Riverview Community Mental Health Blog

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Medication Management – 5 Things You Need To Know Today

Managing medication can get confusing for those that require multiple medications on a daily basis. For the patient and their loved ones, the management of medication can seem a bit daunting. With the proper steps and techniques in place, the process becomes much more manageable.

Medication Management Today

The following five steps will help you to safely and effectively manage your medications, or the medications of your loved one that requires them:

  1. Listen to the doctor and pharmacist. When you listen to the doctor and pharmacist, you are given proper instructions to reduce chances of negative reactions. Some medications require you to take them with food. Others require you to have an empty stomach. Some may make you feel tired, while others may keep you awake. Knowing what to expect from the medication being administered is the first step. If something seems unclear, ASK. Do not be afraid to ask questions when it comes to the care of yourself or a loved one.
  2. Organize medications. At the beginning of the week, set up all medications that are needed, in order of the times they are taken. A medication dosage organizer is a great help. They are available in date and time formats that allow you to put the pills in the certain slot where they are required to be taken. There are even applications available on smartphones to assist with organizing medications. Taking the correct amount at the correct time is imperative, and having all doses set up in advance will assist with ensuring that the medication is taken appropriately.
  3. Keep information handy. You need to have a complete list of medications that are taken ready and available in case of an emergency. Medical professionals need to know what you are taking and what is in your system in the event of an emergency, when determining how to give emergency care. Some medications can not be mixed with others. Keep a list of your medications with you in your wallet, so you have it at all times. Make sure it is up to date regularly.
  4. Keep the correct supply in your possession. Make sure that you refill prescriptions when you notice that the bottle is getting low. Usually, a week or two notice should be given for a refill at the pharmacy. Don’t leave it until the last minute, or you may run out.
  5. Notice changes in the medication. If you refill a prescription and the pill or bottle looks completely different, consult with the pharmacy or doctor to make sure that the correct medication is given. Over time, the appearance of the pill or bottle may change, but errors can also occur. Making sure you have the correct one is important to your health.

These five steps should assist in making medication management easier. Keeping a list of medications, dosage amounts, and dosage times, and using a pill organizer are the simplest and most effective ways of managing medication. If you still feel like you could use more help, contact Riverview Community Mental Health Center

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Mental Health & Physical Health: Tied Together?

Mental and physical health are often thought to be separate, unrelated areas when in reality they affect each other more drastically than most people realize. Poor mental health can lead to problems with physical health, and vice versa poor physical health can lead to issues with mental health. The sooner that we start to realize that these two are closely related, we will be a healthier society as a whole.

How Are Mental & Physical Health Related?

Mental health issues can have a devastating effect on your physical health. According to mentalhealth.org those that suffer from mental health issues are less likely to receive the preventative medical care they need to identify physical health issues before they become serious. Physical health concerns in patients with mental health problems include heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, and more.

Physical health issues can also affect mental health without patients even realizing it. Cancer patients, for example, are typically referred to both an oncologist to treat their cancer but also a psychiatrist or counselor to help them work through the mental side effects that this type of diagnosis can cause. However, the majority of physical health diagnoses do not come with any sort of mental health consideration. Psoriasis is one such physical health issue that doesn’t come with any mental health consideration. Patients that suffer from psoriasis have red, flaky skin rashes on the surface of the skin which have been shown to cause anxiety, depression, relationship issues and even suicide due to embarrassment and humiliation.

Lifestyle Factors

There are several lifestyle factors that can impact both mental and physical health. Lifestyle can have a much larger impact than most realize, and making minor changes in your daily habits can yield amazing results.

Diet & Exercise

A balanced diet is something that so many people neglect when it comes to considering mental and physical health concerns. Eating a healthy diet, consisting of the right amount of protein, healthy fats, fiber, etc can really improve both your physical and mental health. The same can be said for an unhealthy diet as it can obviously negatively affect your physical health but it can also leave a lasting impression on your mental state. The same can be said for exercise, as physical activity has been proven to elevate your mental state through the release of endorphins while obviously also having a positive effect on your physical state. Diet and exercise both play crucial roles when it comes to overall health.

Drugs & Alcohol

Nicotine has been proven to help increase the levels of dopamine released in your system, which is the key chemical to happiness. Therefore, those that suffer from depression or other mentally related issues turn to nicotine or other substances to make them feel better. This type of behavior only increases the negative feelings of self-loathing, depression, addiction, etc as you become convinced that without this substance you cannot function.
Overall mental and physical health are undoubtedly tied together. As a society we have to begin to take both into account in all circumstances if we want to be able to live happy and healthy lives.

