Category Archives for Medication

Cannabinoids: A New PTSD Treatment Paradigm

The PTSD treatment paradigm, currently reliant on a spectrum of medications, has been increasingly challenged for the dependence it facilitates and its artificial approach to healing a complex, integrated system. Emerging from this has been a cry for increased research on holistic alternatives, namely cannabis and/or CBD use. Legal complications have tied up the field for a while but new research should be emerging soon as a Phase 2 study on the safety and efficacy of smoked marijuana for PTSD symptoms in US veterans is completed. cannabinoids

 

In the meantime, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine recently published the first study investigating the clinical effects of CBD for people with PTSD. It does need to be supported by randomized, controlled studies, as it was performed on a small sample of 11 patients who were also exposed to psychiatric medications and psychotherapy at the same time, but it is an optimistic opening for this field of research.

 

Over the course of 8 weeks, the study participants took CBD orally (either in pills or a liquid spray) once or twice a day. They completed the PTSD checklist (PCL-5) at the beginning of the study and again after 4 weeks and 8 weeks. The PCL-5 assesses symptom severity on a scale of 0 to 4, which allowed the researchers to study both the overall impact as well as the effect on specific symptoms.cannabinoids

 

The average baseline score for the participants was 51.82, which then dropped to 40.73 after 4 weeks and 37.14 after 8 weeks, showing an overall decrease in the severity of symptoms. Of the 11 participants, 10 experienced a decrease in their score by the fourth week, with an average of a 21% drop. While 3 of the 11 participants experienced increases in their symptom severity (an average increase of 8 points) from weeks 4 to 8, 10 of the 11 still experienced an overall decrease from the baseline, with an average of a 28% drop.

 

One of the symptoms most impacted by the study was sleep. Of the participants who responded to the question assessing “repeated, disturbing dreams of the stressful experience” with a score of 3 or higher, 50% reported an improvement in their nightmares. In all participants, 38% remarked improvement in the quality of their sleep. Other symptoms for which participants expressed benefits were anxiety, focus, and mood.

 

While more clinical studies are necessary to investigate the intricate effects of different types, dosages, frequencies, and conditions of cannabis usage on PTSD symptoms, this research sits on a strong foundation of theory. In fact, we are beginning to understand that there are innate systems in the body designed to respond to compounds found in cannabis as well as to regulate symptoms associated with PTSD.

 

The connection between PTSD symptoms and the effects of cannabis seems to be based on the compound anandamide – the “bliss molecule”. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, meaning that it is produced internally (“endo”) and stimulates a system of cannabinoid receptors in the body. These receptors, along with the cannabinoids that stimulate them, comprise the endocannabinoid system, which maintains homeostasis through regulating appetite, immunity, memory, mood, motor control, pain, reward, fertility, and temperature regulation. Interestingly enough, there are compounds in cannabis with similar structures that can also trigger cannabinoid receptors in the body. THC, responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis, activates the same receptors as anandamide.

 

As we currently understand it, there are two cannabinoid receptors in the body – CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system and mediate emotional learning, stress adaption, and fear extinction. These receptors are understimulated in those with PTSD, for their signaling “deactivates traumatic memories and endows us with the gift of forgetting”.  cannabinoids

 

The use of phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD to stimulate CB1 receptors shows promise in balancing the endocannabinoid system and restoring its ability to regulate fear, anxiety, and joy. By allowing the system to have breaks from the constant stress it finds itself in when experiencing PTSD symptoms, cannabis use can reeducate the body to respond to stress as it does to acute stress. While endocannabinoids are broken down under chronic stress, under acute stress they are actually released to allow for return to baseline stress levels. What this means in terms of concrete response to symptoms, only the clinical trials will tell us, but there is reason to believe that cannabis users will become better equipped to respond to the stressors and symptoms that come with PTSD. cannabinoids

 

Although alternative treatments like CBD and medical marijuana still need conclusive evidence, our current approach to PTSD treatment has also yet to show any meaningful, consistent impact. In fact, PTSD United has shown that “in the past year alone the number of diagnosed cases in the military jumped 50%”. Many movements have emerged to raise awareness and funding for the cause, but, as organizational theorist Kenichi Ohmae recognized, “rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.” The structure toward which this increasing energy is being devoted must be willing to evolve. We must seek new methods, challenge our current understanding, and form a more nuanced approach to treatment that includes a variety of techniques and is responsive to individuals and their unique needs. We will never know what could be achieved unless we open our minds and try it.

