There are several types of anxiety disorders. However, the main anxiety disorders include:
Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety disorder)
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year. These disorders cause individuals to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Brief anxiety that can be caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), is very mild in comparison with anxiety disorders which last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Anxiety disorders commonly occur with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make symptoms worse. In some cases, treatment for alcohol or substance abuse needs to occur before a person will respond to treatment for an anxiety disorder. Each individual anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all of the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread. (nimh.com)
Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. Some effective treatments for anxiety disorders include psychotherapy, aerobic exercise and medications. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has indicated that certain psychotherapy techniques known as behavioral therapies or cognitive behavioral therapies are most useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves examining connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This examination is helpful in teaching individuals to address their fears by modifying the way he or she thinks and responds to stressful events. Relaxation techniques, including meditation, are also useful for people with anxiety disorders to help decrease their stress and to help them cope with severe worrying.
Further, the importance of having a good diet and getting enough sleep are known to decrease symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. Regular exercise has also been scientifically proven to be effective and is essential to coping with anxiety disorders.
There is no cure for bipolar disorder. However, treatments are available and have proven to be very successful in most cases. Good treatment helps people gain control of their mood swings and other related symptoms of bipolar. Because bipolar disorder is recurrent and lifelong, people with bipolar disorder need life long treatment. Both medication and psychotherapy are needed to reduce symptoms and prevent relapse.
The following mood stabilizing medications are used to treat bipolar disorder:
Lithium (sometimes known as Eskalith or Lithobid) was the first mood-stabilizing medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s for treatment of mania. It is often very effective in controlling symptoms of mania and preventing the recurrence of manic and depressive episodes as in bipolar disorder.
Valproic acid or divalproex sodium (Depakote), approved by the FDA in 1995 for treating mania, is a popular alternative to lithium for bipolar disorder. It is generally as effective as lithium for treating bipolar disorder.
More recently, the anticonvulsant lamotrigine (Lamictal) received FDA approval for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.
Other anticonvulsant medications, including gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), and oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) are sometimes prescribed. No large studies have shown that these medications are more effective than mood stabilizers.
Other medications, called “Atypical antipsychotic medications” are also sometimes used to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. Often, these medications are taken with other medications. Atypical antipsychotic medications are called “atypical” to set them apart from earlier medications, which are called “conventional” or “first-generation” antipsychotics. (www.nimh.nih.gov). These include:
Olanzapine (Zyprexa), when given with an antidepressant medication, may help relieve symptoms of severe mania or psychosis.
Aripiprazole (Abilify), like olanzapine, is approved for treatment of a manic or mixed episode.
Quetiapine (Seroquel) relieves the symptoms of severe and sudden manic episodes.
Risperidone (Risperdal) and ziprasidone (Geodon) are other atypical antipsychotics that may also be prescribed for controlling manic or mixed episodes.
Further, antidepressant medications are sometimes used to treat symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. Most people with bipolar disorder struggle significantly with depression. People with bipolar disorder who take antidepressants often take a mood stabilizer too. Doctors usually require this because taking only an antidepressant can increase a person’s risk of switching to mania or hypomania. Commonly prescribed anti-depressants to treat bipolar disorder include:
Before taking any medication for bipolar, it is important to discuss the many side effects with your doctor.
An additional treatment for bipolar disorder is psychotherapy. This “talk” therapy, can be an effective treatment for bipolar disorder. It can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Some psychotherapy treatments used to treat bipolar disorder include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people with bipolar disorder learn to change harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviors.
Family-focused therapy includes family members. It helps enhance family coping strategies, such as recognizing new episodes early and helping their loved one. This therapy also improves communication and problem-solving.
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy helps people with bipolar disorder improve their relationships with others and manage their daily routines. Regular daily routines and sleep schedules may help protect against manic episodes.
Psychoeducation teaches people with bipolar disorder about the illness and its treatment. This treatment helps people recognize signs of relapse so they can seek treatment early, before a full-blown episode occurs. Usually done in a group, psychoeducation may also be helpful for family members and caregivers.
A licensed psychologist, social worker, or counselor typically provides these therapies. This mental health professional often works with the psychiatrist to track progress. The number, frequency, and type of sessions should be based on the treatment needs of each person.
Again, although there is no cure for bipolar disorder, proven treatments have given patients hope and much more consistent, high functioning lives.
Sometimes when I look back at what I’ve been through in my life, I’m amazed that I’ve done as well as I have. Besides being sexually molested by my step-grandfather, my mother’s family totally turned on us when my sister and I told what he had been doing to us. That was hard on my parents. My dad started drinking again and my mother eventually became addicted to drugs. We lost our house, mom and dad split up, and my dad left us in a motel for nine months. We had to keep changing schools and I don’t know how things could get worse, but then my mom went to jail. But jail actually turned out to be a good thing because it helped her get sober and back on track.
Although I almost dropped out of high school, I did end up graduating with a 3.6 GPA.
“The thing that motivated me the most to stay in school and stay in control of my life was watching my mom get clean and sober and turn her life around. Now I’m doing all I can to make her proud of me.”
I’ve been getting help for my PTSD and depression, and I can honestly say things have never been better. I got a scholarship and am now attending Salt Lake Community College. I would like to become a substance abuse counselor. I’ve already had lots of
experience. I was one of the founders of a youth group called K.O.P.P.I.R. (kids of parents and people in recovery). We meet at least once a week and help each other through the tough times and we do a lot of service projects.