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Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Mental Health? Feel Better Today!

Mental Health During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Just as it is important to take your temperature regularly, as a COVID-19 precaution, it is equally important to do a mental health check. COVID-19 is weighing heavy when it comes to our mental health and overall well-being.

Those that have never experienced a mental health condition are finding themselves wondering what is wrong with themselves, and what they can do to get back to their “happy place.” It may be difficult to pinpoint a fracture in mental well-being for those that have never suffered from a mental health condition before.

Some symptoms that could indicate a mental health condition are:

  • Feeling sad for more than half of your waking hours
  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Frequent uncontrollable mood changes
  • Fatigue and low energy levels
  • Impaired concentration
  • Thoughts that the world or others are better off without you
  • Inability to cope with daily stressors
  • Drug or alcohol dependence
  • Changes in diet

Of course, the above list is not all-inclusive; However, if you find yourself suffering from one or more of the bulleted symptoms above, you should seek the assistance of a medical professional at your earliest convenience.

For those that have suffered from mental illness in the past, COVID-19 is increasing the chance of relapse. If you feel triggered to go back to old habits, it is important to consult with a mental health professional. It may be a bit easier for those that have suffered or currently suffer from mental illness to pinpoint that they need to seek help than for those that have not experienced it before.

Keeping up with your regular self-care regime is important. Taking care of yourself is the first step to maintaining your mental health. This will better prepare you to cope with the challenges that you are faced with. Do your hair. Buy the new face mask. Continue yoga. Do what makes you feel good.

If you are feeling a bit off, talk to a friend or loved one. It may be difficult to talk about your feelings, but it can help! If you still feel like you could use more help, speak to your primary care doctor for a referral to a mental health professional, or contact a mental health professional directly. They will give you professional advice, and guidance that is specifically tailored to your needs. In-person and virtual meetings are available at Riverview CMHC, depending on your comfort level during the ongoing pandemic.

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How to get help with mental health during COVID-19?

In the past year, lives have been taken, jobs have been lost, and many businesses have shut their doors for the last time. Vacations and celebrations have been put on hold, and people are becoming depressed and overwhelmed. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a mental health crisis, and those that have never experienced a mental health issue previously, may not know where to turn. If you find yourself wondering how to get help with mental health during Covid-19, keep reading.

Telehealth is an option that has expanded greatly during the pandemic, and those that need support for their mental health have the ability to consult with a professional remotely. This is the safest way to have a session with the doctor, as no one has to leave the comfort of their own space or come in contact with others. For those that have seen a mental health professional on a regular basis before the pandemic to keep their mental health at an optimum level, telehealth may seem like a difficult transition. While there is less of an in-person connection with virtual meetings, it is still a starting point, or a way to continue monitoring mental health for relapse. 

If you think that you may be suffering from a mental health issue, ask yourself the following:

  • Am I having severe negative thoughts?
  • Am I relying on substances, such as drugs or alcohol, to cope with day to day stressors?
  • Have my eating habits changed?
  • Are people constantly asking if I am okay?
  • Do I constantly feel like I am just in a mode of survival?
  • Has my sleeping pattern changed?
  • Am I restless most of the time?
  • Am I more tired than before?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may be suffering from deteriorating mental health. You can get assistance with this by scheduling an in-person or telehealth appointment with your primary care physician, trying to talk it out with a trusted individual in your circle, or by contacting a mental health professional directly.

If you feel overwhelmed more often than not, it is in your best interest to be seen (in-person or virtually) by a mental health professional. Their main job is to help in determining the cause of your mental health deteriorating and to come up with a plan in order to combat the issue. 

Most importantly, if you have thoughts that your life isn’t worth living or you seem to be feeling hopeless, this is a mental health emergency. Go to your nearest emergency room, or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

Mental Health During Covid-19

During the Covid-19 health crisis, it is important to concentrate on your physical health by taking the proper precautions both in and outside your home. It is also just as important, if not more important, to take care of your mental health as well.

With the pandemic comes a whole new lifestyle. You aren’t going out as often, seeing as many friends and loved ones that you usually do, and some are even working inside of the home. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, or negative feelings in general, do not refrain from seeking the help of mental health professionals.

