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Category: Mental Health Treatment

6 Types of Depressive Disorders

Depression is one of the most common types of mental health disorders in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.7% of adults had regular feelings of depression in 2022. One reason depression is so common is that there are different types of depressive disorders with a range of symptoms and severity.

What Are the 6 Most Common Types of Depressive Disorders?

Not everyone with depression experiences it the same way. Depressive symptoms vary in severity and presentation as well as the causes of your depression. In other words, different causes of depression lead to different types of depressive disorders.

The following are the six most common types of depression:

#1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

According to an article in JAMA Psychiatry, 20.6% of US adults will experience major depressive disorder (MDD) at some point in their lives. Thus, MDD—also called clinical depression or major depression—is the most common type of depression.

Symptoms of MDD include:

  • Difficulty sleeping and fatigue
  • Change in appetite (resulting in weight changes)
  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Thoughts of death and dying
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Suicidal ideations or actions

Major depression impacts your ability to function in everyday life. For instance, you might stop going to work because you can’t get out of bed. Or, you could have significant relationship problems because you withdraw from spending time with others.

#2. Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Persistent depressive disorder—sometimes called dysthymia—isn’t as debilitating as major depression. Because of this, many people with persistent depression don’t seek treatment. However, persistent depression can still have a major impact on your overall quality of life.

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder include the following:

  • Feeling unhappy or dissatisfied
  • Under- or over-eating
  • Insomnia (or the opposite: sleeping too much)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Feeling tired most of the time

Although your symptoms are usually mild, you could have episodes of major depression—especially when you don’t get treatment. For a diagnosis of persistent depression, your symptoms must last for two or more years. Persistent depression is commonly associated with silent depression or high-functioning depression.

#3. Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects women after they give birth. According to PostpartumDepression.org, “Approximately 1 in 10 women will experience postpartum depression after giving birth, with some studies reporting 1 in 7 women.”

Furthermore, symptoms usually last about 3-6 months, and 80% of women with postpartum depression make a full recovery. The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to major depressive disorder.

Having a new baby causes a lot of changes in your life. You could feel a loss of control and independence or be overwhelmed with newfound responsibility. In addition, you might struggle to sleep while caring for a newborn or have a sudden change in hormones after birth. All of these factors contribute to developing postpartum depression.

#4. Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

Bipolar disorder, once called manic depression, is another type of mood disorder characterized by cycles of depression and mania. Due to the cycles of depression, bipolar disorder is often considered a type of depressive disorder.

During the depressive cycle of bipolar disorder, your symptoms will be similar to those of major depression. However, during the manic cycle, you will have an increase in energy, euphoria, insomnia, racing thoughts, and rapid speech. Sometimes, people during the manic phase have psychotic symptoms of hallucinations or delusions.

#5. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) typically affects people during the fall or winter. Some causes of SAD could be a lack of sunlight, being less active during colder weather, and shorter days. Thus, this type of depression is more common in northern regions of the United States.

Symptoms of SAD are similar to major depression, but they are triggered by the onset of fall or winter. Thus, most people with SAD feel better as the spring season begins. Unique treatments like red light therapy can help with SAD.

#6. Depression With Psychotic Features

Another type of depression is depression with psychotic features, sometimes called simply psychotic depression. Psychotic depression is rare, however, it can be very debilitating. This is because, in addition to the symptoms of MDD, you experience hallucinations and delusions.

  • Hallucinations are seeing, feeling, or hearing things that aren’t real. Common examples include hearing voices, feeling bugs crawling on your skin, or seeing people who aren’t there.
  • Delusions are thoughts and beliefs with no basis in reality. Examples include thoughts of being pursued by the government or believing oneself to possess magical powers.

Due to the psychotic features—i.e., losing touch with reality—this type of depression can be distressing for family members and loved ones to witness.

How Can Treatment Help Me With My Depression?

Mental health treatment can help you with your depression in several ways.

For one thing, treatment can help to reduce your symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy and psychiatry are the first lines of treatment for depression. Psychiatric medications called anti-depressants restore chemical imbalances believed to cause depression.

