Laguna Behavioral
   Laguna Niguel, Orange County CA
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949 .367.1200

Laguna Behavioral

Need Help? Please call today
949.367.1200

 

What is Depression?


Depression is a serious medical illness; it’s not something that you have made up in your head. It’s more than just feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days. It’s feeling "down" and "low" and "hopeless" for weeks at a time.


Signs & Symptoms

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed 


Treatment

A variety of treatments including medications and short-term psychotherapies have proven effective for depression


What are the different forms of depression?

There are several forms of depressive disorders. The most common are major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder.


Major depressive disorder, also called major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once–pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. An episode of major depression may occur only once in a person's lifetime, but more often, it recurs throughout a person's life.


Dysthymic disorder, also called dysthymia, is characterized by long–term (two years or longer) but less severe symptoms that may not disable a person but can prevent one from functioning normally or feeling well. People with dysthymia may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during their lifetimes.

Some forms of depressive disorder exhibit slightly different characteristics than those described above, or they may develop under unique circumstances. However, not all scientists agree on how to characterize and define these forms of depression. They include:


Psychotic depression, which occurs when a severe depressive illness is accompanied by some form of psychosis, such as a break with reality, hallucinations, and delusions.


Postpartum depression, which is diagnosed if a new mother develops a major depressive episode within one month after delivery. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of a depressive illness during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not respond to light therapy alone. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy.

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or dysthymia. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes-from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression).




What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?


Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.

 

Signs & Symptoms


People with generalized anxiety disorder can't seem to shake their concerns. Their worries are accompanied by physical symptoms, especially fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes.

  

What is Panic Disorder?


Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.


Signs & Symptoms

People with panic disorder have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. During a panic attack, most likely your heart will pound and you may feel sweaty, weak, faint, or dizzy. Your hands may tingle or feel numb, and you might feel flushed or chilled. You may have nausea, chest pain or smothering sensations, a sense of unreality, or fear of impending doom or loss of control.


What is Social Phobia?

Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation — such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others — or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.


Signs & Symptoms


People with social phobia have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. Their fear may be so severe that it interferes with work or school, and other ordinary activities. Physical symptoms often accompany the intense anxiety of social phobia and include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty talking.



What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called "rituals," however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.


Signs & Symptoms


People with OCD may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals. They may be obsessed with germs or dirt, and wash their hands over and over. They may be filled with doubt and feel the need to check things repeatedly.


What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. 

 

Signs & Symptoms


People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. They may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled.

 

 

What is Bipolar Disorder?


Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a serious medical illness that causes shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.

People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called "mood episodes." An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. This is called a mixed state. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode.

Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania.

A person may be having an episode of bipolar disorder if he or she has a number of manic or depressive symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least one or two weeks. Sometimes symptoms are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school, or home.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder are described below.

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include:

Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode include:

Mood Changes

  • A long period of feeling "high," or an overly happy or outgoing mood
  • Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling "jumpy" or "wired."

Behavioral Changes

  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted
  • Increasing goal-directed activities, such as taking on new projects
  • Being restless
  • Sleeping little
  • Having an unrealistic belief in one's abilities
  • Behaving impulsively and taking part in a lot of pleasurable,
    high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments.

Mood Changes

  • A long period of feeling worried or empty
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.

Behavioral Changes

  • Feeling tired or "slowed down"
  • Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
  • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.

 

Treatment

Most people with bipolar disorder can achieve substantial stabilization of their mood swings and related symptoms over time with proper treatment. A strategy that combines medication and psychosocial treatment is optimal for managing the disorder over time.

 

 

What Are Eating Disorders?

An eating disorder is marked by extremes. It is present when a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape.

Types of eating disorders

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge-Eating Disorder

Treatment

Researchers are unsure of the underlying causes and nature of eating disorders. Unlike a neurological disorder, which generally can be pinpointed to a specific lesion on the brain, an eating disorder likely involves abnormal activity distributed across brain systems. With increased recognition that mental disorders are brain disorders, more researchers are using tools from both modern neuroscience and modern psychology to better understand eating disorders.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight, a lack of menstruation among girls and women, and extremely disturbed eating behavior. Some people with anorexia lose weight by dieting and exercising excessively; others lose weight by self-induced vomiting, or misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas.

Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight, even when they are starved or are clearly malnourished. Eating, food and weight control become obsessions. A person with anorexia typically weighs herself or himself repeatedly, portions food carefully, and eats only very small quantities of only certain foods. Some who have anorexia recover with treatment after only one episode. Others get well but have relapses. Still others have a more chronic form of anorexia, in which their health deteriorates over many years as they battle the illness.