Anxiety is common to experience in the wake of a pandemic. Coping with fear and uncertainty can be difficult, especially for those that have never experienced these feelings to this extent previously. The best way to tackle any fear is to become educated on the topic. The more you know about the dangers, and your risk, the easier it is to put your fears into perspective. The news is a trigger for anxiety– turn it off! Having some time “media-free” can help to reduce anxiety levels. If the anxiety you are feeling begins to feel more like panic, seeking help from a medical professional is the best way to begin your road to recovery.

Covid-19 has also brought on feelings of stress to many people in both the USA and the world as a whole. Routines are turned upside down and daily life doesn’t seem real. Parents are even becoming teachers! With all of these changes, life can begin to feel overwhelming, and these issues can take a toll. With people isolated or seeing too much of each other within the same walls, families can begin to experience extreme frustration. These stresses are temporary, and you will get through it. Talking with a professional may help to relieve some of the stress, as they can provide specific techniques to help you feel a better sense of wellbeing.

Depression is becoming more widespread than ever before. Many people have lost their jobs, are socially distancing to prevent themselves and their immediate family from getting the virus, and have to adjust to completely new schedules. If you find yourself in a bad mood for no particular reason on a daily basis, have difficulty feeling pleasure in things that used to interest you, are experiencing a lack of appetite, or have feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or feel that life is not worth living, seek medical assistance immediately.

An evaluation with a mental help professional is the first step to leading a better life. There are many effective treatments available to help you cope with the effects of Covid-19, and the effects that it has had on both you and your family. It is important to make sure that you can be the best version of yourself to get through this pandemic and tackle it head-on.

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How Can Psychotherapy Help With Anger?

Psychotherapy, or counseling as it is commonly referred to, can be beneficial with a wide variety of things. Managing emotions, traumatic events, and even mental illness can all be helped with psychotherapy. Therapists work with their patients in several ways including, but not limited to, talk therapy, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), meditation, breathing techniques, relaxation strategies and so much more.

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, by definition, is “a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties.” (www.psychiatry.org) Typically psychotherapy deals with the method of using talk therapy to help their patients work through their emotions surrounding a particular event in their lives. While therapy can have a certain stigma surrounding it, this shouldn’t intimidate you from trying it out. Many people report feeling an improved quality of life, better sleep, enhanced relationships, and more after participating in psychotherapy.

Working Through Anger

Anger is a complex emotion, and when left untreated it can fester and grow to the point that it will take over your daily life and cause you to feel stressed and unhappy. Specific events such as the death of a loved one or just a traumatic event in your life can lead to having residual anger. Psychotherapy can help by giving you an outlet and a way to work through that anger in a healthy manner. Anger that isn’t dealt with can lead to harmful coping mechanisms such as abusing drugs and alcohol in order to feel better temporarily.

Is Psychotherapy For Anger Right For Me?

If you’re experiencing anger that seems to be affecting other areas of your life and keeping you from being truly happy, then psychotherapy might be a great option for you. Research the various options that are available to you and make the best choice for your health. Do not feel compelled to settle for the first option either, as it is important to find the right fit for you, your personality, and your needs. The therapist you choose should be someone that you feel comfortable talking to, so if your first appointment doesn’t feel right then don’t feel obligated to stay with that specific therapist.
If you’re not sure if psychotherapy is right for you, then talk to your doctor and see if this is a viable option for you. Taking care of your mental and emotional health is crucial to your health as a whole, and psychotherapy is just one option that could make a big difference in your life.

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What Is An Outpatient Therapy?

As with all medical situations, there are times where the necessary treatment or patient is safe to leave afterward. The latter type of situation where a procedure or treatment is performed and the patient then returns home without any type of extended stay in a medical facility is referred to as outpatient treatment or outpatient procedure.
The term “outpatient” can refer to a wide variety of treatments and procedures including outpatient therapy.

What Is Outpatient Therapy?

Outpatient therapy is the process of providing medical treatment or services to patients in either one on one or group settings for a set period of time, with the patient(s) leaving the facility when the session is over. Outpatient therapy is different from inpatient therapy, such as rehabilitation therapy for addiction or other disorders, that require a patient to remain at the facility for a designated period of time.

Common outpatient therapies include:

Physical Therapy is used to rehabilitate the body as a whole or a certain part of the body after injury or surgery.

Counseling is a type of therapy that is generally recommended when a person suffers trauma or has depression, anxiety, or any type of mental health issue where they need to talk with a trained professional.

Psychotherapy refers to therapy that uses a variety of techniques to treat mental disorders including but not limited to schizophrenia, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

Drug/Alcohol Addiction Therapy can be both outpatient and inpatient depending upon the stage of addiction the patient is in, but typically uses various coping techniques to help patients get past their addiction.