In addition, antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers can help with psychotic depression and bipolar disorder, respectively.

Treatment can also help you with your depression by learning more about the causes of your symptoms. Oftentimes, significant life events and stress trigger depressive symptoms, which can lead to depressive disorders when left unaddressed. During therapy, you can learn more about the causes of depression as well as coping skills to help you manage symptoms.

Lastly, it’s no secret that a healthy lifestyle can also reduce depressive symptoms. That is why mental health treatment programs also focus on holistic approaches. These approaches treat the whole person—including your physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health.

Get Help For Your Depression Today

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders among US adults. North Atlanta Behavioral Health has solutions for all types of depressive disorders. Our comprehensive treatment programs can help you overcome your symptoms to free yourself of depression.

Contact us to get help for your depressive symptoms today.

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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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Does FMLA Cover Mental Health?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a pivotal piece of legislation that supports millions of American workers in balancing their demanding work lives with serious health conditions that necessitate time off. Understanding if FMLA does cover mental health is crucial, especially as we collectively navigate through an era where mental health awareness is more significant than ever.

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we recognize the importance of this understanding and aim to provide clarity on how FMLA covers mental health, along with highlighting the treatment options available at our facility.

Understanding FMLA

The FMLA was enacted in 1993 to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. Eligible employees can take up to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for reasons including the birth and care of a newborn child, adoption, personal or family illness, or family military leave.

FMLA Eligibility

To be eligible for FMLA leave, employees must:

  • Work for a covered employer (private-sector employers with 50 or more employees, public agencies, and public or private elementary or secondary schools, regardless of the number of employees),
  • Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months,
  • Have at least 1,250 hours of service in the 12 months before the leave, and
  • Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

FMLA Coverage for Mental Health

The FMLA stipulates that medical leave can be used for a “serious health condition” that makes the employee unable to perform their job. This definition includes various physical conditions as well as mental health conditions. Thus, if a mental health condition is serious enough that it interferes with an individual’s ability to perform their work, it may qualify for FMLA leave. This can include conditions such as severe depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Documentation and Certification

To take FMLA leave for mental health, an employee must provide certification from a healthcare provider that they have a serious health condition. This documentation must include:

  • The date the condition began,
  • The probable duration of the condition,
  • Relevant medical facts,
  • A statement that the employee cannot perform their job functions.

It is important for employees to communicate with their HR department and provide the necessary documentation to ensure a smooth process for taking FMLA leave.

Should I Utilize FMLA for Mental Health Treatment?

Deciding whether to utilize FMLA for mental health treatment is a deeply personal choice that requires careful consideration of various factors. If you are struggling with a mental health condition that significantly impacts your ability to perform your job duties, FMLA can provide the necessary time off for treatment without risking your employment. It’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider to assess the severity of your condition and determine if FMLA leave to cover mental health treatment is appropriate.

Additionally, discussing your options with your HR department can help clarify the process and ensure a smooth transition. Remember, prioritizing your mental health is vital, and FMLA can be a valuable resource in accessing the care you need.

Mental Health Treatment Options at North Atlanta Behavioral Health

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer a comprehensive range of mental health services tailored to meet the needs of our community. Our treatment options are designed to provide support for individuals experiencing mental health conditions that may qualify for FMLA leave. 

Our services include:

  • Individual Therapy: One-on-one sessions with a therapist to address issues such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
  • Group Therapy: Supportive group settings where individuals can share experiences and strategies for managing mental health.
  • Family Therapy: Family therapy aims to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and strengthen relationships within families by engaging all members in collaborative therapy sessions.
  • Medication Management: Assessment and management of medication to treat mental health conditions, overseen by psychiatric professionals.
  • Brainspotting: Brainspotting is a therapeutic technique targeting specific eye positions associated with emotional activation to process trauma and anxiety.
  • Red Light Therapy: Red light therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to promote cellular repair, reduce inflammation, and alleviate conditions such as depression, chronic pain, and skin disorders.
  • Holistic Therapy: Holistic therapy addresses the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit through various techniques like mindfulness, yoga, and nutrition counseling to promote overall health and well-being.

