Archive Monthly Archives: September 2019

Gender Differences with Anxiety

What is Anxiety? Understanding Gender Differences with Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States, and they can affect approximately 264 million people worldwide. Women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men, and each gender may present and describe the symptoms differently. Understanding gender differences with anxiety can potentially bring awareness to symptoms. This will hopefully contribute to more men and women seeking therapy to relieve stress in their life. Anxiety can cause excessive fear, nervousness, apprehension, and uncertainty. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all considered common anxiety disorders. A licensed counselor may diagnose you with an anxiety disorder when you meet any of the following criteria almost daily for more than six months:

  • excessive worry
  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
  • sleep disturbances
  • muscle tension
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • chest pain

 

Generalized Anxiety Disorders: severe, excessive, ongoing anxiety that disrupts daily activities

Panic Disorder: episodes of intense fear followed by physical symptoms, based on a perceived threat rather than imminent danger

Social Anxiety: nervousness when interacting with other people

Phobias: excessive, persistent fear of an object or situation

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to disruptive and repetitive behaviors (compulsions)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event

 

Women with Anxiety Understanding Gender Differences with Anxiety

Women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men, and each gender may present and describe the symptoms differently. Scientists have some ideas as to why women have higher anxiety diagnosis rates. Dr. Charles Goodstein, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center, says “this may have an impact on psychological functioning.” One reason is that woman have more hormonal fluctuations caused by their menstrual cycles. Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that affect appetite, digestion, and energy levels. If these hormones are irregular, a woman’s mood can be affected. If she also experiences a difficult cycle, she may become apprehensive and worry about frequent aches and distress towards the following months.

Another reason women may experience anxiety more often than men is because women are more likely to experience sexual abuse and violence. Women who have been exposed to sexual abuse and violence may have an overwhelming sense of anxiety at all times, or they may have a sudden attack of intense fear. If a woman is in an abusive relationship, sometimes she may feel guilt and manipulation from her spouse. They may spend an excessive amount of time trying to reason why they are being abused. Women may either think about ways to get out of the relationship, or think about ways to cover up their injuries and make excuses for their partner.

Women that tend to take on a lot of responsibilities such as working a full-time job, cooking, cleaning, laundry, establishing childcare, etc., are more prone to anxiety symptoms. Sometimes women in these situations feel like they can never catch a break. This can be considered a cultural acceptance in our society – women tend to “do it all” – which can lead to overwhelming stress and exhaustion.

Studies have shown that women tend to seek help from medical professionals more often than men. For this reason alone, women are more likely to be diagnosed with a variety of health disorders, not just ones that are mental health related. Women tend to be more in tune with their health and report illnesses more frequently than men. This plays a role in one of the many reasons why women live longer! They are more likely to follow up with appointments and treatment after diagnoses as well.

 

Men with Anxiety

In an article written in Men’s Health magazine, author Mike Zimmerman explains how he had no idea what was happening to his body during his first panic attack. He stated that he was sure he was having either a stroke, a heart attack, or an aneurysm. Panic attacks are often misdiagnosed as other ailments. Men who are afraid of a panic attack being diagnosed as something more severe are less likely to seek treatment.

According to a survey conducted by Cleveland Clinic, men are less likely to participate in routine physicals. The chances of men seeking professional help when they feel they have a serious illness are even smaller. There tends to be a cultural bias that men who seek medical treatment feel that it lowers their masculinity. This heavily prevents men ever expressing symptoms, especially those who experience mental health disturbances. Men are often told to “man up” and hold their emotions inside which can be remarkably unhealthy. Men are also more likely to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs in order to avoid meeting with a mental health professional.

 

How to Help Both Genders

Early recognition of psychological stressors are important when treating anxiety. Regardless of gender, lifestyle changes are a critical part of reducing anxiety symptoms. Diet and exercise are one of many ways to eliminate stress in your life. Reducing technology use can be beneficial and make you feel more calm and alert. Instead of focusing on work, deadlines, and social media, try spending a few moments away from the computer or cell phone. Try to reduce your obligations and prioritize what is most important versus what can be done at another time. Make sure to make time for yourself as well. Learn your stressors and develop strategies for distraction. Many people find peace in going for a walk, reading a book, or journaling. You can even try different meditation and breathing techniques to alleviate anxiety.

