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Understanding Mental Health Diagnoses

Understanding Mental Health Diagnoses And How Counseling Can Help

Mental health is an integral part of your overall health. The thoughts that you have, the feelings that you carry, and the way that you move through life directly impact your balance and fulfillment in life. It encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being.  

If you or someone you know is navigating mental health challenges, take the first step towards positive change. Reach out to our counseling office today.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition distinguished by mood swings, alternating between periods of elevated mood or mania and depressive episodes. There is bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. If you have bipolar disorder you may experience extreme bursts of energy and a high feeling during manic phases, followed by periods of deep sadness, inactivity/lethargy, and hopelessness.

You may experience unpredictable mood swings. This can make it truly difficult to have a productive and pleasant day. Some people with bipolar disorder notice that there can be a significant impact on daily life and relationships. 

The difference between bipolar 1 and 2 – is that in bipolar 1 there are more severe manic episodes. Remember, mania is an elevated mood (can be expansive or irritable), an increase in energy (can be connected to hyperactivity or not needing a lot of sleep), and impulsivity (can be seen as risky behaviors or impulsive decision-making).

Manic episodes in bipolar disorder often include an elevated mood, increased energy, and impulsivity. Some of the common manic symptoms you may experience include racing thoughts, pressured speech, risky activity/behavior, a decreased need for sleep, increased activity/behavior, and distractibility.

Similar to the mood swings that can lead to manic episodes, you may also experience depressive episodes with bipolar disorder. The depressive episodes include a level of persistent sadness, feeling tired or with low energy, sleep disturbance such as insomnia or hypersomnia, and possible irregular changes in appetite – which can be seen as changes in weight.

It’s important to understand the symptoms and risk factors of bipolar disorder. Doing so can equip you with the knowledge needed to live a thriving life. Risk factors of bipolar disorder include stressful events (job loss, relocation, trauma), irregular changes in circadian rhythm (sleep cycle), and a family history of bipolar disorder or another mental disorder (such as a parent with bipolar disorder). There are more – these are a few.

Please know that this reading does not include everything about bipolar disorder. Please continue to work with your mental health counselor in an effort to learn more about bipolar disorder and how to manage symptoms related to it.

Understanding Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD stands for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. You can think of each letter holding a distinct symptom and area of focus. People with ADHD may experience errors in their work because of inattention, difficulty completing tasks, fidgety behavior, difficulty with social boundaries, avoiding tedious work tasks, and having a hard time restraining themselves during conversations (talking too much or oversharing). There are more – these are a few.

Children just like adults can experience ADHD. Sometimes it does look different. In children, ADHD can be seen in your child having a hard time sitting still (you may receive comments from teachers about this), your child having a hard time showing patience during social conversations (such as excessive talking), you may notice risk-taking behaviors (this can be seen as impulsivity or doing something that they right away regret), or daydreaming. For a helpful read on ADHD in kids click here.

What’s interesting about ADHD is that some people do not show the “classic” ADHD symptoms. Here are a few of the overlooked ADHD symptoms – a lack of time awareness, intrusive thoughts, sleep issues, hyperfocus, and emotional hyperarousal.

You may have a hidden symptom in which you during certain points in life feel unmotivated. You may have always overlooked this symptom or connected it to something else happening in life. Instead of being impulsive, you notice that you can at times feel unmotivated. Another overlooked symptom of ADHD is when you “hyperfocus”. What happens here is that “hyperfocus” is often seen in society as a positive – so it’s overlooked – (such as a student that puts a lot of energy into science class or an adult completing giant tasks at work). Yet, the “hyperfocus” comes at a cost – 1. It is hard to shift out of the hyperfocus mode and 2. Because you’ve been in “hyperfocus” mode, you probably have let some things slip from the priority list. For another helpful read on ADHD click here.

Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder

According to anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the U.S. The National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI) notes that generalized anxiety disorder is more prevalent in females than males.

GAD can manifest in ample ways.  You may notice that your body begins to sweat. You can feel unease and restless. Your heart begins to beat irregularly (this can mean fast). Sometimes to the point that you think something is wrong or you feel afraid. Some people experience muscle tension in the shoulders or a stomachache. These physical symptoms result from the body’s “fight or flight” response.

Others with GAD experience excessive worry or fear: People with an anxiety disorder often experience ongoing and overwhelming worry. They may notice a persistent fear about everyday situations. Such as going to work or having to do “X” tasks. The excessive concern experienced is disproportionate to the actual threat that is taking place. The feeling can be difficult to manage.

When you are experiencing anxiety, you may notice that you engage in an avoidant behavior. This can take place due to wanting to escape or reduce the anxiety of the emotional/physical experience. You may notice that the avoidance takes place when you are at certain places, doing certain activities, or engaged in social situations that trigger anxiety. This can be truly challenging as the avoidance can impact relationships and overall functioning. Click here for an additional read on generalized anxiety disorder.

Understanding Major Depressive Disorder

Were you aware that depression is one of the primary causes of global disability? In the United States, approximately one-fifth of adults grapple with Major Depressive Disorder, with nearly 49% not seeking treatment. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes higher rates of depression in individuals aged 18 to 29 years. According to the World Health Organization around 5% of adults in the world experience depression, prevalence is higher in women than men, and depression is found as a leading cause of suicide. Depression can manifest in a person’s life in a debilitating manner. This can impact your relationships, work, sleep, and often lead to an internal struggle.

If you are experiencing depression, you may notice persistent sadness or low mood. The sadness or low mood can make you feel empty inside. Sometimes for the entire day. This is often hard to explain to others.

You may notice a loss of interest or pleasure. A common symptom of depression is when you notice a decrease in interest or pleasure in previously pleasurable activities. Such as no longer wanting to go for a walk when in the past you used to enjoy walking.

Some find sleep to be inconsistent or simply not fun. You may notice that you can’t fall asleep as easily as you used to. The clock ticks forward and you continue to toss and turn. For some, it’s a matter of staying asleep – while for others it’s sleeping 12+ hours and still feeling tired. Depression can hurt your limit cycle and cause you to feel tired, disconnected, and with a mixture of emotions during the day. For another helpful read on depression, click here.

Accepting New Patients In Greensboro, North Carolina

Our counseling practice is nestled in the vibrant community of Greensboro, North Carolina. We are mental health counselors committed to providing a welcoming space for individuals on a journey of self-discovery and well-being. Whether you prefer in-person sessions or the convenience of online counseling, we’ve got you covered. Additionally, our services are available in both English and Spanish. Your journey to emotional well-being begins here. Call our counseling office today.

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