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Category: Mental Health Symptoms

Is Panic Disorder a Disability?

A panic disorder can be a disability. If your symptoms are severe, they can significantly reduce your quality of life and make it difficult to engage in everyday activities. Fortunately, panic disorders can be treated with a combination of medications, therapy, and holistic approaches.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health provides evidence-based, outpatient mental health treatment in Atlanta, Georgia. Visit our admissions page today to begin treatment with us.

What Is Panic Disorder? (Signs + Symptoms)

A panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes episodes known as panic attacks.

Therefore, the primary symptom of a panic disorder is a panic attack. Panic attacks are unexpected episodes of intense fear with physical symptoms. Oftentimes, you feel like you are having a heart attack.

Some people have one panic attack triggered by some external event or internal feelings—and then never have another. This wouldn’t qualify as a panic disorder. However, if you have recurrent panic attacks without a clear trigger, then you most likely have a panic disorder.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Panic Attack?

The following are the signs and symptoms of panic attacks:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Chest discomfort
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Tremors or shakes
  • Nausea
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands, feet, and arms
  • Feeling like you are removed from your environment (derealization)
  • Feeling detached from your own thoughts and feelings (depersonalization)

[Recommended: “Signs and Symptoms of a Silent Panic Attack]

In addition, when you have a panic disorder, you are overwhelmed by the fear of having another panic attack. This can limit your ability to live a full life, as you worry about where a panic attack could occur. For instance, you might not get a driver’s license for fear of having an attack while driving.

4.7% of US Adults Have a Panic Disorder in Their Lifetime

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “An estimated 4.7% of U.S. adults experience panic disorder at some time in their lives.”

However, this statistic doesn’t mean that a person will have panic attacks for their entire lives. Panic disorders are treatable and aren’t usually a persistent, lifelong issue. Still, for some, a panic disorder can be debilitating—impacting their ability to work, form relationships, and, in extreme cases, even leave their homes.

When Is Panic Disorder a Disability?

A panic disorder is a disability when your symptoms significantly limit one or more major life areas.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into US law in 1990. The ADA is a federal civil rights law that protects people with disabilities from discrimination. It also guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities and rights as everyone else.

According to the ADA, a person with a disability:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that limits their ability to function in one or more major life activities
  • has a psychiatric or medical history or record of this impairment
  • is perceived by others as having a limiting or visible impairment

Furthermore, the ADA defines major life activities as “the kind of activities that you do every day, including your body’s own internal processes.” For example:

  • Thinking or concentrating
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling
  • Eating, speaking, sleeping, walking, or breathing
  • Performing tasks like working, reading, communicating, and learning
  • Major bodily functions (ex. circulation, reproduction)

Therefore, if panic attacks limit the above-mentioned life activities, you have a history of a panic disorder, and they occur often enough for others to notice, you could have a disability.

Even if your panic disorder is a disability, there are treatment options that can help you.

How Are Panic Disorders Treated?

Panic disorders are treated with a combination of psychiatric medication and psychotherapy.

Even if your panic disorder qualifies as a disability, treatment can reduce the severity of your symptoms. Over time, you may even resume formerly impaired major life activities. Thus, mental health treatment programs—whether your symptoms are mild or severe—will significantly improve your quality of life.

Which Medications Help With Panic Disorder?

Each person responds differently to psychiatric medications. So, you may need to try different types before you find the best medication for you.

The following medications can help with panic disorders:

  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers
  • Benzodiazepines

Some medications are fast-acting and work to reduce symptoms during a panic attack. Others reduce anxiety and activity in the central nervous system (CNS) to prevent panic attacks from occurring.

Regardless of which medication works for you, medications alone won’t be enough. Instead, medications reduce symptoms so that you can fully participate in psychotherapy.

How Can Psychotherapy Help My Panic Disorder?

Psychotherapy can teach you more about the underlying causes of your panic disorder. It can also teach you healthy ways to reduce stress and anxiety. As a result, you can manage your symptoms so they don’t seem so out of control.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common type of therapy for panic and anxiety disorders.

During CBT, you’ll learn how negative thought patterns and beliefs can influence your behaviors. After all, one of the worst parts of panic disorders is the fear of having a panic attack. Oftentimes, the fear of another attack holds you back more than the attack itself.

Furthermore, your therapist can recommend holistic approaches, like mindfulness, yoga, or exercise to reduce stress. With comprehensive treatment, including medications, therapy, and holistic approaches, you can overcome your panic disorder and reduce the likelihood of disabling symptoms.

Get Treatment for Your Panic Disorder Today

When left untreated, a panic disorder can become a disability. It can significantly reduce your ability to function in major life areas and lower your overall quality of life. However, panic disorders are treatable—and North Atlanta Behavioral Health has solutions for you.

Contact us today to begin panic disorder treatment in Atlanta, Georgia.

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What is the Difference Between Bipolar 1 and 2?