Bulimia nervosa is a type of eating disorder characterized by a person eating large amounts of food at a time (binging) and then throwing up all of the food (purging). In many cases, a person with bulimia will eat and throw up food as a type of relief from emotional problems. Weight control and major stress in life are other examples of why someone may be suffering from bulimia. In some cases, those who struggle with bulimia also struggle with anorexia. Those with anorexia however, tend to be underweight while those with bulimia are often of a normal weight, although it tends to fluctuate by a few pounds.
People with bulimia often have low self-esteem and poor body image. When bulimics throw up they use a variety of methods. These methods may include self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives and diuretics, or exercise.
Research shows that most bulimics start their habits before the age of 25. Nine out of ten people with bulimia are women. Some argue, however, that men make up a larger percentage of those with bulimia than is typically believed.
Bulimia nervosa may seem to be less damaging because it is much easier to hide than the eating disorderanorexia. While a person with anorexia nervosa will look emaciated rather quickly, it can take months of severe bulimia to until effects begin to present themselves.
The side effects of a bulimia eating disorder can be extremely harmful to a person’s health and well-being. Often times, a person struggling with an eating disorder is less concerned with the disorder’s side effects due to the condition’s overpowering nature.
In addition to the psychological impact, bulimia’s side effects can cause irreparable physical damage. Restrictive, compulsive, and weight controlling behaviors like self-induced purging and inappropriate use of laxatives or diuretics can cause a multitude of other health complications and medical conditions.
Potential Physical Effects of a Bulimic Eating disorder include:
Irregular heartbeat and in severe cases, heart attack
A greater risk for suicidal behavior
Vocal chord damage
Osteoporosis or decreased bone density
Decreased body temperature
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Enlarged salivary glands
Low red blood cell levels
Immune system damage
Out of control feelings
Avoidance of others
Constantly thinking about food
Unable to eat with others
Poor body image
Further, it is estimated that one third of people struggling with a bulimic eating disorder use laxatives, and roughly 10% take diuretics. Various effects include:
Chronic intestinal inflammation
Irregular bowel function
Body fluid stagnation
Blood pressure complication
Other bulimia side effects include difficulty conceiving a child as well as a larger risk of miscarriage and premature birth after conception. Bulimia side effects damage a woman’s body, which can physically inhibit her from having healthy children in the future.
For some, it may seem like there’s no escape from a bulimic eating disorder, but recovery is possible. With treatment, support from others, and smart self-help strategies, one can overcome a bulimic eating disorder and gain true self-confidence.
Bipolar disorder (often called BD) is a type of mood disorder. In the past, this condition was called manic depression but most psychiatrists refer to it as bipolar disorder now. This disorder is a psychiatric illness that causes major disruptions in lifestyle and health.
Everyone has occasional highs and lows in their moods. But people with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings between depression and mania. They can go from feeling very sad, despairing, helpless, worthless, and hopeless (depression) to feeling as if they are on top of the world, hyperactive, creative, and grandiose (mania). This disease is called bipolar disorder because the mood of a person with bipolar disorder can alternate between two completely opposite poles, euphoric happiness, and extreme sadness.
Even more confusing for the individual dealing with the disorder is when symptoms of both mania and depression sometimes occur together in what is called “mixed state.”
Also, the mood extremes usually occur in cycles. Between the mood swings, people with bipolar disorder are able to function normally, hold a job, and have a normal family life. However, the episodes of mood swings tend to become closer together with age. Speaking of age, most people start showing signs of bipolar disorder in their late teens (the average age of onset is 21 years). These signs may be dismissed as “growing pains” or normal teenage behavior. On occasion, some people have their first symptoms during childhood, but the condition can often be misdiagnosed at this age and improperly labeled as a behavioral problem. Bipolar disorder may not be properly diagnosed until the sufferer is 25-40 years of age, at which time the pattern of symptoms may become clearer.
When a person is in the grip of this disease, chaos can occur. Bipolar disorder can cause major disruption of family and finances, loss of job, and marital problems.
For instance, severe depression can be life-threatening. It may be associated with thoughts of suicide, actual acts of suicide, and even acts of homicide in some cases. On the other hand, extreme mania can lead to aggressive behavior, potentially dangerous risk-taking behaviors, and homicidal acts. Also, people with bipolar disorder may turn to drugs and alcohol to “self-treat” their emotional disorder, resulting in substance abuse and dependence.
Because of the extreme and risky behavior that goes with bipolar disorder, it is very important that the disorder be identified. With proper and early diagnosis, this mental condition can be treated. Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that will require proper management for the duration of a person’s life.
People sometimes ask us what makes Turning Point Centers different from other drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities. Yes, we’re a dual-diagnosis treatment facility. Yes, we’re a licensed vivitrol injection facility. But, that’s not what sets us apart. What does set us apart is the fact that many on our staff previously suffered from drug and alcohol addiction and were treated at Turning Point Centers. But what’s most important is that they believed in the Turning Point Centers treatment process so much, that they stayed on to help others make conquer their addictions and destructive behaviors. Click here to see some of our staff members tell their stories about recovering from addiction.
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