These Are The Best Exercises To Help With Depression and Anxiety

Your body and mind are more intertwined than people think. Your physical health can impact your mental health and vice versa. This link though means that if you suffer from depression or anxiety working out can play a vital role in managing your symptoms. Taking care of yourself helps the whole system. Ask your psychiatrist first, but most doctors encourage patients to incorporate some form of exercise in their life. Research suggests that the following activities in particular help in alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

Running

Look, running isn’t for everyone, myself included. But it really is one of the best exercises for your overall health, including mental health. It can burn calories, reduce food cravings, and lower your risk of heart disease. It also improves mood though. Running releases those feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain like serotonin. The repetitive motion and breathing also have a sort of meditative effect on the brain.

 

Hiking In Nature

If running doesn’t appeal to you, consider hiking. Being around nature has a calming effect on the mind. There is tons of evidence that being around plants and trees reduces anxiety due to chemicals plants emit. If you live in the city, escaping that bustle and slowing down in nature could be just what you need to lower your anxiety.

 

Yoga

Yoga is one of the best exercises for depression and anxiety, not to mention other mental disorders. Yoga connects the mind and body together through breathing. So yes you’ll become more flexible, more stretched out, and gain some strength but more importantly, the conscious breathing will slow down and calm your mind.

 

Conclusion

There’s a reason your doctors tell you to use exercise to manage your depression and anxiety symptoms- it works! Although running, hiking and yoga are considered some of the best; any activity that gets you moving and boosts your mood is encouraged. It could be rock climbing or just walking around the neighborhood. Just remember that the mind and body are connected, so taking care of one will improve the other. If you have any questions or want to book an appointment with one of our great psychiatrists feel free to contact us.

5 Facts About Pica That Everyone Should Know

The conversation around eating disorders is usually limited to bulimia or anorexia. While those are certainly worth talking about, there are more eating disorders than just those two. Pica is an eating disorder that seems odd and almost fake to many people, but it’s a serious disorder. Pica is the persistent craving and compulsive eating of nonfood substances.

 

People with Pica find themselves eating things such as dirt, chalk, or even more dangerous objects that can lead to serious consequences. It’s not a well-known disorder, so here are a few facts everyone should know about it.

 

1. It’s Been Around Since Ancient Times

That’s right, this puzzling phenomenon known as Pica has been described since ancient times. It’s been observed throughout history all over the world, in both primitive and modernized cultures.

 

2. Other Animals Experience It

Shockingly, Pica doesn’t only affect humans. It’s been observed in other animals such as chimpanzees. Pica has also been observed in cats and dogs, but in these cases, it can be a sign of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. Scientists still don’t know what cases pica in animals, as there’s no sufficient evidence to prove any current theories.

 

3. There Are Multiple Subtypes

Pica is defined as the consumption of substances that don’t have significant nutritional value. Psychiatrists categorize pica patients into different subtypes based on what they most commonly like to eat. Some of the subtypes include:

  • Acuphagia (sharp objects)
  • Amylophagia(starch)
  • Cautopyreiophagia (burnt matches)
  • Coniophagia (dust)
  • Coprophagia(feces)
  • Emetophagia (vomit)
  • Geomelophagia(raw potatoes)
  • Geophagia(dirt, soil, clay)
  • Hyalophagia (glass)
  • Lithophagia (stones)
  • Mucophagia(mucus)
  • Pagophagia(ice)
  • Plumbophagia (lead)
  • Trichophagia(hair, wool, and other fibers)
  • Urophagia(urine)
  • Hematophagia(Vampirism) (blood)
  • Xylophagia (wood, or derivates of wood such as paper)

 

4. Certain Conditions Have A Higher Rate of Pica

Pica can affect anyone from any background. However, there are some conditions that have a higher rate of this eating disorder. Many pregnant women have pica tendencies, with chalk being a common craving. People with developmental delays or autism also have pica at higher rates. Poor nutrition can lead to pica as well, and in this case, they tend to crave things such as ice or starch. Young children tend to have pica too, but this tends to subside after the child turns two or three.

 

5. Pica Isn’t Limited To Deficiency or Disorder

While most cases of Pica are caused by a nutritional deficiency or a specific disorder, there are cases of cultural pica. Certain cultures and religions involve eating non-nutritional substances. For example, in parts of Africa the ingestion of kaolin, a type of white clay, is common. This practice is due to the clay having health benefits such as absorbing toxins.