 

How Can We Help?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to get help. With the proper mental health advice, the overwhelming feelings of anxiety can be treated and we can help you get your health on track. We can provide mental health counseling for anxiety right here in our office. Please contact our office at (412)-532-1249 to schedule according to your availability and preferred location. 

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

8 Autumn Health Habits for Fall Wellness

Welcome to shorter days, crisp air, and changing leaves. A new season is the perfect time for a fresh start to your wellness routine. Seasonal produce, cozy sweaters, and maybe a warm cup of your favorite tea come to mind. Cooler temperatures make for a perfect fall walk, to support the mind and body. fall wellness

Fall recipes are a great way to enjoy fresh produce, helping boost immunity and support overall wellness. Here are some Fall wellness tips to help support your wellness through this changing season. Who couldn’t use a health reset? fall wellness

Fall Wellness Tips:

  • Pumpkin Everything – Ok, well maybe not everything. BUT, did you know the pulp of pumpkin is full of tasty nutrient dense seeds – otherwise known as pepitas?! They are perfect for adding to fall recipes or roasted all by them self.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – Water is key to a strong immune system to flush out toxins and keep things moving. Hydration is especially important if you come down with a cold.
  • Indulge Sparingly – With seasonal treats being available just about everywhere, it’s hard to avoid everything. Enjoy and indulge sparingly, choosing your favorites in moderation.
  • Buy Seasonal Veggies – In season veggies like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and squash can be made a variety of ways. Roasting veggies are simple and delicious. Not to mention, the benefits of a plant-based diet include prevention of diabetes, control of hypertension, and heart health, just to name a few.
  • Practice Year-Long Giving – This season many are thinking of giving to friends and family, but good deeds can be interwoven in large and small ways throughout the year. Help someone in need, offer words of encouragement, or give away some things you no longer need or use. And if you live in a busy city like Pittsburgh, maybe try letting someone in your lane on your morning rush to work. Simple acts of kindness can make a big impact, and brighten up your mood too!
  • Embrace Fall Fresh Foods – Apples, pears, and pumpkins often come to mind in fall. Foods like persimmons may get overlooked, yet they’re packed with B complex vitamins, and vitamins A and C. They are rich in phytonutrients, and potassium, magnesium , copper , and phosphorus. Try something new this season and google a persimmon recipe!
  • Set New Fitness Goals with a Fall Reset – Fall walks are the perfect, simple way to add in a little exercise with the crisp fall air and lovely scenery of changing leaves. Wipe the slate clean and start a new set of goals with the changing season.
  • Incorporate Essential Oils for an Immune Boost – Therapeutic grade essential oils like cinnamon, lemon, clove, and eucalyptus are perfect to boost the immune system, and it makes for the perfect fall scent. Add 8-10 drops in a diffuser and your home will be smelling fresh, while helping rid the air of germs!

If you’re looking to reset your wellness routine, or just need some motivation, contact us today at Makin Wellness for a free 15-minute consultation! We’re happy to support you through a holistic approach incorporating techniques to promote a new mindset, meal planning, aromatherapy, and other natural and effective options to help you reset and reach your wellness goals! fall wellness

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Understanding Abnormal Psychology

What is Abnormal Psychology?

Abnormal psychology is a subdivision of psychology that deals with “abnormal” behavior or behaviors that don’t follow the norm. It is easier to visualize what we mean by this when we look at a bell curve. The height of the bell curve is the normal behavior. If we were looking at stress levels, for instance, then the stress levels held by most people define the normal behavior. This represents the peak of the bell curve. The outliers, people with higher levels of stress, are those with abnormal behavior. Abnormal behavior doesn’t always have a negative association, as outliers in this example could also be people with an abnormally low amount of stress.

Characteristics of Abnormal Psychology

When considering if a certain behavior is abnormal or not, there are four characteristics that should be considered. Deviance, dysfunction, distress, and danger are all factors that are important to take into account. The bell curve example above illustrates the deviance criteria. This means evaluating how an individual’s behavior relates to the standard behavior of the population. Dysfunction refers to how the behavior interferes with the individual’s life. If someone had an anxiety disorder that prohibited them from being able to go out in public places, then the disorder was interrupting the daily functioning of the individual’s life.

