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Blog

21

May

What Stress Does to the Brain

A Familiar Pain

Stress is something we’re all familiar with. Oftentimes, it’s something we can’t do a lot about in regard to removing the source of the stress. We’re stressed about money, our future, our kids, our relationships, our health, etc. We want to do the best we can about all that is important to us, but when our efforts don’t yield the results we need and we have way too many tasks going on at the same time, that’s when stress digs into you.

What Does Stress Do to the Brain?

When

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29

April

COVID and Comorbidity

COVID and Comorbidity

COVID-19 stands out among physical illnesses right now for its unprecedented affect on mental illness. A study of over 69 million people in the United States revealed disturbing results. Out of those diagnosed with COVID, nearly 20% developed a new mental health issue, like anxiety or dementia.

“Given the novelty and scope of the pandemic, there is little-to-no framework, particularly during the lifespan of the majority of the population alive, for how to manage the threat to health, lifestyle, and societal change,” says Jessica Stern, PhD, a psychologist and

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12

April

Depression Part 6: Manic Depression/Bipolar Disorder

Depression Part 6: Manic Depression/Bipolar Disorder

A Painful Spectrum

What is bipolar disorder?  Bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, is defined as a depressive disorder that swings between two “poles,” a state of mania and a state of depression.  The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) divides bipolar disorder into three types:

Bipolar 1 involves manic episodes over 7 days long or exhibiting symptoms that require hospitalization.  Depressive episodes tend to last about 14 days.  A mixed state with characteristics of both depression and mania has been observed in some cases.
Bipolar 2 involves

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05

April

The Facts on Phobias

The Facts on Phobias

 

More Than Fear

Phobias are a particularly unsettling form of anxiety and source of much distress to sufferers. What is a phobia, what forms do phobias take, and what can be done about them? Can they be reduced or eliminated? There are resources available, and things tend to be less frightening once they are better understood.

What Is a Phobia?

It’s normal to have things that scare you. Most of us are scared of something. Some common fears are heights, dark spaces, enclosed spaces, creatures like spiders and snakes,

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18

March

MDD and Hormones

A Common Crossroads

Today, we’ll talk about how hormones affect major depressive disorder (MDD). Imbalanced hormones are a common issue we hear about from our patients. For more on hormones and mental health, check out our posts on postpartum depression and menopausal depression.

What Are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical signals that travel around the body influencing the functions of different organs and tissues. Hormones work with the chemical signals of the brain, called neurotransmitters. Hormones are produced and released by glands placed around the human body:

Adrenal glands
Thyroid glands
Pituitary glands
Testes
Ovaries

Major hormones include cortisol, estrogen,

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15

March

COVID and MDD Part 3: Loss of Routine

When the World Turns Upside Down

Check out our other posts on COVID and mental health here and here, where we talk about the general connection and the effects of isolation.

Today, we want to look at the effects of the loss of routine stemming from the COVID-19 fallout. Loss of routine can be caused by losing one’s job, having to get a different job, working from home, having to get alternate schooling, or taking on additional responsibilities like day-long childcare.

A “Normal” Day

The NCBI has two main definitions of routine: primary and

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10

March

Depression Part 5: Postpartum Depression

A Brand-New Person

Having a child is a big deal. It’s usually a joyous time that is anticipated and celebrated, but the period of pregnancy, birth, and a child’s early life is also extremely stressful. The CDC estimates that about 1 in 8 new mothers will experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Today, we’re going to look at postpartum depression: Its definition, causes, symptoms, and how to get help.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that sets in after giving birth to a baby. It can affect the person

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03

March

What is meditation?

Meditation Defined

Meditation is an ancient practice performed across time, culture, and geography. A general definition of meditation is action taken to produce greater peace of mind, clarity, and control over one’s thoughts. What is the goal of meditation, and how do you meditate?

Why Meditate?

A good thing about meditation is that it can be combined effectively with any treatment regimen like medication, therapy, and neuromodulation like TMS if the patient chooses to. What are some reasons people meditate?

Someone suffering from anxiety might meditate to calm themselves.
Someone having trouble with repetitive, ruminating

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23

February

Depression Part 4: MDD

The Battle Against Depression

Treating major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the main things we do at Rochester Holistic Psychiatry.  For our series on different types of depression, it’s time to talk about MDD.  We’ll look at some nuances that make MDD what it is, including some elements that can be unexpected or go unnoticed.  For our purposes today, we will use major depressive disorder, MDD, and depression interchangeably.

Depression Doesn’t Need a Reason

When someone is ill, we immediately begin looking for any culprit that can be addressed to alleviate the

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12

February

MDD and Genetics

Are MDD and Our Genes Linked?

What kind of influence do genes have on occurrences of major depressive disorder (MDD)?  How do we figure out the links and how do we adapt our treatments to best help patients?

First, we have to acknowledge the base question that this, and many other investigations into the causes of mental health issues, comes down to: Nature versus nurture.  Biology versus environment.  Hardwired—or acquired?  What about both?

Environmental Factors

It is strongly believed that environment plays a large part in mental development, particularly in childhood.  A negative environment

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