ptsd navigate the silent scream

PTSD, Known as the Silent Scream

What is PTSD? Is it a Complex Disorder?

Why is PTSD referred to as a silent scream? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is basically an anxiety disorder related to the stress that people undergo after experiencing some form of trauma. It develops after a person experiences some form of trauma that causes intense mental and emotional symptoms, often unseen, PTSD is a silent scream. Common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, social withdrawal, and insomnia. Some common causes of trauma include natural disasters, war, accidents, and violence. It’s different how it affects men and women, and a qualified professional will be able to help navigate this silent scream.

As previously mentioned, many people who have post-traumatic stress disorder have developed negative coping skills that make them avoid thinking about painful memories and stressing over the fears they feel. The avoidance process prevents victims from dealing with their emotions. When people with PTSD learn how to deal with their emotions, their coping skills improve. As a result, their PTSD improves, as well. IF you are looking for help determining how it affects men and women, a professional will be able to assist.

So how do you know if you are experiencing post-traumatic disorder? If you experience persistent and exaggerated flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and stress after a traumatic event, then you may have PTSD. There are two forms of PTSD, acute and chronic. In the acute form, victims are often able to deal with their fears in the spur of the moment; however, victims’ symptoms become so intense that they interfere with their lives in the chronic form.

How is post-traumatic stress disorder treated? The treatment for PTSD depends on its severity. For minor trauma, the treatment ranges from conventional medications (antidepressants, tranquilizers) to psychotherapy. Severe trauma requires medical intervention and mental health treatment.

ptsd navigate the silent screamWhat are the symptoms of PTSD?

The most common symptoms of PTSD silent scream include intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, and increased anxiety. Some sufferers develop physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches, and nausea. Some develop psychological symptoms such as irritability, depression, and even years of self-destructive behavior.

Navigating the Silent Scream

If you suspect that you suffer from complex PTSD, your first step should probably be to go to your doctor and get a complete physical and mental health evaluation. If you do not feel that this level of professional help is necessary, then consider seeking support through local support groups, like the Trauma Recovery Team or VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). These groups can provide you with the emotional and practical support you need to feel better and begin to work on your road to recovery from your disorder. If all else fails, then consider seeking an alternative healing method, such as psychotherapy, to treat your symptoms and reduce your stress level.

 

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winter blues

Overcoming the Winter Blues

Overcoming the Winter Blues

When days become shorter, cloudier, and colder, the “winter blues” set in for many people. This condition is known as seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.).

What is S.A.D.? It is a form of depression that usually begins in fall and lasts through winter. Less commonly, symptoms may begin in spring and last through summer.

It affects about 10 million Americans (80 percent of whom are women), with another 10 to 20 percent experiencing milder episodes. The age of onset is typically between ages 18 and 30.

What are the Causes?

The precise answer to the question “What is S.A.D.?” is unknown, but experts believe that winter S.A.D. is related to reduced sun exposure, creating:

  • Lower Vitamin D levels and internal body-clock disruption
  • Reduced serotonin, a natural mood-elevating brain chemical
  • Increased melatonin, a natural sleep-cycle elevating brain chemical

What are the Symptoms of the Winter Blues?

The following indicators might begin mildly but increase in intensity as winter progresses:

  • Depression throughout most of the day
  • Reduced energy, fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sleeping too much
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in appetite, especially craving sweet or starchy foods
  • Feelings of hopelessness or sadness
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Irritability
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Feelings of heaviness in limbs
  • Suicidal thoughts

winter bluesWho is at Risk?

Anyone can experience winter blues, also known as S.A.D., but it is most common in:

  • Women
  • Those with (or having family members with) other mental health issues
  • Those living far from the equator

What Treatments are Available?

Self-care is highly useful for the prevention and treatment of S.A.D. Try doing these things: 

  • Engage in physical activity. This improves physical fitness, sleep patterns, and raises endorphin and serotonin levels for increased self-esteem.
  • Spend time outdoors. Sunlight elevates Vitamin D levels. But, even if it is cloudy, get outside! Natural daylight is still helpful.
  • Maintain an awareness of mood and energy level. Try to approach the cold weather positively. A good attitude makes a big difference.   