High levels of fear, anxiety, depression or the emotions can be used to measure a level of distress. Phobias can demonstrate distress. An individual who has a phobia of snakes would feel distress while walking in the woods or other areas that snakes usually reside. Danger is the last criteria. Being a danger to yourself or others defines this category. An example of this could be an individual with a substance disorder. A substance disorder not only brings danger to the individual that is abusing a harmful substance but also is a danger to those around him. It can be hard to control one’s actions when under the influence. Abusing a substance can put friends and family of the abuser in harms way.

Common Diagnoses

Many disorders, ranging from depression and anxiety to schizophrenia, fall under the category of Abnormal Psychology. These diagnoses are widespread, with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reporting that anxiety disorders affect about 18.1% of the US population  every year. This may sound like a small percentage, but 18.1% translates to around 42 million adults. On the other hand, Abnormal Psychology also covers the less diagnosed disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that schizophrenia has a prevalence rate between 0.25% and 0.64% in the United States. The most common disorders are depressive and anxiety disorders.

Depressive Disorders

Depressive disorders include major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder.

One of the disorders, major depressive disorder, is feeling depressed or sad for an extended period of time while experiencing symptoms of hopelessness or loss of pleasure in previously exciting things. Symptoms can also affect an individual somatically through the loss or gain of weight, decreased energy, or headaches/pains that don’t have a clear source. Depression changes a person’s attitude and can make them more irritable or restless. This disorder affects around 16 million American adults a year, making it one of the more common disorders. Risk factors for depression include having a family history of depression, going through a traumatic or stressful time, or even some physical illnesses and medication. Every individual is different, so depression can manifest in a wide range of symptoms that can make each person’s experience with depression different.

Another widespread depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, occurs typically during the winter months when there is less sunlight. Symptoms of this disorder include social withdrawal, weight gain, and increased sleep. This disorder is temporary in the fact that the depression usually decreases during the spring and summer months when the amount of daylight increases.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders affect more people in American than any other mental disorder and include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), to elaborate on one specific disorder, is intense worry and anxiety that does not have a specific source and occurs over an extended period of time. These negative thoughts are usually accompanied by trembling or shaking, trouble sleeping, muscle tension, or headaches.

GAD generally occurs during childhood or adolescence and builds up gradually. However, it is possible for GAD to come on during adulthood. GAD is associated with fear of future events and anticipating the worst. Individuals with GAD tend to get stuck in thought loops which occur when a person is unable to stop ruminating about a negative thought and the thought continues to be repeated. The individual usually realizes that whatever unpleasant thought they are catastrophizing is irrational, however they do not have the ability to shake their concerns. Many of the anxiety disorders share symptoms, panic attacks and excessive worry being some common symptoms. GAD is different from other anxiety disorders in the fact that it is usually less interruptive in people’s day to day lives. People with GAD tend to be less likely than people with other anxiety disorders to avoid certain situations because of their disorder.

Treatments

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Various forms of psychotherapy can treat these diagnoses. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective type of therapy that helps depression, anxiety, and other disorders. The therapy aims at making the patient aware of their negative thoughts and looking at them from an objective, rational point of view. CBT typically occurs in four different steps. It begins with identifying the troubling parts of your life, whether it be specific anxieties involving school or problems dealing with social relationships. Then, the patient takes notice of these negative thoughts when they occur and can either share their thoughts with their therapist or write them down in a journal. From there, the therapist asks the patient to pay attention to their reaction to these thoughts. The goal is to recognize that the thoughts are negative and irrational. The final step of CBT is to take these unpleasant or inaccurate thoughts and correct them.

If a patient was struggling with anxiety about a presentation in class, they could think that if they mess up then the whole class will laugh at them or the teacher will automatically fail them. CBT would have the patient identify that this an irrational thought and then think about how the situation would go realistically. For instance, most students don’t pay that much attention to presentations and will most likely not remember the presentation come the end of the day. Teachers will probably not fail a student for a mistake in a presentation, and even if, the class can always be taken again. CBT is an effective therapy that some pair with medications like antidepressants or anti-psychotics.