According to some studies, people with anorexia are up to ten times more likely to die as a result of their illness compared to those without the disorder. The most common complications that lead to death are cardiac arrest, and electrolyte and fluid imbalances. Suicide also can result.

Many people with anorexia also have coexisting psychiatric and physical illnesses, including depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, substance abuse, cardiovascular and neurological complications, and impaired physical development.

Other symptoms may develop over time, including:

  • thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
  • brittle hair and nails
  • dry and yellowish skin
  • growth of fine hair over body (e.g., lanugo)
  • mild anemia, and muscle weakness and loss
  • severe constipation
  • low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse
  • drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
  • lethargy

TREATING ANOREXIA involves three components:

1.  restoring the person to a healthy weight;

2.  treating the psychological issues related to the eating disorder; and

3.  reducing or eliminating behaviors or thoughts that lead to disordered eating, and preventing relapse.

Some research suggests that the use of medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers, may be modestly effective in treating patients with anorexia by helping to resolve mood and anxiety symptoms that often co-exist with anorexia. Recent studies, however, have suggested that antidepressants may not be effective in preventing some patients with anorexia from relapsing. In addition, no medication has shown to be effective during the critical first phase of restoring a patient to healthy weight. Overall, it is unclear if and how medications can help patients conquer anorexia, but research is ongoing.

Different forms of psychotherapy, including individual, group and family-based, can help address the psychological reasons for the illness. Some studies suggest that family-based therapies in which parents assume responsibility for feeding their afflicted adolescent are the most effective in helping a person with anorexia gain weight and improve eating habits and moods.

Shown to be effective in case studies and clinical trials, this particular approach is discussed in some guidelines and studies for treating eating disorders in younger, nonchronic patients.

Others have noted that a combined approach of medical attention and supportive psychotherapy designed spe-cifically for anorexia patients is more effective than just psychotherapy. But the effectiveness of a treatment depends on the person involved and his or her situation. Unfortunately, no specific psychotherapy appears to be consistently effective for treating adults with anorexia. However, research into novel treatment and prevention approaches is showing some promise. One study suggests that an online intervention program may prevent some at-risk women from developing an eating disorder.

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food (e.g., binge-eating), and feeling a lack of control over the eating. This binge-eating is followed by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging (e.g., vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics), fasting and/or excessive exercise.

Unlike anorexia, people with bulimia can fall within the normal range for their age and weight. But like people with anorexia, they often fear gaining weight, want desperately to lose weight, and are intensely unhappy with their body size and shape. Usually, bulimic behavior is done secretly, because it is often accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame. The binging and purging cycle usually repeats several times a week. Similar to anorexia, people with bulimia often have coexisting psychological illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and/or substance abuse problems. Many physical conditions result from the purging aspect of the illness, including electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and oral and tooth-related problems.

Other symptoms include:

  • chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • swollen glands in the neck and below the jaw
  • worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acids
  • gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
  • kidney problems from diuretic abuse
  • severe dehydration from purging of fluids

As with anorexia, TREATMENT FOR BULIMIA often involves a combination of options and depends on the needs of the individual.

To reduce or eliminate binge and purge behavior, a patient may undergo nutritional counseling and psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or be prescribed medication. Some antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), which is the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating bulimia, may help patients who also have depression and/or anxiety. It also appears to help reduce binge-eating and purging behavior, reduces the chance of relapse, and improves eating attitudes.

CBT that has been tailored to treat bulimia also has shown to be effective in changing binging and purging behavior, and eating attitudes. Therapy may be individually oriented or group-based.

Binge-eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge-eating episodes during which a person feels a loss of control over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia, binge-eating episodes are not followed by purging, excessive exercise or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. They also experience guilt, shame and/or distress about the binge-eating, which can lead to more binge-eating.

Obese people with binge-eating disorder often have coexisting psychological illnesses including anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. In addition, links between obesity and cardiovascular disease and hypertension are well documented.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR BINGE-EATING DISORDER are similar to those used to treat bulimia. Fluoxetine and other antidepressants may reduce binge-eating episodes and help alleviate depression in some patients.

Patients with binge-eating disorder also may be prescribed appetite suppressants. Psychotherapy, especially CBT, is also used to treat the underlying psychological issues associated with binge-eating, in an individual or group environment.




Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: What Is ADHD?

 

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also known as hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADHD is a common condition that affects children and adolescents, while ADD is more common in adults.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 3% to 5% of children have ADHD. Some experts, though, say ADHD may occur in 8% to 10% of school age children. Experts also question whether kids really outgrow ADHD. What that means is that this disorder may be more common in adults than previously thought.

Children with ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating. They can't seem to follow directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive, not stopping to think before they act. These behaviors are generally common in children. But they occur more often than usual and are more severe in a child with ADHD.

