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.

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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

Jolly Gifts That Are Awesome For Mental Health

The holiday seasons can be tough for some people, especially those living with mental disorders. While they’re joyous at times, this time of year brings on extra social, financial, physical, mental, and emotional stress. From having to buy gifts to being forced into social activities, the holidays can be stressful. Luckily, we have a few gift ideas here that you can buy for yourself, for others, or request this holiday time.

 

Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets have been around for a while. They’ve long been recommended for those on the autism spectrum to help them cope. Only recently have these blankets taken off in the mental health community. Weighted blankets provide a comforting pressure that provides security and warmth. Many people with anxiety, depression, and PTSD have found them helpful. So not only will these weighted blankets keep you cozy this winter, they’ll also help with your mental health!

 

Coloring Books

Why we stopped coloring when we grew up is baffling. This activity might seem childish, but it’s amazing for mental health. It’s a soothing activity that promotes creativity and calmness. Adult coloring books have become popular, so there are tons of options out there. Toss in some colored pencils or crayons and enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood again.

 

A Massage Gift Card

Massages are the perfect gift for better mental health. Taking any time to focus solely on you is a good thing. Massages can work out any physical aches that your mental disorder has created, but they also provide relaxation and self-care. Check out a few local spas and see what types of massages are being offered.

 

Bubble Bath or Bath Bombs

Baths are like massages in that they’ll give you a chance to relax and focus on self-care. Request some bubble bath or bath bombs in your favorite scents to enjoy some you time.

 

A Journal

Having a dedicated notebook to write down your thoughts and feelings is a great way to process your life. Whether you write a novel or just a few sentences in it every day, many people find that keeping a journal helps with their mental health. They can be as cute and colorful or as plain and simple as you like.

 

Lavender Oil

While the scientific community is still debating the merit of essential oils, lavender is known to promote calmness and relaxation. It also helps with sleeping so if your mental disorder is interfering with that some lavender oil could help. You can dab a little bit on your skin, add some to water to create a mist, or buy a diffuser to make your whole home smell delicious.

 

A Great Pair of Headphone

Music has been proven to help improve mental health. Load up some tunes, and get a new pair of headphones to listen all year long. You can listen to whatever you want, and they even have some awesome playlists you can find that have soothing songs on them.

 

Conclusion

The holidays may be stressful, but since it’s gift-giving season make sure to help your mental health by requesting some of these gifts. Anything that makes you feel better is a win. If you need any help or want to book an appointment feel free to contact us. We’re here for you this holiday season.

christmas holidays

How To Maintain Your Mental Health Over The Holidays

The winter holidays are a time of joy, family, and giving. As the year reaches an end, we begin to reflect and get excited for what’s to come. Despite the jolly music and sugary snacks, the holidays can be hard for some people. They can take a serious strain on one’s mental health. The stress of planning events and being around people can intensify feelings of anxiety and depression. Luckily there are a few tips that psychiatrists recommend to minimize these negative feelings and focus on the real joy of this season.

 

Don’t Take On Too Much

It’s easy to feel like you have to do it all during the holidays. Planning parties, buying gifts, and seeing all your loved ones seem like fun activities, but they can start to feel like horrible obligations. Budgeting and scheduling will help you from overextending yourself. Get comfortable saying no to certain things if it’s in the best interest of your mental health.

 

Focus On Loved Ones

Whether it’s your family or friends, this time of year is really about love. You don’t need to throw a big party in order to spend time with thee people. Do small activities like baking cookies or going ice-skating. It’s not so much about what you’re doing or where you are, as much as it is about whom you’re with.

 

Only Spend Time With Those You Want Too

There is a sense of obligation at this time of year to see people you may not want too just because they’re family. If there are certain situations going on between family members keep things light and don’t engage with those heated topics. Also don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself, excuse yourself from a stressful situation, or even not attend an event if you don’t want to. It’s far more important to spend this time with those that bring positivity into your life.

 

Don’t Forget Healthy Habits

Everyone has their own holiday traditions, and many have indulgences that you may not otherwise have such as food, drink, or other activities. While these indulgences may seem fun, for some people they can lead to intense guilt and stress. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should forget the healthy habits you’ve been working on all year. Keeping them up will make you feel more accomplished and happy.

 

Don’t Force The Joy

As happy as these times are for some, to other this time of year brings on intense sadness. Whether it’s because a loved on it no longer around, or because of mental illness, don’t feel like you have to force yourself to be happy. Beating yourself up because you don’t feel the holiday joy isn’t going to help bring it. Everyone has bad days, and if yours happen to fall on a holiday there’s nothing you can do about that. Accept it and enjoy what you can.

 

Conclusion

Mental health is just as important during the holidays as it is any other time of year. Don’t get so caught up in the holiday cheer that you forget about yourself. If you would like to book an appointment with one of our psychiatrists to discuss any holiday anxiety, stress, or depression you may be feeling please contact us.