The main difference between bipolar 1 and 2 is the severity and duration of manic symptoms. Both disorders can negatively impact your quality of life when left untreated. However, understanding the differences can help you get effective treatment for your symptoms.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), 2.8% of US adults have bipolar disorder. North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers outpatient mental health treatment for bipolar and other mental health disorders. Visit our admissions page today to get started.

The Differences Between Bipolar 1 and 2 (Symptoms + Duration)

Bipolar 1 and 2 differ primarily in the severity as well as the duration of manic symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by phases of manic and depressive symptoms:

  • Manic symptoms make you feel energized, alert, self-important, and impulsive.
  • Depressive symptoms make you feel sluggish, tired, hopeless, and irritable.

Whether you have bipolar 1 or 2—or a rare, third type called “cyclothymic disorder“—depends on how manic vs depressive cycles present themselves. However, when diagnosing bipolar 1 versus bipolar 2, a psychiatrist will consider the way you experience mania.

Manic Symptoms

Manic symptoms of both bipolar 1 and 2 include the following:

  • Abnormally upbeat and elated
  • High levels of energy
  • Increased activity
  • Inflated sense of self-importance
  • Exaggerated self-confidence
  • Racing thoughts
  • Rapid or pressured speech
  • Easily distracted
  • Impulsive and poor decision-making
  • Decreased need for sleep

With bipolar 1 disorder, you’ll have more severe symptoms of mania. But, if you have bipolar 2, you’ll have a less severe form of mania called “hypomania.”

Hypomania vs Mania (What Is the Difference?)

Hypomania is the type of mania experienced by those with bipolar 2 disorder.

It is less severe than the manic cycle of bipolar 1 disorder. Therefore, if you have bipolar 2, you’ll have hypomania instead of full mania.

While hypomania results in a noticeable change in mood and energy, your behaviors won’t be as out of control. In other words, you and those around you will notice a change, but it won’t disrupt your relationships, job, or schooling. And you won’t engage in reckless behavior leading to negative long-term consequences.

However, manic symptoms from bipolar 1 can lead to significant problems in life. You could even struggle with psychosis—or a loss of touch with reality. Many people with bipolar 1 have delusions of grandeur while some have hallucinations during their manic phase.

Duration of Symptoms

Another defining characteristic of bipolar 1 and 2 is the duration of symptoms.

The manic symptoms of bipolar 1 disorder last at least one week for a diagnosis. However, hypomanic symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder last at least 4 days for a diagnosis.

Furthermore, a manic or hypomanic phase can last several weeks or even months.

Depressive Symptoms

Depressive symptoms also appear differently among those with bipolar 1 and 2.

If you have bipolar 1 disorder, you might not even have a depressive phase. Instead, your mood typically shifts from manic to hypomanic states. Still, some people with bipolar 1 do have depressive symptoms, but it is not a requirement for a diagnosis.

On the other hand, if you have bipolar 2 disorder, you’ll have phases of depression between hypomanic episodes. Depressive symptoms during bipolar 2 disorder are similar to those of major depressive disorder (MDD). In addition, at least one depressive episode mixed with at least one hypomanic episode is a requirement for getting a bipolar 2 diagnosis.

Impact of Symptoms on Everyday Life

The differences between bipolar 1 and 2 also relate to how your symptoms impact your everyday life.

The manic symptoms of bipolar 1 disorder can lead to severe dysfunction in your everyday life. You could engage in impulsive and reckless behaviors that cause long-term harm. For example, you might shop excessively—spending all of your savings and cash on hand or racking up massive amounts of credit card debt within a few days.

In addition, manic symptoms can lead to psychosis—meaning that you lose touch with reality. This can lead to erratic behavior and a 1013 involuntary admission to a psychiatric unit.

However, bipolar 2 disorder can also impact your daily life. While hypomanic states aren’t as disruptive and most people function well throughout them, the depressive states of bipolar 2 disorder can be debilitating. For instance, your performance at work and interest in relationships with loved ones can diminish.

Depressive symptoms can also be life-threatening. Suicidal thoughts and actions can occur during a depressive phase of bipolar 2 disorder.

How Are Bipolar 1 and 2 Treated?

While each person’s treatment plan will differ, both types of bipolar disorders are treated with a combination of medications, therapy, and holistic approaches.

Psychiatric medications called mood stabilizers help with manic and hypomanic states characteristic of both disorders. These medications help keep your mood even so you can engage in treatment and function in daily life.

Furthermore, antipsychotic medications reduce psychosis and can also act as mood stabilizers for those with bipolar 1 disorder.

With bipolar 2 disorder, however, you might also need an antidepressant for depressive cycles. Still, mood stabilizers alone might work to even out both hypomanic and depressive phases. However, medications work differently for everyone, so it’s best to talk to your psychiatrist about adding an antidepressant if your depressive states are severe.

Therapy—whether as an individual, in a group, or with your family—is critical to treating bipolar 1 and 2. Oftentimes, medications only help so much. Therefore, you still need to address the psychological symptoms that occur along with bipolar disorders.

Lastly, holistic therapies can add additional coping skills to treat bipolar 1 and 2. These approaches can include red light therapy, yoga, mindfulness, and nutritional counseling.

