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Disorder Overviews

Peer Support FAQ

Peer Support FAQ

In addition to being part of a healthy support system, peer support programs provide a multitude of benefits.

5 Facts About Mood Disorders

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5 Facts About Mood Disorders

Researchers are unable to pinpoint a reason as to why mood disorders exist except for the fact that they’re a chemical imbalance. This is why it’s so important for people to know: no one made you like this. It is not your fault nor is it your family’s fault. It’s just how your brain is wired, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of!

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a type of anxiety disorder that typically develops after the experience of a traumatic event. PTSD is severely disruptive. People who suffer from PTSD may have nightmares, flashbacks, or fear that they are in danger even when no threat is present. These feelings are often brought on by triggers, things that bring back memories of the traumatic event. Triggers can be either internal (thoughts, feelings, memories) or external (situations, objects, words).People with PTSD may also experience guilt or anger about the event, which might lead to maladaptive coping behaviors such as excessive alcohol or drug use. While PTSD has been more recently associated with veterans of war, it can happen with any sort of traumatic event.

Mental Health of Caregivers

Mental Health of Caregivers

Caregivers are often people who are there to provide support and help for people who can’t live their lives under “normal” circumstances, or people who need others’ assistance to complete their day-to-day activities. Other than children or the elderly, the people who need help from caregivers are classified as the “chronically ill”. Caregivers exist to help people with chronic illnesses that create severe life impairment complete their day-to-day activities, and also improve their mental well-being. Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes, from all kinds of backgrounds or ethnicities, and provide care for many different reasons.

Mental Health Comorbidity

Mental Health Comorbidity

Comorbidity typically refers to a condition "existing simultaneously with and usually independently of another medical condition". This can be any combination of illnesses or conditions, whether mental, physical, or perceived, that almost always make the patient’s lives more challenging and worsen their life quality.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder that is classified by depressive symptoms that occur within the same season each year, usually winter.  It is commonly thought that SAD is the result of biochemical imbalances that occur with shorter daylight hours lessening amounts of sunlight. As seasons change, people experience a shift in their biological internal clock or circadian rhythm that can cause them to be out of step with their daily schedule.  A  second, less common type of seasonal affective disorder occurs in the summer months in individuals who live in warmer climates. This type of depression is related to heat and humidity, rather than light.

Seasonal Trends in Mental Health Issues

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Seasonal Trends in Mental Health Issues

In a first-of-its-kind study published in the American Journal of Affective Medicine in 20132, five researchers reported their conclusion that, across all major mental health issues (sorted here as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, general anxiety, major depression, eating disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorderschizophrenia, and suicide), information searches about mental health issues on Google peak high during the winter months and drop to a significantly lower level during the summer.

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Mental Health and the Military

Mental Health and the Military

Post-traumatic stress disorder is not the only mental health issue among military veterans and active personnel. What are some other mental health problems and how can we help? 

Men's Mental Health

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Men's Mental Health

In the U.S., approximately five million men experience depression in a given year. Male depression is a serious mental disorder and needs immediate treatment. Yet, it often goes untreated and underdiagnosed in men.

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Meditation

Meditation

Meditation is a form of complementary and alternative medicine. There are numerous reasons to practice meditation. One common reason is for health related purposes. In fact, some people use this therapy to cope with illnesses. It is a great stress reliever that can be used to increase calmness and physical relaxation. Mediation can also improve practitioner’s psychological balance in aiding with the treatment of Depression and Anxiety disorders such as conversion disorder. By practicing meditation, one can approach their thoughts and emotions more positively. It can refine practitioner’s ability to focus their attention as well. Recently, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) studies reveal that meditation can also improve attention-related abilities. This is very useful to those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder.

According to the NCCAM, previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness meditation may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression as well. This form of meditation focuses attention on breathing techniques to develop increased awareness of the present. A study was completed about meditation and it’s affect on the brain utilizing a mindfulness-based stress reduction. The study’s purpose is to distinguish specific brain regions of the participants. The results showed that “Brain images in the meditation group revealed increases in gray matter concentration in the left. The hippocampus is an area of the brain involved in learning, memory, and emotional control, and is suspected of playing a role in producing some of the positive effects of meditation.” This proves that an underlying brain mechanism is associated with the mindfulness meditation in mental health. Overall, meditation can be great tool to help aid in treating mental illnesses. It would work best used in combination with other treatments. Meditation should not be used as a replacement for conventional care or as a reason to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem.

