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Mental Health Apps Help Track Mood and Symptoms

App Character EmotionsIndividuals enduring the symptoms of mental illness such as Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and/or Bipolar Disorder, usually treat with psychotherapy, medications or a combination of the two. Often therapists recommend that patients’ journal their emotions, behaviors and symptoms on a consistent basis as a tool to gain greater insight of their condition.  Tracking patterns and potential triggers can be extremely helpful to patient and therapist in managing their disorder, including the critical advantage of early recognition of changes that might lead to an exacerbation of their condition. With greater insight and ability to act early, frequency of therapy sessions and/or medications can swiftly be modified to prevent a worsening of a patient’s condition. In addition, greater insight and journal feedback may encourage patients to seek immediate professional support during a crisis.

Daily journaling can sometimes feel cumbersome and time consuming, but with digital technology, this doesn’t have to be the case.  Software Developers are creating Apps to help those with mental disorders track and manage their symptoms. However, users should bear in mind that a psychiatric/medical background is not required to create a mental health app, and that this software should only be utilized as an additional part of a comprehensive treatment plan rather than a replacement for treatments such as prescription drugs, therapy, or TMS Therapy.

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Postpartum Depression in Men

PPD in MenTraditionally seen as a condition that only affects women, researchers estimate that 4 to 25 percent of men experience postpartum depression (or PPD) in the first two months following childbirth1, and that number increases to 68% over the first five years in fathers around age 252. Younger fathers were more at risk of developing paternal PPD if they lived in the same home as their children.

The scope of paternal PPD is still being studied as initial research used diagnostic criteria for maternal PPD to examine paternal PPD and more accurate tools are still being developed to test and measure symptoms of PPD in men. Thankfully, the range of studies and research has increased in the past few years as scientists work to understand PPD better in both men and women.

Depression symptoms in fathers are often similar to those experienced by women affected by PPD (e.g., general depressive symptoms such as sadness, fatigue, appetite changes, feelings of worthlessness, and/or negative feelings or lack of concern for themselves or the baby) but PPD can often present quite differently in men. Sudden outbursts of anger or irritability, impulsiveness (e.g., drinking too much, overeating, pursuing an affair), and immersing themselves in work can all be signs of PPD. Many men characterize these feelings as experiencing a sudden loss of control of their lives, which can lead to erratic behavior not commonly associated with depression.

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The Link Between Chronic Pain and Depression

Human-With-Pain-DotsWe all experience pain of some kind from time to time – we stub our toe, pull a muscle, suffer with a headache, etc. But the American Chronic Pain Association estimates that one in three Americans (over 50 million people) suffers from some type of chronic pain1. Chronic pain is described as ongoing or recurrent pain which lasts beyond the usual course of acute illness or injury and adversely affects an individual’s well-being. Simply put, chronic pain is pain that continues when it should not. It may present as pain in the lower back, abdominal region, joints, neck, and even headaches, depending on the individual. Pain may be felt as aching, burning, shooting, or electrical and can affect sleep, cause fatigue and weaken the immune system.  Beyond the physical discomfort and stress upon the body, chronic pain also affects thought, mood and behavior, and can lead to isolation, immobility and drug dependence. If those symptoms sound familiar, it may be because there are many similarities and connections between chronic pain and depression.

Pain is a depressing experience, and depression can cause and/or intensify pain. In fact, over 66% of individuals diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) also suffer from chronic pain2, and depressed patients are three times more likely to develop chronic pain3.  Depression can cause a variety of physical symptoms even including affecting the body’s natural sleep cycle. This minimizes the amount of restorative sleep realized each night and exacerbates both chronic pain and depression symptoms. With 80% of depressed individuals complaining of insomnia4 or general body fatigue, it’s no surprise that this accumulation of stress on the body contributes to chronic pain.

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National Mental Health Awareness Month 2015

Although a staggering one in five Americans have been diagnosed with a mental disorder(s)1, mental illness continues to be widely misunderstood, misrepresented, and subject to social stigma. Not surprisingly, the stigma associated with mental illness remains one of the biggest barriers preventing individuals from getting necessary treatment.

National Mental Health Awareness Month, observed throughout the month of May, is a campaign that strives to eliminate stigma, and encourage family members, friends and colleagues to support those diagnosed with mental illness in seeking out and receiving necessary medical treatment. Many organizations as well as leading media platforms participate in the campaign. This May, Discovery Life Channel in partnership with Bring Change 2 Mind, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the stigma associated with mental illness, will air celebrity ambassadors calling for the end of mental illness discrimination as well as programming featuring various mental disorders.2

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TMS NeuroHealth Centers Opens More Locations

TMS therapy in Richmond, VATMS NeuroHealth Centers is pleased to announce the opening of TMS NeuroHealth Centers, Rockville, MD and Reston, VA as it continues to expand its coverage area for individuals seeking TMS Therapy for the treatment of depression. Since opening its flagship center in McLean, VA in 2011, TMS NeuroHealth Centers has administered more than 15,000 treatments to over 500 patients. Bill Leonard, CEO and founder of TMS NeuroHealth Centers explains, “Expanding our service reach throughout the DC METRO area only makes treatment even more accessible to those individuals suffering with depression when anti-depressant medication has been unsuccessful.”

TMS Neurohealth Centers is a network of centers offering TMS Therapy in Tysons Corner, Richmond, Charlottesville, and Reston, Virginia as well as in Kensington, Greenbelt and Rockville, Maryland. TMS NeuroHealth Centers’, with its team of leading medical experts in the fields of neurology and psychiatry, are deeply committed to providing patients with the latest in medical technology, individualized treatment and compassionate care.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy is a non-drug, non-invasive, FDA-cleared medical treatment for patients suffering with depression without any of the typical side effects experienced with antidepressant medications, such as weight gain, fatigue and sexual problems. This treatment uses highly focused magnetic pulses to gently stimulate areas of the brain known to control mood which have been scientifically identified as under-active in people who suffer with depression. Stimulation of the neurons, cells that transmit and process information, cause the release of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain, thus resulting in a reduction of depressive symptoms. Each treatment is a 30-40 session; typically administered 5 days a week for 4-6 weeks when depression is in its acute phase.

TMS therapy is a proven medical treatment for depression for patients suffering from side effects of antidepressant medications and/or who are treatment resistant. Dr. Geoffrey Grammer, Chief Scientific Advisor with TMS NeuroHealth Centers elaborates, “a former patient of ours could not have explained his results from TMS Therapy any better, ‘imagine living your whole life with one hand tied behind your back. After TMS Therapy, I now know what hope truly feels like. TMS gave me my life back’”.

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