Bipolar 1 and 2 Treatment in Atlanta, GA

Bipolar disorders differ among three types—bipolar 1, bipolar 2, and cyclothymic disorder. However, bipolar 1 and 2 are the most common and severe types. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer outpatient treatment programs for all types of bipolar disorders.

Contact us today to begin bipolar disorder treatment in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Signs and Symptoms of a Silent Panic Attack

Silent panic attacks can occur without warning and cause significant distress at the moment they occur. Not only that, but many people go to great lengths to avoid having a panic attack in public. As a result, they avoid living their life the way they want to—contributing to diminished mental health and lower quality of life.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is here to help you overcome panic attacks and other mental health symptoms. Visit our admissions page today to learn more.

Silent Panic Attacks: Signs and Symptoms

Silent panic attacks are panic attacks without the typical physical symptoms.

When you have a silent panic attack, you experience the overwhelming fear and anxiety that characterizes panic. However, you don’t display outward physical symptoms like breathing difficulty, tremors, or sweating. Silent panic attacks, therefore, have less apparent symptoms and could go unrecognized as a result.

The signs and symptoms of silent panic attacks include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Racing heart rate
  • Tingling in the limbs
  • Feeling weak
  • Intrusive or racing thoughts
  • Headache
  • Throat closing up
  • Changes in vision (light sensitivity, blurry)
  • Feeling detached or “derealization”

Thus, symptoms of a silent panic attack are subtle and not as readily apparent to others. These symptoms can even be difficult to describe to other people. For instance, derealization means you feel detached from your environment or body—and other people wouldn’t notice this symptom.

What Causes Silent Panic Attacks?

The causes of silent panic attacks aren’t well known. However, some factors could make you more susceptible, including:

  • Family history of panic attacks, anxiety, or other mental health disorders
  • Imbalance of brain chemicals that control your response to fear
  • History of trauma
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Chronic stress
  • Negative thinking and perfectionism
  • Significant life changes (moving, loss of a loved one, childbirth)

Overall, underlying factors like these could lead to the development of any mental health disorder when you don’t have support and healthy coping skills. Oftentimes, mental health disorders result from maladaptive coping strategies (or no coping strategies) for stressors.

In other words, when you don’t have a healthy way to cope with stress, you are more vulnerable to developing disorders, like panic attacks and anxiety.

Silent vs. Regular Panic Attacks: What’s the Difference?

As stated above, the primary difference between silent and regular panic attacks is in the presentation of symptoms.

People with silent panic attacks have primarily internal and psychological symptoms. This means that other people won’t notice your symptoms. However, you will experience significant distress from them—and they will be quite noticeable to you.

But, with a regular panic attack, you might have symptoms such as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Troubled or labored breathing
  • Profuse sweating
  • Tightness in the chest

Panic attacks sometimes occur as a symptom of an underlying anxiety disorder. Other times, panic attacks manifest into a type of anxiety disorder called a panic disorder.

What is a Panic Disorder?

A panic disorder is defined by frequent panic attacks (silent or regular) as well as an overwhelming fear of having an attack.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “[a]bout 2-3% of Americans experience panic disorder in a given year and it is twice as common in women than in men.”

Therefore, the challenge with a panic disorder is two-fold. On one hand, you experience debilitating panic attacks, which can come up at any time and often without any warning. On the other hand, you also fear having a panic attack, which might negatively impact your life as well.

Oftentimes, it’s the fear of having an attack that creates the most problems.

You might avoid situations where a panic attack would be embarrassing or dangerous. As a result, you might avoid socializing, going to a store, driving a car, or interviewing for a job.

Fortunately, there are solutions to managing panic attacks and treating panic disorders.

How Are Panic Disorders Treated?

Panic disorder treatment focuses on two things: (1) relief at the moment and (2) prevention of future attacks.

1. Relief for a Panic Attack When It Happens

What does “relief at the moment” mean with a panic attack? Well, this means being prepared for a panic attack so that you can cope with it more easily. In other words, if you can’t prevent the attack, you can learn to manage it when it occurs.

Some ways to deal with a panic attack when it happens include:

  • Focusing on something external, such as music, sights, smells, or sounds
  • Deep breathing to control your heart rate and shortness of breath
  • Getting to a safe space with less stimulation and people
  • Remember that this will pass

These tips can also reduce the unpleasant aftereffects—commonly called a panic attack hangover. In addition, your psychiatrist might prescribe fast-acting anti-anxiety medications to help you calm down quickly during a panic attack.

2. Preventing Panic Attacks

What about prevention? After all, if you have a panic disorder, you’d rather never have another panic attack again.

First off, remember that the better prepared you are for a panic attack, the less fear and anxiety you will feel about them. This will offer some relief, so think of preparation as an act of prevention—just being ready for an attack could reduce your anxiety and panic symptoms.