How Can We Help?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to get help. With the proper mental health advice, the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression can be treated and we can help you get your health on track. We can provide mental health counseling for anxiety and depression right here in our office. Please contact our office at (412)-532-1249 to schedule according to your availability and preferred location

 

 

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

 

The Importance of Sleep For Mental Health

Why Do We Need Sleep?

We generally think of sleep as a time where our body begins to refuel and recharge energy in order to function. While this is true, sleep is also important in processing information, restoring thoughts, and strengthening our minds. Our brains are continually taking in new information. When we are asleep, you could say that our brains are “safekeeping” all that it has learned. Just like eating, drinking, and breathing, sleep is critically important for our optimal health.

 

Different Sleep Stages

There are four stages that we experience when we sleep. The first three stages are characterized as Non-REM (NREM) sleep, and the last stage is REM sleep. The lightest sleep stage is known as Stage 1. During this stage, brain wave activity slows. Sleep in this stage is known as a “drowsy” sleep, and it because it is so light, we can be easily awakened and aroused. Slow eye movements occur and some people may experience a “falling” sensation when drifting in and out of this stage. During Stage 2, there are no more eye movements and you may no longer be as easily awakened. Heart rate begins to slow and body temperature begins to decrease. Deep NREM sleep occurs during Stage 3. Since it is one of the stages where sleep is at its deepest, it is most difficult to awaken someone during this stage. A person experiencing sleep deprivation will spend a lengthy amount of time in this stage. When REM sleep begins, breathing becomes more rapid, heart rate increases and blood pressure rises.

 

Mental Health and Sleep

There is an extensive overlap between sleep disturbances and mental health disorders. Chronic sleep disturbances can affect 50-80% of U.S. adults in a psychiatric practice, compared with 10-18% of adults in a general population. Many clients seeking treatment for a mental health disorder will list insomnia as a symptom. Sleep disturbances can exacerbate your mental health disorders, or vice versa. It is important to note that a common side effect of any medication you are prescribed can cause excessive sleepiness or the inability to fall asleep as well. Becoming aware of your sleeping patterns and seeking treatment for a mental health disorder may increase your mood throughout the day and overall leave a positive impact on your health.

 

Sleep and Anxiety: Having an increased state of anxiety can keep your nervous system alert, which disrupts relaxation and makes it difficult to fall asleep. Just like cortisol is responsible for stress, melatonin is responsible for sleep. When we are stressed, our brain finds it difficult to produce melatonin.

Sleep and Depression: Research has shown that having insomnia can increase the risk of developing depression. A person with depression may spend a longer amount of time falling asleep and spend less time asleep overall. If they have trouble falling and staying asleep, they may not be experiencing much time in the deep sleep experienced in Stage 3, and they are not feeling well-rested.

Sleep and ADHD: Individuals diagnosed with ADHD tend to experience difficulty falling asleep, shorter sleep durations, and restlessness. Symptoms of ADHD also tend to mimic sleep disturbances which can make it difficult to tell the two apart.

Sleep and Schizophrenia: Those diagnosed with schizophrenia are more likely to have random periods of sleep throughout the day/night rather than sleeping for a continuous amount of time at night. Scientists believe these irregular sleeping habits are caused by the lack of melatonin being released and altered circadian rhythm.

Sleep and Personality Disorders: A common sleep disturbance seen in personality disorders is shortened REM latency. REM sleep correlates with cognition, memory, and mood stabilization. When REM sleep is disrupted, the severity of a pre-existing personality disorder may increase.

Sleep and Eating Disorders: Weight loss, malnutrition, and starvation are all important factors that can affect sleep quality. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can be associated with weight, body-mass index, and eating habits. The interruption of breathing during sleep can cause an individual to experience sleep in smaller increments.

Sleep and OCD: Many diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder may feel an overwhelming sense of danger which can impact falling asleep and the quality of sleep they receive. The time that they fall asleep may be later than anticipated because they can be caught up in routines or they are fixating on their own thoughts.

Sleep and Substance Use Disorders: There is a link between sleep apnea and alcohol consumption as well. Alcohol has the ability to relax the muscles in the throat which obstructs breathing. Withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction can be linked to restless leg syndrome and insomnia, making it incredibly difficult to function during the day after a sleepless night.