 

Conclusion

Pica is a fascination disorder, but it can also be dangerous. While some substances pica patients consume like dirt, chalk, and ice don’t pose any health risks, others do. Pica can be difficult to treat but it is possible. If you have any questions or concerns about Pica or want to start getting help, feel free to contact us.

 

post-traumatic-stress-disorder-symptoms-ptsd

The Differences Between OCD Obsessions and Compulsions

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a complex and tiring disorder, which can quickly consume every aspect of an individual’s life. Most people know a little about OCD, but many tend to get confused about the differences between obsessions and compulsions. They’re two similar, yet different, concepts that are important to fully comprehend what OCD is.

 

What Are Obsessions?

Obsessions are thoughts that will not go away. They’re intrusive and often appear to be irrational to individuals not suffering from OCD, but to the OCD individual, they are unable to stop or ignore these obsessive thoughts. Obsessions can be mild, appearing only occasionally, or they can be constant, present at all times. These thoughts can greatly impact an individual’s life.

 

Some example of common obsessions include:

  • Fear of dirt
  • Fear of germs or becoming sick
  • Constant thoughts of a specific number
  • Having to do tasks in a certain order or way
  • Worrying about something being done “right”

 

While these thoughts might not seem irrational on their own, the obsessive thoughts lead to behaviors that are abnormal to people who don’t have OCD.

 

What Are Compulsions?

Compulsions are recurrent actions done in an attempt to alleviate the anxiety of the obsessive thoughts. For example, if someone has a fear of germs they may wash their hands multiple times, even to the point of them becoming raw. While these compulsive behaviors may make the obsessions go away for a short time they normally return.

 

Compulsions can interfere with people’s daily life. They may damage relationships, create strain at their workplace, or hurt themselves due to these behaviors. Some common compulsions are:

  • Washing hands/body excessively
  • Checking to see if appliances are off
  • Checking to see if doors are locked
  • Arranging objects in a certain way
  • Keeping items when they are no longer needed
  • Repeating an action a certain number of times

 

The Differences

The easiest way to remember the differences between the two is that obsessions are thoughts while compulsions are behaviors. Obsessions lead to compulsions, which temporarily relieve the obsessions but they ultimately return. This creates a vicious and tiring cycle that traps people with OCD within it.

 

Luckily, there are ways to treat OCD. If you or someone you know is looking for OCD treatment options feel free to contact us.

Bipolar Disorder vs. Borderline Personality Disorder

Bipolar and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are two serious mental disorders. Although they are different, they share many similar symptoms, leading to confusions between the two and misdiagnosis. They are two completely different conditions, each requiring different treatments. Diagnosing either of these disorders is difficult and extensive, especially considering these two disorders are often accompanied by other such as anxiety or depression. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between bipolar disorder and BPD.

 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder defined by extreme highs and low, which can rapidly shift. The highs are called manic episodes, and during which the individual will feel euphoria, high energy, and excitement. The lows, called depressive episodes, make individuals feel extreme depresssion and fatigue.

 

Borderline Personality Disorder

Individuals with borderline personality disorder have difficulty regulating their emotions, which leads to mood swings, impulsiveness, and unstable personal relationships. Individuals with BPD tend to have low self-esteem, which can manifest as self-harm and suicidal behavior.

 

The Differences

A big difference between BPD and bipolar disorder is that individuals with bipolar experience “breaks” in between mood swings in which they feel regular mid-range moods. While with BPD, individuals feel a constant and ongoing extreme mood.

 

Looking at personal relationships can also help highlight the difference between the two. Bipolar symptoms typically appear out of nowhere, where with personality disorder symptoms are triggered by conflict within relationships. Essentially, BPD symptoms are triggered by periods of interpersonal stress, whereas bipolar disorder symptoms seem to have no obvious trigger and are random.

 

Causes and Treatment

The causes and treatments differ depending on which disorder the individual has. It’s important to get the proper diagnosis as a misdiagnosis could lead to a treatment plan that actually makes things worse.

 

Bipolar disorder is usually treated with a combination of three types of medication: a mood stabilizer, an antipsychotic, and antidepressants, although the later is rather controversial. Psychotherapy by a professional psychiatrist is often recommended to accompany the medication. Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes bipolar disorder but they believe biological factor may create physical changes in the brain. Genetics are also thought to play a role, as a family history of bipolar means an individual is at greater risk of developing it.