Beyond self-care, treatment options include:

  • Light therapy. Broad-band light therapy engages artificial light as an alternative to natural sunlight. This involves the use of a light-box or visor for a designated period of time each day.
  • Psychotherapy. Speaking with a licensed professional is a proven effective method of treatment.
  • Medication. Your mental health provider can make recommendations including traditional antidepressants prescribed for similar diagnoses.

If left untreated, seasonal affective disorder can lead to problems at school or work, substance abuse, eating disorders, or other issues affecting quality of life.

You are not alone, and help is at your fingertips.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms or suicidal thoughts, contact a medical professional immediately.

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Violence Risk Assessments

How to Use Violence Risk Assessments

How to Use Violence Risk Assessments

Several tests help those struggling with mental health issues and help determine risk factors. In some circumstances, as a result of psychological problems, an individual could become violent. This is a hazard to mental health professionals, but it could also impact the community. To help psychologists identify an individual’s risk factors or if they might be capable of harming someone else, the violence risk assessment was created.

Administering these Assessments

To perform a proper violence risk assessment, a psychologist would first compile key information about an individual’s past behavior health during psychological evaluations. Has this individual previously struggled with mental health issues, been in trouble with law enforcement, or witnessed making threats? This information is important when gauging whether this individual is capable of violence.

In addition to their history, a psychologist will examine the individual’s current state.

Warning Signs

  1. Anxiety

  2. Confusion

  3. Making threatening statements

  4. Destructive toward property

With these steps in mind, mental health professionals not only seek to protect bystanders but the patient as well. It’s important to find the best treatment course and the most beneficial one for the patient. The violence risk assessment doesn’t seek to place blame or shame on an individual. A psychologist can’t fully understand all facets of the situation. There could be mitigating factors, such as environmental effects that have shaped the current behavior health.

Violence Risk AssessmentsWhen to Use Violence Risk Assessments

In many situations, violence risk assessments are an effective tool. Human resource departments can utilize questioners developed by psychologists to identify warning signs for employees in the workplace. These can be part of the hiring process or the exit interview.

Also, individuals released from prison or mental health facilities undergo these assessments during psychological evaluations. New prisoners or psychiatric patients also benefit from these assessments to determine the proper accommodations. For example, someone at high risk for violence would be ill-suited for minimal security or little supervision.

These tools help in situations of domestic and family abuse. When there are threats of violence, mental health professionals must verify the other family members are not at risk.

Again, these assessments provide mental health professionals with the right information to make the most informed decisions. Violence Risk Assessments are a valuable tool in psychiatric care and a great preventative measure. If psychologists make informed adjustments to care early on, it may save the lives of those involved.

 

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Psychological Evaluation and Bariatric Surgery

Psychological Evaluation and Bariatric Surgery

Psychological Evaluation and Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a type of surgery that is performed on individuals who are obese and whose Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeds the healthy level. There are many reasons who an individual may reach obesity, some of which include hereditary factors, natural body type, psychological problems leading to overeating and chronic stress. When performing bariatric surgery, the practitioner will often complete a psychological evaluation for the patient prior to the operation. This is because before treating the issue of obesity it is necessary to evaluate the underlying psychological factors contributing to the issue of obesity itself.

Causes of Obesity

For some, the state of obesity is simply caused by hereditary factors or the individual’s natural body type. These individuals may find it necessary to have repeat procedures in order to draw out the fat from the body. Still, others may be obese because they have an underlying psychological issue, such as food addiction or impulsive eating, or the lack of getting any exercise.

Psychological Evaluation and Bariatric SurgeryWeight Loss Surgery

There are various different types of weight loss surgery that can be performed in order to decrease the amount of fat weight that one holds in one’s body. One of these procedures is the Gastric Sleeve procedure. This involves removing up to 85% of the stomach in order to decrease the sensation of hunger. This can result in losing up to 70% of body weight within two years. There is also a procedure called the Gastric Bypass. This results in up to 60 – 80% of body fat lost in under two years and helps to cure Type 1 Diabetes. It reduces the size of your stomach organ and also reduces the absorption of the food you eat.

