Worry vs. Anxiety- What Is The Difference?

Treating Anxiety At Jamaica Hospital

Although many use the words worry and anxiety interchangeably; the two are very different psychological states.    

According to Psychology Today, “Worry tends to be more focused on thoughts in our heads, while anxiety is more visceral in that we feel it throughout our bodies.”

When we worry, our thoughts are often caused by realistic or specific concerns we can resolve by problem solving. An example of a worrying thought is “If I don’t study hard enough, I will not pass my test.”  Once you have identified the problem and arrived at the solution- which is to study hard; you are likely to move on from this thought and diminish worry.

On the other hand, when we are experiencing anxiety, our thoughts can be irrational or vague. They can linger for extended periods of time and can impact our lives in a negative way.  An example of this is persistently thinking something will go wrong every time you take a test.  As a result, you may experience fear or other emotions that will cause your body to react negatively.

Worry and anxiety affect our bodies in different ways.   Because worrying tends to be temporary, the effects are mild. You may experience short-term emotional distress or tension. The physical reactions caused by anxiety, however, can be more intense. Someone with anxiety may experience symptoms such as tightness in the chest, an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, headaches, trembling, gastrointestinal problems or trouble sleeping.

The symptoms of anxiety can serve as warning signs of serious health conditions such as anxiety disorder, panic attack or depression.  You should speak with a doctor if symptoms are persistent and interfere with daily activities.

A mental health professional can diagnose anxiety by performing a psychological examination.  Treatment may involve medication and psychotherapy.

To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Claustrophobia

claustrophobia, phobia, anxiety, panicattack, panic

Categorized as a “phobia”, claustrophobia is diagnosed when the patient exhibits persistent (usually 6 months or longer) unreasonable or excessive fear due to the presence or anticipation of a specific situation.  That fear will often times cause an anxiety response that may lead to a panic attack.

People with claustrophobia will go to great lengths to avoid what triggers their anxiety, such as:

  • Being in a small room without windows
  • Riding in an airplane, small motor vehicle or subway car
  • Being in a packed elevator
  • Undergoing medical testing such as a MRI or CT scan
  • Attending large gatherings like a concert or party
  • Standing in a closet

While in the throes of an episode, the person with claustrophobia may experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Sweating and chills
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache and numbness
  • Tightness in the chest, and chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Lightheadedness, fainting, and dizziness
  • High blood pressure and an accelerated heart rate

In severe cases, claustrophobia may cause reactions that can interfere with the person’s everyday life, professional life and relationships.

If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of claustrophobia and would like to speak with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7160 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditationEveryday life can be full of worries. So much so that we forget how to enjoy the present moment and struggle to cope with a barrage of stress.

Escalated stress levels can serve as a threat to our overall health. Chronic stress increases the risk of depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart problems, obesity, sexual dysfunction, skin and hair problems as well as gastrointestinal problems. Stress can also disrupt creativity, problem-solving, and memory. This is because stress affects the prefrontal cortex, the most evolved part of the brain that is responsible for regulating our thoughts, actions, and emotions.

Due to the effects that stress can have on our health, it is important that we apply stress-reducing techniques to our daily routines. Practicing mindfulness meditation is one way to re-train our brains to be less preoccupied with worry and reduce stress. It allows us to focus our minds on a present moment, acknowledge negative thoughts without judging them, and then let them go. The goal is not to suppress thoughts, but to let them pass out of our minds, and then return to the task at hand. This can typically be achieved by practicing mindful exercises such as:

1. Mindful breathing – Start by breathing slowly in through your nose and out your mouth. Let go of your thoughts and maintain awareness for distractions. If your mind begins to wander, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
2. Mindful eating – Purposefully slow down your pace while eating. Smell your food, notice how it feels in your mouth and savor its taste.
3. Mindful walking – Walk and use all your senses to acknowledge the world around you.

In addition to reducing stress, there are other benefits we can gain from mindfulness meditation. It improves brain efficiency in attention and impulse control and may reduce anxiety, depression, and pain in some cases. One study found that listening to brief mindfulness meditations, delivered by a smartphone app as a reminder multiple times a week for eight weeks, improved overall well-being.