 

“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” – Thomas Jefferson

 

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.

 

Alex Brooks, Psychology Intern

Makin Wellness

Overcoming Oxidative Stress

Given the amount of psychological and physiological stress to which many of us are exposed, it’s no shock that dis-ease runs so rampant in our population. What is often puzzling, however, is from where exactly these conditions emerge and what we can do to combat them without combing every part of our lifestyle and environment. One process that can explain both is oxidative stress, the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Since it is dependent on these two forces, it has the potential to be both degenerative and restorative. Understanding of this process provides insight both into the danger of excessive free radicals in the body as well as to the healing powers of antioxidants. oxidative stress

 

Oxidative stress refers to the overabundance of free radicals, unchecked by antioxidant levels. The danger of this imbalance is that free radicals are highly reactive molecules. Because they have an unpaired valence electron, they travel the body searching for an electron with which to pair. However, they often achieve this stability by pairing with an element in an already stable compound, leaving that compound as a free radical itself. This process is called oxidation – free radicals oxidize compounds in the body. It is the same process by which metal rusts and becomes brittle and by which fruit browns and loses nutritional value.

 

Free radicals are produced naturally by the body through functions like breathing and digestion and even serve a constructive role when in balance, acting as a part of the immune system. However, they are also produced by exposure to radiation, pollutants, medications & antibiotics, overtraining, emotional & physical stress, and dietary factors (like oxidized fats, processed sugar, pesticides, herbicides, and additives). When unchecked, free radicals will damage DNA, cell membranes, lipids, and enzymes. By this process, oxidative stress leads to an array of diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, inflammation, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, and aging.

 

The hero of the story is the antioxidant. Antioxidants donate electrons to free radicals, stabilizing them and terminating this otherwise lengthy and exhausting process. Some antioxidants are produced by the body, but there is a large dietary burden to consume plants that produce antioxidants of their own. Of highest importance are vitamins A, C, and E, as well as beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, and more. These are plentiful in the following sources, some combination of which is absolutely necessary for human vitality:

  • berries
  • grapes & red wine
  • citrus fruits
  • dark leafy greens
  • broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and all brightly colored fruits and vegetables
  • olives
  • fish (primarily cold-water fatty fish) and nuts
  • green and white tea
  • cocoa
  • ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary
  • onion, garlic

 

For those of you that feel constant fatigue and poor recovery, it may be as simple as this: you may not have enough warriors fighting for you! Nourish these antioxidant warriors with lifestyle choices like eating high-antioxidant foods, exercising (without overdoing it), watching out for exposure to harmful chemicals (and, if you can’t, following a protocol like the heavy metal detox), and getting plenty of sleep. So treat yourself to some red wine, chocolate, and a summer nap and listen to the balance it brings.

 

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.

 

Alex Brooks, Psychology Intern

Makin Wellness

Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

Medical marijuana was legalized in the state of Pennsylvania in 2016. Patients with serious medical conditions may now receive safe and effective treatment through the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. To get medical marijuana there are four basic steps. medical marijuana

First, register for the program through the Medical Marijuana Registry. Second, get certified from a physician, showing that you suffer from one of the qualifying conditions. Third, pay for a medical marijuana ID card. And fourth, find an approved dispensary to receive medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. medical marijuana

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Autism
  • Cancer (including remission therapy)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Damage to nervous tissues of central nervous system with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and associated neuropathies.
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neuropathies
  • Opiod use disorder in which conventional therapeutic interventions are ineffective or contraindicated.
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Terminal illness

Renewing Registration

Prior to your patient certification and ID card expiring, you will receive and email 60 days in advance. Renewing your registration involves a few simple steps. First, you will need to submit your renewal online. Then, you will receive an email .verification with steps to follow. Finally, you will get a patient certification through any registered practitioner and your card will then be mailed to you.

