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What is Anosognosia in Mental Illness?

Anosognosia in Mental IllnessToday, millions of Americans struggle with mental health problems ranging from substance abuse to anxiety or depression to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. With almost 1 in 4 Americans qualifying for a mental health diagnosis of some kind, it’s incredibly normal to have a mental illness or mental health problem. But, for some of us, realizing that we have those problems is part of the mental illness. Instead, a percentage of people suffer from a condition known as Anosognosia, in which they are unable to realize or recognize that they have a mental health problem.

While this can be linked to denial, anosognosia is an illness of its own and is characterized by damage to the brain, which can result from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, dementia, some kinds of trauma, and traumatic brain injury.

What is Anosognosia?

Anosognosia is a condition in which you cannot recognize another or other health conditions that you have. For most people, it means you simply are not aware of a deficit or illness that you have and instead see yourself as normally functioning and not in need of medication or help. In mental illness, it most often crops up in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, where affected individuals may think they are normally functioning and not in need of any help at all. However, the illness is from a family of agnosia’s, all of which relate to inability to recognize sensory input. For example, the inability to see visual motion, inability to recognize body parts, inability to recognize partial paralysis, inability to differentiate visual objects, etc.

In mental illness, anosognosia is most-often linked to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Here, individuals can suffer significant trauma to the brain, resulting in their inability to see that they are functioning any differently than the people around them. They may also not notice or not realize that episodes happen and may therefore feel that any attempts to get them help are trying to harm them or asking them to do something for no reason.

What’s the Difference Between Anosognosia and Denial?

There are significant overlaps between anosognosia and denial. People who are in denial of having a mental health condition can delude themselves to the point of very significantly believing that they don’t have a problem.

Denial can also be a significant mental health problem in which a person can delude themselves into a condition that can be diagnosed as anosognosia. If you are incapable of acknowledging that you have a deficit, whether because of brain injury or because of a mental health problem, it likely qualifies as anosognosia.

Anosognosia is normally linked to the mechanism by which people make a mental image of themselves. Here, you have to change that mental image as you move through your life. You get a haircut, now you have to think of yourself with short hair. You learn a new skill, your mental image of yourself updates to include being able to achieve tasks with that skill. But when you lose skills, it can be difficult for your brain to adapt. You see this with people who lose limbs who very often react and try to use those limbs for decades after losing them. For example, patients with amputated limbs show brain activity for those amputated limbs decades after amputation, because the brain never gets rid of the portion of the brain dedicated to moving that limb.

Mental illness is thought to have a similar mechanism, where persons who lose functionality, such as by going into a bipolar manic episode, are unable to recognize the episode because their brain isn’t updating their mental image. The brain is inflexible. Whether that’s caused by brain chemistry, denial, or traumatic injury to the brain is less relevant than the fact that the problem exists.

Anosognosia can be a form of denial. It might also be something forced on the individual by a brain injury. You can’t just talk someone with anosognosia out of it. If that were the case, they would just have denial and not anosognosia.

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Who Develops Anosognosia?

Signs & Symptoms of AnosognosiaAnosognosia is extremely rare on a population level but extremely common when you start to look at the specific groups that it affects. For example, one study shows that it impacts an estimated 40% of people with bipolar disorder, 40-98% of persons with schizophrenia, and 20-80% of persons with Alzheimer’s.

Often, anosognosia follows significant trauma to the brain, which can occur as a result of a mental health disorder like schizophrenia.

Signs & Symptoms of Anosognosia

Anosognosia is characterized by an inability to recognize that something is wrong. That can mean:

  • The individual stops taking their meds
  • The individual goes from understanding they have a diagnosis to claiming they are completely healthy and potentially back again (Anosognosia can come and go)
  • The individual is paranoid about why people want them to get treatment or take medications
  • The individual deteriorates and starts having worse symptoms of mental health problems becuase they stop taking care of themselves and going to treatment (after all, nothing is wrong).

Diagnosing anosognosia normally starts with a questionnaire to assess whether someone is aware of having problems. The Scale to Assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder (SUMD) is the standard used here. After this, you may receive a CT, EEG, or MRI scan to check for physical damage to the brain. Often, there are no physical signs, especially in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

How Do You Treat Anosognosia?

Anosognosia can be extremely difficult to treat because people receiving treatment are often resistant to treatment. For this reason, it’s best to take a mixed approach of switching away from getting someone to acknowledge illness and towards getting someone to acknowledge goals.

For example, in patients with schizophrenia, getting them to take medication is often the primary goal. About a third of persons with schizophrenia-related anosognosia are able to recognize that they have mental health problems when they take their medication long enough for it to have an effect.

Motivational enhancement therapy is also often used to help people meet goals like going to treatment and taking medication. Again, the goal is not to convince the person that they are ill or that they have a diagnosis. Instead, it’s to convince them that there are benefits to fixing a specific behavior or making a change and then getting them to do it – to improve their overall wellbeing. In patients with “denial” MET is used to convince people that they have a mental illness and need treatment, but this approach does not work with anosognosia.

Getting Help

People with anosognosia are unable to acknowledge that they have a mental health problem. This may be total (they never realize they have a mental health problem) or it may come and go (they take meds for months and then suddenly believe they are well and are taking medication for no reason). In every case, the best approach is to get that person to a doctor where they can be diagnosed and given treatment. Often, the challenge is keeping that person in treatment because they won’t normally see anything wrong with themselves. That means talking to them about goals like work, living alone, taking care of themselves, etc., and then working out reasons that mental health professionals can help with that. You won’t get anywhere trying to talk someone with anosognosia into believing they are sick. However, you can talk them into getting help for other reasons by normalizing mental healthcare for normal life. Good luck getting treatment.

What Happens if You Leave Co-Occurring Disorders Untreated?

a male client during a Co-Occurring Disorder treatmentIf you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, you’re not alone. Today, 21.5 million Americans have both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. This means that you have a substance use disorder or addiction and a behavioral or mental health disorder like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia.

This overlap in diagnosis happens for a wide variety of reasons. For example, mental health disorders make you more vulnerable to dependence on substances and to addiction.

Addiction also triggers mental health disorders and can make them worse. For that reason, it’s important to treat both at the same time, with a treatment program designed around the needs of your co-occurring disorder.

If that doesn’t happen, you could find yourself relapsing.

Co-Occurring Disorders Get in the Way of Treatment

If you go to an addiction treatment program built around the needs of a dual diagnosis patient, the treatment is designed to treat the most pressing issues first. That means it will tackle physical reliance on the substance, and behaviors that present a risk to mental and physical health, and then start on treating behaviors and attitudes that get in the way of treatment.

That means:

  • Treating mental health problems that delay or prevent treatment
  • Tackling behavior and mindset
  • Working on improving motivation for treatment
  • Creating the mental health to allow the individual to adapt and respond to treatment

How does that work? If you’re completely overwhelmed by anxiety or depression, or in the middle of a manic episode because of bipolar disorder, you don’t have the resources to concentrate on therapy or to make meaningful steps to change. This means that it will be crucial to recognize where you’re at and what your capabilities are and then use treatment to bring you to a point where you can benefit from addiction treatment and therapy.

Co-Occurring Disorders Increase Risk of Relapse

a thoughtful female looking outside the window Co-Occurring Disorders Increase Risk of RelapseMental health disorders increase your risk of drug abuse and addiction. They also increase your risk of relapse. Why? You’ll still be dealing with stress and anxiety caused by the mental health disorder. In addition, it’s highly likely that you won’t have had the same benefit from therapy and treatment that you would have if you didn’t have the co-occurring disorder.

Persons with mental health disorders are significantly more likely to use drugs and alcohol. That tracks to self-medication, where you use drugs and alcohol to feel better or to reduce stress. It also tracks to impulsivity, poor risk assessment for decision-making, and increased chemical reliance on drugs and alcohol. That’s especially true if you have a mental health disorder that reduces serotonin production in the brain, because drinking or using drugs can temporarily make you feel much better than you do normally, so you’re much more likely to continue using.

Failing to treat these issues mean you remain vulnerable to relapse because you:

  • Are still under a high amount of stress
  • Haven’t actually changed your behavior, only quit drinking or using
  • Haven’t benefited from treatment because mental health disorders were in the way

This often means that as soon as something goes wrong or stress levels get too high, you’re very likely to relapse and start using again. That’s worse with disorders like bipolar disorder, where you’re very likely to relapse as soon as mania strikes again.