 

Borderline personality disorder is treated differently. It is mainly treated with psychotherapy, specifically dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which was actually specifically created to treat this condition. Medications may be used too, but the focus is on therapy. Like bipolar disorder, doctors don’t have an exact cause of BPD. Most believe that genetic and environmental influences play a role. Traumatic childhood events, loss, neglect, or bullying may also contribute.

 

Conclusion

Understanding the differences between these two similar disorders can help reduce the chances of misdiagnosis and improper treatment. To learn more about bipolar disorder and BPD feel free to contact us. If you or someone you know believes you have one of these disorders or believe there has been a misdiagnosis, you can contact us.

 

10 Things Everyone Should Absolutely Know About Eating Disorders

 

  1. Anyone Can Get Them

Eating disorders don’t discriminate based on social economic status, race, or gender. While certain demographics are statistically more likely to develop certain eating disorders they can affect anyone.

 

  1. It’s Mental, Not Physical

People often assume eating disorders are tied to a certain body shape or size. Eating disorders are a mental illness with physical effects. It’s often impossible to look at someone and tell if they are suffering from one. Overweight individuals may have anorexia, and someone with an average body size may have bulimia, and a thin person may have binge eating disorder. Assuming someone doesn’t or can’t have an eating disorder based on how they look is just inaccurate.

 

  1. It’s Not A Choice

It’s a common misconception that eating disorders are choices. While there may some initial choice, much like with substance abuse addiction it’s a disease that people have no control over. It’s not a diet or a lifestyle; it’s an illness that doesn’t disappear just because an individual wants it to.

 

  1. It’s Not About Food or Exercise

The big thing people need to understand is that eating disorders are not about food. On the surface, it might be about what you are eating or how much you’re exercising. But it’s the underlying issues of control and self-worth that drive eating disorders.

 

  1. There Are More Eating Disorders Than You Think

Most people know about anorexia or bulimia, but there are actually more eating disorders than that. These are the ones most commonly depicted in media or discussed, but there are others such as binge eating disorder and Pica.

 

  1. Eating Disorders Are Often Accompanies By Other Mental Issues

Secrecy and isolation help eating disorders thrive, and this causes other mental illnesses to develop and thrive. Many people who have eating disorders also suffer from depression, anxiety, and self-harm.

 

  1. It’s Not About Attention

People often see people with eating disorders are “attention seekers”. The reality is that most people who have them want to disappear rather than be noticed. They want to hide their eating disorder and fade away. Being in the spotlight is actually the last thing they want.

 

  1. They’re Not Phases

Parents and teachers often make the mistake of dismissing warning signs or labeling these behaviors as a “phase”. People do not grow out of eating disorders. They only get worse over time. It’s important to catch eating disorders early on so don’t be dismissive of what someone is going through.

 

  1. They’re Life Threatening

Eating disorders might not seem as heavy or dark as depression, PTSD, or suicidal behaviors but they are deadly. In fact, anorexia is actually the most deadly mental illness there is. Eating disorders are life-threatening illnesses so they need to be taken seriously.

 

  1. It’s All Consuming

When you have an eating disorder it consumes your life. One cannot “forget about it” or “move past it”. It takes over your entire life. Many people feel totally controlled by them.

 

Conclusion

Eating disorders are a serious mental illness that is deeply shrouded in shame, stigma, and misconceptions. They’re extremely dangerous and should be acted on as soon as possible. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder please contact us to start getting help today.

 

Here’s What You Should Bring To Your First Therapy Appointment

Now that you’ve taken the first leap to bettering your mental health by making an individual therapy appointment, it’s time to get prepared for it. While a lot of preparation will depend on your therapist, you, and your specific situation, there are a few things you should bring with you to your first appointment.

 

A List of Topics You Want To Cover

Before you start therapy it’s a good idea to figure out what you want to get out of it. Making a list of things you’d like to go over during your therapy sessions. You don’t necessarily have to bring it with you, but taking the time to define what you want to cover and get out of therapy is a good idea.

 

A List of Questions For The Therapist

A lot of times the first therapy session is a “getting to know you” meeting between you and the therapist. Make a list of questions that you want to ask them. Some therapists will book a phone session beforehand so you can ask these questions before meeting them in person.

 

A List of Medications You’re Taking

If you’re going to therapy and are already taking medication like antidepressants or mood stabilizers, make sure you write them all down and notify your therapist. This type of information just lets your therapist know where you’re at and can be useful to them if they have any suggested changes.