The behaviors that are common with ADHD interfere with a child's ability to function at school and at home.

Adults with ADHD may have difficulty with time management, organizational skills, goal setting, and employment. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addictions.

 

 

What are ADHD symptoms in children?

 

Symptoms of ADHD in children are generally grouped into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Inattention -- A child with ADHD:

  • is easily distracted
  • does not follow directions or finish tasks
  • does not appear to be listening when someone is speaking
  • does not pay attention and makes careless mistakes
  • is forgetful about daily activities
  • has problems organizing daily tasks
  • avoids or dislikes activities that require sitting still or a sustained effort
  • often loses things, including personal items
  • has a tendency to daydream

Hyperactivity -- A child with ADHD:

  • often squirms, fidgets, or bounces when sitting
  • does not stay seated as expected
  • has difficulty playing quietly
  • is always moving, such as running or climbing on things (In teens and adults, this is more commonly described as a sense of restlessness)
  • talks excessively

Impulsivity -- A child with ADHD:

  • has difficulty waiting for his or her turn
  • blurts out answers before the question has been completed
  • often interrupts others

 

 

 

What are ADHD symptoms in adults?

 

Adult ADHD symptoms may be different than the symptoms in children. In addition, they may stem directly from ADHD or may be the result of behavioral issues. Symptoms include:

  • chronic lateness and forgetfulness                                             
  • low self-esteem, depression and anxiety 
  • employment problems
  • difficulty controlling anger
  • impulsiveness
  • substance abuse or addiction
  • poor organization skills
  • procrastination
  • low frustration tolerance
  • chronic boredom
  • difficulty concentrating when reading
  • mood swings & anxiety                                                                     
  • relationship problems

    What are alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence?

     

    Alcohol abuse means having unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking every day or drinking too much at a time. Alcohol abuse can harm your relationships, cause you to miss work, and lead to legal problems such as driving while drunk ( intoxicated). When you abuse alcohol, you continue to drink even though you know your drinking is causing problems.

    If you continue to abuse alcohol, it can lead to alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence is also called alcoholism. You are physically or mentally addicted to alcohol. You have a strong need, or craving, to drink. You feel like you must drink just to get by.

    You might be dependent on alcohol if you have three or more of the following problems in a year:

    • You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink.
    • You need to drink more to get the same effect.
    • You have withdrowal symptoms when you stop drinking. These include feeling sick to your stomach, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
    • You spend a lot of time drinking and recovering from drinking, or you have given up other activities so you can drink.
    • You have tried to quit drinking or to cut back the amount you drink but haven't been able to.
    • You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes you to develop physical problems.


    You might not realize that you have a drinking problem. You might not drink every day, or you might not drink large amounts when you drink. You might go for days or weeks between drinking episodes. You might say you're a "social drinker."

    But even if you don't drink very often, it's still possible to be abusing alcohol and to be at risk for becoming addicted to it.

    Symptoms of alcohol abuse in children and teens sometimes are different from adult symptoms.


    Signs of alcohol abuse

    Watch for the following signs of alcohol abuse:

    • You have problems at work or school because of your drinking. These may include being late or absent, being injured at work, and not doing your job or schoolwork as well as you can.
    • You drink in dangerous situations, such as before or while driving a car.
    • You have blakeouts. This means that after a drinking episode you cannot remember what happened while you were drinking.
    • You have legal problems because of your drinking, such as being arrested for harming someone or driving while drunk (intoxicated).
    • You get hurt or you hurt someone else when you are drinking.
    • You continue to drink despite health problems that are caused or made worse by alcohol use, such as liver disease (cirrhosis).
    • Your friends or family members are worried about your drinking.


    Signs of alcohol dependence or addiction

    Watch for the following signs of alcohol dependence or addiction:

    • You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink. You drink more often than you want to, or you drink larger amounts than you want to.
    • You need to drink more to get the same effect.
    • You have withdrowal symptoms when you stop drinking. These include feeling sick to your stomach, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
    • You spend a lot of time drinking and recovering from drinking, or you have given up other activities so you can drink.
    • You have tried unsuccessfully to quit drinking or to cut back the amount you drink.
    • You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes you to develop physical problems.

    Other signs of possible trouble with alcohol include the following:

    • You drink in the morning, are drunk often for long periods of time, or drink alone.
    • You change what you drink, such as switching from beer to wine because you think that doing this will help you drink less or keep you from getting drunk.
    • You feel guilty after drinking.
    • You make excuses for your drinking or do things to hide your drinking, such as buying alcohol at different stores.
    • You worry that you won't get enough alcohol for an evening or weekend.
    • You have physical signs of alcohol dependence, such as weight loss, a sore or upset stomach(gastritis), or redness of the nose and cheeks.

     



































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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