What’s worse, relapsing often increases your chances of negative outcomes. For example, if you use drugs, your tolerance to the drug will have decreased, meaning that the same dose that was safe for you before may be dangerous now. Relapsing also means massive setbacks in progress and needing treatment again, but first you have to make it through it and choose to go back to treatment.

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Co-Occurring Disorders Decrease Quality of Life

thoughtful manUntreated mental health disorders can significantly impact quality of life. That often means you’ll be dealing with mental health problems like anxiety, depression, feeling down, and low energy – all while being asked to work on high-maintenance self-care and self-improvement routines.

For example, people with mental health disorders often experience symptoms like:

  • Social isolation
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Poor personal hygiene and self-care
  • Poor nutritional habits
  • Sleeping too much / too little
  • Excessive stress or anxiety in response to situations

At the same time, you’ll be asked to:

  • Maintain a consistent social schedule
  • Create consistent routines to clean your home
  • Exercise most days
  • Eat healthy food most days
  • Sleep in consistent and routine blocks

If those sound like they might be contradictory, you’re not wrong. Mental health problems actively get in the way of the routines and habits you need to live a healthy life that supports recovery. Of course, if you can maintain those habits, they will also help with mental health problems. However, doing so often means getting treatment for the mental health problems that are getting in the way.

You’ll Still Be Dealing with the Same Stuff

Chances are that you started drinking or using for a reason. Chances are also very high that your mental health disorder was a large part of that. For many people, substance abuse is about self-medication, dealing with problems, and escaping from problems. If your mental health disorder actively interferes with your relationships, makes you feel bad, causes anxiety, or prevents you from doing the things you want to do in the ways you want to do them, then your mental health disorder is likely at least partially behind why you started drinking or using in the first place.

If you don’t actively treat your mental health disorder as part of dual diagnosis treatment, you’ll go back to your life, dealing with the same problems that sent you to rehab in the first place. That probably sounds like setting yourself up for failure, because it is. If you want to recover, you need to be able to change the underlying causes behind relying on drugs and alcohol, and that means treating mental health disorders, getting help with symptom management, and getting a prescription for medication where you need it. All of that means looking into a co-occurring disorder program where you can get help with both at the same time.

Getting Help for a Dual Diagnosis

Treating a mental health disorder means having space to change your behavior and your life outlook. Sometimes it means getting medication and treatment. At the same time, you’ll have to treat a substance use disorder at the same time, because aspects of a substance use disorder can get in the way of treatment. However, once you get over the initial barrier of needing to be clean and sober and motivated, you’ll often find that many of the tools for mental health treatment help with recovery and vice-versa. That means you’ll have treatment for mental health that contributes to your recovery and structure for recovery that contributes to mental health. So, while co-occurring disorders can get in the way of recovery, once you get started, treating both at the same time just makes sense.

If you need help, it’s important to talk to your doctor, be upfront about any mental health disorders or diagnoses, and get the full help you need – for both mental health problems and substance use disorder, even if you don’t yet have a diagnosis for both.

What is Neuroplasticity in Mental Health?

Neuroplasticity in Mental HealthFor many people, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are chronic, meaning that they are permanent or near permanent. For most of us, this means that mental health disorders will come and go throughout our lives, and episodes and peaks can be triggered by lapses in self-care, traumatic events, and stress. For others, mental health problems are a one-off problem that can be treated and overcome and essentially vanish much like a broken bone, leaving some scars, but otherwise gone forever.

At the same time, many people believe that once you’re an adult, your brain stops growing. In fact, many people believe that the brain only has a certain number of cells, that you can only learn things to a certain age (you can’t each an old dog new tricks), etc. None of that is true. Instead, the brain loses some plasticity or ability to change as you grow older but is capable of changing and adapting to every circumstance as you age. This means that chances are very high that your brain can heal from whatever mental health problems you have – although it is true that some issues will remain chronic.

What is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity represents the brain’s ability to change. This often means capacity for learning, for memory, for changing behavior, and for mental flexibility. Often, what looks like simple behavioral change on the outside is a complex process of the brain changing its physical shape to achieve new things. The human brain adapts to its environment, which is why taxi drivers who memorize city streets see actual changes in the brain, as do jugglers, and medical students. The brain adapts to its environment, especially to structural information, which forces the brain to reorganize and adapt to new input as well as to providing new output.

People who don’t frequently do new things or who routinely do exactly the same thing with no changes will have difficulty changing. This doesn’t mean their brain is no longer plastic, it means they need more time to adapt. At its basis, one of the things that makes the human brain so very “human” is its ability to adapt and to change and to retain that neuroplasticity over time. Factors like life experiences, stress, genes, behavior (including thought patterns) and environment will all limit or enable that change but that change is always available.

Does Mental Illness Change the Brain?

Mental illnesses, including behavioral disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and most other mental health problems directly change the brain. Often, this is a two-part change of changes in hormones and neurotransmitters and changes in behavior building different habits or pathways in the brain.

This might look like:

  • brainDepression reduces the production of serotonin. Reduced serotonin means that the brain is less able to regulate mood and emotion. So, the brain feels more depressed, worsening the issue. Eventually, the brain might adapt to seek out serotonin-producing experiences (e.g., food, TV, drugs or alcohol, etc.).
  • Behavior builds new neural pathways that reinforce the habit. So, if you stop challenging yourself, stop taking care of yourself, and stop doing things that require those neural pathways, your brain will dismantle those neural pathways because they require energy. So the less you use behavior patterns for self-care and for maintaining health and mental health, the less you’ll have the ability to.
  • Mental health disorders often come with negative spiraling, negative thought patterns, and getting stuck in cycles of worry. Those are also often self-reinforcing, as the brain will adapt and you’ll build new neural pathways to make that behavior easier.

That all sounds counterproductive of your brain doesn’t it? The truth is, the brain adapts to the environment it’s given. That means that the more you indulge feeling bad and the more you give yourself leeway to not engage with behaviors that improve mental health, the harder it will be to pick that back up. At the same time, neuroplasticity works in reverse:

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Does Neuroplasticity Mean the Brain Can Heal Itself?

thoughtful womanThe common perception of the brain is that it doesn’t heal. At the same time, medical science has know that isn’t true for decades. When faced with physical trauma to the brain, patients show a remarkable ability to regenerate tissue and recover. People who have impairment to the hippocampus following significant substance abuse typically recover, so you can’t tell their brain from a healthy brain after about 3 years. Healing takes time, but it does happen.

It’s also important to note that not all mental health disorders require or will result in healing. In some cases, depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia are just how your brain works. You can take medication to supply some of what your brain isn’t, just like you’d wear glasses if your eyes weren’t meeting your needs for driving or reading, but you won’t expect your brain to heal, beyond recovering from any trauma that being untreated has resulted in.

Using Mental Health Treatment to Provide the Grounds for Change

The goal of psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to help you create new patterns and new behaviors. This means addressing the existing behaviors and recognizing them, figuring out what’s behind them, and then trying to redirect them into new skills and patterns. Behavioral therapy often starts with stopping downward spirals, redirecting negative thoughts, and building basic skills to prevent negativity. At the same time, you’ll create the start of patterns o build positivity, to find positivity, and to build functional patterns. Just like with negative patterns, these patterns will also change your brain and you’ll have the neural pathways to support them – often in as little as 3-6 months after starting therapy.

  • The more you practice a skill, such as stopping a downward spiral, the easier it will get, as your brain adapts and builds neural pathways to enable it
  • The more you engage in activities that produce serotonin, the more your brain will make that easier, by building neural pathways to enable it. You can get stuck in a neural rut of thinking negative thoughts, but you can get out of it and create a neural rut about finding good in things.
  • Building new skills to foster neuroplasticity allows you to better adapt to change over time, so you pick up new things more quickly and adapt more quickly. That means the more you push forward, the easier adding on new things will get.