Still, there are treatment options that help to prevent panic attacks, including:

  • Psychiatry: Psychiatric medications can help to prevent panic attacks by alleviating the anxious thoughts and feelings that lead to them.
  • Psychotherapy: Individual and group therapy can help you cope with the psychological symptoms that accompany and cause panic attacks.
  • Holistic approaches: Panic disorders affect all aspects of your health and well-being. Addressing your physical and spiritual wellness with holistic therapy can help you manage your disorder.

Get Help for Panic Disorders Today

Silent panic attacks could be a sign of a panic disorder. If you experience overwhelming dread and panic frequently, our outpatient mental health treatment programs can help you. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer treatment for panic disorders as well as related anxiety disorders.

Contact us today to start panic disorder treatment in Atlanta, Georgia.

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What is High-Functioning Anxiety? Signs and Symptoms

Anxiety is one of the most common types of mental health disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019 “Over 15% of adults experienced symptoms of anxiety that were either mild, moderate, or severe in the past 2 weeks.” However, some people have high-functioning anxiety—meaning they have anxiety and don’t even know it.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is here to help you free yourself from the constraints of your anxiety. Visit our admissions page today to get started.

9 Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Anxiety

High-functioning anxiety is a type of persistent worry or fear that doesn’t interfere with your ability to function in daily life. So, you can maintain a job, complete tasks and chores, and even appear as a highly accomplished person to others. Still, under the surface, you feel like something is off.

The following are signs and symptoms of high-functioning anxiety:

1. Overachieving

To others, you appear like you’ve got everything together. In fact, you are likely successful in your field or do extremely well in school. However, the truth is that your anxiety motivates much of your outward overachieving behaviors.

There is a big difference between excelling and overachieving. Essentially, overachievers set impossibly high standards for themselves. Then, they harshly criticize themselves if they don’t meet these standards.

Excelling in your hobbies, passions, profession, school, or other interests isn’t a sign of high-functioning anxiety. But if your accomplishments never seem good enough or you equate any minor mistake with a total failure, you might have an underlying anxiety disorder.

2. Overanalyzing

Overanalyzing or overthinking means you obsess over every possible outcome from past events or when planning for the future. While critical thinking and learning from the past can be healthy, pouring over every detail can get in the way of moving forward.

You might struggle to let things go or plan for the future. Because of this, you get stuck in indecision or ruminate past events. Oftentimes, this is driven by excessive worry and anxiety.

Furthermore, overanalyzing a task or event can lead to procrastination.

3. Avoidance

Avoidance is a maladaptive way of coping with anxiety. This means you avoid any situation, person, place, or thing that triggers your anxiety. Moreover, you often avoid opportunities that would ultimately enhance your life.

While everyone has phobias and avoids certain things, maladaptive avoidance limits your ability to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

4. Need for Control

Oftentimes, a person with anxiety thinks that if everything goes a certain way, then their anxiety won’t come up. Unfortunately, you can’t control every possible outcome. And several factors will happen outside of your control—despite any preparation.

Letting go of the need for control is an important skill for people with high-functioning anxiety.

5. Fear of Disappointing Others

The fear of disappointing others leads to other issues, such as negative self-talk and perfectionism. It’s important to find a balance between meeting other people’s expectations and doing the best that you can. After all, you can’t control how others respond to you—even when you do your best.

6. Self-Doubt

Self-doubt often paralyzes people with high-functioning anxiety as well as a similar issue called high-functioning depression. It can also get in the way of celebrating your successes and accomplishments. This may even lead to what’s called “imposter syndrome”—where you fear that everyone else will “find out” that you aren’t as competent as you appear.

7. Racing Thoughts

Racing thoughts are a common symptom of anxiety. It might seem like the noise in your head never goes away. You’re always thinking and can’t prioritize one thought over another.

8. Unable to Relax

You might also struggle to relax. This could be the result of other symptoms—especially racing thoughts. When you have a minute to settle down, your mind doesn’t stop.

Oftentimes, when you do take a break, you feel unproductive or that you must be doing something else. And, when you have nothing to focus on, you start overthinking or ruminating.

9. Physical Symptoms (With No Medical Explanation)

Anxiety doesn’t only affect your mental health. You can have physical symptoms resulting from underlying anxiety. These symptoms occur with no medical explanation.

Physical symptoms of high-functioning anxiety include the following:

  • Muscle tension
  • Headache and migraine
  • Excessive sweating
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Sleep disturbances

What Causes High-Functioning Anxiety?

There are several possible causes of high-functioning anxiety, including:

  • Genetics: You might be born with a predisposition for anxiety. Thus, your parents or other close relatives could also have anxiety disorders.
  • Home environment: Is your home life chaotic? How about during childhood? If you’re dealing with significant stress at home, you could develop an anxiety disorder.
  • Childhood trauma: Early traumatic experiences can have a profound effect on your adulthood. You might have learned maladaptive coping skills, such as avoidance behaviors. In addition, you could have become an overachiever to please neglectful or abusive parents.
  • Stressful workplace: Do you often take work home with you or feel a lot of pressure at work? This kind of stress can lead to anxiety because you’re rarely ever able to relax.
  • Brain chemistry: Anxiety and other mental health disorders could be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Certain chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, help you feel good, calm, accomplished, and focused. On the other hand, an overabundance of stress hormones like cortisol contributes to excessive stress and anxiety.