Another type of bariatric surgery is Hiatal Hernia Repair. Sometimes the cause of obesity is actually a hernia. The hiatus is the passageway between the esophagus and the stomach. In the case of a Hiatal hernia, this stomach bulges up into the chest through the hiatus. These types of procedures are often free of cost when performed in addition to standard weight-loss surgeries, as they help to ensure the health of the patient.

There are many different reasons why the individual may experience increases in weight, including hereditary factors and lifestyle choices. Individuals may gain weight because it is within their ancestry, they are naturally heavy, they are eating to treat mental health ailments or they are practicing impulsive eating. Whatever the reason may be for gaining weight, there are psychological evaluations that can aid in diagnosis. Many bariatric surgeries exist in order to drop weight including the Gastric Sleeve, the Gastric Bypass, and the Hiatal Hernia Repair. These procedures can help restore the individual to full health.

We can help with your psychological evaluation in preparation for this surgery.  Give us a call or click today.

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Ease Irritability

Tips to Ease Irritability

Must-Know Tips To Ease Irritability

Irritability not only disrupts your mental balance, but it also escalates to other areas, eventually reaching everything and everyone around you.  It’s best to stop it as it surfaces. Mild cases often require little habitual changes such as fortifying your diet or assimilating exercise. Here are some ways you can casually ease irritability in your life.

· Address the source

The best way to ease and treat irritability is to address the underlying cause. The majority of persons experience irritability in one way or another through external factors such as drugs, medication, or stressful environments. However, the genesis of annoyance may initiate from other bodily reactions like infections and hormone misalignment. Often, once the underlying cause is addressed, irritability dissipates, and only a minuscule amount of supportive treatment is needed. Denial sneaks in, and acknowledging the actual cause may go amiss from time to time, so it’s best to be honest with yourself. Take some time to assess, address, and then seek help if necessary.

· Declutter your environment

One way to get stress out of mind is to address the mess out of mind. It’s subtle, but cleaning your environment offers a session of micro-therapy and can often uncover a lot of entanglements hidden beneath your physical and mental space.

· Exercise

It is no secret that irritability and boredom can stem from a lack of movement. Rigorous movements alleviate mental pressure, balances the hormones along with cleansing the body of unwanted matters. Exercise kicks your endorphins into gear, allowing this ‘feel-good sensation’ to circulate your biological structure for some time. So one free solution to your annoyance is scheduled exercise, get out and get moving to ease irritability. 

irritable 1· Reduce caffeine or alcohol

Any form of stimulatory substance overuse damages the immune system, compromises the nervous system, and can cause mental disturbance over time. For example, caffeine affects the body and generally causes irritability after the stimulation has ceased, even in the substance’s absence (withdrawal symptoms). Alcohol compromises the immune system, starves the brain of essential nutrients, and dehydrates the body but makes you feel good while doing it. You stem to gain more natural strength when you reduce caffeine or alcohol dependence. 

These are trying times as well during COVID-19, one could see how much more irritable they are due to the constant ups and downs of this pandemic.  Give yourself grace and know that we will get through this.  If you need any help, we are here.

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Distance Learning

Distance Learning’s Impact on Mental Health

Distance Learning and Mental Health

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on mental health for virtually everyone in the world. The main goal for everyone in the world in the last six months has been health and taking the proper precautions. When it comes to schools, the mantra of keep kids safe has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind for the end of the 2019 – 2020 school year and is now a non-negotiable item for the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year. However, it is notable that the focus of all of these actions has been physical health. The hidden toll that coronavirus has taken on mental health should be taken just as seriously. If you want to keep kids safe by creating a distance learning environment there also needs to be a focus put on the social and mental impacts of distance learning on your kids.

Technology and Distance Learning

It is easy to forget in this world of technology that kids can be easily overwhelmed mentally throughout the day by being on screens for the majority of the day. Distance learning is only possible through technology and this type of learning puts the emphasis on being logged onto a computer. Research has consistently shown that the use of technology by kids actually rewires developing brains and if the use of technology is not limited it can cause long-term impacts of technology on kid’s health and limit its use outside of distance learning time.

