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Aspirational Wellness Plan

Medical Discussion: Mental Health

Mental Health

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to emphasizing the significance of mental well-being. It is often noted that external perceptions can differ significantly from reality. Our understanding of others, including those closest to us, is frequently distorted by our inability to grasp their inner experiences. In the age of social media, our assumptions are often incorrect, superficial, and misguided. The true essence of who we are often resides in our thought processes, which influence our perceptions, assumptions, and reactions to stimuli.

Not surprisingly, we live in a society where depression, loneliness, anxiety, and many other mental health conditions are prevalent. These conditions often hinder us from realizing our true potential. This challenge is one of the fundamental reasons why our multidisciplinary integrated primary care practice at Aspirational Health and Wellness was established. We believe that a supportive approach to treating the whole person is essential because it enables individuals to fully embrace their entire being. Mental health is one of our core passions, and we are excited to have recorded this podcast in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May. Thank you Dr Sarah Homisky MD of Teneral Psychiatry for spending the time with us to discuss Mental Health Awareness.

Mental Health And Your Primary Care Physician

In the realm of mental health, depression and anxiety are prevalent conditions that can significantly impact daily life. Fortunately, a variety of treatment options exist, offering individuals a path towards management and recovery. This text explores both non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches, aiming to empower readers with knowledge about these avenues for healing.

Among non-pharmacological treatments, behavioral activation stands out as a powerful tool. This approach encourages individuals to establish goals and routines that foster a sense of accomplishment and elevate endorphin levels, natural mood-boosters within the brain. Exercise is also highlighted, emphasizing its positive effects on mental well-being. Furthermore, establishing healthy sleep hygiene is crucial, as sleep disturbances can exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), plays a significant role in managing these conditions. CBT equips individuals with strategies to restructure negative thought patterns that contribute to depression and anxiety. By learning to identify and challenge these patterns, individuals can develop healthier coping mechanisms and improve their behaviors.

Pharmacological treatments, or medications, offer another form of intervention. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed medication for moderate to severe depression. Examples of SSRIs include Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, and Prozac. These medications work by increasing the availability of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood regulation.

Another class of antidepressants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), presents an alternative. They function similarly to SSRIs but have the added benefit of affecting norepinephrine, another key neurotransmitter. This makes SNRIs, such as Effexor and Cymbalta, potentially beneficial for individuals experiencing chronic pain alongside depression.

For individuals struggling with low energy and motivation, Wellbutrin stands out as an antidepressant that works on the dopamine system. Dopamine plays a crucial role in motivation and reward processing.

In some cases, atypical antipsychotics might be utilized. These medications are typically prescribed for treatment-resistant depression or bipolar illness. Additionally, for individuals with treatment-resistant depression, newer options like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and ketamine offer a glimmer of hope. TMS involves non-invasive magnetic pulses delivered to specific regions of the brain, while ketamine is an anesthetic that has shown promise in rapid improvement of severe depression symptoms.

Selecting the most appropriate treatment plan necessitates a collaborative effort between an individual and a healthcare professional. The doctor will consider the severity of symptoms, potential side effects of medications, and the individual’s family history. Medication, if deemed necessary, is usually initiated at a low dose to minimize side effects and is closely monitored for efficacy. Ultimately, the goal is to find the most effective treatment approach with the least amount of unwanted side effects, allowing the individual to reclaim control over their mental health.

It’s important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. A consultation with a psychiatrist doesn’t automatically translate to medication. Psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions, and they can offer a range of therapeutic interventions. If you suspect you might be struggling with depression or anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted medical professional or a mental health referral service. Taking that first step can pave the way for a more fulfilling and balanced life.