 

Financial and Insurance Information

Therapy costs money, unfortunately. Make sure you have all your financial information with you, whether that’s checks or a credit card. Also, if you’re using insurance to cover part of the cost have that information with you when you go for the first time.

 

A Referral

If another medical professional referred you to a therapist, make sure you bring that referral along with you. Not all therapists need referrals, but some do. They also like to know who are referring patients to them so bring it along if you have one.

 

Any Relevant Medical Information

Depending on your reasons for going to therapy, it might be wise to bring along some medical information. If you’re allergic to any medications that should be written down and give to the therapist. If you completed any other courses, were admitted to a mental health facility, or feel any other information is relevant bring it along.

 

Contact our clinic to book an appointment or initial consultation with one of our psychiatrists.

5 Things About OCD You Probably Didn’t Know

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that affects millions every year. Though people with OCD might seem silly or weird, people who suffer from it feel like a slave to their obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals. In order to break down the stigma, and myths surrounding, OCD here are some facts about the disorder you might not have known.

 

  1. Obsessions and compulsives are different

Many people think that the obsession and compulsion part of OCD is the same thing. These two things are actually different, but link together to create a cycle. Obsessions are thoughts that can cause severe anxiety, while compulsions are actions taken to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts. It creates a dangerous cycle that people with OCD find hard to break out of. For example, someone with OCD might have obsessive thoughts about getting sick and dying, so they compulsively wash their hands 20 times every hour.

 

  1. People with OCD have insight

It can be hard with people with mental disorders to recognize the symptoms their experiencing. But with OCD, most people who have it have insight into their symptoms. They recognize the irrationality and excessiveness of their thoughts and actions. Having this insight is actually one of the most frustrating parts of this disorder, as people know what they’re doing isn’t rational yet they can’t stop it.

 

  1. It affects men and women equally

When it comes to mental health issues, some effect men or women more. However, with OCD males and females experience the disorder at similar rates. The age at which someone develops OCD can depend on their gender though. Both females and males are equally as likely to develop OCD following puberty, but men are more likely to develop it during childhood than women.

 

  1. OCD is cased by both nature and nurture

Doctors are constantly wondering what exactly causes mental health issues like OCD. So far they’ve found that both nature and nurture elements play a factor. Having a family member with OCD, especially if it was developed during childhood, increases ones risk of developing it so scientists know genetics play a role. There is also believed to be a relationship between OCD symptoms and irregularities in brain structure.

 

Traumatic events can also cause OCD. Experiences stressful or traumatic events can increase one’s risk. Events like sexual abuse, childhood abuse, or death of a loved one, are common catalysts for OCD to develop.

  1. Symptoms start at a young age

OCD symptoms usually start during adolescence and early adulthood, but children as young as 4 can be affected. Typically, people are diagnosed around the age of 19. As we said, gender can impact at what age symptoms start appearing with more young boys developing it in childhood than young girls. Although rare, OCD can also being in late adulthood.

 

If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from OCD, contact us to arrange for an initial consultation to see how we can help you.

psychologist-delray-beach-psychiatrist

5 Mental Health Issues That Affect Women More Than Men

Gender plays a big role in mental health. Men and women often experience different symptoms, even when diagnosed with the same disorder. Certain mental health issues even affect women more than men.  This is due to a number of reasons such as biological factors, socio-cultural influences, and the statistically higher chances that women have of experiencing sexual abuse, domestic violence, or rape in their lifetime. If you’re a woman, it’s important you know the gender-specific mental health risks you may face.

 

  1. Depression

Depression is twice as common in women as it is in men. There are a number of factors that contribute to this. Women biologically develop less of the feel-good chemical serotonin and they also process it slower. Female hormone levels also fluctuate more than male’s do.

 

There are socio-cultural factors as well. Women are expected to balance more roles than men, and much of the domestic and child-rearing duties fall on them. But women are also more likely to seek out treatment and psychiatrists are more likely to diagnosis women than men. Men and women could realistically experience depression at the same rate, but because of the stereotype that men are meant to be unemotional, the data is skewed.

 

  1. Anxiety

Women are twice as likely to develop General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and certain phobias than men. Similar to depression, the reasons for this are a mix of biological, socio-cultural, and psychological. Fortunately, there are ways to manage anxiety from medications to natural remedies like breathing techniques, yoga classes , and meditation.