Neuroplasticity means your brain adapts to the environment it’s in, trying to maximize energy usage and output to what it’s doing and the environment it is in. This means you can always change your brain by changing your patterns, changing your behavior, and changing your environment. That change will often take time and recovering from trauma and physical damage can take years. But, you have the capacity to recover, to build new neural pathways, and to heal. That might not mean leaving your mental health disorder behind, but it will mean leaving the trauma caused by that mental health disorder behind and building healthy patterns that support quality of life and happiness around your mental health disorder.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, it’s important to recognize that there is help. Reaching out to talk to your doctor, working your way towards behavioral therapy, and getting mental health interventions can set you on the path to permanent change and permanent improvement in your quality of life. Eventually, that will mean you have the patterns and the skills to better navigate mental health so you can be happier.

Passive Suicidal Ideation: Signs and When to Seek Help

depressed woman with Passive Suicidal IdeationIf you or a loved one is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, suicide, and dying, it’s important to reach out and talk to a professional. That’s even true if that ideation is passive, because even if it’s not pressing, suicidal ideation is never a good sign. It’s a warning that you need help, and you need to get it before the problem becomes worse.

Passive suicidal ideation is, in short, the desire to die without having a plan to achieve that. That means you face a feeling of wanting to die, intrusive thoughts of self-harm or killing yourself, or feelings of not wanting to live. If you’re experiencing that, that is enough warning sign to seek help and to talk about it with a mental health professional. However, we’ll go more into detail on that in the rest of this article.

What is Passive Suicidal Ideation

Passive suicidal ideation is the desire to die, to kill yourself, or a lack of desire to keep living. However, it’s called “passive” because the person experiencing it hasn’t made an active or concrete plan to make these thoughts a reality. In fact, they might never do so. For many people, passive suicidal ideation is unwelcome and unpleasant. For others it’s an early warning sign of actually wanting to die and will eventually solidify into an active want to die. That change can be triggered by bad things happening, mental health getting worse, or by trauma. However, it can happen.

In either case, passive suicidal ideation is not something to just live with. It reduces your quality of life, it harms your mental health, and it can turn into active suicidal ideation over time. That means you should always look for and get help if you are experiencing it. Even talking about it with a professional can give you insight into what your coping mechanisms are, how you can redirect thoughts, and how you can work towards overcoming those thoughts.

What are the Signs of Passive Suicidal Ideation in Others

Passive suicidal ideation can take a lot of different forms. For many people, it means expressing or showing thoughts of wanting to die. Others will never voice those thoughts aloud. That can mean you’ll never notice or see suicidal ideation until it’s too late. However, you can look for signs like:

  • Expressing a desire to die. Even if it’s said as a joke, it is something you should take seriously, talk about, and try to figure out how real the sentiment is.
  • Researching or looking into how suicide works and what types of suicide methods work. Even things like knowing suicide statistics and what kinds of suicide attempts work can be a red flag. For example, if someone knows why a suicide method is the most effective, that means they’ve looked it up, and that means they had motivation to do so.

depressed woman thinking she is not worthyYou can also look for statements like:

  • “I want to die”
    “life just doesn’t feel worth living”
  • “I hope this car crashes”
  • “I could step in front of this bus”
  • “My loved ones would be better off if I were never born”
  • “I don’t want to be alive anymore”
  • “Everything is too hard to cope with”
  • “I just want to sleep and not have to deal with life”

These statements, and others like them, all express passive suicidal ideation.

a woman lonely and depressedYou can also look for signs of poor mental health like:

  • Increased reliance on substances
  • Depression
  • Self-isolation or avoiding friends and family
  • Expressions of or feelings of loneliness
  • Changes in behavior such as self-care
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Self-harm
  • Feelings of hopelessness

These latter symptoms can map to a very large number of mental health problems. However, they all point to the fact that this person is not doing well and probably needs help.

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Are Suicidal Thoughts Normal?

sad woman with mental health problemIn 2021, an estimated 12.3 million Americans seriously thought about Suicide. This means that for almost 4% of the population, suicide is a normal thing to think about. At the same time, normal does not mean healthy, good for you, or something you have to live with.

People think about dying all the time. Today, someone dies by suicide almost every 11 minutes in the United States. The fact that something is normal does not mean that you should leave it alone. Instead, it means that it’s normal to need help and it should be normal to ask for that help.

Coping with Passive Suicidal Ideation

Therapy and mental health support is the best way to cope with suicidal ideation. Professional help can allow you to understand what’s underneath suicidal ideation, to find and change behavior and patterns in your life that contribute to feeling that way, and to build habits and change that improve your life so you can move past suicidal ideation and get back to enjoying your life. And, when therapy isn’t enough, a mental health professional can help you to get treatment and medication to help balance your mood so you can improve quality of life that way.

Managing suicidal ideation also means managing your life and the people in it. That means:

  • Managing your routines so you have structure and support
  • Manage energy by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, making sure you get plenty of rest, and taking steps to ensure your quality of sleep is good
  • Keep your space clean by spending 15-20 minutes per day cleaning up
  • Take time to socialize and spend time with people who are fun and doing fun things. Consider what things you like to do and make sure you do them, even if you’re not experiencing joy in doing them right then
  • Make sure you have what you need to feel good. That means exercising 30-60 minutes per day most days and eating nutritious food about 80% of the time.
  • Minimize caffeine and alcohol intake and try to stick to recommended daily limits or less for both

Essentially, if you take steps to give yourself structure and routine, put effort into taking care of yourself, and keep your space clean, you’re giving yourself a good basis for mental health. On top of that, you should add things you like to do like hobbies (crafting, sports, games) and spending time with friends and family so that you get to enjoy things as well. That won’t make you feel “not depressed”, but it will give you a good baseline for feeling good about yourself and your life.

woman trying to overcome depression by relying to mental health professionalWhen Should You Seek Help?

In any case where you’re experiencing suicidal ideation, you should be seeking help. If you have recurring thoughts of death, wanting to die, not wanting to live, self-harm, or suicide, you should be talking to a mental health professional. Often, that starts with talking to your doctor who can recommend you to a therapist or to other treatment. However, you can also reach out and ask for treatment directly from a mental health clinic or center.

Suicidal ideation is always a warning that something is wrong, and it is always a good sign to reach out and ask for help. If you or a loved one is experiencing even passive suicidal ideation, the time to seek out help is now.

How to Know If You Need Outpatient Depression Treatment

a woman inquiring about Outpatient Depression TreatmentIf you’ve been diagnosed with depression, getting treatment is very likely to be an ongoing part of your life. That’s so much true that many people benefit from inpatient stays in clinics for rehab treatment and care. That stint in full time treatment gives you a baseline to build life skills and to learn how to manage your disorder. However, over time, you might need more and ongoing support.

Outpatient treatment is ideal for that because you can stay at home, continue your daily life and responsibilities, and fit treatment into your life instead of the other way around.

Outpatient treatment is typically 5 days per week and up to three hours per day. Here, you’ll go to treatment in the evening after work or during the day, while kids are in school. You might also opt for treatment on the weekends or in the morning before the rest of your day starts. In any case, you’ll get treatment for your depression without having to give up on the rest of your life. Mental health treatment is normal and it should be. 12.7 million U.S. adults received mental health assistance for things like depression and anxiety in 2022. If you need help, it’s important to ask. Whether you need that or not should almost always be decided by a doctor. However, some signs that you will benefit from it include:

You’re Struggling

If you’re having trouble with your day-to-day life, you probably need help. That’s true whether you’re withdrawing from the things you love, you’re having trouble keeping up with routines, you’re dropping out of social life, or you feel bad. Even persistent feelings that things are off or wrong are a good sign to reach out and talk to your doctor and to potentially get help.

You should never have a hard time keeping up. You should always feel like you have the tools to manage your life and the things in it. And, while emergencies happen, the norm should be that you have a handle on things. If that doesn’t feel like it’s the case, reaching out and looking into treatment and help is an important thing.

That’s also true if the issue is that you’re “just” feeling stressed or tense all of the time. A lot of people experience expression as fatigue. Others experience it as stress or feelings of tension or that things are about to go wrong. These feelings are not normal, and you shouldn’t have to live with them all the time. You can get help and you can work on finding a solution.

a male employee not enjoying his daily routineYou’re Not Enjoying Things

If you’re doing things you used to enjoy and are getting nothing out of it, it’s time to talk to a doctor about treatment. Depression means that your brain isn’t processing serotonin and dopamine correctly. That can mean feeling less enjoyment, less motivation, and more simple fatigue and tiredness. Either way, if you’re not doing things you love anymore, it’s a sign that things are deteriorating. And, that means things will get worse. Without positive things in your life and things you enjoy, you won’t have outlets or good things to look forward t. That will mean things will just keep getting worse. Therefore, it’s critical that you seek out depression treatment if things are that bad.