Medical Marijuana Approved Forms

  • Topical forms, including ointments, creams, and gel
  • Tincture
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Oil
  • A medically appropriate form administered by vaporization or nebulization, including dry leaf/plant form

Forms of medical marijuana are different for each patients individual needs. A physician and pharmacist can assist in choosing what is best for your condition.

Makin Wellness offers a holistic approach to wellness through medical marijuana assisted treatment for PTSD, professional counseling, nutritional counseling, aromatherapy, and other natural treatment options. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

For additional information regarding Pennsylvania’a Medical Marijuana Program, please refer to :

Department of Health

medical marijuana

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 assited treatment and relationship counseling.

Disclaimer:

Getting an evaluation at Makin Wellness does not guarantee you will have or be diagnosed with PTSD or Opioid Use Disorder . We are able to provide ongoing treatment in all of our offices and via telepsych.   For those struggling with Opiate Use Disorder, you may qualify if conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions. We are not certifying physicians for medical marijuana in the State of PA.  We are able to evaluate, diagnose and provide treatment for mental health and addiction conditions.  If you fit criteria for PTSD or Opioid Use Disorder , you would still need to see a certifying physician after the evaluation in order to get your medical marijuana card. Cannabis is still considered illegal under federal law. Please refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Health  or contact us if you have any additional questions.

Spring Wellness: Essential Oils to Naturally Reduce Pollen & Allergens

While Spring is an enjoyable season of beautiful new blooms, vibrant colors, and new growth – allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and feelings of being run down, may cause irritability, anxiety, and mental fatigue – making Spring anything but enjoyable.

Antihistamines are readily available, providing some relief, but not without side effects. It may surprise you to learn that natural remedies, when used properly, can provide allergy relief – essential oils included! essential oils

What is the root of the issue?

Studies have shown the connection between the immune system and allergies. When the immune system is overburdened, allergic response may be intensified. Poor gut health is directly linked to seasonal allergies.

A diet high in refined oils, sugar, dairy, and processed grains is a primary cause of gut disorders. This type of diet may also cause candida overgrowth – which has proven to be a primary cause of allergic reactions.

Stress directly affects the immune system. Stress management is vital to immune function and reduction of allergies. If you find yourself suffering from excess stress, talking with a professional counselor can help with managing it more effectively.

Essential Oils for Allergies

Essential oils are steam distilled from plants and have been used medicinally for centuries. These concentrated aromatic liquids can support physical, mental, and emotional wellness. They can be diffused or applied topically. essential oils

Peppermint, lemon, and lavender have shown to reduce pollen and allergens. These oils may be diffused together into the air, or applied topically to reduce allergy symptoms. Peppermint helps with mental clarity and alertness, while reducing nasal congestion. Lavender provides a calming affect, helping with stress reduction and restful sleep. Lemon oil is cleansing, uplifting, and may inhibit bacterial infection.

Here at Makin Wellness we provide custom essential oil blends and other holistic approaches to promote harmony between the body and mind. Therapeutic grade essential oils affect various body systems, providing support to overall wellness.essential oils

Contact us today for support with stress management, nutritional counseling, life coaching, or other wellness related goals and concerns!

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.

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Anxiety: Types, Treatments, and Tools to Cope

“In any given moment, we have two options: To step forward into growth, or to step back into safety. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow

We all experience times when we feel stressed, worried, anxious, or nervous. We worry about family responsibilities, finances, health, work, and other obligations. As we discussed in our previous post, there are a variety of holistic options for anxiety relief. However, we must first identify the source of our anxieties and its severity in order to take steps in correcting it. Recognizing the root cause is the first step toward positive change and healthier ways of managing stress and anxiety.

Types of Anxiety

The most common types of anxiety are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, specific phobias, and panic disorder. Anxiety is also present in other conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Symptoms of more than one type of anxiety are commonly experienced. It’s vital to seek support as early as possible before anxiety begins to take over your life. Talking to a trained professional can provide resources and tools to cope.

Anxiety overload may show itself in the form of irritability, anger, inability to concentrate, stomach problems, panic attacks, muscle tension, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, and sleep disturbances.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Is anxiety and worry affecting my quality of life?
  • Is the dread and fear I’m experiencing robbing me of joyful moments?
  • Am I feeling stuck with the belief that drugs are my only option, or that I have no other option than to live this way?