Levels of Care 

We offer several levels of mental healthcare, each custom-tailored to the unique needs of each individual we treat. 

  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): Our PHP provides a structured treatment program during the day while allowing patients to return home in the evenings. This program offers intensive therapy, medication management, life skills training, and relapse prevention strategies to support individuals in their recovery journey.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Our IOP is designed for individuals who require more support than traditional outpatient therapy but do not need the level of care provided in inpatient or PHP settings. This program offers flexible scheduling, allowing patients to attend therapy sessions while maintaining their daily responsibilities.
  • Outpatient Services: Our outpatient services provide ongoing support for individuals transitioning from higher levels of care or those seeking less intensive treatment options. Services include individual therapy, medication management, and support groups tailored to meet each patient’s specific needs and goals.

Contact Us to Learn More 

The FMLA does cover mental health, allowing individuals to take time off to manage serious mental health conditions without fear of losing their jobs. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we understand the importance of accessing effective treatment and are committed to providing a range of services to support our community.

Whether you are considering taking FMLA leave for a mental health condition or seeking treatment options, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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Psych Ward vs Mental Hospital: What’s the Difference?

While both facilities treat mental illness, there are differences between a psych ward vs. a mental hospital. Overall, the key distinction is that a psych ward is more for short-term stabilization. On the other hand, mental hospitals provide long-term care for mental illnesses.

After the inpatient services of a psych ward and mental hospital, you can still benefit from continuing treatment in an outpatient setting. North Atlanta Behavioral Health provides outpatient mental health services in Atlanta, Georgia.

What is a Psych Ward?

“Psych ward” is a shortened version of “psychiatric ward.” A psych ward is a short-term inpatient mental treatment facility. These facilities help to stabilize individuals who are involuntarily committed to get an evaluation and treatment.

A person can be involuntarily committed when they pose a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health condition. Examples include extreme agitation and violent threats by a person with psychosis or a person with depression engaged in suicidal actions or threats. Oftentimes, law enforcement is involved in some way.

The treatment goal in a psych ward is stabilization. You can also think of this as crisis management. So, once the crisis is over, the person is discharged.

What is a Mental Hospital?

A mental hospital offers long-term treatment and is usually voluntary. However, a person could be sent to a mental hospital after stabilizing in a psych ward for involuntary treatment. This could occur if the person refuses treatment and, although they are stable now, they are at a high risk of regressing to a crisis level again soon.

Mental hospitals offer inpatient treatment services that can include group processing, individual therapy, psychiatric medication, and case management. Thus, the focus is on learning to cope with mental health symptoms to prevent crises from occurring. In addition, mental hospitals might offer aftercare services, like outpatient treatment programs.

How Are Psych Wards and Mental Hospitals Similar?

Psych wards and mental hospitals are similar in the types of disorders they treat as well as many of the services offered. For instance, medications are a common component of treating mental health disorders. Group and individual therapy are also available in both programs.

Psych wards and mental hospitals are also similar because they both connect you to continuing treatment services. During a stay in a psych ward, clients usually meet with a case manager to connect them to resources to help them after they are discharged. Similarly, mental hospitals can connect you to resources like outpatient rehab and mental health housing.

Lastly, both types of mental health treatment are inpatient. This means clients live in the facility where they get their treatment.

How Do Psych Wards and Mental Hospitals Differ?

There are key differences between psych wards vs mental hospitals, however. For one thing, psych wards are generally involuntary services meant for stabilizing a crisis. Once the crisis is resolved and the person is no longer a threat to themselves or others, they are discharged.

Since psych wards focus only on stabilization, clients don’t stay very long. According to Statista, the average length of stay for all mental health disorders is 7.2 days. Thus, during a stay in a psych ward, clients don’t get the long-term care needed to recover from their mental illness.

On the other hand, mental hospitals offer long-term inpatient treatment. A person could be in a mental hospital for 30 days to several months. This level of care provides clients with the skills they need to cope with symptoms and learn more about underlying causes and triggers.