What Can I Do to Manage My Anxiety?

Once you are aware of your anxiety you can take steps to manage it. Managing anxiety and reducing stress often go hand-in-hand. So, if you focus on stress reduction techniques, your anxiety should also go down.

Tips to manage anxiety and reduce stress include the following:

  • Daily relaxation: Schedule a few minutes per day to relax. You might listen to music, meditate, or engage in deep breathing.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others: Comparing yourself and your life to others can drive your anxiety. Take a break from social media, as this might expose you to unrealistic comparisons.
  • Celebrate Your Accomplishments: If you have high-functioning anxiety, you probably think a lot about your mistakes or failures. Celebrating your successes and accomplishments can help you develop a realistic self-image.
  • Talk About It: Sharing your inner experiences with others can help you manage your anxiety. When you hold things in, they can spiral out of control. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about your fears and anxieties.
  • Move Your Body: Exercise, a walk around the block, stretching, dancing—whatever gets you moving—can help you manage anxiety. Movement helps to relieve stress and stored energy in the body.

The above-mentioned tips can help you manage anxiety. However, if your high-functioning anxiety is out of control, you could have an anxiety disorder. For this, you need professional treatment to address a mental health disorder.

Professional treatment for anxiety includes the following:

  • Medications: A psychiatrist can prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depressants to restore chemical imbalances that might cause anxiety.
  • Psychotherapy: During individual or group therapy, you can learn to change the way you think and perceive the world around you. You can also learn new ways to cope with stress.
  • Peer support: Anxiety can often make you feel all alone in your struggles and thoughts. Peer support groups help you realize you aren’t alone and provide a safe place to share with others.
  • Holistic approaches: Anxiety disorders affect every aspect of your health. Holistic approaches, like yoga, meditation, and red light therapy, can help you regain a sense of well-being.

Get High-Functioning Anxiety Under Control Today

High-functioning anxiety can be difficult to identify. However, awareness of an underlying issue is the first step to healing. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer outpatient mental health treatment programs for anxiety and other disorders.

Contact us today to get your anxiety under control.

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Is Silent Depression Real? Here’s What You Need to Know

Depression is one of the most common types of mental health disorders in the US, affecting millions of adults each year. But can you have depression and not even know it? If you notice a negative change in your overall mood, energy levels, and attitude, you might have silent depression.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is here to help you or your loved one struggling with depression. We offer outpatient mental health programs that use evidence-based therapies and client-centered approaches for the best outcomes in treating depression.

Can Someone Be Depressed Without Knowing It?

Yes, you can be depressed without knowing it. Depressive symptoms can be subtle. Your symptoms might be at a low level for years (sometimes called “high-functioning depression“). Furthermore, your symptoms can come on—and worsen—gradually.

In fact, your symptoms can worsen so gradually that you don’t even notice it. Instead, your loved ones might be the first to see the changes in your mood and demeanor. When you suffer from depression and are unaware of it, this is known as silent depression.

What is Silent Depression?

Silent depression is when you have depressive symptoms, but either aren’t aware of it or aren’t acknowledging it. Thus, you struggle silently with your symptoms, either keeping them to yourself, denying them, minimizing symptoms, or lacking any awareness of the issue at all.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.7% of US adults age 18 and older have regular feelings of depression. But this only counts the people aware of their depression. Therefore, it is important to know the signs of silent depression.

10 Signs of Silent Depression

Silent depression can sneak up on you. But, if you know what to look for, you can recognize depression before it gets out of control.

The following are ten signs of silent depression:

#1. Lack of Energy

Everyone has good days and bad days. However, if you consistently feel drained at the end of every day or fatigued most of the time, you could be depressed.

#2. Sleeping Problems

Sleeping problems go hand in hand with a lack of energy. People with depression often struggle to fall asleep due to ruminating thoughts of guilt, shame, or anxiety. Because of this, you might stay in bed longer than usual to catch up on your rest.

#3. Change in Appetite

A change in appetite without a physical cause could be a sign of psychological distress. Stress, anxiety, guilt, and shame—feelings that accompany depression—can suppress your appetite. On the other hand, you might overeat as an unhealthy coping mechanism for underlying depression.

#4. Isolating and Social Withdrawal

Do you find yourself saying “no” to social activities more frequently? Are you spending more time alone than usual? Oftentimes, people with depression withdraw from friends and family due to low energy or feeling unworthy. Thus, if you find yourself spending more and more time alone, you could be feeling depressed.

#5. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

One of the most common causes of drug and alcohol abuse is an underlying mental health issue. If you are drinking or using drugs to elevate your mood or to cope with negative emotions, you most likely have an underlying mental health issue like depression.

#6. Loss of Interest in Hobbies

Depression isn’t just about feeling sad. Instead, it’s a lack of feeling anything—especially pleasure, joy, and satisfaction. You might not be as engaged in hobbies or other pleasurable activities anymore if you are depressed.

