How Bipolar Disorder Can Affect Your Sleep

Getting the appropriate amount of sleep, along with maintaining a nutritious diet and exercising regularly are considered the three most important aspects to living a healthy lifestyle. For those living with bipolar disorder however, getting the right amount of sleep is both very important and a major challenge.

Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). While experiencing the manic or hypomanic phase of the illness, those with bipolar disorder can go on little or no sleep for lengthy periods of time.  Conversely, during the depression or low phase, individuals may require excessive amounts of sleep (up to 14 hours per day).

Bipolar disorder can affect sleep in many ways, including:

  • Insomnia – Insomnia includes not only difficulty falling asleep, but problems staying asleep or getting too little sleep.
  • Hypersomnia – A condition marked by over-sleeping, which is sometimes even more common than insomnia during periods of depression in bipolar disorder.
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome – Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a circadian rhythm disturbance. It can be associated with depression.
  • Irregular sleep-wake schedule – When people with bipolar disorder have a lack of a sleep routine, the irregular cycle can greatly interfere with appropriate treatment of the disorder.
  • Nightmares, vivid dreams and night terrors – These may also affect people with bipolar disorder.

Disrupted sleep can aggravate a mood disorder so it’s important to address some of the issues that can affect sleep.  There are several ways a person with bipolar disorder can attempt to get regular sleep. These methods are known as sleep hygiene and can include:

  • Creating a schedule – Establishing a regular time to go to sleep and to wake up can be beneficial as it can reduce the changes in mood that accompany bipolar disorder.
  • Optimizing your bedroom – Try making the bedroom as comfortable as possible. This can include having the right kind of bedding and pillows as well as eliminating light, noise, and other distractions.
  • Limiting activities – The bedroom is a place reserved for sleeping. Try to limit other activities, such as watching TV or working on your laptop, in the bedroom.
  • Diet and exercise – Avoiding alcohol and caffeine use before bedtime as well as eating large meals can help improve sleep. It’s also a good idea to keep a few hours between exercise and bedtime.
  • Take time to relax – If you can, wind down before bedtime. Consider a warm bath, some pleasure reading, or meditating before turning off the lights.

Your doctor may also suggest light therapy, certain medications or sleep aides to help you improve your sleep patterns. To make an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s outpatient Mental Health 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.

How COVID-19 Can Affect Your Mental Health

Many people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past year and a half have reported a variety of long-term symptoms.  The conditions that have received the most attention focus on either the physical effects of the virus, such as shortness of breath or fatigue or cognitive deficits, such as confusion or memory loss. For some, however, there are other lingering symptoms that can affect their mental health.

Recent research has concluded that nearly one person in five diagnosed with COVID-19 now also suffers some form of a mental health disorder. This can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Other patients may experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Patients experiencing PTSD typically have spent time in a hospital, more specifically in an intensive care unit, or were on a ventilator.

While it is difficult to determine is if these mental health symptoms emerge in patients as a result of neurological reaction to the virus or are due to the stresses of contracting the virus, it is important to raise awareness of the issue and provide resources to get these individuals the necessary help.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Post-COVID Care Center, located in our MediSys Hollis Tudors Center at 2001-16 Hollis Avenue, offers comprehensive range of services for those living with lingering effects of the virus, mental health services delivered by highly qualified psychiatrists. To make an appointment, please call 718-736-8204.

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.

Do You Have Post-COVID Re-Entry Anxiety?

As more individuals across the United States are getting vaccinated, many of the places that were forced to close due to the pandemic are slowly beginning to re-open and other social distancing restrictions are being lifted.

For some, these are signs that the country is returning to a degree of “normalcy” and is reason for excitement. For others however, the lifting of these restraints can evoke feelings of uncertainty, stress, fear, and anxiety.

Those who are experiencing these emotions might be living with a condition referred to as “Re-Entry Anxiety”, which is characterized by the stress encountered while attempting to return to a normal lifestyle. Those who experience reentry anxiety may have feelings of uneasiness about returning to work or school, are uncomfortable at social gatherings regardless of the size, and avoid human contact such as handshakes or hugs.

Re-entry anxiety is not an uncommon condition. According to experts, nearly 50% of Americans admit to feeling anxious about resuming in-person interactions after it is acceptable to do so. The same research also concluded that those who were vaccinated expressed the same level of concerns as those who have not yet been vaccinated. History has also taught us that the number of people presenting with mental health conditions, such as agoraphobia or obsessive compulsive disorder tend to increase following public health crises, such as after the recent SARS and Ebola outbreaks.