If the effects of stress are taking a toll on your health, speak with your doctor about stress-reducing techniques you can add to your routine.  To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718- 206-6942.

Tasmia Ahmed M.D.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Mental Health Clinic Queens Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is a common type of anxiety disorder that affects approximately 15 million adults living in the United States.  According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it is characterized by “an intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.”

There is no exact known cause for social anxiety disorder; although, it is believed that genetics play a significant role.  Social phobia is also linked to having an overactive amygdala; the part of the brain that controls our response to fear.  Others factors believed to contribute to the disorder are a history of abuse or bullying.

The onset of social anxiety disorder typically begins in the early to mid –teens; however, it can also occur in young children and adults.

Those with social anxiety disorder often experience physical symptoms associated with fear or anxiety in social situations. These symptoms may include rapid heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension, sweating or nausea.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can profoundly affect an individual’s ability to live a normal life.  Those affected often avoid or have trouble with normal, day-to-day social situations such as making eye contact, entering rooms where there are people, using public restrooms, eating in front of people or going to work or school.

These behaviors are often indicative of a more serious problem that could be developing as a result of social anxiety disorder. If left unaddressed, social phobia can lead to low self-esteem, negative thoughts, depression, substance abuse or suicide.

The best approach to treating social anxiety disorder is to receive assistance from a mental health professional.  They will be able to assess your health to determine whether you have a social anxiety disorder or other mental health conditions.  As part of your treatment, a mental health professional may recommend psychotherapy or medications.  They may also suggest implementing lifestyle changes such as exercising, learning stress reduction skills or participating in support groups.

To make an appointment or to speak with a mental health provider at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Make Your Mental Health a Priority This New Year

Tis’ the season for New Year Resolutions!  We are all talking about shedding some holiday pounds, keeping ourselves more organized or just living our best lives in 2019.  While striving towards those goals, why not included your mental health in this years resolutions?

Did you know that mental illness affects millions of Americans, yet not surprisingly, many of those who need help do not receive it. There are many reasons why – it could be due to limited availability of services, or a strong distrust of others, or those who are mentally ill might have such a sense of hopelessness that they do not seek care.

While all of these are factors as to why someone doesn’t seek support, perhaps the biggest single reason is a sense of fear and shame associated with admitting help is needed. This sense of shame is very common and it is only reinforced by society, which has attached stigmas to mental illness. The beliefs the public has about mental illness leads those who need help to avoid it so they are not labeled as “crazy” and have their condition negatively affect their personal relationships and career goals.

Getting society to overcome the stigmas associated with mental illness is the key to having more individuals come forward, but unfortunately negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common. These stigmas can lead to obvious and direct discrimination, such as someone making a negative remark about mental illness or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding an individual because they assume they could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to mental illness.

Those with mental illness should never be ashamed of their condition and here are some reasons why:

  • According to the World Health Organization, one out of four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.
  • Shame is pretty much guaranteed to make things worse. Feelings of shame are proven to have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health
  • Mental illness is no one’s fault. No one asks to have a mental illness and it is definitely not a choice we make.
  • We’re not ashamed when our bodies get sick, so why should we be ashamed when our minds aren’t in top form.
  • There is no normal – our minds are complex things and no single brain is the same
  • Our mental health doesn’t define us. Don’t let your mental illness become who you are, it is just one aspect of you.

It’s time to speak out against the stigmas associated with mental illness and reframe the way we see it. Getting help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.

Flushing Hospital advises anyone who feels they need help to get it.  Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief and help you in life.

To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Bike Month – Stay Safe and Fit

National Bike Month begins on May 14th and culminates with Ride to Work Day on May 18, 2018.

Communities nationwide will participate in this week-long recognition good health and bring attention to the need of lessening toxic emissions that motor vehicles are having on our environment.

According to Bicycling Magazine, more than half of all Americans live less than 5 – 10 miles from work. By utilizing the extensive miles of bike lanes to and from your work destination, you could probable arrive at your destination in less than an hour.