It’s okay to have a few down weeks. However, if things last more than a few weeks, you really want to make sure you’re getting help.

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woman with depression getting outpatient treatmentYour Routines are Falling Apart

If your routines are falling apart, it’s a good sign that you’re overwhelmed. Sometimes that can be because the routines are too much. In other cases, it can be because you are not doing well and you need help keeping up. This means that the first step is to step back, reduce your workload, find workarounds, and ensure that you have tools to get things done. That might mean talking to a professional and asking for help and insight. That’s especially true if you have family responsibilities that might push you towards doing more than you feel capable of. However, if you notice:

  • Personal hygiene slipping, e.g., you don’t put the same effort into dressing up, you don’t brush your hair, you don’t get dressed, etc. It’s a good time to be concerned for yourself and to ask for help. Major changes in personal routine and hygiene are hugely important indicators of your mental health. Even small stuff like not being invested in dressing nicely when you used to be or feeling like tying your shoes is too much effort can be hugely important indicators of mental health.
  • Slipping up on home routines like cleaning the house, putting away the dishes, or cooking. If you used to have a routine you could keep up with and now things are piling up, or you don’t know how to create a routine you can keep up with, it’s a very good sign that you might want professional help. It’s normal to have some trouble keeping up with dishes and other cleaning. It’s less so to have those tasks be overwhelming, for them to fall by the wayside for weeks at a time, or for some chores like laundry to just not happen until things are extremely bad.
  • Dropping responsibilities at home, like childcare, cooking for yourself, spending time with your partner, etc. The more important the responsibility, the larger the red flag it is when you drop it. If you find you’re just not keeping up with things you need and want to do, it’s critical to ask for help – even if that means staying at an inpatient facility.
  • Being late for work or failing other major responsibilities outside the home. If you’re not keeping up when social or financial pressure are involved, it’s a sign that you are having significant trouble and you should be getting help.

Letting things slip for a few days is okay. But, if things are falling behind for the longer term, you feel overwhelmed, too tired to manage, or just don’t care, it’s a very good sign that you badly need help.

a man trouble with relationships, struggling from depression Trouble with Relationships

The worse you’re doing, the more your mood is going to go up and down, the harder of a time you’ll have handling your emotions, and the worse you’ll be at keeping up with social responsibilities. That often means your relationships with friends, family, and even partners will deteriorate. Here, it’s important to recognize that depression can actively sabotage your relationships. Having the tools to communicate that, to set expectations, and to manage your emotions will allow you to manage your relationships and to maintain them around depression. That’s important for you, your quality of life, and your ability to maintain those relationships. Often, it will mean going to treatment, getting relationship therapy, and learning skills to manage your life around depression.

Eventually, going to treatment is a normal and healthy thing. Even if you think you’re struggling, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor, get insight from a professional, and get a handle on what your options are and how you can move forward.

Outpatient treatment for depression can be a great choice to allow you to get help and to get your depression under control without putting your life on hold – but you might also need more intensive care. It’s important to talk to a professional and ask for advice on what will work for you with your symptoms.

Redeemed Mental Health is a mental health & dual diagnosis treatment center offering PHPIOP, and individual levels of care. Contact us today to begin your journey of recovery!

The Link Between Cannabis Use and Schizophrenia

The Link Between Cannabis Use and SchizophreniaCannabis is one of the most frequently used drugs in the United States, with an estimated 18.7% of the U.S. population using at least occasionally. That’s more than 52.5 million people. Cannabis and marijuana are more and more often accepted as a relatively safe drug for medical and recreational use. Yet, heavy use is also more and more often linked to behavioral health disorders like schizophrenia and paranoia. Schizophrenia is a complex mental health disorder linked to genetics, but research shows that cannabis use could trigger dormant schizophrenia. For that reason, it’s important that you be aware of the risks and how they might affect you or your loved one before using.

This doesn’t mean that cannabis can immediately trigger schizophrenia the first time you use. Instead, the relationship is likely complex, related to heavy use, and heavily dependent on genetics. For many people, cannabis only increases the risk of receiving a cannabis diagnosis. That does mean that understanding the risks will contribute to your ability to use safely.

How does Cannabis Contribute to Schizophrenia

Cannabis is widely regarded as increasing vulnerability to schizophrenia. Often, that means the individual had an underlying but dormant schizophrenic disorder. It’s not yet known if cannabis can cause schizophrenia in a person without genetic inclination for the disorder, but it is thought that the answer is no. This means that genetics play a very large role in cannabis contributing to schizophrenia.

  • Increased Risk of Psychosis – Most people are aware that if you smoke too much cannabis, you get paranoid. Even if you’ve never smoked, everyone has seen the friend being paranoid. Even that mild psychosis can contribute to schizophrenia. In fact, paranoia is one of the first symptoms of schizophrenia, with one study of over 15,600 participants showing that people who experience paranoia when smoking cannabis are at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia than those that don’t experience paranoia when smoking cannabis.
  • Poor Coping Mechanisms – People who smoke cannabis often do so to self-medicate and to alleviate existing symptoms and mental health problems. That can be using cannabis to relax. It can also mean using cannabis to treat early symptoms of schizophrenia instead of getting help for them.
  • Genetic Triggers – Some research shows that people with certain gene expressions will have an increased likelihood of a schizophrenia diagnosis after smoking cannabis. These currently include AKT1 C/C and COMT gene expressions, both of which increase the psychotomimetic effects of cannabis. Essentially, persons with those genes experience more psychosis than individuals without those gene expressions, which can mean a higher risk of schizophrenia – or that those genes are linked to underlying schizophrenia already being there.

Cannabis Increases Your Likelihood of a Schizophrenia Diagnosis

Schizophrenia DiagnosisToday, it’s estimated that some 0.5-1% of the population has schizophrenia and that more than 3% of the population are vulnerable to schizophrenia. This means that 3% or more of the population carry all of the risk factors for schizophrenia, or what is otherwise known as “Dormant” schizophrenia.

However, studies that take individuals with high risks based on genetics show that individuals who smoke cannabis and have genetic risks are 40% more likely to receive a diagnosis than those that do not. Of course, that could also be related to a mix of factors such as:

  • Persons experiencing schizophrenia symptoms are more likely to self-medicate
  • Individuals with schizophrenia are more likely to take risks (e.g., drugs)
  • People who smoke cannabis are more likely to be from low-income homes and unable to receive proper mental health treatment

While it’s likely to be a combination of everything, multiple studies show that individuals who smoke cannabis are typically diagnosed with schizophrenia as early as 2.8 years sooner than family members with the same background and risks who do not smoke cannabis.

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What are Known Risk Factors?

man holding a cannabis rollThere are plenty of risk factors that can contribute to your likelihood of a schizophrenia diagnosis related to cannabis usage. The following include some of the most common:

  • Gender – Men are both more likely to smoke cannabis and more likely to receive a schizophrenia diagnosis
  • Age of Usage – If you begin using cannabis before the age of 25, it may increase the risks of schizophrenia at a later age. That’s linked to the fact that the brain is more plastic and in development under the age of 25, meaning that changes to dopamine and serotonin regulation by cannabis are more likely to become permanent functions of how the brain works. This also means that reducing risks means waiting to smoke until after the age of 25. However, young adults aged 18-35 make up the most statistically significant population of cannabis users.
  • Amount of Usage – The more you smoke, the more you are at risk of developing complications, including psychosis. For example, studies show that even smoking a single joint per week can develop schizophrenia at a later date – although causation and correlation are still in question. On the other hand, the people most likely to receive a diagnosis are those who qualify as heavy users, or who smoke on average once or more per day.
  • Genetics – Genetics are still the most important trigger in a schizophrenia diagnosis. For example, individuals with the gene expression AKT 1 C/C are 7 times more likely to receive a schizophrenia diagnosis after heavy cannabis usage than those without the gene expression, even with comparable cannabis consumption. However, if you have the AKT 1 C/C gene expression, you’re more likely than a non-C/C expression person to receive a schizophrenia diagnosis, even if you don’t smoke cannabis. So, the gene is a risk and cannabis is only a trigger. This is also true with other genes, most notably COMT, which regulates how neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are reabsorbed back into the brain.