#7. Overworking

When you have silent depression, you could be in denial of your feelings. Or, you might fear facing what’s troubling you. As a result, you could be distracting yourself by spending more time at work, bringing work home with you, or using work as an excuse for your low mood and irritability.

#8. Low Self-Esteem

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you don’t feel good about anything. More often than not, low self-esteem accompanies depression.

#9. Negative Thoughts and Attitude

Do you find that your thoughts constantly drift to the worst-case scenario? Are you expressing a pessimistic attitude to friends, family, and co-workers? Depression can alter your outlook on life toward pessimism and negativity.

#10. Mood Swings

If you have depression, you could have mood swings from low to high. Or you might be easily triggered by stressors and appear irritable to others. Silent depression could also be a sign of other mood disorders, like bipolar disorder.

How is Depression Treated?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to treating depression. Depression is treated with a combination of psychiatric medications, psychotherapy, and holistic approaches, like exercise, mindfulness, and nutrition. That way, you can find your own pathway to recovery from depression.

If you have signs of suffering from silent depression, talk to your healthcare provider today to begin treatment.

Get Help for Depression Today

Depression is among the most common mental health disorders in the US. Some people suffer and don’t even realize what they are going through—or that things can get better. But, depression is treatable, and there is hope for you or your loved one struggling with silent depression symptoms.

Contact North Atlanta Behavioral Health today to get help for depression today.

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11 Signs of High-Functioning Depression

High-functioning depression is often left untreated and undiagnosed. When your life appears fine on the outside, it can be hard to accept that you feel unhappy and unfulfilled beneath the surface. In turn, this can lead to guilt or shame—and even worsening depressive symptoms.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers outpatient solutions to treat depression—including higher-functioning forms of this common mental health disorder.

11 of the Most Common Signs of High-Functioning Depression

High-functioning depression can be hard to spot. For one thing, you probably appear fine to family and friends. In addition, things in your life are probably going pretty well, so you could deny that you feel depressed on the inside.

Here are some of the top signs that you could have high-functioning depression:

#1. You feel a little down most of the time. Anytime that you do feel a glimmer of happiness, it doesn’t last long. Overall, you almost always have a low mood that you cannot seem to shake.

#2. You are tired most of the time. While you do the things that you are supposed to do—like go to work, do household chores, spend time with your kids, etc.—it all feels like a huge effort.

#3. You might appear lazy to others or think of yourself as lazy. In truth, all your energy is spent just getting through the day and keeping up the appearance of being happy.

#4. You feel bad about yourself. People with high-functioning depression often feel unworthy of happiness and fulfillment.

#5. You feel like an imposter. Since your life generally looks good from the outside, feeling unhappy on the inside feels like you aren’t authentic and are faking it through life.

#6. You’re a harsh self-critic. It might even be hard for you to receive a compliment from others. Oftentimes, you downplay your achievements.

#7. You lose or gain weight without intending to do so. Changes in appetite are a common sign of depression. This can result in either a loss of appetite or overeating as a maladaptive coping mechanism.

#8. You cry without any clear reason. Everyone feels sad from time to time due to certain life events, like grieving over a loved one or going through a breakup. However, if you find yourself overwhelmed and crying for no reason, you might have high-functioning depression.

#9. You perform well at work, school, or other activities—but it is difficult for you to focus. Depression can cause you to struggle with your ability to concentrate and make decisions.

#10. You force yourself to socialize. Most things for you—even fun activities—can feel taxing. Oftentimes, you would rather withdraw from others and be alone.

#11. You have other issues that crop up. For instance, you might abuse drugs or alcohol to improve your mood. You could also have chronic pain and headaches or problems in relationships.

Essentially, your inner life doesn’t line up with your outer life. You have a lot of good things going for you, yet you struggle to feel happy. And unlike severe depression, you are able to do all the things that you need to do.

This is the biggest problem with having high-functioning depression. Your depressive symptoms are so mild that they can be ignored for long enough to get through the day. But even mild depression can worsen over time when left untreated.

What is Mild Depression?

Depressive symptoms occur on a spectrum from mild to severe. If you have high-functioning depression, this means that your symptoms are relatively mild. Mild depression is also called persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia.

According to StatPearls, about 3% of the US population has persistent depressive disorder. Furthermore, this form of mild depression can occur along with episodes of major depressive disorder.

Thus, with high-functioning depression, you could function well for long periods of time and then crash into a more severe depressive episode. So, you might go back and forth between high- and low-functioning depression. However, your baseline mood is still somewhat low—characteristic of mild depression.

How is High-Functioning Depression Treated?

The treatment options for depression are similar whether your symptoms are mild or severe. The first step is talking to a healthcare professional about your symptoms. You can talk to your primary care physician first since they can rule out any medical reasons for your symptoms.