Riding a bicycle to work can be a fun and effective way to get fit.  Cycling is beneficial for the cardiovascular system because it increases oxygen intake and stimulates the heart. Studies show that riding can increase energy levels by 20 percent and in one hour burn up to 488 calories when pedaling at 12 to 14 miles per hour.

Although a bicycle is an excellent fitness tool, it is also considered a vehicle.  Therefore, the rules of the road must be obeyed and a bicycle should be operated safely to prevent injuries and accidents. Statistics show that bicyclists face higher risks in crash-related injuries and deaths than drivers in a motor vehicle.

Follow these basic riding tips to ensure your safety and reduce the risks:

  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic and do not weave in between other vehicles.
  • Obey traffic laws and signals.
  • Do not listen to music or speak on cell phones while riding.
  • Wear a proper fitting helmet.
  • Never pass another vehicle on the right.
  • Always keep your hands on the brakes.
  • Stay aware of dangerous road hazards such as potholes and broken glass.
  • Use hand signals to show motorist where you are going.

So suit up, remember to wear your helmet and cycle your way to health and a cleaner environment!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Alzheimer’s or Aging Naturally?

As you age, you may experience what is jokingly referred to as a “senior moment” when trying to remember why you entered a room or where you left your keys.  These moments are fairly common, but how do you know if your forgetfulness is the result of natural aging or Alzheimer’s?

Almost 40 percent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss without having any medical condition associated with it.  This process is known as Age-Associated Memory Impairment.  This condition is considered to be part of the natural aging process.

According to Alz.org, (Alzheimer’s Association) many things change as we age.  Our bodies and brain’s slow down and we are less physically and mentally flexible.  We may take more time to process information and experience some memory loss causing us to be forgetful of people places and things as we age.

Some signs of a naturally aging mind are:

  • Experiencing some memory loss, but being able to provide considerable detail when explaining the episode
  • Maintaining memory for important events, appointments and conversations
  • Occasional difficulty in finding words
  • Normal performance on mental status exams

Independent living and being able to conduct day to day activities and maintain interpersonal skills is also a reminder that you are aging naturally. As you age, it is beneficial to keep your mind sharp by remaining active, exercising, playing games that challenge your mind to think such as crossword puzzles or chess.

Conversely, Alzheimer’s disease is also associated with memory loss. This disease can affect people who are advanced in age or who are younger than the age of 65.  When early on-set occurs, the disease is referred to as either younger-onset or early onset Alzheimer’s.  Forgetfulness due to Alzheimer’s is not a part of the natural aging process.

Some symptoms and signs of Alzheimer’s are:

  • Personality or mood changes
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Misplacing items on a regular basis
  • Withdrawing from social situations
  • Difficulty finding the right words for specific items
  • Difficulty finishing a sentence
  • Losing tract of locations, dates or times
  • Asking for the same information again and again
  • Difficulty learning new things

If you are experiencing symptoms or displaying signs of the disease on an ongoing basis, it is recommended that you consult a physician who specializes in treating Alzheimer’s.   In order to diagnose the disease, the physician may complete a comprehensive medical evaluation which can include cognitive tests, brain imaging, neurological and medical exams.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease can maximize the benefits received from treatment and may help you to maintain your independence longer.  Therefore, it is highly advised that you seek the assistance of a specialist immediately.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Borderline Personality Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), borderline personality disorder is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, perceptions of self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days.

People with borderline personality disorder may also experience:

  • Mood swings
  • Uncertainty about how they see themselves and their role in the world
  • Quickly changing their interests and values
  • Viewing things in extremes
  • Having intense and unstable relationships
  • Impulsive or dangerous behaviors
  • Self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Recurring thoughts or threats of suicide
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Issues controlling anger
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Feeling cutoff from themselves and others

While the cause of borderline personality disorder isn’t clear, researchers believe that genetics, brain function, the environment, as well as cultural and social factors may increase the likelihood of developing the disorder.

That being said, being in an “at risk” group does not mean that you will develop the disorder.  Likewise, you may not fall into any of the groups but that doesn’t preclude you from developing the disorder.