• Behavioral Therapy is used when a person has extreme behavioral issues that are affecting their daily life and the lives of those around them.

Speech Therapy is a therapy aimed at helping a patient with a part or part of speech that they may be struggling with such as a stutter, speech impediment, or inability to say certain phonetic sounds.

How Outpatient Therapy Works

Those seeking outpatient therapy are typically stable enough with their health that they can take care of their daily responsibilities and tasks, but are in need of therapy for one reason or another. Outpatient therapy sessions usually last around 60 minutes or so, and consist of either a one on one environment with a therapist and a patient or at times a group of patients and a therapist.

Therapy may consist of simply talking with a therapist about certain issues in your life, doing targeted physical activities, or specific practices to target whatever it is you need to work on.

If you are considering outpatient therapy, or if it has been recommended that you participate in some type of therapy, then we always recommend doing your research.
Read reviews, talk to friends and family, and choose the best therapist and option for you and your needs.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy

How Successful Is TMS?

TMS therapy, which stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy, is a therapeutic method that uses magnetic fields in order to stimulate nerve cells inside the brain to improve symptoms caused by depression or anxiety. This type of therapy is typically only used when other means of treating depression or anxiety aren’t effective.

How Does TMS Work?

Prior to engaging in TMS therapy many patients want to know exactly how it works.
Typically, an electromagnetic coil is pressed to the scalp closer to the forehead. This electromagnetic pulse delivers a pulse that while painless works to stimulate nerve cells that directly affect mood control. TMS therapy is painless and is supposed to activate parts of the brain that have decreased activity due to depression or anxiety. Activating these parts of the brain has been said to improve mood in those suffering from depression or anxiety.

Possible Risks & Side Effects

While TMS therapy is relatively safe and because it is non-invasive there are minimal risks and side effects. Common side effects of TMS typically include headache, scalp discomfort in the area that was stimulated, tingling or twitching of facial muscles, and possible lightheadedness. If you do experience any of these side effects, your doctor will likely adjust the level of stimulation or have you take a standard pain reliever such as Ibuprofen.

Serious side effects are rare with TMS therapy, but it is important to know what to look for just in case. These side effects include seizure, mania in the case of someone with bipolar disorder, or hearing loss if your hearing isn’t protected during the procedure. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor immediately.

Results Of TMS Therapy

According to tmsbrainhealth.com “most TMS providers find that TMS has a success rate at between 70%-80%, meaning that the vast majority of individuals find significant relief after the treatment.” These statistics show that for the majority of patients, TMS therapy is successful in either improving symptoms of depression or anxiety or relieving symptoms altogether. If your symptoms do improve, you should still discuss with your doctor whether or not ongoing, repetitive TMS therapy treatments are needed. Typically your doctor may also recommend common treatments for
depression such as medication or psychotherapy to keep your depression or anxiety at bay. Riverview Community Mental Health Center is well-known for its successful TMS treatment in ME.

If you are interested in TMS therapy and how it can help you, be sure to ask your doctor to see if this could be a good fit for treating your depression or anxiety.

How Does Marriage Counseling Work?

If you are considering counseling as a way to improve your marriage, then you are probably also wondering exactly how marriage counseling works. Marriage counseling is an excellent option for anyone seeking to improve their relationship. There are several reasons that a couple might pursue marriage counseling, including having frequent disagreements, depression, lack of intimacy, change in economic status, and more. Marriage counseling is a great tool, but knowing how to utilize it and get the most out of it is key to making sure that your counseling is successful.

What Is Marriage Counseling?

Marriage counseling, which can also be referred to as couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy that deals with helping married couples through various issues in their relationship. This type of counseling can arise from various circumstances and situations and is often the result of couples hoping to reconcile their relationship and become stronger instead of making the decision to divorce or separate. Marriage counseling can also occur without any “problems” but instead just coming from a couple who wants to become stronger in their relationship.

How Can Marriage Counseling Help?

Counseling can help in several capacities, whether you have experienced a specific issue in your relationship such as an affair, job loss, loss of a child, etc., or simply if you feel that you and your spouse could benefit from counseling to strengthen your relationship in general. Marriage counseling, unfortunately, has a negative connotation related to it as couples are worried about sharing that their marriage might need work for fear of being judged or shamed at not being able to maintain a successful marriage on their own. If your marriage or relationship needs help, do not be afraid to ask for it. It can be extremely difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with another person, but especially when you share your life with that person as well. The daily hardships that couples endure while trying to manage finances together, parent-children together, manage their other relationships outside the marriage, and more. Talking with an experienced professional about these issues can significantly change your life for the better.