Everyone has a tipping point with various triggers that bring about anxiety. Taking inventory of ourselves and having self-awareness gives better opportunity to manage stress and anxiety. Be mindful of your day to day habits. Keeping a log or journal at times you’re feeling worried or anxious can help sort out your thoughts, allowing you to take more control over the situation. Understanding the trigger, or root cause of your anxiety will better equip you in being able to manage it.

Remaining in a perpetual state of anxiety is detrimental to physical and emotional wellness. Finding a professional trained in holistic treatment methods can provide safe, effective options for managing anxiety.

Treatments and Tools to Cope

Whether you suffer from a mild anxiety or more chronic form, you may be inclined to think the only option is anxiety medication. Prescribed medication may be necessary for a period of time for some people. However, clinical studies have shown various herbal remedies and botanicals to significantly decrease anxiety. Lavender oil is even being used to calm patients in hospice care.

According to a study published in Phytotherapy Research, Echinacea extract showed significant relief of anxiety in only three days. While this isn’t considered a cure all, it may provide natural relief, without the side effects of prescription drugs. And, it is always recommended to talk with your doctor when making any changes to your wellness routine.

See our previous post for more natural, holistic options for coping with anxiety. Exercise, eating well, and getting plenty of rest are essential tools to managing anxiety and overall wellness. If you are interested in more natural treatment for stress or anxiety, contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation!

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 assited treatment and relationship counseling. 

Bipolar Disorder – Causes & Alternative Treatments

Mental illness is becoming more and more common among all ages. According to the World Health Organization, over 450 million suffer from mental illness worldwide. Suicide rates have increased by 60% in the last 45 years, with 90% having a diagnosable mental disorder. Anxiety disorders, depression and mood disorders like bipolar disorder have similarities, yet require different treatments. A person with depression often has some type of anxiety, while a person with anxiety often shows some symptoms of depression.

Brain health plays an integral part in all types of mental disorders. Bipolar disorder in particular, is unique in comparison to anxiety and depression. Manic episodes of bipolar may include high energy, reduced need for sleep, and loss of touch with reality. Depressive episodes of bipolar may include low energy, decreased motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities. Treatment typically is lifelong, involving a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Lets look further at the causes and complexities of this disorder. bipolar disorder

Causes

Most researchers agree there are physical and environmental factors that contribute to bipolar disorder. While a person may have been born with a predisposition, for many a stressful life event or upbringing triggers the illness. Studies show a low or high level of a particular neurotransmitter such as serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine is involved in mood disorders – affecting the overall balance of how these chemicals work together. Stress levels also play a role with increasing stress causing cortisol levels to rise. In turn, these high cortisol levels alter brain function and communication.

The Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan performed a study which found more people with bipolar disorder have a history of childhood trauma than those without the disorder. These traumas were associated with changes in self-control and attention. Childhood traumas such as emotional abuse or neglect has shown to affect mood, impulse control, cognitive function, and feelings of self-worth – all of which are associated with bipolar disorder. bipolar disorder

The study showed higher levels of saturated fats had an association between certain levels of fat molecules in the blood and mood. Patients taking an antipsychotic also showed less diversity of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. Bad microbes in the gut can create gut inflammation, which may cause depression and other brain ailments and imbalances. It has been noted that those who have daily mood swings have food allergies or hypoglycemia. With brain health being so dependent on gut health, it is essential to provide the body with proper nutrients to provide greater harmony between mind and body. Lets look further at some alternative treatments to support mental health and overall brain health. bipolar disorder

Alternative Treatments

Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of “50 Shades of Kale,” says omega 3’s, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium all play a vital role in brain health. Ramsey notes that kale provides 134% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 684% of vitamin K, 206% of vitamin A, and more. It is of utmost importance to eat nutrient rich foods to help support a healthy gut such as, cruciferous vegetables, bananas, beans, artichokes, blueberries, polenta, kimchee, saurkraut and tempeh. Slow digesting foods that are high in fiber such as beans, oats, brown rice, and other fruits and vegetables are all supportive to brain health. Folic acid, B12, and glutathione has shown to be deficient in manic depressive patients. Diet changes, supplementation, and alternative treatments can be used in conjunction with other therapies. Bipolar disorder can be successfully managed through a strong support system, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. It is always best to discuss any treatments with your health care provider. Consider some practical ways to support mental health.