There are numerous recommended treatments for borderline personality disorder including, but not limited to psychotherapy, medications, as well as group, peer and family support groups.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting the traits of having a borderline personality disorder and would like to speak to a licensed mental health professional, please call Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Mental Health at 718-206-7160 to schedule an appointment

For more information on borderline personality disorder visit, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is It The Winter Blues or Something More?

Understandably, the winter season can make you feel glum. It is the coldest time of year and the hours of sunlight are much shorter.  These factors can contribute to a dip in your mood or a lack of energy which you may attribute to the ‘winter blues.’

According to the National Institutes of Health ((NIH),   the winter blues is “fairly common and it’s more mild than serious. It usually clears up on its own in a fairly short amount of time.” However, if feelings such as sadness, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed and lethargy persist, they may be signs of a more serious condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that is related to the changes of the seasons. While the exact cause of SAD is unknown, it has been found that factors such as the reduction in sunlight during the winter and reduced levels of serotonin (the brain chemical that affects mood) are contributors.

Some people are more at risk for SAD than others; women, people who live far from the equator, people between the ages of 15 and 55 and those with a family history of seasonal affective disorder have a higher chance of occurrence.

Signs and symptoms of SAD may appear in late fall, early winter and subside during the spring or summer; they can include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day and nearly every day
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Craving more carbohydrates than usual
  • Gaining weight
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling apathetic towards things that were once enjoyable

If these symptoms make it difficult to function normally in your life, it is highly advised that you seek the help of a trained mental health practitioner.

Diagnosing SAD can be difficult due to similarities shared with other forms of depression and mental health conditions. However, to help rule out possible underlying health problems, your doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation which generally includes lab tests, physical examinations and psychological assessments to determine a conclusion.

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder may include a combination of light therapy, medication and counseling.

To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Dr’s Tips For Dealing with Holiday Stress

During the holiday season, many of us struggle to complete an extensive list of tasks in what often feels like very little time.   We run rampant decorating our homes, attending social gatherings, shopping for loved ones, volunteering, traveling or cooking.  These activities are often added to our already busy schedules, which can make us feel overwhelmed.

Contrary to what we may think, these activities which should make us feel happy can actually increase our stress levels.

Although there are various factors such as unrealistic expectations or financial strain that contribute to holiday stress, finding ways to avoid stressors or minimize their effects is very important. If stress is not managed well, it can have a significantly negative impact on our health.

Dr. Madhu Rajanna; Director of  the Mental Health Clinic and Assistant Director of the Psychiatry Residency program at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center offers  five tips to help you cope with holiday stress and maintain good mental health:

  1. Set realistic goals– Unrealistic goals often equal added pressure and expectations that cannot be met. If these goals are not met, they can lead to negative feelings such as inadequacy or hopelessness.
  2. Know when to take a moment for yourself (Take a break) – We are often pulled in multiple directions during this time of the year. Know when to take a breather to decompress and clear your mind.
  3. Communicate- The added pressures of the holidays are clearly overwhelming and one of the ways that people sometimes deal with this is to isolate themselves. This is not recommended; instead, reach out to loved ones or a trained mental health professional to communicate how you feel.
  4. Do not neglect healthy habits– Taking good care of your health can help combat holiday stress. Moderating your food intake, fitting in a few minutes of exercise and getting adequate amounts of sleep can be profoundly beneficial for your health.   Additionally, maintaining a healthy daily routine can help take your mind off holiday demands.
  5. Ask for help- We live in a time where multitasking has become the norm but if you begin to feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Soliciting the help of friends or family can alleviate some of the holiday pressure. The holidays can also trigger depression; if you are experiencing symptoms of depression ask for help from loved ones or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

Dr. Madhu Rajanna- Director of the Mental Health Clinic and Assistant Director of the Psychiatry Residency program

The holiday season can be overwhelming; however, by applying Dr. Rajanna’s helpful tips you can take the steps needed to minimize stress and make this time of year more enjoyable.  If you find that you continue to experience elevated levels of stress or symptoms of depression, it is recommended that you seek the help of mental health professional immediately.

To schedule an appointment with the Mental Health Clinic at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.