It’s widely agreed that cannabis and schizophrenia interact a great deal. However, if you have a family history of schizophrenia, it’s significantly more likely to be the case.

So, what are the Risks?

If you have a family history of schizophrenia, it’s normally better to avoid psychosis-inducing drugs altogether. While they won’t “cause” schizophrenia, they can trigger it, bringing formerly dormant symptoms to the surface. Multiple studies indicate that cannabis can play a role in activating schizophrenia, meaning that you will be more likely to develop symptoms and to need a diagnosis. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to assess your medical history for the risk of schizophrenia before smoking. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that schizophrenia increases your risk of drug use and using cannabis to cope with symptoms. If you’re using, it’s a good idea to stop and evaluate why and to seek support and treatment for those symptoms.

In almost every case, there is a complex interplay between risks, factors, and triggers. You won’t develop schizophrenia because you smoked once. However, cannabis can and does contribute to an increase in psychosis, even if it seems mild. If you start experiencing paranoia, it’s a good first warning sign and a good reason to stop smoking and look for treatment.

Of course, most drugs are relatively safe in moderation. Still, many of us are “high risk”, meaning we take on extra risks of complications, triggering underlying problems, and even addiction when we use them. If that is you, it’s better to avoid smoking or using altogether.

Take the first step towards reclaiming control of your life by seeking help for cannabis addiction today. Contact our addiction treatment team today, we are here to support you on your journey to recovery.

How Can I Rebound After Psychosis and Jail?

Rebound After Psychosis and JailPsychosis is a largely unacknowledged but extremely prevalent factor behind people committing violent crimes and going to jail. In fact, an estimated 3.6% of male and 3.9% of female prisoners have a psychosis diagnosis in prisons worldwide. Psychotic episodes from personality disorders, schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorders can wreak havoc on your life – not just because they make it harder to maintain routines and relationships but also because they can get you into very real trouble with the law.

How do you bounce back from that after having hit rock bottom? If you’re getting out of jail or prison after a psychotic episode, you probably want to take steps to protect yourself and your future. Ensuring you have the tools to stay healthy and in control is important. Of course, your treatment will typically depend on your diagnosis and what you’re facing. However, these tips will help you rebound after psychosis.

Talk to Your Doctor

Your first step should always be to talk to your doctor. That’s true whether or not you have a diagnosis. Here, you should:

  • Verify your diagnosis or attempt to get one
  • Get a prescription for anti-psychotics
  • Get a referral into a mental health treatment program so that your health insurance covers it

Nearly everyone with a psychosis diagnosis will require medication either permanently or intermittently throughout their lives. Most schizophrenia patients require medication for their entire lives. Data shows that about 30% of schizophrenia patients can manage without medication – after 10 years of treatment and learning to cope with symptoms.

This means that talking to your doctor and working out your prescription, if your prescription is still right for you, and how to combine it with therapy is an important first step. You likely need antipsychotics to benefit from mental health treatment. That will mean getting a prescription if you don’t already have one, waiting for it to take effect, and then moving into treatment that can work with you based on those symptoms.

Seek Out Mental Health Treatment

Attending psychosocial rehabilitation programs is one of the most important steps you can take in ensuring your recovery and rebound. In fact, primary treatment for psychosis is a personally tailored mix of talking therapy and medication. This means that you’ll need treatment to ensure that you have the tools to manage psychosis symptoms. Mental health treatment typically includes 30-90 days programs of in-house or outpatient treatment, where you’ll attend a clinic with group therapy, individual therapy, and counseling. There, you’ll learn how to manage symptoms, how to change behaviors to reduce symptoms, and how to build skills and coping mechanisms that improve your quality of life around your symptoms.

Depending on you, that can mean learning to accept symptoms and your psychosis and working to manage it. You might also need help building stress management, routines, and self-care skills. Many people also need help building social networks, managing relationships, and learning to ask others for help. Your treatment will typically depend on where you are and what you need. However, you can expect it to involve behavioral therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectal behavioral therapy. You’ll also get counseling and group therapy to help you deal with the problems that psychosis cause in your life, to deal with psychosis itself, and to recognize the symptoms of psychosis and react to them with enough time to get help.

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Look for Assisted Living

two women doing yoga in a shared homeAssisted living and supported living solutions are an ideal way to rebound from psychosis and jail. Here, you’ll stay in a shared home for several months, sometimes longer. There, you’ll have a routine, set meal times, people to check up on you, and accountability. If you stop going to treatment or stop taking care of yourself, people notice. If you stop spending time with the group or sharing meals, people notice. That forced accountability can be an important part of recovery because it forces you to adopt the routines and schedule of self-care that can help you to stay in recovery.

Of course, assisted living centers aren’t right for everyone and some people get the same out of an inpatient treatment program. However, it can be a valuable way to bridge the gap between no autonomy in prison and total autonomy out of prison by giving yourself accountability and someone to help you with schedules and routines.

Long-term Support and Aftercare

If you’re living with psychosis, it’s a permanent part of your life (although you may have drug-induced psychosis like marijuana psychosis, in which case it may be temporary). However, that normally means you’ll have to look for long-term aftercare and support. That means having people who will notice if you start to slip, having people to check up on you, and ensuring that you maintain your routines. For many, a simple self-help group with weekly meetings will be more than enough for therapy maintenance. However, you’ll want to discuss your options with your therapist based on your progress.

In addition, it’s generally a good idea to have more rather than less support. If you have a probation officer checking up on you, that’s good. If you have a social worker doing so, even better. If you have recurring visits with your therapist to check in on your mental health, even after your treatment is over, even better. Ensuring you have long-term support, options to go back into treatment, and people to help you stay on top of your mental health is important for your long-term recovery.

Tracking Signs of Relapse

For many people, preventing relapse and recidivism is about tracking early warning signs of relapse. For most people with psychosis those symptoms include:

  • Irritability or nervousness
  • Reduced concentration and focus
  • Requiring time alone or more than usual
  • Sensitivity to stimulus (noise, light, touch)
  • Reduced quality of sleep
  • Nightmares
  • Unusual thought experiences

Depending on your specific diagnosis, that can vary a great deal. Therefore, you should sit down with your therapist to build a list and to learn how to recognize them in yourself.

Long-Term Care

woman sleeping on a shared homeLong-term care means investing your health for the long-term that means investing in self-care and ongoing support. This means:

  • Taking care of yourself with good sleep, eating, and exercise habits
  • Having a good routine
  • Learning communication and problem-solving skills
  • Having social support
  • Having meaningful things to do with your time
  • Getting ongoing treatment

Many people do prefer to get help with this, especially in the first few years after diagnosis. However, that should often be in the form of professional support and not simply relying on family to help you. This means assisted living, visiting social workers, social care, and even at-home nursing and care. What works for you will vary depending on your situation, but it is an important thing to consider.

Getting Help

If you’re moving back into your life after a psychosis breakdown and incarceration, it’s important to reach out and get help. That almost always starts with your doctor, where you can talk about what your options are, review your diagnosis and prescription, and get a referral into mental health treatment. From there, you can get mental health treatment to ensure you have the tools to manage your disorder long-term, so you can recover, and so you can learn to recognize and act when your mental health starts to go downhill. Good luck rebounding!

Redeemed Mental Health is a mental health & dual diagnosis treatment center offering PHPIOP, and individual levels of care. Contact us today to begin your journey of recovery!

Comparing Inpatient and Outpatient Care: Which is Right for You?

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment Making the Right ChoiceThe journey to mental well-being often begins with a pivotal question: Should one opt for inpatient or outpatient care? Both pathways offer unique advantages, tailored to individual needs and circumstances. This article delves deep into the intricacies of both treatment methods, providing insights to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment, commonly known as residential treatment, is an immersive therapeutic experience. Patients reside within a facility, receiving round-the-clock care and supervision. This environment is meticulously designed to foster healing, away from daily life’s potential triggers and stressors.