Music Therapy

Music Therapy

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is defined as the “...clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” These music therapy sessions can include making, listening, and discussing about music. In other words, it is an alternative therapy that uses music to help individuals develop interpersonal relationships and help address their issues. These issues could be physical, psychological, cognitive and/or social functioning . Most music therapists offer services in psychiatric treatment centers, outpatient clinics, community mental health centers, substance abuse programs, group homes, rehabilitation facilities, medical hospitals, senior centers, schools, hospice and other facilities. Other therapists have private practices.
Music therapy is used for several reasons. It is used for physical rehabilitation, emotional support, and as an emotional outlet. Music therapy is useful for mental health needs because it uses musical interaction as a means of communication and expression. It helps express personal feelings that makes positive changes in mood and emotional states. This form of communication helps resolves conflicts leading to stronger family and peer relationships. It also provides a sense of control over life through successful experiences.
There are some misconceptions about music therapy. One misconception is that a patient needs some particular music ability to benefit from music therapy. This is false because prior music training is not needed at all for therapy to be affective. Another misconception is that this treatment is meant for only children and adolescents. However, Music therapy can be used for patients of all ages. Lastly, only one type of music is used in music therapy. This is untrue due to the fact that all styles of music can be used in Music therapy. In fact, a music therapist determines which music is to used by the patient’s preferences, circumstances, goals and his/her need for treatment.
Music therapy, as an addition to standard care, helps people with schizophrenia to improve their global state, and may also improve mental state and functioning if a sufficient number of music therapy sessions are provided. Music therapy could be used with drug rehabilitation for substance abuse disorders. Also, it could be used for depression as well. Some possible outcomes are reducing anxiety, releasing emotions safely, improving self-image, increasing verbalization, self-esteem, and motivation. Overall, music therapy is most successful with additional healthcare and educational settings.

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Pharmaceutical Drugs

Pharmaceutical Drugs

[tabs][tab title="Depression"] (Def.):" a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty with thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts or an attempt to commit suicide." (Medline Plus Dictionary)

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[tab title="Anxiety"] (Def.)": any of various disorders (as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, a phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder) in which anxiety is a predominant feature—called also anxiety neurosis, anxiety state."(Medlineplus Medical Dictionary)

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[tab title="Bi-polar Disorder"] (Def.):"any of several mood disorders characterized usually by alternating episodes of depression and mania or by episodes of depression alternating with mild nonpsychotic excitement."(Medlineplus Medical Dictionary)

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[tab title="ADD/ADHD"] (Def.):"Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiogical disorder seen in both children and adults that is comprised of deficits in behavioral inhibition, sustained attention and resistance to distraction, and the regulation of one’s activity level to the demands of a situation." (Adhdaware.org)

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[tab title="Schizophrenia"] (Def.):"a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought (as in delusions), perception (as in hallucinations), and behavior."(Medlineplus Medical Dictionary)

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[tab title="Eating Disorders"] (Def.) :"any of several psychological disorders (as anorexia nervosa or bulimia) characterized by serious disturbances of eating behavior." (Medlineplus Medical Dictionary)

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Yoga

Yoga

According to Medlineplus Dictionary, yoga is “a system of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation derived from Yoga, but often practiced independently especially in Western cultures to promote bodily or mental control and well-being.” It is considered a mind-body type of alternative therapy. There are many styles of yoga, but the most common style is hatha yoga. Medlineplus Dictionary defines hatha yoga as the “ form of yoga emphasizing a system of physical postures for balancing, stretching, and strengthening the body.” It is a good choice for stress management. Beginners may like the hatha yoga for it’s slower pace and easier movements. Yogahas two main components: poses (also known as postures) and breathing. These postures are designed to increase strength and flexibility. They range from lying on the floor to difficult postures such as “Handstand”. Pregnant women, and people with medical conditions should modify, or avoid certain poses. Breathing is also an essential part of yoga as well. Yoga instructors teaches yoga students how to control their breathing. The instructors instill the notion that control breathing leads to control over mind and body.
Practicing yoga comes with health benefits as well. Numerous studies have established that yoga can help with stress reduction, mood enhancement, and an overall sensation of well-being. Practicing yoga can lead to improvement in fitness. This includes improving balance, flexibility, range of motion, and strength. It is also helpful in complementary to conventional treatment of mental disorders. Yoga can help alleviate mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorder such as alcoholism. In fact, yoga can reduce reactions to the events that prompt symptoms of conversion disorder. Yoga Nidra is a relaxation and meditative form of yoga. It has been used as an adjunctive treatment for Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Before beginning yoga, There are some precautions that should be taken. A health care provider or local hospital or any trusted source can recommend a yoga practitioner. Only use professional organizations to find practitioners who have completed an acceptable training program. For your safety, report any alternative therapy such as yoga to your health provider. Do not use yoga as a replacement for conventional treatment since it is the most useful conjoined with conventional treatment.

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Light Therapy

Light Therapy

Light therapy (sometimes referred to as phototherapy or bright light therapy) is a type of treatment that uses light to treat many different disorders.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is defined as “an originally Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points especially to cure disease or relieve pain.” It is a form of Asian medicine and alternative therapy which can treat physical, mental, and emotional conditions.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes intense mood swings-- often called episodes-- that can range from mania to depression. These episodes should not be confused with the normal ups and downs that most people experience, as they can have serious consequences and the condition can worsen if left untreated.

Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is the misuse of any substance that interferes with daily functioning, and (in some cases) is different from its intended use. Substances can be either illegal or legal, in the case of prescription or over the counter medications. Substance abuse does not necessarily refer to addiction, but can lead to addiction.

Talk Therapy

Talk Therapy

Also called psychotherapy, talk therapy is mainly focused on resolution of problems through patient centered discussion. Sometimes, all that’s needed is for a patient to talk through their problems with a professional therapist.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia

 Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes an abnormal interpretation of reality. People who suffer from schizophrenia do not have split or multiple personalities, but instead have trouble distinguishing between reality and their imaginations. People with schizophrenia may experience delusions in which they hear voices that aren’t there or believe people are trying to harm them. They may also have trouble handling emotions or dealing with social situations.