructing and teaching.

An ADHD diagnosis can be a challenge for people of all ages, especially today in the world of online learning and working. If you or someone you know struggles with ADHD, Achieve Concierge can help. We use mindfulness awareness techniques, medications, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD and improve performance at school and at work. To learn more, call us today at (858) 221-0344.