Compared to psych wards, mental hospitals are usually more homelike and less sterile. That way, clients are more comfortable throughout a long-term stay. In addition, clients in psych wards are almost always there involuntarily, whereas mental hospitals can have a mix of voluntary and involuntary admissions.

Do I Need Mental Health Treatment?

Mental health disorders affect everyone differently in terms of symptoms and severity. Knowing if you need a psych ward vs a mental hospital depends on the imminent danger of your symptoms. In addition, there are a variety of other types of mental health treatment that can suit your unique needs.

Signs that you need immediate mental health treatment at a psych ward include the following:

  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors: This is the main reason why many people are taken to a psych ward. When a person is suicidal that is a sign that their mental health has significantly deteriorated.
  • Homicidal thoughts or behaviors: Similarly, homicidal thoughts indicate severe distress and present a crisis. Increased agitation leading to homicidal ideation could be a sign of psychosis.
  • Psychosis: Losing touch with reality can be dangerous. A person who has hallucinations or delusions needs to seek immediate treatment—especially if they have never experienced these symptoms before.
  • Unable to care for oneself: If a person cannot take care of themselves in a way that puts their life at risk due to a mental illness, they need crisis services at a psych ward.
  • Unable to care for dependents: When a person is a primary caregiver for others, like children or elderly family members, a mental health crisis can put those in their care at risk.

Sometimes, however, you don’t have symptoms that are at a crisis level, yet you still need treatment. Some of the most common signs of mental health disorders include:

  • Excessive guilt, shame, or anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Weight changes
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Substance abuse to cope with symptoms
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless

Regardless of the severity of your symptoms, you don’t need to wait until a crisis to get help. Several types of treatment programs can help you no matter what level of care you need.

Outpatient Mental Health Treatment in Atlanta, GA

Generally speaking, the differences between a psych ward vs a mental hospital have to do with short- vs long-term care. However, if you’ve recently stayed in a psych ward or a mental hospital, outpatient mental health treatment can be the next step in your recovery. North Atlanta Behavioral Health offers outpatient treatment services for mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and more.

Contact us today to continue your mental health treatment.

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Signs Your Antidepressant Dose is Too High

Antidepressants, combined with therapy, can be life-changing for people with mental health disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and depression. However, it takes some time to work with your psychiatrist to find the right medication and dose. That is why it is important to understand the signs that your antidepressant dose is too high.

If you’re taking an antidepressant, it could take some time to notice the effects and to get the balance just right. In addition, over time, you might find that medications are not as effective as they had been in the past. North Atlanta Behavioral Health can help you find the right medication and dose to treat your mental health disorder.

Before you can know if your antidepressant dose is too high, you need to know how your antidepressant is supposed to work.

What Is an Antidepressant?

In addition to depression, antidepressants also treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Common symptoms among these disorders include difficulty regulating mood and managing stress. Antidepressants alleviate these symptoms, which in turn, helps you engage in treatment programs more effectively.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

Antidepressants work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters. More specifically, they target neurotransmitters linked to emotional regulation and mood. The two main neurotransmitters targeted are serotonin and norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline).

  • Serotonin: This neurotransmitter regulates nearly every human behavior including sleep, appetite, sexual drive, and mood. When you don’t have enough serotonin, you could have insomnia or oversleep, eat too much or not enough, experience a low sex drive, and feel low or down. All of these are symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders.
  • Norepinephrine: Some mental health disorders are caused by either too much or too little norepinephrine. This neurotransmitter increases your blood pressure and heart rate, helps you focus, and gives you energy. Too much norepinephrine can cause insomnia, irritability, and anxiety. On the other hand, too little can cause a lack of focus, low energy, and depression.

In short, a lack of or an excess of these neurotransmitters can cause symptoms of depression, OCD, anxiety, and PTSD. Therefore, antidepressants work by restoring a natural balance of these chemicals.

However, your psychiatrist won’t know exactly which antidepressants and dosage will work until you try them out. You and your psychiatrist will work together to find the right type of antidepressant and dosage for your symptoms. The goal is to find the right dose and medication for you to have a therapeutic level in your system.