 

  1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is more commonly associated with men, mainly because it’s usually associated with the military and soldier, which have a higher percentage of males. What many people don’t realize is that women are actually twice as likely to develop the disorder after a traumatic event than men are.

 

A big, and unfortunate, reason behind this is because rape is the number one trigger for PTSD and nearly 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime. Childhood sexual abuse is another major contributor, and a saddening 82% of juvenile sexual abuse victims are young girls.

 

  1. Suicidal Tendencies

Although more men die from suicide (roughly four times more often) than women, women actually attempt suicide two to three times more often as men. Data shows that women are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, which isn’t surprising considering they experience depression, anxiety, and PTSD at higher rates. However, because most male suicide attempts are more violent and impulsive, they are more “successful”.

 

  1. Eating Disorders

Contrary to the myth, men actually do suffer from eating disorders, but not as often as women do. Societal expectations and our cultural definition of what “beauty” looks like puts pressure on girls to have the “perfect” body from a young age. 85% of all anorexia and bulimia cases are women, which should be taken seriously since anorexia is the deadliest mental illness there is.

 

Being a woman isn’t easy, and many of the factors that make it hard contribute to women developing these mental health issues more than men. Luckily these disorders can be treated. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of these mental health issues please contact a psychiatrist to get them help.

8 Shocking Facts About Seasonal Affective Disorder

The holidays are over, but winter is still in full force. Unfortunately, this means that people whom are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) have a few more months until the sun shines and provides them relief. While Florida is usually blessed with warm, sunny weather all year round, even we’ve been hit with cold blasts and snow.

SAD is a mood disorder related to depression and people who have it feel themselves getting down at the same time each year. It typically happens in the winter months, and although doctors don’t know the exact causes changes in hormones and lack of sunlight are thought to impact it.

 

This form of depression isn’t discussed as often or taken as seriously as other forms of depression. It’s important that people understand this is a very real and debilitating mental disorder. Here are 8 shocking facts about SAD that you might not have known.

 

  1. It Affects Around 10 Million Americans

A large amount of people in the United States has some form of SAD, from mild to extreme. The number could be even larger, but many people are unaware that their “winter blues” is an actual mental disorder and don’t get diagnosed.

 

  1. Women Are More Affected

Seasonal affective disorder is four times more common in women than men. It’s estimated that 60-90% of all people suffering from SAD are female.

 

  1. It’s More Common Further From The Equator

Data shows that SAD is more common in people who live further north and south of the equator. While doctors don’t know what causes SAD, this has them believing that the amount of sunlight plays a major factor.

 

  1. It’s Happens In The Summer Too

While most people with SAD are affected during the winter months, there is a rare form of seasonal depression that is called Summer Depression. Like winter depression, summer depression is marked by a shift in mood, sleep problems, loss of appetite, weight loss, and agitation.

 

  1. It Was Only Recently Recognized

SAD was only officially recognized as a mental condition in 1984 when Norman E. Rosenthal formally described it. People were aware of SAD before this though. There are many accounts of “winter blues” or other seasonal related mood shifts.

 

  1. It Can Be Serious

It’s common for people to dismiss SAD as “winter blues” and trivialize it. While many people who have SAD experience only mild-moderate symptoms, it can be more serious. The most serious form of seasonal depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

 

  1. It Runs In Families

Like other mental disorders, seasonal affective disorder seems to run in families. People with SAD usually have at least one close family member that is affected by it as well. There are also links with SAD and other mental disorders. People with SAD usually report at least one close family member with a psychiatric disorder, frequently major depression or substance abuse.

 

  1. Age Matters

Most people don’t begin experience SAD until after the age of 20. However, children and teens have been known to suffer from seasonal depression too. The chances of dealing with SAD decrease, as people get older also.

 

Conclusion

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very real mental disorder that millions of people struggle with every year. Luckily, there are treatments out there to help with it. Don’t write your symptoms away as “seasonal blues”. Contact a psychiatrist and begin getting help today.

Happy Holidays from Delray Beach Psychiatrist!

From all of us here at Delray Beach Psychiatrist we want to wish you a very happy holidays!

We hope that you are able to take this time to relax and spend time with those you love. We also know that this can be a difficult time of year for some people and want you to know we are here for you this holiday season. Feel free to contact our clinic if you need assistance.

All The Best,

The Delray Beach Psychiatrist Team