Characteristics of Inpatient Treatment:

  • 24/7 Supervision: One of the hallmarks of inpatient care is continuous monitoring. This ensures patient safety, especially during the initial stages of recovery.
  • Structured Routine: Days are well-planned with therapy sessions, group activities, and personal reflection time. This structure provides stability, a stark contrast to the unpredictability of life outside.
  • Holistic Therapies: Beyond traditional therapy, many inpatient facilities offer holistic treatments like yoga, meditation, and art therapy, catering to the mind, body, and spirit.

Benefits of Choosing Inpatient Care:

  • Intensive Support: The continuous presence of medical professionals and therapists ensures immediate assistance during crises.
  • Distraction-Free Environment: Being away from daily life allows patients to focus solely on recovery.
  • Community Building: Living with individuals who share similar struggles fosters a sense of community and mutual support.

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Duration: Committing to a long-term stay can be daunting and may not align with personal or professional obligations.
  • Cost: Inpatient care, given its comprehensive nature, can be more expensive than outpatient alternatives.

Ideal Candidates for Inpatient Treatment:

Those with severe mental health challenges, individuals at risk of self-harm, or those without a stable support system at home often benefit most from inpatient care.

Delving into Outpatient Care

Outpatient care offers therapeutic interventions without the need for overnight stays. It’s a flexible approach, allowing individuals to integrate treatment into their daily lives.

Characteristics of Outpatient Treatment:

  • Flexible Scheduling: Sessions can be scheduled around work or school, making it a viable option for many.
  • Variety of Programs: From intensive day treatments to weekly therapy sessions, outpatient care spans a spectrum of intensities.
  • Home Environment: Patients return home after sessions, applying coping strategies in real-time.

Advantages of Outpatient Care:

  • Real-Life Application: Being in one’s natural environment allows for immediate application of therapeutic strategies.
  • Cost-Effective: Without residential expenses, outpatient care is often more affordable.
  • Maintaining Daily Life: Patients can continue with their jobs, education, and family responsibilities.

Limitations:

  • Potential Triggers: Being in one’s usual environment might expose them to triggers or stressors.
  • Self-Discipline: The success of outpatient care hinges on the individual’s commitment to attending sessions and doing the work outside of therapy.

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Who Should Consider Outpatient Treatment?

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)Those with a strong support system at home, individuals with mild to moderate mental health challenges, or those transitioning from inpatient care often find outpatient treatment beneficial.

Key Differences between PHP and Inpatient

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and inpatient treatments are two prominent care models in the mental health landscape. While they share similarities, understanding their distinctions is crucial for informed decision-making.

Definition of PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program):

PHP is a middle ground between inpatient and outpatient care. Patients spend a significant portion of their day in treatment but return home in the evenings.

Comparing Intensity and Duration:

  • Inpatient Care: This is the most intensive form of care, with patients residing in the facility 24/7 for a predetermined period, often ranging from a few weeks to several months.
  • PHP: Patients typically attend treatment for 4-6 hours a day, five days a week. The duration varies based on individual needs but is generally shorter than inpatient stays.

Cost Implications:

  • Inpatient Care: Given its comprehensive nature, inpatient care tends to be more expensive. However, it’s all-inclusive, covering accommodation, meals, therapies, and other amenities.
  • PHP: While PHP is costlier than standard outpatient care, it’s more affordable than inpatient treatment. Costs cover therapy sessions, medical monitoring, and any additional services offered during the day.

Duration of Programs: What to Expect

The length of mental health treatment programs varies based on the care model and individual needs.

Typical Length of Inpatient Programs:

Inpatient treatments are intensive and immersive. Depending on the severity of the condition and the facility’s program, stays can range from a few weeks to several months. Some long-term residential programs might even extend to a year.

Duration of Outpatient Sessions and Overall Treatment:

Outpatient care, including PHP, is more flexible. A single session might last anywhere from one to several hours. The overall duration of treatment can span weeks, months, or even years, with patients gradually reducing the frequency of their visits as they progress.

Factors Influencing Duration:

Several factors determine the length of a program:

  • Severity of the Condition: More severe conditions might require longer treatment durations.
  • Patient’s Progress: Regular assessments gauge a patient’s progress, influencing the treatment’s length.
  • External Support: A robust support system outside of therapy can sometimes expedite the healing process.

Cost Comparison Details

Financial considerations are often a pivotal factor when choosing a treatment method. It’s essential to understand the cost structures of both inpatient and outpatient care to make an informed decision.

Financial Implications of Inpatient Care:

Inpatient care, with its round-the-clock supervision, structured environment, and comprehensive services, is typically the most expensive option. Costs include accommodation, meals, therapy sessions, recreational activities, and any additional services the facility offers.

Cost-effectiveness of Outpatient Treatment:

Outpatient care, given its flexibility and non-residential nature, is generally more affordable. However, costs can vary based on the frequency and type of sessions. PHP, for instance, being more intensive, might be costlier than standard outpatient sessions.

Insurance Considerations:

Navigating insurance can be daunting. Most insurance plans cover both inpatient and outpatient care to varying extents. It’s crucial to:

  • Understand Your Coverage: Check what your insurance covers, the duration, and any co-pays or deductibles.
  • Pre-authorization: Some treatments might require pre-authorization from the insurance company.
  • Out-of-Network Considerations: Ensure the chosen facility or therapist is within your insurance network to avoid additional costs.

Making an Informed Decision: Factors to Consider

Choosing between inpatient and outpatient care is a significant decision that can influence one’s recovery journey. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Severity of the Condition:

  • Inpatient Care: Best suited for those with severe conditions or at risk of self-harm.
  • Outpatient Care: Ideal for individuals with mild to moderate symptoms who have a supportive home environment.

2. Flexibility and Schedule:

  • Inpatient Care: Requires a full-time commitment, which might not be feasible for everyone.
  • Outpatient Care: Offers flexibility, allowing patients to continue with their daily routines.

3. Cost and Insurance Coverage:

  • Inpatient Care: Generally more expensive but offers comprehensive services. It’s essential to check insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Outpatient Care: More affordable, but costs can vary based on the frequency and type of sessions.

4. Support System:

  • Inpatient Care: Provides a built-in support system with medical professionals and fellow patients.
  • Outpatient Care: Relies more on the patient’s external support system, including family and friends.

5. Treatment Approach and Therapies Offered:

Different facilities offer various therapies. It’s essential to research and choose a facility or program that aligns with one’s therapeutic needs and preferences.

Transitioning Between Care Models

It’s not uncommon for individuals to transition between inpatient and outpatient care based on their evolving needs.

Steps for a Smooth Transition:

  1. Regular Assessments: Periodic evaluations can help determine when it’s appropriate to transition.
  2. Developing a Transition Plan: Collaborate with healthcare providers to create a tailored plan, ensuring continuity of care.
  3. Seeking Support: Transitioning can be challenging. Leverage support groups, therapists, and loved ones during this period.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient – Which is Right for You?

The journey to mental well-being is deeply personal. Whether you opt for inpatient or outpatient care, the goal remains the same: achieving mental health and well-being. By understanding the nuances of each treatment model, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs, preferences, and circumstances. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and every step taken is a step closer to recovery.

Your mental well-being is a journey, and every journey deserves a reliable guide. At Redeemed Mental Health, we’re dedicated to providing you with comprehensive insights, expert advice, and a community that understands your needs. Whether you’re seeking clarity on treatment options or simply looking for trusted resources, our platform is here to support and empower you. Don’t navigate this path alone; let us be your beacon. Explore our site today and take the next step towards a brighter, healthier future.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment?

Inpatient treatment involves staying at a facility for a specific duration, offering intensive care, while outpatient treatment allows patients to live at home and attend scheduled sessions.

Is inpatient treatment more effective than outpatient care?

The effectiveness of treatment depends on individual needs. Inpatient care is ideal for severe conditions, while outpatient care suits those with mild to moderate symptoms and a supportive home environment.

How do costs compare between inpatient and outpatient treatments?

Inpatient care is generally more expensive due to comprehensive services, while outpatient care is more affordable. However, costs can vary based on insurance coverage and specific programs.

Can I transition from inpatient to outpatient care?

Yes, many individuals transition between care models based on their evolving needs. Regular assessments and a tailored transition plan ensure a smooth shift.

How do I decide which treatment option is right for me?

Consider factors like the severity of your condition, flexibility, costs, and your support system. Consulting with a mental health professional can also provide personalized guidance.