There are a few things those dealing with re-entry anxiety can do to ease themselves back into social situations, these include:

  • Giving yourself permission to be anxious – Don’t judge yourself for whatever feelings you may be having. Understand that your feelings are natural, normal, and shared by many.
  • Starting small –Rather than thrusting yourself into an overwhelming environment, start gradually with brief, one-on-one interactions with a trusted friend. Try going for a short walk or sitting at an outdoor café.

  • Confronting your fears – If you are feeling anxious about something, it is best to address the issue as soon as possible.   The longer you wait, the harder it will be to overcome it.

  • Creating a bucket-list – Think about the things you have missed that bring you the most happiness. Setting a goal to do these things once again can shift your focus from anxiety to optimism and joy. 
      
  • Buddy-up – If you know someone who has similar levels of anxiety, work through your anxieties together. You can support each other and provide the strength to get through the otherwise difficult re-entry process.

  • Focusing on the facts – By relying on trusted sources, such as the CDC and state and local health departments will help you make informed decisions about the best and safest course to reintegrate yourself into normal activities.

While some may find these tips helpful, it is important to understand that there is no right or wrong way to overcome re-entry anxiety. We all had different experiences that affected how we coped during the pandemic; therefore everyone may have different factors that determine their reentry process.

For some, reentry might require professional assistance. The good news is help is available. There are many individual or group therapy options available either in-person or via telemedicine. To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s outpatient mental health 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.

Information About Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that makes you feel constant sadness or lack of interest in life.  It can affect how a person feels, thinks and behaves. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. Those living with depression have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

While everyone experiences feelings of sadness at some point in their life, those with clinical depression have prolonged periods of feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless. These feelings are not always tied to a specific incident and can last for many days to weeks. Depression can occur in children, adolescents and adults. Although someone can experience depression only once in their life, most who suffer with depression experience recurring episodes.

Some of the symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

There is no known singular cause for depression. Instead, health professionals point to a combination of contributing factors including a person’s brain structure and chemistry. Hormone and genetics are also believed to play a role.

Help is available for those with depression. A mental health professional can conduct an evaluation and outline a course of treatment based on the patient’s individual needs. Treatment may include:

  • Medications – These can include a combination of antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic, anti-anxiety or stimulant medications
  • Psychotherapy – Talking to a mental health professional on a regular basis about your depression and other issues can help treat the symptoms.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy – This brain stimulation therapy passes electric currents through your brain to help your neurotransmitters work better.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation – This treatment uses a coil to send magnetic pulses through your brain to help stimulate nerve cells that regulate mood.

Some with depression may experience thoughts of hurting themselves or others. If someone you know is depressed and you think they may hurt themselves or attempt suicide, call 911immediately.

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.

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.

Today is World Health Day – Let’s Talk About Depression

In recognition of the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO), every April 7th people across the earth celebrate World Health Day.

Doctor In Consultation With Depressed Female Patient

Every year on this date, WHO and its partners select a different global health issue – The subject of their 2017 awareness campaign is depression and their campaign slogan is “Depression: Let’s Talk.”

Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. The risk of becoming depressed is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness and problems caused by alcohol and drug use. Untreated depression can prevent people from working and participating in family and community life. At worst, depression can lead to suicide.

At the core of the World Health Day campaign is the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery. There is a negative association surrounding many mental health disorders, including depression. This connotation remains a obstacle that is difficult to overcome for people around the world   By encouraging those with depression to talk to others, whether with a family member helps break down this stigma. Also, by initiating conversations about depression in group forums, such as in schools, in the workplace and in social settings; or in the public domain, such as in the news media or on social media platforms will ultimately lead to more people seeking help.

Jamaica Hospital operates a outpatient mental health center where individuals can speak with trained mental health professional about depression or any other disorder. To make an appointment, 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.

Tips to Keep Teen Stress in Check

Teacher helping a trouble teenager

As you may imagine, school-related stress is rated the most common source of stress for American teens. This was discovered through The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America report. The Stress in American report found that American teens report stress levels higher than what they believe is healthy (5.8 on a 10-point scale, healthy level rated 3.9). Although teens reported significant stress, they appear to be poor judges of the impact stress can have on their health and mental health.

According to the APA Stress in America report, forty-two percent of teens indicated not doing anything to cope with their stress or not knowing what to do to manage it. Here are suggested tips from the APA on how to manage stress:

  1. Engage in physical activity.
  2. Do things that make you happy.
  3. Talk to someone.
  4. Get some sleep.

Parents would be surprised by the amount of stress and anxiety teens are dealing with involving social media. Teens are losing sleep worrying about tests, projects that are due, teams going to competitions, friendship dramas, and break ups. Parents can identity signs of stress and help their teen find a way to cope:

  • Help your teen monitor their schedule and activities.
  • Help teach your teen to identify the “stress signs.” These may include stomach pains, chest tightness, fast heartbeat, obsessive thoughts about being ready for things, and the inability to enjoy their day-to-day activities.
  • Practice what you preach. Parents should also limit their commitments and have more opportunities to talk with their children on a regular basis about school, friends and peer pressure.