What Is a Therapeutic Level of Antidepressants?

The therapeutic level of any medication refers to the amount of medication in your system needed for the intended effects. Therapeutic levels of antidepressants will be different for each person due to things like body weight, overall health, and metabolism. It will also vary based on the type of antidepressant that you take as well as any drug interactions from other prescriptions.

The goal of finding a therapeutic level of antidepressants is ensuring that the amount of medication in your system is within a certain range. However, the therapeutic level of antidepressants, unlike other psychotropic medications, isn’t monitored by lab testing. Instead, you and your psychiatrist work together to find the appropriate dose to maintain therapeutic levels based on your mood, behaviors, and symptoms.

How Will My Psychiatrist Find the Right Dose for Me?

Your psychiatrist will start you off at a lower dose and increase from there. This is the best way to ensure that you work your way up to a therapeutic level while monitoring side effects. Furthermore, it will take about 4 to 6 weeks for most antidepressants to have any effect as it builds up in your system.

After about 6 weeks, if you don’t notice any changes, then this is a sign that your antidepressant dose is too low. As a result, your psychiatrist will most likely increase your dosage as long as you aren’t experiencing too many adverse side effects. Following this, you will need to monitor symptoms and side effects to make sure your dose isn’t too high.

What Are the Signs That Your Antidepressant Dose Is Too High?

Overall, the purpose of antidepressants is to balance the chemicals in your brain so that you can engage in other therapeutic activities. Oftentimes, people with depression or other disorders struggle to attend therapy or follow a treatment plan consistently. Antidepressants help to improve your sleep habits and appetite, reduce anxiety, and improve your mood.

However, when your antidepressant dose is too high, you will have adverse effects, such as:

  • Feeling numb or a lack of pleasure
  • Significant changes in weight
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Drowsiness, fatigue, and low energy
  • Increased irritability and anxiety
  • Worsening depression
  • Excessive energy or mania

It is also critical to monitor symptoms over time for signs that your antidepressant dose is too high or too low. Sometimes, medications lose their effectiveness as you become accustomed to them. On the other hand, bodily changes as you get older can change how you respond to certain types of antidepressants. Thus, you must find other ways to treat your symptoms rather than relying on medications alone.

What Else Can I Do to Improve My Mental Health?

The best way to treat mental health disorders is by combining medications with therapeutic activities. The types of therapy that work for you depend on your disorder, severity of symptoms, and personal preferences. The best mental health treatment programs provide options for you to find your own path to recovery.

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer the following therapies for mental health disorders in addition to psychiatry:

  • Talk therapy: Traditional therapy includes talk therapy. However, talk therapy varies based on which modality will work best for you and your symptoms. Common types of therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
  • Brainspotting: This is a specific type of therapy that involves finding spots in your visual field that activate trauma responses. Brainspotting can help you heal from traumatic experiences and PTSD.
  • Red Light Therapy: Treating symptoms of mental health disorders can also include alternative approaches like red light therapy. Red light therapy can improve sleep quality and mental clarity as well as reduce stress.
  • Holistic Therapy: Our holistic approach to treatment includes nutritional support, exercise, meditation, and exercise. Holistic therapy can improve physical health, which in turn improves your mental well-being.

Find Mental Health Services in Atlanta Today

If you notice signs that your antidepressant dose is too high or too low, you need to reevaluate your medication. In addition, you could benefit from adding multiple approaches to your treatment plan, such as brainspotting or red light therapy. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we can help you find a mental health treatment plan that will work for you.

Contact us today to begin mental health treatment in Atlanta, Georgia.

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What is a 1013 in Georgia?

In Georgia, a 1013 form can initiate emergency involuntary mental health treatment. Oftentimes, the symptoms of a mental health disorder can distort a person’s sense of reality and put them in harm’s way. Or their symptoms could be so severe that they are unable or unwilling to get help—even when their life is in danger.