Sleep and Bipolar Disorders: Individuals will experience a lower quality of sleep between high (mania) and low (depression) points of a bipolar disorder. One of the earliest signs of mania seen in bipolar disorder is lack of sleep. They will feel energized and have a decreased need for sleep. Once the person begins the depression stage of bipolar, they may start to sleep excessively.

 

 

How to Increase Quality of Sleep

Lifestyle Changes: Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can be considered one of the biggest contributors to sleep disturbances. While many will find giving up these substances to be nearly impossible, avoiding them closer to your bedtime can still have an affect.

Would you have guessed that the time in which you sleep could potentially have an impact on your health? Studies have shown that people who work the “graveyard” shift are more likely to be depressed! One reason is related to the possible risk of vitamin D deficiency — since you are asleep when the sun is out, you aren’t receiving the proper sunlight needed in order for your skin to make vitamin D from cholesterol. Another reason, according to David Ballard, a program director at the American Psychological Association, is that “you’re fighting against your body’s natural circadian rhythms.” Working the night shift may cause restrictions from socializing with friends and family and potentially an unhealthy diet.

CBD Oil: Cannabidiol (CBD) communicates with our body’s endocannabinoid system, in helping us sustain a sense of balance or stability known as homeostasis. In a study involving 72 participants (47 with anxiety and 25 with poor sleep), each were given a capsule of 25 milligrams of CBD. This was distributed to them once a day for one month. At the end of the study, 79.2 percent reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 percent reported an increase in sleep quality. Chronic pain is another common reason many people experience sleep disturbances, and CBD has been beneficial in this area as well. In a 2018 article it is reported that by reducing pain, CBD can improve sleep.

Physical Activity: While exercise is essential for our physical heath, it has a strong impact on our mental health, too. Aerobic exercise can guide in helping people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer without disturbances.

Sleep Hygiene: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is referred to as sleep hygiene. Establishing a routine for your mind and body can potentially program it to sleep better. Staying awake longer than you are used to, but avoiding sleep deprivation, may induce restful sleep. Keeping the room free of distractions can also increase how fast you fall asleep.

Relaxation Techniques: Most of the difficulties people have regarding sleep issues are anxieties and racing thoughts. In order to alleviate these feelings, relaxation techniques are highly recommended and useful. These include meditation, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and listening to binaural beats. A study from the JAMA Internal Medicine consisted of 49 middle-aged and older individuals who reported sleep disturbances. Half of them participated in a mindfulness awareness program that taught them meditation and exercises created to guide them with focusing on their experiences, thoughts, and emotions. The other half participated in a sleep education class that informed them of ways to improve sleeping habits. Each group met for two hours, once a week for six weeks. The group that participated in the mindfulness awareness program reported that they experienced less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of the study. Former Harvard professor Dr. Herbert Benson coined the term “relaxation response” in the 1970s. He describes this as a deep physiological shift in the body that’s the opposite of the stress response. This method is known to ease symptoms of depression, pain, and high blood pressure. As a result, many will experience restful sleep.

Binaural beats are another type of relaxation technique that promotes better sleep quality. It is a creation of two slightly different sound frequencies that creates a perception of a new frequency tone. It is believed to be effective by using headphones, listening to one frequency in one ear, and the other frequency in the other ear. When your brain hears the combination of both frequencies, it is able to tune to the new frequency. These frequencies are relatively low, which can trigger slower brainwave activity, resulting in feeling relaxed and a decrease in anxiety. As it has been previously mentioned, the less stressed you are, the more likely you are to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and feel more rested when you awaken.

 

Feel free to visit our store if you are interested in trying our selection of high quality CBD oilIf you feel that you may have a mental illness that is impairing your ability to get restful sleep, please contact our office at (412)-532-1249 to see how we can help.