Putting the Individual First: The Role of Person-Centered Care in Recovery

The Role of Person-Centered Mental Health CareIn the dynamic world of mental health, the emphasis on person-centered mental health care stands out as a revolutionary approach. This method, which prioritizes the individual’s unique experiences and aspirations, signifies a transformative departure from traditional treatment paradigms1. By focusing on the individual, person-centered care aims to offer a holistic and tailored treatment plan, ensuring that each person’s journey towards recovery is as unique as they are.

Person-Centered Mental Health Care

Person-centered care is more than just a buzzword in the mental health community; it’s a philosophy that underscores the importance of individuality in the therapeutic process. Recognizing that each person’s mental health journey is distinct, this approach seeks to tailor treatments and interventions to fit the unique contours of each individual’s life.

Definition and Core Principles

At its core, person-centered care is about recognizing and valuing the individuality of each patient.

  • Rooted in the belief that every individual possesses intrinsic value and deserves respect.
  • Ensures care plans are tailored to the individual’s specific needs and preferences.
  • Promotes collaboration between the patient and healthcare providers.

Traditional vs. Person-Centered Care

The distinction between traditional and person-centered care lies in their approach to treatment.

  • Traditional care often follows a one-size-fits-all model.
  • Person-centered care is dynamic, adaptive, and individualized.
  • Prioritizes the patient’s voice and active participation in their care.

Recovery Model Principles

The Recovery Model, a cornerstone of modern mental health care, emphasizes the journey of healing and growth. It’s not just about the alleviation of symptoms but about empowering individuals to lead fulfilling lives despite their challenges.

Introduction to the Recovery Model

A holistic approach that prioritizes the individual’s journey over clinical outcomes. Recognizes recovery as a personal process encompassing physical, emotional, and social aspects.

  • Emphasizes personal growth and development.
  • Focuses on strengths and resilience.
  • Encourages active participation in the recovery journey.

Key Principles and Their Significance in Person-Centered Care

Central principles include hope, empowerment, and self-determination. Aligns seamlessly with person-centered care, emphasizing the individual’s active role in their healing journey2.

  • Hope as a driving force in recovery.
  • Empowerment through knowledge and self-advocacy.
  • Self-determination as a right, not a privilege.

The Role of Technology in Person-Centered Care

As we navigate the 21st century, technology plays an increasingly pivotal role in reshaping the landscape of mental health care. From teletherapy to AI-driven diagnostic tools, technology is revolutionizing person-centered care, making it more accessible and effective3.

Teletherapy and Remote Counseling

With the rise of the digital age, teletherapy has emerged as a viable alternative to traditional face-to-face counseling, breaking down geographical barriers and making mental health care accessible to all.

  • Provides flexibility and convenience for both therapists and clients.
  • Ensures continuity of care, especially in challenging times.
  • Offers a secure and confidential platform for therapy sessions.

AI-Driven Diagnostic Tools

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of modern medical advancements. In the realm of mental health, AI-driven tools are aiding in accurate diagnostics, ensuring timely and effective interventions.

  • Facilitates early detection of mental health disorders.
  • Provides data-driven insights for personalized treatment plans.
  • Enhances the overall quality of care through predictive analytics.

Real-Life Success Stories

While data and research underscore the effectiveness of person-centered care, real-life success stories offer tangible evidence of its transformative power. From individuals reclaiming their lives to therapists witnessing profound changes, these stories illuminate the profound impact of person-centered care.

Testimonials of Individuals Benefiting from Person-Centered Care

Firsthand accounts from individuals like Jo Anne H. and Sarah M. provide a glimpse into the transformative power of person-centered care. Their journeys, marked by challenges and triumphs, serve as a testament to the efficacy of this approach.

  • Jo Anne H.’s journey from despair to hope.
  • Sarah M.’s transformative experience with person-centered therapy.
  • Countless others who found solace and healing through individual therapy.

Challenges and Critiques of Person-Centered Care

While person-centered care has garnered widespread acclaim for its holistic approach, it’s not without its challenges and critiques. Understanding these concerns is crucial for refining and optimizing this care model for the future.

Resource Intensiveness

One of the primary critiques of person-centered care is its resource-intensive nature. Crafting individualized care plans requires time, effort, and a deep understanding of each patient’s unique needs.

  • Requires extensive training for healthcare providers.
  • Demands more time per patient, which can strain healthcare systems.
  • May not be feasible in settings with limited resources.

Scalability Concerns

Given its individualized nature, there are concerns about the scalability of person-centered care, especially in larger healthcare systems with a high patient influx.

  • Challenges in maintaining consistent quality across large patient populations.
  • Potential for dilution of care quality in high-demand settings.
  • Need for robust systems to manage and monitor individualized care plans.

The Future of Person-Centered Care

As we look to the future, the trajectory of person-centered care appears promising. With continuous research, technological advancements, and a growing emphasis on holistic health, this approach is poised to redefine mental health care.

Integration of Technology

The fusion of technology and person-centered care is set to usher in a new era of mental health treatment. From AI-driven diagnostics to virtual reality therapy sessions, the future holds immense potential.

  • Use of AI to craft personalized therapy modules.
  • Virtual reality sessions for immersive therapeutic experiences.
  • Wearable tech for real-time mood and health tracking.

Global Adoption and Advocacy

With its undeniable benefits, person-centered care is gaining traction globally. Advocacy efforts, both at grassroots and policy levels, are pushing for its widespread adoption, ensuring that individuals worldwide have access to holistic mental health care.

  • Initiatives to train healthcare providers in person-centered methodologies.
  • Policy changes to prioritize individualized care in public health systems.
  • Global collaborations to share best practices and research findings.

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The Role of Families and Communities in Person-Centered Care

a couple with mental health expert during a family therapyPerson-centered care isn’t an isolated approach; it thrives on the support of families and communities. Their involvement can significantly enhance the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions, fostering a supportive environment for individuals on their recovery journey.

Family Involvement in Therapy

Families play a pivotal role in the mental health journey of an individual. Their involvement can provide crucial insights, emotional support, and a sense of belonging, all of which can accelerate the healing process.

  • Family therapy sessions to address interpersonal dynamics.
  • Training sessions for families to understand and support their loved ones.
  • Creating a nurturing home environment conducive to recovery.

Community Support Systems

Communities act as extended support systems, offering resources, social connections, and a sense of belonging. Their role in person-centered care is often understated but profoundly impactful.

  • Community-based therapy and support groups.
  • Local resources and helplines for immediate assistance.
  • Public awareness campaigns to destigmatize mental health issues.

Patient-Directed Approach in Person-Centered Care

The patient-directed approach is the essence of person-centered care. It emphasizes the active involvement of the patient in their treatment, ensuring that their voice is heard and their preferences are respected.

Empowering Patients in Decision Making

Empowerment is more than just a concept; it’s a practice that ensures patients have a say in their treatment. This approach fosters trust, collaboration, and better therapeutic outcomes.

  • Encouraging patients to express their feelings and concerns.
  • Collaborative goal setting for therapy.
  • Respecting patients’ choices and autonomy.

Benefits of a Collaborative Approach

When patients and therapists work together, the results are often transformative. This collaboration ensures that therapy is tailored, effective, and resonates with the patient’s unique experiences.

  • Enhanced trust and rapport between patient and therapist.
  • Higher therapy adherence and engagement rates.
  • Better long-term mental health outcomes.

Crafting a Meaningful Life with Person-Centered Mental Health Care

Person-centered care goes beyond symptom management; it’s about crafting a meaningful life. By focusing on the individual’s aspirations, strengths, and values, this approach ensures that therapy aligns with their vision of a fulfilling life.

Setting Life Goals in Therapy

Goal setting is a pivotal aspect of person-centered care. It ensures that therapy is not just about addressing challenges but also about building a future that resonates with the patient’s aspirations.

  • Identifying short-term and long-term life goals.
  • Creating actionable steps to achieve these goals.
  • Regularly reviewing and adjusting goals based on progress.

Emphasizing Strengths and Resilience

Every individual possesses innate strengths and resilience. Person-centered care emphasizes harnessing these qualities, ensuring that therapy is empowering and builds on the individual’s inherent capabilities.

  • Identifying and building on the patient’s strengths.
  • Developing resilience-building strategies.
  • Empowering patients to face challenges with confidence.