Tips to Support Mental Health

  • Take care of your body – Eat nutrient dense meals, avoid excess alcohol, drink plenty of water, exercise, and get enough sleep.
  • Spend time with others who support you – People who have strong family or social connections are generally happier and healthier.
  • Learn coping skills – Take a walk in nature, journal, and practice self-care by spending time doing something you enjoy.
  • Quiet your mind – Mindfulness and relaxation techniques helps improve your state of mind and promotes a positive outlook on life.
  • Acupuncture – Symptoms of mood swings can be alleviated with acupuncture by helping to balance the energetic qi (chee) within various body systems and minimize the frequency and intensity of mood swings. Medical Wellness Associates offers acupuncture and other homeopathic therapies for a variety of conditions, helping to support balance between mind and body.
  • Aromatherapy – Essential oils promote balance between mind and body. Oils like lavender, bergamot, frankincense, jasmine, and many others can be used to uplift mood. Contact Makin Wellness for a custom blend to support mental and emotional wellness!

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mood disturbances, contact Makin Wellness today for a free 15 minute consultation! Our services include a holistic approach of cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, and life coaching.

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 assited treatment and relationship counseling. bipolar disorder

Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Pros and Cons of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has shown benefits such as functional improvements in autism and severe pain conditions. Marijuana is an herb that has been used for thousands of years in traditional, ancient medicine such as malaria, rheumatism, gout, and absent-mindedness. Chinese medicine has used the plant for its medicinal value, versus the intoxicating properties we generally tend to associate it with. medical marijuana

Ayurvedic texts references to cannabis by one of its chief founders of Ayurveda, Dhanvantari. Cannabis is used medicinally only in very small quantities in Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda believes marijuana to be an addictive drug, advising it to be used in combination with other herbs, based on the toxic affect it may have on the mind and body. Herbs and plants, like any medicine, may be beneficial for some things, yet still presenting some negative side effects.

The endocannabinoid system is a delicate and complex system of the body, responsible for vital brain functions like appetite, mood, pain sensation, and memory. Endocannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemicals found in our nervous and immune systems. The endocannabinoids then act on various cells and attach to endocannabinoid receptors. While cannabis can work naturally with our endocannabinoid system, cannabanoid misuse can be harmful to our bodies and brain functions.

The Difference Between THC and CBD

Long-term use of cannabis with the active compound of THC has shown to affect the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for intellectual ability and decision making skills. THC is the psychoactive component found in marijuana known for creating the “high” feeling typically associated with its use. Immediate and long-term cognitive side-effects include, impaired thinking and reasoning, reduced ability to plan and organize, altered decision-making, and reduced control over impulses. Therefore it should be used with caution under the care of a doctor. CBD has the same chemical constituents as THC, but doesn’t produce the “high” feeling, making it a safer option for children since it doesn’t have the potential harmful cognitive effects of THC. CBD is used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce psychotic symptoms in Schizophrenia, and increase appetite while decreasing pain and nausea in cancer patients. Read more at: www.sepalika.com/living-well/pros-and-cons-of-medical-marijuana. medical marijuana

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Medical ailments that have shown to respond well to medical marijuana include mood disorders, degenerative neurological disorders such as Dystonia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and seizures. Medical marijuana also has the potential to ease pain associated with multiple sclerosis, assist in symptoms of autism, ease tremors in patients with Parkinson’s Disease, and aid with sleep issues. People with nausea from chemotherapy, chronic pain, or those depending on harmful pain-relieving opiods can also benefit a great deal from medical marijuana. medical marijuana

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance, notes, “New evidence now indicates that the proliferation of medical marijuana laws and dispensaries around the United States is strongly associated with fewer people dying from overdoses involving heroin and pharmaceutical opiods. the most likely reason is that people are finding marijuana more helpful than opiods in managing different types of pain. Doctors are recommended to us cannabis with caution in patients with a history of tobacco or other substance use, at increased risk for heart disease, or have a history of mood or anxiety disorders. Dr. Michael Dworkind recommends using no THC under the age of 24. CBD is a healthier alternative and has shown particularly beneficial in children with seizures. Dr. Dworkind believes it to be a myth that marijuana is a gateway drug, as it is much safer than other addictive drugs. The reason being, a person cannot die from overdose.