 

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Pittsburgh mental health counseling Makin Wellness

Anxiety: Common Symptoms & Treatment

Many individuals use the term anxiety to refer to a great deal of worry. However, what does anxiety really mean? And what does anxiety disorder look like? anxiety disorder

 

Anxiety disorder means an excessive worry or anxiousness that lasts more than six months. The fear and worry manifest themselves in various extreme forms. These forms could look like physical ailments, emotional, and or psychological unrest. The toll that anxiety takes on an individual is very severe. For many individuals, it may not seem clear or evident that he or she is experiencing an anxiety disorder due to the lack of knowledge and information about its manifestation (anxiety.org). anxiety disorder

 

Research suggests that women are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder in their lifetime than men (McLean, 2011, pp. 1). Gender differences and anxiety has shown that the manifestation of anxiety in both women and men could be presented in a similar fashion. However, research suggests that the main difference is “the observed differences between men and women are somewhat influenced by gender-related differences in the conceptualization and reporting of symptoms” (McLean, 2011, pp. 11).

 

So, what are the common symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety’s most common psychological symptoms are: excessive worry, nervousness, irritation, racing thoughts, and a sense of panic. On the other hand, anxiety could take a much more physiological form in certain individuals, the common symptoms are: increased heartbeat, difficulty sleeping or remaining asleep, loss of appetite, tense muscles, and sweating. “These shared physiological states suggest a shared underlying biology and that anxiety maybe a whole-body condition” (Jovanovic, et al., 2018).

 

Treatment for anxiety could include various options. When combined, evidence-based therapy (EBT), cotemporary and alternative therapies have been shown effective in the treatment of anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an example of one type of EBT. “It teaches people different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful objects and situations. CBT can also help people learn and practice social skills, which is vital for treating social anxiety disorder” Typically, some therapies are combined to increase their effectiveness in treating anxiety. CBT and exposure therapy have been utilized quite a bit together to treat social anxiety disorder (SAD) (NIMH, 2018).

 

Another form of treatment for anxiety disorder that has been researched intensively is the use of medical marijuana. The research that has been complied thus far suggests that medical marijuana is capable of reducing anxiety, relaxing muscle tension, and stimulating appetite (Lava, 2018). Pennsylvania is one of the 33 states that has legalized the medical use of marijuana, “short-term use of medical marijuana with low THC and high CBD content has been shown to be most effective in treatment of anxiety disorders” (Sasko, 2019). anxiety disorder

 

 

 

References:

Jovanovic, T., Lott, A. P., Michopoulos, V., Stevens, J., Rooij, S. van, Keller, J. M., … Sierra Carter. (2018). What Is Anxiety & How to Treat It – Anxiety Definition. Retrieved from https://www.anxiety.org/what-is-anxiety#anxiety-and-physical-health

 

Lava, N. (2018). Medical Marijuana FAQ. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/medical-marijuana-faq

 

McLean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender differences in anxiety disorders: prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. Journal of psychiatric research45(8), 1027–1035. Doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.03.006

 

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2018). Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml#part_145353

 

Sasko, C. (2019). People with Anxiety Disorders Can Soon Get Pa. Medical Marijuana Cards. Retrieved from https://www.phillymag.com/news/2019/07/12/anxiety-medical-marijuana-pennsylvania/

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Rahmah Albugani Makin Wellness

Art Therapy for Children

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that inspires clients to use free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modeling. This method is used as either a remedial activity or an aid to diagnosis. Children may find the idea of therapy and speaking with a counselor scary or intimidating. This can make it hard for them to properly express what they are feeling. Kids have vivid imaginations and are alarmingly creative, and this is where art therapy for children can be affective. In traditional therapy sessions, the client is usually asked a series of questions. What if a child does not feel comfortable talking about a situation, or their vocabulary is somewhat limited? They can use art as a form of expression while a mental health professional can interpret the meaning of their creation.

 

The Process of Art Therapy for Children

The idea of art therapy for kids is to make them as comfortable as possible while gathering enough information for a diagnosis during a session. It is a cautionary way of discussing emotional or triggering topics. The counselor can initiate conversation based on the art and help the child translate what they have created. Art therapy for children can address and support a number of difficulties such as:

  • death of a family member or friend
  • childhood trauma (physical, emotional, sexual abuse)
  • learning disabilities
  • emotional issues or phobias
  • recognizing and treating mental health disorders
  • understanding and treating physical disabilities
  • behavioral problems

 

The process typically begins with a mental health professional supplying the child with age-appropriate art supplies. Sometimes they will give the child a prompt, or they will ask them to draw anything that comes to mind. The counselor will focus on repetitive patterns, dark colors, or other distinctive characteristics about what they have created. Art therapists are trained to understand the roles that colors, textures, and different art media can play in the therapy process. They are also able to identify how these tools can help reveal one’s thoughts, feelings, and psychological dispositions. The art therapist will come up with a strategy to address what they have found in the art and discuss this with the child. This will help the counselor develop a diagnosis and create an effective treatment plan.