Mental health disorders are treatable conditions. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer treatment options for clients after they are discharged from inpatient care. In addition, our programs can help those who need a lower level of care to prevent their symptoms from worsening.

What is a 1013 Form in Georgia?

A 1013 form authorizes an involuntary mental health evaluation. Qualifying mental health providers, such as physicians, psychologists, clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, or clinical nurses specializing in psychiatry or mental health, complete 1013 forms. The 1013 form certifies that a person requires emergency mental health care.

In addition, a 1013 form initiates getting a person transported to an emergency receiving facility (ERF).

When is a 1013 Form Used in Georgia?

A 1013 form is used for emergencies related to a person’s mental health. There must be a risk of imminent harm to themselves or others.

The following are potential reasons a 1013 form is used in Georgia:

  • Suicidal risk or attempt
  • Threats of violence to others
  • Threats of suicide or life-threatening self-harming behaviors
  • Physical health and safety is compromised in a life-threatening way

Once a person enters an ERF under a 1013, the facility has 48 hours to determine what happens next.

What Happens After a 1013?

After a 1013 form is completed, the ERF has 48 hours to determine the need for hospitalization, further evaluation, or if the person does not need inpatient care. In some cases, the person could be discharged 48 hours later if they are no longer a danger to themselves or others. In addition, some people recognize that they do need treatment and voluntarily consent.

If a person voluntarily consents to treatment, they can request a discharge from treatment at any time. In other words, there is no mandated length of stay required as long as the person no longer poses a danger to themselves or others. Thus, they still need an evaluation if they voluntarily request to leave treatment to ensure they will be safe.

However, if a person refuses treatment after a 1013, but the facility determines the need for mental health treatment, the facility now has 24 hours to complete a form 1014. The 1014 form certifies that the person needs further evaluation for treatment due to imminent danger if they are discharged.

What is Involuntary Treatment?

Involuntary treatment occurs when a person with a mental illness needs treatment due to a serious situation involving their own health and safety or that of others. Most often, involuntary treatment requires inpatient hospitalization, but it can also be an outpatient facility. Involuntary treatment begins after a person is evaluated for their treatment needs.

Can a Court Order Involuntary Treatment?

Yes, a court can order involuntary treatment. Involuntary treatment can be at an inpatient or outpatient facility.

For inpatient treatment, the person must be an imminent danger to themselves or others. In addition, they could be a health or safety risk to themselves in a way that is life-threatening.

A person could also receive a court order for involuntary outpatient treatment. This means that the person isn’t in imminent danger or posing an immediate risk to others. However, they need treatment to avoid becoming a danger, and they refuse or are unable to attend on their own.

What Happens After Involuntary Mental Health Treatment?

After involuntary mental health treatment, the person could enter treatment on their own. The purpose of a 1013 form in Georgia is to ensure a person is safe and stabilized. But, this is only going to deal with an emergency and will not be a long-term solution.

After being discharged from involuntary treatment, the person needs to find solutions to maintain their mental health. Otherwise, when left untreated, their symptoms will worsen. Oftentimes, this will lead to another involuntary hospitalization or other emergency services.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health (NABH) offers several treatment options and programs that help prevent the types of situations leading to involuntary treatment.

Mental Health Treatment in Atlanta

At NABH, we have the following outpatient mental health programs:

  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): This is a great way for clients to transition out of inpatient treatment programs. During a PHP, clients get several hours of treatment for six days per week. Clients get a blend of individual treatment and group sessions to help them learn ways to cope with mental health symptoms.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): IOP programs are the next step after PHP. Clients spend about half as much time in IOP as they do in PHP. In addition, IOP programs offer flexibility in scheduling so that clients can return to work, attend school, or take care of family. There are also evening IOP programs for greater flexibility.

Get Help for Your Mental Health Today

When left untreated, mental health symptoms can continue to worsen. A person could become suicidal or threatening to others. Or, they could be in danger because they cannot take care of their own health and safety. A 1013 form in Georgia gets a person into treatment—even when they don’t recognize the danger.

If you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health, don’t wait to get help. Contact North Atlanta Behavioral Health today.

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