Medical marijuana is separated from the recreational use of it as there are not large amounts of THC. Different strains produce different effects and your doctor can decide with is best for your condition. It is safer since the dosage and kind of strain is regulated by the doctor and licensed producer. The doctor follows up every three months and makes any necessary modifications based on a risk/benefit questionnaire. Vaporizing is encouraged as a way of taking medical marijuana since it is a healthier option. Oils and edibles are also available. medical marijuana

More information about the pros and cons of medical marijuana can be found at medicalmarijuana.procon.org.

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 assited treatment and relationship counseling .

Disclaimer:

Getting an evaluation at Makin Wellness does not guarantee you will have or be diagnosed with PTSD or Opioid Use Disorder . We are able to provide ongoing treatment in all of our offices and via telepsych.   For those struggling with Opiate Use Disorder, you may qualify if conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions. We are not certifying physicians for medical marijuana in the State of PA.  We are able to evaluate, diagnose and provide treatment for mental health and addiction conditions.  If you fit criteria for PTSD or Opioid Use Disorder , you would still need to see a certifying physician after the evaluation in order to get your medical marijuana card. Cannabis is still considered illegal under federal law. Please refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Health  or contact us if you have any additional questions.

pittsburgh addiction

Generalized Anxiety Disoder

GAD Overview & Symptoms Generalized anxiety disorder pittsburgh

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is marked by 6 or more months of consistent, chronic worry and tension. Many people with this worry about disaster and could be extremely concerned about different things like money, family, health , career or other situations. People with GAD struggled to control their worries and may worry much more than what seems appropriate . There are times as well when they worry for no or small reasons. Generalized anxiety disorder pittsburgh

A GAD diagnosis happens when someone has a hard time controlling their worrying for at least 6 months and has 3 or more symptoms. The biggest difference between GAD & worry is that worrying tends to relate to only one specific stressed and lasts a much shorter period of time.

GAD is very common in North America, as it affect approximately 6.8 million adults! This accounts for 3.1% of the US’s entire population. Twice as many females are affected by this than male. GAD can occur to anyone and the highest risk of having it is between childhood and middle age years. No experts know where GAD comes from, but many believe there’s a link to genetics and negative life experiences.

Those who have GAD struggle to end the worry cycle and may believe it is out of their hands. Many times, they understand that they worry more than they should , but cannot stop thinking about whats concerning them. Often times ,they believe that if they worry about a situation, that it could prevent it from happening so stopping the worry could be a risk.

Many people with GAD manifest physical symptoms as well. The most common are gastrointestinal issues, headaches and increased blood pressure. It is possible to have a fulfilling life with GAD, be employed and have a significant other.  There can be times when they turn down fantastic opportunities such as traveling and social events due to their disorder. If the person struggles with severe GAD, they could have the most difficult time doing even the simplest daily activities, such as getting to work.


 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment GAD pittsburgh

There are many different treatment options available for someone who has GAD. At Makin Wellness, we use CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, as it has been thoroughly researched and targets certain thoughts, symptoms and behaviors in order to make lasting change. CBT is an evidence based practice, which means that it is scientifically proven to be effective. Adults and kids who are treated with CBT show positive outcomes. Mindfulness is also important to implement with any type of anxiety disorder as that helps the client focus on the present , rather than worry about the futures.

Medication can also be an effective tool if the client prefers to go that route. Normally for GAD, an SSRI , or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is prescribed. SSRI’s help to increase serotonin levels in the brain , which helps balance out your mood. These can be very effective for people with GAD , are non-addictive and usually only have minimal side effects. Common SSRIs are Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro and Zoloft.

Deep breathing and relaxation techniques are very important to incorporate into treatment. Guided meditations, yoga, exercise, spending time outside and other enjoyable activities that encourage you to be present in the moment can greatly assist with reducing GAD.

GAD could occur along with another disorder, such as addiction or depression and is very common. Co morbid disorders would also be treated appropriately with the right and effective options.