 

Efficacy of Art Therapy for Children

The expression of art can be seen as a form of non-verbal communication. Therefore, art makes it easier for children to express what they are not able to say. If a child experiences a traumatic event such as abuse, it is likely that they are afraid to speak about the situation and how it affects them. It is also known as a sensory-based approach which grants the child access to communicate on different levels, particularly by applying their senses. Research states that some sensory components of making art have been shown to improve moods and calm the body and mind.

Another result of art therapy is that it gives the opportunity for a child to enhance what they are attempting to tell a counselor. In the example of trauma, they may have difficulty speaking about the specific details of the event. Drawing those details can alleviate some of the damage and confusion they may feel about what happened. This lets the counselor visualize what triggers the child, and then they can help them recover.

Expressing emotions in the form of art can also give them the confidence they need to speak up about situations in the future. When a child finds the courage to let out their feelings to a therapist, they may begin to earn their trust and open up about other topics. This can eventually lead to enhancing their dialogue towards symptom expression.

Art expression can positively affect function, mood, cognition, and behavior. Children with special needs, such as autism, speech impairments, developmental disabilities, and other mental/behavioral health conditions are known to have positive experiences with art therapy. It allows them to show their strengths and individuality without judgment.

All children have a voice, whether or not they have the developed language skills to express themselves. Art therapy activates a child’s imagination and creativity to guide them in self-exploration of their mental state.

 

 

Art Therapy for Children at Makin Wellness

Barbara specializes in art therapy and loves working with kids! She sees children at our Downtown New Kensington office from 12-7 pm. Please contact our office at (412)-532-1249 to schedule with her.

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Pittsburgh mental health counseling Makin Wellness

Anxiety And Depression … What’s the Difference?

Anxiety and depression are very common mental health disorders in the United States. The terms are often used interchangeably and sometimes the symptoms appear to be similar. About half of individuals diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety. Getting a proper analysis of the disorder can be extremely important when diagnosing and treating these two different conditions. So, what really determines whether a person feels anxious, depressed, or both?

 

What is Depression?

Approximately 17.3 million adults suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. Depression can feel like a continual sense of sadness and restlessness. It can lead to a range of physical and behavioral symptoms. It can cause heavy impairment in a person’s life if left untreated. Many people seek help from a licensed counselor when depression begins to interfere with completing simple tasks. There are specific criteria in order to be diagnosed with depression. In order to be clinically diagnosed, a person must experience 5 or more of these symptoms within a two-week period:

  • depressed mood
  • loss of interest/pleasure in enjoyable activities
  • weight loss/weight gain
  • insomnia/hypersomnia
  • psychomotor agitation
  • fatigue
  • feelings of worthlessness/guilt
  • difficulty concentrating
  • suicidal thoughts or behaviors

 

What is Anxiety? Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety disorders are more prevalent than depressive disorders, affecting 40 million adults in the United States. Like depression, anxiety can feel like a sense of restlessness, fatigue, and leave a person with the inability to focus. Anxiety can also interfere with daily activities. Different types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A licensed counselor may diagnose you with an anxiety disorder when you meet any of the following criteria almost daily for more than six months:

  • excessive worry
  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
  • sleep disturbances
  • muscle tension
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • chest pain

 

Anxiety and the Brain

Medical professionals believe that anxiety starts in the amygdala of your brain, which is the part that controls emotional responses – like pleasure and fear. When a person feels anxious or stressed, signals from the brain are sent to other parts of the body which is commonly known as the “fight-or-flight” response. When the body responds, stress hormones known as adrenaline and cortisol are released. Too much of this response can become unhealthy for the body. During the process, a person may become dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, and possibly faint.