The Global Impact of Person-Centered Care

Person-centered mental health care is not just a localized phenomenon; its impact is global. From grassroots initiatives in remote villages to policy changes in global health organizations, this approach is redefining mental health care worldwide.

Adoption Across Cultures

Every culture has its unique approach to mental health. Yet, the essence of person-centered care, which emphasizes individuality and respect, resonates universally.

  • Training and workshops to introduce person-centered care in diverse settings.
  • Adapting the approach to respect cultural nuances and beliefs.
  • Collaborative research to study the efficacy of this approach across cultures.

Policy Changes and Global Advocacy

Global health organizations and policymakers are recognizing the transformative power of person-centered care. Advocacy efforts are pushing for its integration into public health systems, ensuring that individuals worldwide have access to holistic mental health care.

  • Policy changes to prioritize person-centered care in public health systems.
  • Global collaborations to share best practices and research findings.
  • Initiatives to train healthcare providers in person-centered methodologies.

Conclusion

As we reflect on the journey of person-centered care, its transformative power is evident. By placing the individual at the heart of therapy, it offers a beacon of hope, empowerment, and healing. As mental health professionals, advocates, and community members, our collective efforts can ensure that this approach becomes the gold standard in mental health care, offering solace and healing to countless individuals worldwide.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is person-centered mental health care?
  2. How does person-centered care differ from traditional mental health care?
  3. Why is person-centered care important in mental health recovery?
  4. Can person-centered care be integrated with other therapeutic approaches?
  5. How can I find a therapist who practices person-centered mental health care?


Sources

The Importance of a Holistic Approach in Mental Health Recovery

Holistic Approach in Mental Health Comprehensive CareIn an era where mental health challenges are on the rise, understanding and addressing these issues requires a comprehensive approach. The holistic method in mental health emphasizes the intricate relationship between the mind, body, and spirit. This approach moves beyond merely addressing symptoms, focusing on the overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being of an individual.

Understanding the Holistic Approach

The concept of holistic health is not new, but its application in mental health has gained significant traction in recent years. Recognizing that individuals are more than just a collection of symptoms, the holistic approach seeks to understand and treat the person as a whole, considering all facets of their well-being.

Defining Holistic Health

At its core, a holistic approach to mental health means treating the entire person. It’s not just about addressing the symptoms or the specific mental ailment. Instead, it considers the mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual aspects of an individual’s well-being.

Benefits of a Comprehensive View

By adopting a holistic perspective, practitioners can uncover underlying issues that might be contributing to mental health challenges. This comprehensive view ensures that treatments are tailored to the individual, offering a more personalized and effective approach to mental health care.

The Recovery Model and Holistic Health

The Recovery Model stands as a testament to the evolution of mental health care, emphasizing personal growth, resilience, and empowerment. When integrated with a holistic approach, it ensures a comprehensive treatment strategy that addresses every facet of an individual’s well-being.

Introduction to the Recovery Model

The Recovery Model is centered on the belief that individuals can overcome the challenges of mental health issues and lead fulfilling lives. It’s not just about symptom management; it’s about empowering individuals to take charge of their recovery journey, fostering hope, and building resilience.

Aligning Holistic Health with the Recovery Model

Both the Recovery Model and holistic health prioritize the individual’s overall well-being. By combining these two approaches, practitioners can offer treatments that are not only effective in symptom management but also promote overall health, ensuring sustainable and meaningful outcomes.

Techniques and Treatments in Holistic Mental Health

Modern holistic mental health care incorporates a variety of techniques and treatments, each tailored to the individual’s unique needs. From traditional therapies to innovative interventions, these methods aim to provide comprehensive care that addresses the root causes of mental health challenges.

Overview of Holistic Techniques

There’s a vast array of techniques in holistic mental health, ranging from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to relaxation training. Each technique offers its own set of benefits, and the key is to find the right combination that works best for the individual.

Effectiveness of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

CBT stands out as one of the most effective treatments in holistic mental health care. It focuses on identifying negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive ones, empowering individuals to take control of their mental well-being.

 

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Role of Behavioral Therapies

depression treatmentBehavioral therapies play a crucial role in holistic treatment, helping individuals modify harmful behaviors and adopt healthier ones. Through a series of structured sessions, individuals learn to cope with challenges in a more positive and constructive manner.

The Role of Emotional and Physical Wellbeing

Emotional and physical well-being are intrinsically linked, especially when discussing mental health. A holistic approach recognizes this connection, ensuring that both aspects are addressed in treatment plans to provide comprehensive care.

Interconnectedness of Emotional Distress and Physical Symptoms

Emotional distress can manifest in various physical symptoms, from fatigue to chronic pain. Conversely, physical ailments can lead to emotional distress. Recognizing this interconnectedness is crucial in holistic mental health care, ensuring that treatments address both aspects for optimal well-being.

Strategies for Promoting Emotional and Physical Health

From mindfulness practices to regular physical activity, there are numerous strategies that can promote both emotional and physical health. Incorporating these into daily routines can significantly enhance one’s overall well-being and resilience against mental health challenges.

Chronic Illnesses and Mental Health

The relationship between chronic illnesses and mental health is complex. Individuals with chronic conditions often face mental health challenges, making a holistic approach essential in addressing both the physical ailment and the accompanying emotional distress.

The Link Between Chronic Illnesses and Mental Health

Chronic illnesses can lead to feelings of despair, anxiety, and isolation. The constant management of a chronic condition, coupled with the physical discomfort, can take a toll on one’s mental well-being. Understanding this link is crucial in providing comprehensive care.

How a Holistic Approach Addresses Both

A holistic approach in mental health care ensures that individuals with chronic conditions receive treatments that address both their physical symptoms and the emotional distress they may be experiencing. This dual focus ensures a more balanced and effective recovery journey.

The Significance of Person-Centered Care

Person-centered care is at the heart of holistic mental health. It emphasizes the individual’s active participation in their treatment, ensuring that care is tailored to their unique needs and preferences.

Principles of Person-Centered Care

Person-centered care is built on respect, collaboration, and empowerment. It recognizes the individual as an expert in their own life, ensuring that treatments are aligned with their values, preferences, and goals.

Its Role in Holistic Treatment

Incorporating person-centered care in holistic treatment ensures that individuals are not just passive recipients of care. Instead, they are active participants, collaborating with practitioners to craft treatment plans that resonate with their unique needs and life circumstances.

Psychological Interventions and Their Impact

Psychological interventions play a pivotal role in holistic mental health care. From traditional therapies to innovative techniques, these interventions offer tools and strategies to address the root causes of mental health challenges.

Overview of Psychological Interventions

There’s a vast array of psychological interventions available, each with its own set of benefits. From Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), these interventions offer varied approaches to address mental health challenges.

The Power of Group Therapies

Group therapies, such as Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP), harness the power of group dynamics to promote healing and recovery. Sharing experiences, challenges, and successes in a group setting fosters a sense of community and support, enhancing the therapeutic experience.

Addressing Major Mental Illnesses Holistically

Major mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, require comprehensive care. A holistic approach ensures that treatments address not just the symptoms but also the underlying causes, offering a more sustainable path to recovery.

Challenges of Major Mental Illnesses

Living with a major mental illness presents a myriad of challenges, from managing symptoms to navigating societal stigma. A holistic approach recognizes these challenges, offering tools and strategies to cope and thrive.

Comprehensive Support in Holistic Therapy

Holistic therapy offers comprehensive support for individuals with major mental illnesses. By addressing the physical, emotional, and social aspects of well-being, it ensures that individuals receive care that resonates with their unique needs and challenges.

The Expertise of Dr. Andrea Wagner at Redeemed Mental Health

Dr. Andrea Wagner’s approach to mental health care stands out, emphasizing a holistic and person-centered approach. Drawing from her rich background and experience, she offers treatments that are both compassionate and effective.

Dr. Wagner’s Unique Approach

With a vast experience spanning various esteemed institutions, Dr. Wagner brings a unique perspective to mental health care. Her approach simplifies complex therapeutic issues, making them easily understandable for her patients.

Conclusion

The holistic approach in mental health care offers a comprehensive path to recovery, addressing every facet of an individual’s well-being. By recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit, it ensures that treatments are tailored to the individual, offering a more personalized and effective approach to mental health care.