 

If your teenager admits to being stressed, use the above tips to help manage stress. Jamaica Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic offers special child and adolescent services. For more info, or to schedule an appointment, 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.

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day – JHMC Wants You to Know the Facts About Suicide Prevention

Suicide affects millions; over 800,000 people take their lives each year, and the number of people who attempt suicide is twenty five times that amount. In addition to the lives lost, suicide also affects the many friends and family members devastated by the loss of their loved one.

Suicide is largely preventable though. Through education and awareness, we can get those people who are contemplating suicide the help they need.

Educational and Creative composition with the message Stop Suicide

One of the best tools in preventing suicide is to know the risk factors. Over 90% of people who attempt suicide live with depression or another mental disorder. Alcohol or substance abuse is often a contributing factor. Adverse factions to traumatic events or stress can also lead to someone wanting to take their own life.

Other risk factors for suicide include:

• Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
• Family history of suicide
• Family violence
• Physical or sexual abuse
• Keeping firearms in the home
• Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain
• Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others

Someone who is considering suicide usually displays certain behaviors. Loved ones should look for the following warning signs:

Always talking or thinking about death
Trouble sleeping and eating — that gets worse over time
Displaying reckless behavior that could result in death, such as driving fast or running red lights
Losing interest in things one used to care about
Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
Talking about suicide or killing one’s self
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

If someone you know appears to be contemplating suicide, take the issue seriously. Let the person know that you care and understand and are listening and attempt to get them immediate help from a health care professional.

If your loved one appears to be in imminent danger of committing suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Remove any weapons or drugs he or she could use. Accompany him or her to the nearest emergency room or call 911.

September 10 has been designated World Suicide Prevention Day. Many organizations from around the world have joined this cause. Jamaica Hospital’s supports their efforts and the hospital’s Department of Psychiatry offers many inpatient and outpatient services to help those in need.

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.

YIKES! Did I Really Do That?

droppedchild

 

Whether you’ve accidently tripped over a child underfoot or walked into a doorway with your infant’s head in the lead, you’ve caused a child an accidental injury.

When you accidentally hurt your child, you may feel intense shame, even panic and a sense of self-loathing or blame.  Even when your head clears, you may feel like you are a terrible parent.

These feelings are confusing.  You may ask yourself, “How could I have done that?”  The truth is, children and accidents are synonymous; even the preventable ones.

It is hard to see your child in pain and even harder to know that it is your fault. Your mind will replay the event in your head many times while you are slowly accepting what happened.

In most cases, the child is not badly hurt and you can find comfort in realizing that while accidents happen, most of them are not serious and your child is not quite as fragile as you think.

As you tell the story of what happened to your child, you will realize that most people understand and, in fact, it has happened to the best of parents.  At this point, you will find it easier to forgive yourself.  Still, you and your child suffered a trauma and it will take time for both of you to heal.

Some reactions to trauma are:

  • Feeling numb or disconnected
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Sadness or depression

During this time, you should be kind to yourself and keep in mind that you will not always feel this way. After the guilt lessens, you should experience acceptance.

If you are having difficulty coping and the reactions have become prolonged symptoms, you may be experiencing a response to trauma called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  If the negative feelings persist, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help from a physician, counselor, clergy member, friend and family member.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To make an appointment with a physician or licensed professional, 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.

Dealing With Holiday Depression

Holiday depression 524928563The holiday season may be a time of happiness for many but for others it can also be the time of year that they are likely to feel depressed.

Financial stress, increased alcohol or food consumption, Seasonal Affective Disorder and loneliness are common contributors to depression during the holidays.

While the source of depression may vary from person to person, there are chronic behaviors and health problems that are widely recognized as symptoms of the disorder.  Some of these include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyable
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness

People who experience bouts of depression during the holidays can reduce these symptoms by:

  • Asking for help when holiday stressors become overwhelming
  • Moderating alcohol consumption
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Exercising
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation

If symptoms of depression persist or progress into self-harming thoughts, please seek the help of a mental health professional immediately. It is important to remember there is no shame in receiving assistance from mental health professionals; they will help you to identify the source of your depression and offer several options for treatment.

To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5587.

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.