Distance Learning

This is not to say that distance learning is inherently bad or worse than in-person learning in this unprecedented time. It is just important to recognize the mental health impact of distance learning on your kids. As long as the weather cooperates, going outside and getting fresh air during downtimes or after school is a great way to help health both mentally and physically. There is also no substitute for creative free play that allows kids to be off of screens and developing social skills. These are two simple ways that you can combat distance learning’s reliance on technology. It will help keep that balance in your kids life that is vital for proper development.

 

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blank

Why Do We Worry?

Why Do We Worry?

Worrying is thinking about something that may happen in the future that we have no control over, or the outcome will have a negative impact on our lives. It is attempting to solve problems that present itself. Thoughts of worry are triggered by feeling helpless and out of control. We should often ask ourselves “Do I have control over this?” when we are worrying about something.

Constant worrying can lead to anxiety. Anxiety is the feeling you have when you are apprehensive and stressing out about something. Anxiety is triggered by worry.

Worry

Having concern and anxiousness about certain situations is a part of human nature. We all have feelings of anguish and thoughts of misgivings about something. Those thoughts do not have to be significant or traumatic. We often express concern about very minute things which cause us to feel anxious.

Worrying is tied to control. When we are presented with a problem, we mentally try to solve it. Worrying occurs when the problem has no solution or a negative outcome. There are things in life we have no control over, such as the weather and the passage of time. Frequently we experience anguish over these things when, in reality, we can do nothing to control them.

Worrying is also tied to feelings of helplessness. When things happen, that makes us feel that we are unable to affect the outcome; these feelings can cause a great amount of worrying.

How can I stop worrying? 

There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of worrying. Whenever thoughts of concern enter your head, ask yourself, “Do I have control over this?” Contemplate that answer. Once you have determined the answer to that question, the key to reducing the amount of worrying that occurs is to accept the answer no matter what it is. This, of course, is easier said than done. Acceptance of things takes an incredible amount of willpower and control.

Worrying is a part of life. There is no way to eliminate worrying altogether, but you can reduce the amount of worrying you do by controlling your thoughts and reactions.

If you or someone you know needs help with stress or anxiety, please reach out to us.

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Fitness for duty

Psychological Fitness for Duty Evaluations

Psychological Fitness for Duty Evaluations

Psychological fitness for duty evaluations for employees takes place in high-stress jobs when the employer gets a feeling that the employees may be incapable of carrying out some duties. It could also be for an individual who is yet to have a job where pre-employment screening needs to be done. For the case of an employee who has been working already, this could be a result of showing signs of stress either emotionally or psychologically.

Why an evaluation?

It is usually easy to point out signs of stress through their behavior. They could be hostile and threatening to their coworkers, therefore, causing the employer to be worried about safety. A high-stress job, for example, is likely to cause a serious impact on an employee. The evaluation is important in determining whether an employee exhibiting such signs is physically impaired or not, and if he or she can work safely and effectively.

Psychological evaluations may also be triggered by a situation where an employer does not want to be discriminative based on disabilities. This kind of employer referral requires a third party of observation report to the employee’s condition to be allowed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The employee’s consent is also required in this case, and it should be obtained in writing.

A record of their behavior and some background study is required too. The consent does not mean the employee is required to accept in advance. It means that they will be aware of the happenings to enable them to accept findings and recommendations. In addition, pre-employment screening is essential to prevent future problems, especially if it involves a high-stress job.

Both psychiatrists and psychologists have come up with approaches to evaluate and employer referral procedures, not forgetting responses to evaluation results. There are specific guidelines that are followed until an employer is granted permission to evaluate an employee. Once that is done, doctor-client confidentiality is highly observed and emphasized.

When the psychological evaluation is done, a written report of the results of the evaluation is given. The report contains recommendations too. The opinion of whether the employee is fit for duty or restricted is also included. Employees could be fit for duty with restrictions, unfit for duty, or fit for duty without restrictions.