 

5 Facebook Habits That Will Help Your Mental Health

We’ve all known it for a while, but Facebook has finally confessed that its site can have negative impacts on people’s mental health. Studies have shown that heavy “passive” Facebook use is linked to depression and poor mental health. But don’t feel like you have to give up your favorite social media app yet though. While passive usage is an issue, Facebook has also outlined some habits that won’t be harmful to your mental health.

 

  1. Engage, Don’t Just Read

Facebook has been clear that passive usage of its site is cause for blame. What this means is that logging in and simply “reading” what’s on the site is a problem. However, engaging with posts and friends by sending messages and commenting can actually boost psychological well-being. It’s also no enough to send out one-sided status updates. One-on-one engagement with another person on the network is what’s beneficial. So stop scrolling and start commenting!

 

  1. Give It Up Briefly

Try giving up Facebook for a brief period of time, like a week. This has been proven to give people a psychological boost, just by checking out for a short while. Whenever Facebook starts to feel overwhelming, just like you would in any other situation, take a moment and step back.

 

  1. Stop Stalking

I think most people already knew this, but stalking your ex on Facebook doesn’t do you any good. Studies found that those people that “stalk” friends, exes, and family are the most at risk for depression. If someone is no longer in your life it’s that way for a reason. Keep the past in the past and stop stalking!

 

  1. Post Positivity

Want better mental health? Try posting something positive! Data shows that happiness and positivity spread quickly on Facebook. It also gets more engagements from family and friends. So stop posting all the negative parts of life and start sharing the happy ones.

 

  1. Don’t Boast

Many people turn to Facebook to announce their achievements to the world. But this habit can have detrimental effects. It can actually harm real-life relationships, as most people have strong feelings about online “humblebrags”. People want to be happy for you, but there’s a difference between being excited and being boastful.

 

Conclusion

Psychiatrists have long since been worried about the effects social media has on mental health. Now that research and Facebook has confirmed the suspicions, it’s about educating people how to use these sites in the healthiest way possible. Keep things positive, humble, and don’t be afraid to take a break whenever you need it. If you want to learn more healthy mental health tips or want to set up an appointment with one of our great psychiatrists feel free to contact us.

Most Humorous and Horrific Psychiatric Treatments Through History

Mental health has come a long way, and if you don’t believe us yet you surely will after reading this. A lot of the stigma around mental illness that lingers today comes from these odd and outlandish historical treatments. Some of these old psychiatric treatments were just ineffective, but others were downright cruel and painful. Thankfully psychiatrist treatment options have advanced and we no longer have to rely on these methods.

 

Trepanation

Trepanation is known as the oldest neurosurgical procedure around. The process involves drilling a hole into the skull. The craziest part is that archeologists have evidence of this procedure being done as long ago as the Stone Age and in nearly every part of the world.

 

Records show it was used to treat cranial injuries sustained during war or combat, but it was also used to treat epilepsy and yes, you guessed it mental illness. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this procedure was believed to help “evil escape”. Psychiatrists today are glad they don’t have to drill holes in skulls in order to get their patients some help!

 

Hysteria Therapy

Although he’s called the father of Western medicine, ancient Greek healer Hippocrates is also responsible for centuries of medical misogyny. He theorized that female psychiatric symptoms and issues were a result of “hysteria”, or the womb wandering through the body. We can laugh about how outlandish it sounds now, but hysteria diagnosis lasted well into the 20th century.

 

Early treatments for hysteria included smelling foul substances with the intention of repelling the uterus back to the lower regions of the body. Plato believed women should get married and pregnant, as pregnancy would return the uterus to the right position. Later on, hysterical symptoms were attributed to demonic possession, which could lead to exorcisms or other spiritual cleansing treatments. Thankfully psychiatrists have a much better understanding of the female mind and body today.

 

Mesmerism

The early 1770’s brought forth the notion of “animal magnetism”, later renamed “mesmerism” by Austrian physician and theologian Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer. He believed that a number of ailments were caused by naturally occurring magnetic fields. Realignment was necessary to improve help.

 

Realignment happened by administering high-dose iron to patients, which was then guided through the body by magnets. Other variations had patients sitting in chemical-filled bathtubs with iron rods applied to the affected areas. Clearly, these treatments weren’t effective, and it didn’t help that later on, Mesmer claimed to have magical powers. Although his work has since been debunked, Mesner actually laid the groundwork for psychiatric hypnosis, which is still used today.

 

Rotation Therapy

In the 19th century, there was a belief that using centrifugal force could treat mental illness. Essentially, it was believed that excessive spinning would reduce “brain congestion”. Special chairs were even invented for this treatment and it spread across Europe. There is very little chance these procedures actually had any medical benefits, but they’re still notable for providing the first ever description of G-force biomedical effects.

 

Surgical Excision and Extractions

In the early 1900s, a man by the named of Henry Cotton, who was superintendent of the New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton, had an interesting theory. He believed that mental illness was caused by bodily infections whose toxins poisoned the brain. He sought to remove these chronic infections at their source- by taking out patients teeth, tonsils, spleens, uteri, and other organs.

