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We offer treatment for many mental health disorders and life transitions.
Contact us if you or a loved one is going through a difficult period in your life and would like help with:
Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year,1 causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Anxiety disorders commonly occur along with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make them worse. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder.
Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you should seek information and treatment right away.
Five major types of anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
Sarah’s employment history also includes working for the Region I Integrated Care Coordination Unit as the Clinical Supervisor to help ensure that the mental health needs of state wards assigned to that program were being addressed. She began meeting with clients at Panhandle Mental Health Center on a part-time basis in early 2005 and became a full-time therapist in September 2005. She has been a full-time therapist in private practice with Tranquility Health, LLC since 2011.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).
ADHD has three subtypes:
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
- Predominantly inattentive
- Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.
The autism spectrum disorders are more common in the pediatric population than are some better known disorders such as diabetes, spinal bifida, or Down syndrome. A recent study of a U.S. metropolitan area estimated that 3.4 of every 1,000 children 3-10 years old had autism. The earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the sooner the child can be helped through treatment interventions. Pediatricians, family physicians, daycare providers, teachers, and parents may initially dismiss signs of ASD, optimistically thinking the child is just a little slow and will “catch up.”
All children with ASD demonstrate deficits in 1) social interaction, 2) verbal and nonverbal communication, and 3) repetitive behaviors or interests. In addition, they will often have unusual responses to sensory experiences, such as certain sounds or the way objects look. Each of these symptoms runs the gamut from mild to severe. They will present in each individual child differently. For instance, a child may have little trouble learning to read but exhibit extremely poor social interaction. Each child will display communication, social, and behavioral patterns that are individual but fit into the overall diagnosis of ASD.
Children with ASD do not follow the typical patterns of child development. In some children, hints of future problems may be apparent from birth. In most cases, the problems in communication and social skills become more noticeable as the child lags further behind other children the same age. Some other children start off well enough. Oftentimes between 12 and 36 months old, the differences in the way they react to people and other unusual behaviors become apparent. Some parents report the change as being sudden, and that their children start to reject people, act strangely, and lose language and social skills they had previously acquired. In other cases, there is a plateau, or leveling, of progress so that the difference between the child with autism and other children the same age becomes more noticeable.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
Bipolar disorder often develops in a person’s late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25.1 Some people have their first symptoms during childhood, while others may develop symptoms late in life.
Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot when it starts. The symptoms may seem like separate problems, not recognized as parts of a larger problem. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life.
Symptoms of mania or a manic 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.
Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode include:
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.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual’s sense of self-identity. Originally thought to be at the “borderline” of psychosis, people with BPD suffer from a disorder of emotion regulation. While less well known than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), BPD is more common, affecting 2 percent of adults, mostly young women.1 There is a high rate of self-injury without suicide intent, as well as a significant rate of suicide attempts and completed suicide in severe cases.2,3 Patients often need extensive mental health services, and account for 20 percent of psychiatric hospitalizations.4 Yet, with help, many improve over time and are eventually able to lead productive lives.
While a person with depression or bipolar disorder typically endures the same mood for weeks, a person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day.5 These may be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury, and drug or alcohol abuse. Distortions in cognition and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity, and values. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, bored, empty, and have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support, and this may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone.
People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans. These fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent, leaving the individual with BPD feeling lost and perhaps worthless. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments.
People with BPD exhibit other impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending, binge eating and risky sex. BPD often occurs together with other psychiatric problems, particularly bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other personality disorders.
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a woman has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life and normal functioning and causes pain for both the woman with the disorder and those who care about her. Depression is a common but serious illness, and most who have it need treatment to get better.
Depression affects both men and women, but more women than men are likely to be diagnosed with depression in any given year.1 Efforts to explain this difference are ongoing, as researchers explore certain factors (biological, social, etc.) that are unique to women.
Many women with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment.
Some forms of depression:
- Major depressive disorder
- Dysthymic disorder
- Psychotic depression
- Seasonal affective disorder
Women with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. In addition, the severity and frequency of symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and her particular illness. Signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Irritability, restlessness, anxiety
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Insomnia, waking up during the night, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
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.
Most common types of eating disorders:
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Bulimia Nervosa
- Binge-Eating Disorder
Although eating disorders primarily affect women and girls, boys and men are also vulnerable. One in four preadolescent cases of anorexia occurs in boys, and the binge-eating disorder affects females and males about equally. Like females who have eating disorders, males with the illness have a warped sense of body image and often have muscle dysmorphia, a type of disorder that is characterized by an extreme concern with becoming more muscular. Some boys with the disorder want to lose weight, while others want to gain weight or “bulk up.” Boys who think they are too small are at a greater risk of using steroids or other dangerous drugs to increase muscle mass. Boys with eating disorders exhibit the same types of emotional, physical, and behavioral signs and symptoms as girls, but for a variety of reasons, boys are less likely to be diagnosed with what is often considered a stereotypically “female” disorder.
Information is available from the National Institute of Health’s Senior Health website.
This may be accessed by going to: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/
If you are interested in exploring options for substance abuse treatment for yourself or a loved one the government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration offers a list of treatment facilities that may be found at:
Information about Alcoholics Anonymous may be found at: http://www.aa.org, The Nebraska toll-free number for finding AA meetings is: (877) 226-3632
Information about Narcotics Anonymous may be found at: http://www.na.org
Detailed information about schizophrenia may be found at the government’s National Institute for Mental Health website. This is a complex disorder and if you or someone you care about is diagnosed with this illness it may be helpful to read the NIMH booklet found at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide please call a health care professional to obtain help. If you have a serious concern then law enforcement should be called or you or the person you know should go to the nearest hospital for assistance. Information about suicide prevention is available from the National Institute for Mental Health website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Information about illnesses, both mental health and physical illness, that more frequently affect children the National Institute of Health covers those topics thoroughly at http://health.nih.gov
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
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