Terms of employment and law should be observed in deciding the fate of the victim. Medication, counseling, and therapy should be recommended if need be. On the implementation checklist there is;

1. Establishment of the policy governing psychological evaluations on fit for duty.

2. Specifications of coverage and scope of the evaluation associating procedures, rights, and oblivious.

 

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Slow Down

The Importance of Slowing Down

The Importance of Slowing Down

Everyone experiences the urge to do more, succeed, go faster, and surpass their expectation. Many people believe that working more hours and taking minimal rests is equivalent to success. This is not usually true. Ask experts and successful people, and they’ll tell you that taking time to do nothing makes a huge part of your success story. As far as you need to work hard to achieve your goals, taking a break before you experience total burnout is very important. Here are some of the reasons why you need to slow down.

Your Health Matters

You won’t realize that working too hard without breaks is affecting your health until you collapse at work and you have nothing else to do but fight for your life. It’s not news to see people fainting at work due to burnout. You don’t want to be one of them. Your body, mind, and spirit need to take a break if you want to be more productive and successful. Take time to entertain yourself, cook, and hang out with friends.

Slow Down and Make Better Decisions

When you’re tired, even your decisions will look and sound tired. Making better decisions needs a fresh and active brain. Taking time to slow down even when you have tight deadlines gives you time to rest and meditate. Resting restores your mental health which in turn helps you make better decisions. When you take time to slow down, you will resume work fresher and work better, faster, and be more effective.

Slow DownEnjoy the Beauty of Life

You need to switch off that hustle mode and start enjoying the beauty of life. When you’re always buried in your work, sometimes the only words that come out of your mouth often are ‘I’m busy’, you will forget that there’s the other side of life that exists. We have only one life, and if you spend all of it working, then you won’t live to appreciate the world. You need to slow down, take time off, and have fun. Hung out with friends or take a vacation with your family. You need to know the other side of life apart from just working.

There are several reasons you need to step out of that hustle mode and restore your calm. Don’t be that kind of a person that feels useless when you’re not doing anything. Slowing down and taking a rest is not equivalent to being lazy but a sign that you care about your mental health.

 

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Bariatric Psychological Evaluation

Questions about Bariatric Psychological Evaluations

The Importance of Bariatric Psychological Evaluation Before Surgery.

In 2018, the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) conducted research that revealed an estimate of over 200,000 individuals had undergone gastric bypass surgery as a remedy to lose weight. With the numbers of individuals with an average Body Mass Index above 30 slowly rising, obesity is gradually becoming a concern. More people are abandoning the traditional methods of losing weight through exercise and dieting as such methods have seemed futile.

Unlike traditional dieting methods used to lose weight, gastric bypass surgery is a more intensive and permanent procedure that requires lifestyle adjustments. Thus, the National Institute of Health Consensus ruled out that all patients scheduled for bariatric surgery must go through psychological evaluations before the surgery. The psychological evaluation consists of two parts, clinical interviews, and psychological examination.

Clinical Interviews

Under clinical interviews, a psychologist assesses the patient’s mental health, focusing on the patient’s behavior and psychological symptoms. These interviews aim to assess the patient’s knowledge of bariatric surgery, collect information on the patient’s mental status, while simultaneously educating the patient. The psychologist asks about their reasons for seeking gastric bypass surgery, current eating patterns, weight history, social support, dieting history, and the psychological acclimatization in readiness for the procedure.

Psychological Examination

A recent study revealed that individuals with a BMI of more than 40 are more likely to develop depression than the average population. During psychological evaluations, the psychologist analyzes the patient for any psychiatric condition that may hinder the desired outcome following gastric bypass surgery. Patients are assessed for signs of psychosis, anxiety, substance abuse, or depression. Although these factors may not contraindicate the procedure, they play an important role in how the patient will recover post-surgery.

In a psych evaluation, the patient is advised to answer the questions asked honestly. The patient is told that the test results do not determine if they are viable for the surgery or not, as this may lead to intentional distortion of information. Based on the clinical interviews, psychiatric examination, nutritional evaluation, and patient history, the surgeon can draw conclusive information on their patient’s status.

In conclusion, before gastric bypass surgery, psychological evaluation of any patient is vital to understand their emotional status better and evaluate their cause and readiness for the surgical procedure. This will go a long way in determining the success story of gastric bypass surgery and mitigate relapses.

 

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