How To Find A Marriage Counselor

Finding a marriage counselor doesn’t need to be a difficult process, but it should also be something that you take seriously as you want to find the right person for your relationship. Decide with your partner the specific traits you each want from your counselor, such as their gender, their process, the financial cost, etc. Use resources such as friends, family, internet reviews, and more to help find the right person for you. We recommend even interviewing a few different marriage counselors to be able to compare and decide who you like best. We wish you the best in your situation and we urge anyone reading this who feels like their relationship could use marriage counseling to seek professional help.

What is Depression & Anxiety?

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, and with the current worldwide changes due to COVID-19, depression and anxiety are becoming more common than ever. This can be hard to navigate, especially if these feelings are new for many due to ever-changing work
environments, stress from job loss, homeschooling, losing access to resources like counseling, addiction counseling services, etc. If depression or anxiety is new to you, or even if you’ve experienced them your whole life, let’s take a deep dive into what both depression and anxiety really are and how to know if you might be suffering from one or both of these illnesses.

What is Depression?

Depression, which is also known as major depressive disorder, brings a negative effect on how you think and feel on a regular basis. This can make it extremely hard to cope in your day to day life as it causes you to feel sad and lose interest in activities where you would normally find joy. Depression symptoms range from constant feelings of sadness to changes in eating habits, sleeping habits, feeling worthless or undervalued, having a hard time thinking or decision making, and more. Luckily, this disease is treatable through a  combination of counseling and sometimes medication.

Diagnosing & Treating Depression

It can be difficult to diagnose and treat depression because feelings of sadness can stem from various situations that happen throughout any person’s normal life. Things, like losing a job, losing a loved one, or ending a relationship, can cause a person to fall into a state of depression. However, major depressive disorder is characterized by at least two weeks of being unable to shake your emotions of sadness as well as a change in habits and loss of interest in things that were once enjoyed. Treating depression can be difficult as each person requires a different type of treatment in order to be effective. Medication is one type of treatment for depression, which is only considered after a thorough diagnostic evaluation by a medical professional. There are times where brain chemistry is more susceptible to depression, which can only be treated by medicine. Additionally, therapy is a very real form of treatment that can assist that fighting depression through techniques that do not involve medicine. These include psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, as well as self-help and coping mechanisms such as instilling healthy habits like regular exercise, enough sleep, a well-balanced diet, and beyond.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety, in its most definitive form, is a person’s bodily response to stress. Feelings of anxiety can be brought on by several factors such as starting a new job, moving to a new place, major changes in the environment, etc. The difference between normal stress and anxiety is that anxiety becomes something that is extreme and can lead to an actual anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder moves beyond stress or fear and becomes something that takes over your daily life and causes you to feel fearful or nervous all the time to the point where it can be debilitating at times. This type of anxiety is very unhealthy as it can lead to a variety of health issues and bad habits such as substance abuse, overeating, a tendency toward violence, etc.

Diagnosing & Treating Anxiety

Anxiety disorders cover a wide variety of things including panic, phobias, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsiveness, post-traumatic stress, and more. Diagnosing the type of anxiety disorder you may be suffering from typically stems from certain events that may have occurred throughout your life. These types of events can include abuse during childhood or adulthood, intense violence such as war or criminal situations, and even examples of humiliation or shame. Treating anxiety can be difficult as it is hard to diagnose and also hard to admit as the feelings of anxiety are very common and cause one to feel as if they aren’t something that they necessarily need “help” treating.

Symptoms of anxiety can include jitteriness, irritability, sleeplessness, fear, shame, and more. We as a society also tend to “shame” those who admit feelings of fear or anxiety due to these feelings being associated with weakness. If you are feeling overly anxious or fearful of anything in general, seeking medical help is always in your best interest. Depression and anxiety can sometimes go hand in hand and can become immensely dangerous to your health when gone untreated. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms
listed, please seek the opinion of a medical professional. The worst-case scenario is that you are diagnosed as healthy and given ways to improve your mental health on your own, however ignoring a genuine diagnosis can lead to very significant health issues. Leaving any of these symptoms untreated in any way does not only harm you but also those around you, please seek help if you feel you may be experiencing depression or anxiety.