If you get a diagnosis of mild depression, your treatment options may include the following:

  • Psychiatric medications. Psychiatrists can prescribe anti-depressants to treat mild symptoms of depression. These medications restore balance to brain chemicals responsible for your symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy. Talking to a mental health professional about your depression can help you find healthy ways to cope with symptoms. You can also attend group therapy to gain further insight from others with similar disorders.
  • Support groups. While support groups are not run by professionals, they can offer additional coping skills and support. Many people benefit from sharing and hearing others share their experiences. This can help you feel less alone in your struggle with depression.
  • Holistic approaches. Depression affects all aspects of your health and well-being. By taking your whole-self into consideration—mind, body, and soul—you can find new avenues for treatment. Some common holistic approaches include yoga, mindfulness, breathwork, and exercise.

Heal from High-Functioning Depression Today

Mild depression can make you feel hopeless and even undeserving of treatment. But there is hope for healing from every type of depression—including high-functioning depression. North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers treatment options that can help you find long-lasting joy and fulfillment in life.

Contact us today to start a life free of mild depression.

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What is Secondary Trauma?: Signs and Symptoms

Traumatic experiences can leave long-lasting mental health issues. Sharing your story and experiences with others can help you heal. However, if you are helping someone deal with their trauma, you need to be aware of having similar symptoms called secondary trauma.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects not only the person with the disorder, but it can also impact those around them, including caregivers and family members. North Atlanta Behavioral Health is here to help those with PTSD as well as those who develop secondary trauma.

What is Secondary Trauma?

Secondary trauma, also called compassion fatigue, affects people who help others with their traumatic experiences. People in helping professions, like EMTs, social workers, doctors, nurses, and psychotherapists, sometimes develop symptoms that mirror post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Secondary trauma is the result of hearing about another person’s traumatic experiences. You can also develop secondary trauma from witnessing how these experiences affect another person’s mental health and well-being. As a result, your own mental health suffers, and you could experience burnout if you work in a helping profession or have a loved one who struggles.

How Does Secondary Trauma Differ From Primary Trauma?

Secondary trauma differs from primary trauma because you don’t directly experience the traumatic event. Instead, you hear another person’s story of trauma, which, in turn, affects the way you feel about other people and the world at large. Oftentimes, compassion fatigue results from repeated exposure to the stories and lives of those with PTSD. That is why it is common among those in the helping professions.

Examples of traumatic events that can lead to primary trauma include the following:

  • Near-death experiences, like car crashes or surviving a natural disaster
  • Combat during military service
  • Living in a dangerous neighborhood or war-torn country
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Abuse or neglect during childhood
  • Witnessing acts of violence or horrific accidents

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), approximately “one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime.” An important aspect of the healing process is to share the trauma story with others—especially peers and professionals. However, after hearing many people’s stories, professionals must be aware of how these stories could impact their own mental health.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of secondary trauma will help you maintain your own mental well-being so that you can continue to help others.

The Signs and Symptoms of Secondary Trauma

As previously mentioned, the signs and symptoms of secondary trauma or compassion fatigue mimic those of PTSD. This is because, like PTSD, compassion fatigue impacts the way you feel about other people and the world.

For instance, hearing traumatic stories every day could make you feel that the world is unjust. In other words, your perspective can shift from a positive outlook to a negative one. In turn, you might feel hopeless about the harmful events that can happen to other people.

Signs and symptoms of secondary trauma or compassion fatigue include the following:
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Apathy or a lack of concern for others
  • Rigid thinking and perfectionism
  • Guilt and anger
  • Sadness
  • Feeling numb
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Hypervigilance and irritability
  • Being easily startled
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol to cope

While these symptoms can be distressing, recognizing them is the first step to getting better. However, if you ignore compassion fatigue, you could develop mental health issues yourself. This can negatively impact your ability to help others who struggle with PTSD.

Can Secondary Trauma Cause a Mental Health Disorder?

Secondary trauma could result in developing mental health issues. For one thing, a common cause of any mental health disorder is an inability to cope with stress. So, if compassion fatigue increases the amount of stress in your life—and you don’t address it—this could lead to a mental health disorder.

If you experience compassion fatigue, you could develop anxiety, depression, or even PTSD yourself. In addition, if you abuse substances to cope with compassion fatigue, you can develop an addiction on top of a mental health disorder. For these reasons, it is vital to seek treatment for secondary trauma.

How is Secondary Trauma Treated?

One important aspect of treating secondary trauma involves lifestyle changes that help you cope with your symptoms and protect yourself from the effects of compassion fatigue. For example, if you work in a high-stress environment like an ER or fire department, you must find a balance between your work and personal life. This means finding meaningful activities and healthy relationships to focus on during your time off of work.

Additionally, it helps to find coping skills for on-the-job stress. This can include some of the following:

  • Peer support groups with others in the helping professions
  • Relaxation techniques like meditation or mindful breathing
  • Learning to take a break or get help from a co-worker when overwhelmed
  • Setting limits with your job to maintain a healthy work/life balance
  • Recognizing times when you experience success on the job

Despite engaging in self-care activities like those listed above, you might still feel overwhelmed and distressed. In that case, professional mental health treatment programs can help you manage symptoms of compassion fatigue.