 

Cotton claimed cure rates of more than 80% but in reality, many of his procedures had mortality rates of about 45%. While his brutal methods are no longer used, his links between mental illness and inflammation are being looked into more lately. But thankfully, psychiatrists don’t have to act like dentists today.

 

Insulin Shock Therapy

About a decade after insulin was discovered, German physician Mandred Sakel began using it to treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal and then not long after schizophrenia. Insulin doses were so high that patients fell into a stupor or coma, making them more cooperative and free from their psychiatric symptoms.

 

It wasn’t long before this treatment caught on in the US, and was used alongside the popular electroconvulsive therapy. While mortality rate could be a little high, and it mainly made people manageable rather than cure them, it was used for quite some time. Eventually, with the introduction of chlorpromazine (Thorazine), which was a cheaper, safer, and equally effective alternative, insulin shock therapy was phased out.

 

Conclusion

Psychiatrists today are glad they have a variety of safe and effective treatment options available for patients. While many of these historical treatments walk the line between hilarious and horrific, many of them laid the groundwork for psychiatrist treatments used today.

Fentanyl Now Leading Cause of Overdose Deaths in the US

It seems as if every news outlets have at least one story a day related to the opiate crisis or opiate epidemic. The concerns aren’t unfounded either. More people are using, becoming addicted to, overdosing from, and dying due to opiates.

 

Many people’s opiate addictions began through legitimate means. It usually begins with some accident and a prescription for pain pills. Over the last few years, the government has been shutting down what they call “pill mills”. As a result, this made it harder for people to satisfy their pill addiction.

 

When pills ran out, people turned to other opiates like heroin. But even heroine has been getting more expensive and harder to get. And now it’s more dangerous.

 

Drug suppliers and dealers have taken to cutting drugs with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Many times, people aren’t aware they are taking fentanyl until it’s too late.

 

Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States. Last year alone it killed more than 21,000 people.

 

The outcry that the US is in the midst of an overdose epidemic is putting it lightly. In 2016 alone, 65,000 people died from drug overdoes, a 21% jump from 2015. While not all of those can be credited to opiates, a large number can.

 

Many are shocked to learn that Fentanyl only arrived on the illicit drug scene around 2012. In a few short years, it has raced ahead, beating out the traditional killers like meth and heroin in terms of death counts. It’s not surprising considering fentanyl is 50 times more potent than morphine and 10 times more potent than heroin. Add to the mix the fact that most people aren’t aware they are taking it and you have the perfect recipe for an opiate epidemic.

 

Fentanyl might soon be displaced though as a new kid on the block, Carfentanil, which is a synthetic opiate even more powerful than fentanyl.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, please contact us to get help.

 

Symptoms and Causes of Panic Attacks

If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack or an episode of intense fear, you’ll understand how terrifying they can be. While panic is a natural feeling that stems from the body’s fight or flight response, panic disorders and attacks can be extremely harmful to individuals.

 

Symptoms

Panic attacks can happen at any time, and often suddenly without warning. People with panic disorders may experience them occasionally or frequently. There are a number of symptoms people can experience during a panic attack, and each attack may bring with it a different set of symptoms. This can make it complicated to identify when it’s a panic attack and when it’s something more serious.

 

The most common symptoms of panic attacks include:

  • Sense of impending danger or doom
  • Fear of death or loss of control
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Feeling detached

 

The good news is that these symptoms usually peak and wane off after a few minutes. After experiencing an attack though, people often have an intense fear of having another one. This can cause people to avoid certain situations that bring them on. While panic attacks aren’t dangerous, they are hard to manage on your own. Panic attacks can get worse without treatment, and can greatly disrupt one’s life. That’s why it’s important to seek out medical help after an attack. Panic attacks mirror symptoms of other serious health problems, like heart attacks, so it’s best to get checked out to make sure that wasn’t what happened.

 

Causes

Doctors still aren’t entirely sure what causes panic attacks or panic disorders. It’s believed that these factors may play a role:

  • Genetics
  • Major Stress
  • Temperament (Sensitivity to stress or prone to negative emotions)
  • Changes in the way parts of the brain function

Panic attacks can come at any time, but the longer someone experiences them, the more likely they are to be triggered by certain situations. Some research suggests the body’s fight-or-flight response is a factor in panic attacks. Many of the same reactions the body goes through while experiencing a fight-or-flight response also occur during a panic attack (like fast heart rate and trouble breathing).  Still, it’s not known why panic attacks occur, or what causes panic disorders to develop.

 

What To Do

The best thing to do after experiencing a panic attack is to seek medical help. This can initially be a regular medical doctor to rule out any physical causes of the symptoms. Treatment, through medication and/or psychotherapy, is important to helping people get better. Very few individuals are able to stop panic attacks from happening on their own. A doctor or psychiatrists is your best option for getting help. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about panic attacks and disorders, or to book an appointment with one of our psychiatrists.