If you are struggling with  GAD, call us today at 412-532-1249 to schedule your free phone consultation.Generalized anxiety disorder pittsburgh

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premiere therapy and coaching center located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling . Generalized anxiety disorder pittsburgh



Seasonal Depression in Pittsburgh

About 3 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression occurs during the same season every year. You might have feel feeling depressed the past two winters, but cheered up during the warmer months. Or you may have felt down during the summer.

Everyone could get seasonal depression, but it tends to be much more common in :

  • People who have families who have SAD
  • Women
  • Individuals between 15 and 55 years old
  • Individuals who live in an areas where winter daylight time is very short

 

No mental health experts are exactly sure of what specifically causes SAD, but many think lack of sunlight is a big trigger. This lack of light could mess up your circadian rhythms or cause problems with serotonin which is the chemical that affects your mood.

The lack of sunlight in Pittsburgh is extreme compared to many other cities across the US. We also tend to be cloudy which blocks out a lot of sunlight. That combined with the recent freezing temperatures has kept a lot of people inside and not taking absorbing vitamin D from the sun. Actually, about 10% of adults living in the United States have a Vitamin D deficiency.

You might be wondering if you have seasonal depression or SAD. Here are the symptoms:

  • Feeling grumpy, sad , nervous of having mood swings
  • Anhedonia or lack of pleasure in things you normally love
  • Eating much more or less than usual
  • Gaining weight
  • Sleeping a lot more than you normally do, but still feeling slugging
  • Difficulty concentrating

It is so important to look at SAD in a holistic manner before getting diagnosed. In addition to therapy, it’s crucial to see your doctor so she or he can run blood tests to rule out any other conditions that may be making you feel blue. One of these common ones is hypothyroidism or low thyroid. At Makin Wellness, we could do the mental heath assessment .

Treatment

There are multiple ways to help treat seasonal depression. Light therapy can be used, but counseling is one of the most effective ways of treating SAD. Cognitive behavioral therapy at Makin Wellness can help you learn more about seasonal depression , how to manage your symptoms and ways to prevent future episodes. Medication can also be prescribed and taken to help alleviate some or your symptoms. Antidepressants such as Zoloft, Effexor and Wellbutrin are most commonly prescribed for SAD.  Vitamin D supplements or foods rich in Vitamin D like yogurt, salmon, shitake mushrooms and freshly squeezed OJ can help combat any potential Vitamin D deficiencies you could have. Be sure to talk with your doctor and therapist about any side effects from your medication and check with your MD about Vit D supplementation .

If you are struggling with seasonal depression, call us today at 412-532-1249 to schedule your free phone consultation.

 

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is therapy and coaching center located at 239 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1801 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .

 

 

 

 

 



How depression actually feels

Many people have the misconception that depression just feels like sadness. This is not the case. Depression can feel like a complex web of differing negative emotions. It’s important to also keep in mind that men and women are socialized to express these differently. For example, a female could cry to show her pain, whereas a man could get angry and /or aggressive in hopes of getting the hurt out. Here is what depression actually feels like:

  • It can feel like complete and utter emptiness or self loathing. You could have a hard time looking in the mirror , or feel extreme hate or disgust with yourself.
  • Depression can become so debilitating that you can go numb and feel nothing. This numb feeling could also arise if you are prescribed medication like an SSRI ( selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and are on too high of a dosage or are prescribed a combination of medications that do not work well for you . If this is happening, contact your psychiatrist or doctor immediately and report this and any other side effects so they can  properly adjust your medication.
  • Depression can also be experienced with anxiety; this commonly feels like a rollercoaster ride  with substantial mood swings. You find yourself stressed and feeling stressed out and later find yourself feeling withdrawn and depressed. These mood swings drain your energy and leave you emotionally and physically exhausted.
  • Some people who experience depression isolate as well and try to hide from their friends and loved ones. You would do things such as stop answering your phone, calling  off of work  and avoiding sunday dinners with your family.
  • Guilt can be marked by depression as well. This could be branched from the stigma that is attached with having moments of “mental illness”.  The truth is that there are 16.1 million American Adults ages 18 and older, according to NIMH ( National Institute of Mental Health), who have had at least one major depressive episode within the past year.

If you are feeling down, you are not alone ; you can get better and there is help.