Treatment for secondary trauma can be similar to PTSD treatment and include the following:

  • Psychiatry services to treat symptoms with medications
  • Brainspotting, a specialized form of therapy for treating trauma
  • Holistic approaches that help you focus on all aspects of your health and well-being
  • Group and individual therapy sessions can help you develop coping skills for stress and trauma

Secondary trauma can be distressing for those in the helping professions or for the loved ones of those with PTSD. However, self-care and trauma treatment programs can help you build the skills that you need to regain a healthy sense of mental well-being.

Get Help for Secondary Trauma Today

Secondary trauma can mimic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That is why it’s important for family members and professionals exposed to stories of trauma from others to maintain their own mental well-being. Otherwise, they could get compassion fatigue and feel burnout from trying to help those they care about.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is here to help those with compassion fatigue and secondary trauma. Contact us today to begin treatment.

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Panic Attack Hangover: The After Effects of a Panic Attack

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know how exhausting it can be. Panic attacks trigger a series of intense physical and emotional reactions in a short amount of time. The after effects, commonly called a panic attack hangover, leave you feeling drained and run down.

Panic attacks are a symptom of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety, along with depression, is one of the most common types of mental health disorders in the US. In February 2023, 32.3% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to KFF.

The good news is that you can find evidence-based treatment for anxiety. While anxiety feels overwhelming, you can learn to cope with your symptoms and reduce your chances of having panic attacks.

What Are the Symptoms of a Panic Attack?

A panic attack sets off your body’s flight or fight response. This response system helps you when you are threatened or are in imminent danger. Essentially, the flight or fight response releases hormones that help you either escape or combat danger.

But, with a panic attack, there is no imminent threat. So, your body builds energy, yet you have no outlet for it—nothing to fight or run away from. As a result, this energy expends itself within your body and can cause a panic attack.

The following are common symptoms of a panic attack:

  • Pounding and racing heart
  • Sweating
  • Chest tightness
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling weak

These symptoms are intense and usually peak within about 10 minutes. After about 20-30 minutes, most of these symptoms go away. Afterward, you will feel the after effects.

[Recommended: “Is Panic Disorder a Disability?” + “Signs and Symptoms of a Silent Panic Attack“]

What Are the After Effects of a Panic Attack?

The after effects of a panic attack, or a panic attack hangover, can occur for several hours or even days after a panic attack. After an intense surge of physical reactions within a short period of time, most people feel drained.

The effects of a panic attack hangover include the following:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Body pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling on edge or uneasy
  • Muscle soreness
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Chest pain

In addition, some symptoms of a panic attack hangover can include lingering symptoms of the panic attack itself—but less intense. And, you could also feel somewhat down or vulnerable after a panic attack. Some people feel ashamed or embarrassed about their panic attacks, which can lead to emotional and mental health symptoms.

What Causes a Panic Attack Hangover?

A panic attack hangover is a result of your adrenaline levels returning to normal. During a panic attack, adrenaline levels spike, increasing your alertness, energy, and blood flow to your muscles. This intense burst of energy and alertness leaves you feeling fatigued and emotionally drained.

In other words, your body expends a tremendous amount of energy within a short amount of time during a panic attack. As a result, you feel these effects as a panic attack hangover.

How to Recover From a Panic Attack Hangover

You can recover from a panic attack to lessen the severity of the after effects. The following holistic tips can help you recover from a panic attack hangover:

  • Light exercise and movement: A panic attack can leave you feeling fatigued, however, moving your body can help with the after effects. Exercise improves blood flow and releases endorphins that help you stabilize your mood after a panic attack. You can do something with low intensity, like stretching, yoga, or going for a walk.
  • Get some rest: If you can take a short nap, this can also restore some of your energy. However, try not to nap too long or you may disrupt your sleep cycle. This can make things worse if you don’t get restful sleep at night.
  • Eat a healthy snack: Eating something healthy like nuts or fruit can restore glucose levels in your blood. In turn, this can give you energy and reduce symptoms like headache and fatigue.
  • Go someplace else to recover: Oftentimes, an overwhelming environment can trigger a panic attack. So, to recover, go to a restful and secluded place. That way, you can recover and reduce your chances of triggering another panic attack.
  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness exercises can help you redirect your focus. You can try deep breathing, listening to music, taking a walk in nature, or body scanning. The important thing is to focus on something in your environment to take your mind off your panic triggers.
  • Call a loved one: Talking to someone you can trust about what happened can help you recover from a panic attack hangover. This can help you vent and process your feelings. You might also figure out what triggered your panic attack by talking things through.

Panic attacks are distressing and can make you feel like something horrible is happening to you. However, these are often the result of a specific trigger or a buildup of unresolved anxiety. So, if you struggle with panic attacks, finding a mental health treatment program can help you learn healthy ways of coping with stress and anxiety.

Get Help for Panic Attacks and Anxiety Disorders Today

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we understand that panic attacks can be draining and overwhelming. Afterward, the panic attack hangover can leave you feeling weak, fatigued, and even ashamed. However, anxiety disorders that cause panic attacks can be treated, and many people make a full recovery from their disorders.

Contact us today to begin treatment for anxiety and panic attacks.

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