 

Depression and the Brain

Aside from anxiety, there are actually three parts of the brain that can play a role in depressive symptoms – the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is located at the front of the brain. It controls emotions, decision making, and memory forming. The hippocampus is near the center of the brain and it is responsible for cortisol production. High levels of cortisol are believed to play a role in the deterioration of all of these major parts of the brain. As a result, these structures physically shrinking can put a person at a higher risk of being diagnosed with depression.

 

Anxiety and the Body

Anxiety and depression seem extremely similar when you look at the symptoms. But anxiety and depression have different influences on different parts of your body. In the same way that they affect your cognitive thinking, they can affect your physical health.

Hyperventilation is a common anxiety symptom. When this happens, breathing may become shallow or rapid. This can make a person feel like they are not getting enough oxygen and begin gasping for air.

Anxiety can affect changes in blood circulation and a person’s heart rate throughout their body. An increased heart rate can cause blood vessels to narrow, affecting a person’s body temperature and giving off sensations of hot flashes. As the body beings to naturally cool down, a person will then feel cold. This rapid change of blood circulation can potentially damage the cardiovascular system.

Too much cortisol can also impair a person’s immune system by blocking areas that usually fight infections. As a result, it is likely that a person with an anxiety disorder may experience a common cold or the flu more often than others.

 

Depression and the Body

People who are diagnosed with chronic health conditions may often feel defeated and helpless when it comes to managing their symptoms. As a result, they are more likely to develop depression. Having difficulty finding a cure for an illness can even exacerbate feelings of depression. It is important to seek medical advice as well as mental health therapy since there is a correlation between the two.

Depression can lower the likelihood of a person willing to make positive lifestyle changes. This can negatively impact a person’s physical health. People with depression tend to develop poor eating habits and are less likely to engage in physical activity. This makes depression a risk factor for heart health problems. Research states that 1 in 5 people with heart failure or coronary heart disease have depression.

 

How Can We Help?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to get help. With the proper mental health advice, the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression can be treated and we can help you get your health on track. We can provide mental health counseling for anxiety and depression right here in our office. Please contact our office at (412)-532-1249 to schedule according to your availability and preferred location. 

 

 

 

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Mental Health Assessment for Court

What’s a Mental Health Assessment for Court?

A court ordered mental health assessment can determine if there are any clinical underlying factors that may have influenced a legal situation. A judge or prosecutor may request an evaluation to increase understanding of any mental illnesses that have impacted an event. Some illnesses that may have an effect on this include depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and substance abuse, among others. It is necessary for a licensed clinician to perform an evaluation in order to determine if a mental illness exists. Having a mental health assessment is extremely important for providing appropriate treatment for the individual as well. Mental Health Assessment for Court

 

Why Does My Judge or Lawyer Want Me to Get One?

Even though it can seem intimidating to have your mental health questioned, it is in a judge or lawyer’s best interest to understand the reasons behind your offense. A mental health assessment gives you the option to have a better outcome towards your situation while also getting adequate treatment. This can also be seen as an effective way of reducing repeat offenses and helping you move your mental heath in a positive direction.Mental Health Assessment for Court

 

What is the Process of a Mental Health Assessment Like?

The process of receiving a mental health assessment can vary between 15-30 minutes,. You will first answer a brief questionnaire about your mental health and wellness then send us the results.  An additional session would be scheduled for  30-55 minutes, you will discuss the answers from the questionnaire with a professional counselor. Topics of discussion include your symptoms and severity levels, family history of mental illness, and other psychiatric concerns. Other questions may include personal regards to your childhood upbringing or past traumatic events. Your physical appearance and behavior plays an important role in your evaluation as well. A professional counselor will pay close attention to your overall mood, eye contact, posture, and body language. They may also analyze your ability to think and recall information by completing short tasks. Once the discussion is completed, a summarization of your mental health report can be written by our evaluators. We can provide you with a court accepted document within one business week of your visit. If you need the results faster, we can rush your order for an additional $200.Mental Health Assessment for Court

 

How Soon Can I Get Started?Mental Health Assessment for Court

We can typically schedule mental health assessments within a week. Please contact our office at (412)-532-1249  to schedule according to your availability and preferred location. We also can conduct these assessments virtually if you prefer to do the evaluation online instead.Mental Health Assessment for Court

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Pittsburgh mental health counseling Makin Wellness