Nicotine Addiction: Break the Habit Once and for All

Nicotine addiction happens quickly. Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, outside help is often sought in order to successfully quit the habit. Hundreds of thousands try to stop their nicotine addiction “cold turkey,” by using nicotine patches, gum, or through use of relaxation and bio-feedback techniques. Almost 30 million nicotine addicts a year find themselves making multiple unsuccessful attempts in an effort to break their nicotine addiction.


Nicotine Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms Sabotage Quitting

Withdrawal symptoms, associated with breaking a nicotine addiction, sabotage success by impacting both physiological and psychological components. Trying to live with multiple symptoms gives way to allowing those nicotine cravings to turn into another failed attempt. When trying to break the strangle-hold of nicotine addiction, more than 50% of those working to quit the habit experience at least four of the following symptoms:


  • Increased appetite and feeling like you need to eat
  • Weight gain that follows the fear of gaining weight
  • Depression
  • Loss of motivation and energy
  • Feeling irritable, angry, or agitated for no apparent reason
  • Increased feelings of being anxious and stressed
  • Insomnia, tossing and turning in bed, night sweats
  • Feeling drowsy and sleepy with decreased concentration or focus
  • Headaches that may stay with you for hours on end
  • An intense craving for nicotine where you feel driven to satisfy the urge


Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms Manageable with Medications

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as the last cigarette is put out – prescription medication in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy or other adjunct therapy has proven most successful in stopping nicotine’s hold on your life. Your psychiatrist may choose to prescribe Chantix, Zyban, Wellbutrin or Buproprion, and recommend over-the-counter products such as nicotine patches, inhalers, gum, or nicotine nasal spray. Treating the whole person and their unique needs makes for a successful outcome in ending nicotine addiction. An experienced doctor will develop a plan that meets your own individual needs and personality.


Nicotine Addiction Psychiatrist

Stopping the nicotine habit is hard. When multiple attempts end in failure, it is time to seek out professional assistance. Working with an experienced psychiatrist gives you the best opportunity for success and freedom.  Call Dr. Hege’s office today.


Hypomania or ADHD Diagnosis Affects Treatment

Receiving an accurate and complete diagnosis affects the development of a successful treatment plan. Hypomania, or the manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and ADHD have similarities which may result in an incorrect diagnosis by mental health professionals with limited experience and diagnostic skills. Hypomania, bipolar disorder, and ADHD both respond well to proper treatment.

Hypomania and ADHD Have Overlapping Symptoms

One reason that an inaccurate diagnosis is made is the overlapping or similar symptoms that are often observed between the manic episode of bipolar disorder, hypomania, and adult ADHD. Some of the more common similar symptoms which may delay the appropriate diagnosis include:

  • Impulsive behaviors or thoughts
  • Difficulty with focus, attention, and concentration
  • Being easily distracted
  • Hyperactivity or having increased physical energy where you are “on the go”
  • Frequently interrupting others or difficulty with “waiting your turn”
  • Talking a lot or too fast, often with disorganization in conversation
  • Frequently changing thoughts and topic direction during a conversation
  • Displaying emotional outbursts or episodes of lability

Hypomania and ADHD Diagnostic Statistics

Receiving a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation by a specialist experienced in bipolar disorder and ADHD often corrects a past misdiagnosis or finds that a dual diagnosis is most correct. Approximately 20% of those who have ADHD also have Bipolar Disorder, and up to 70% of those with Bipolar Disorder also have ADHD. Research data also indicates that 70% of those finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder were misdiagnosed at least once, delaying their treatment, often for years. Many receive a diagnosis of either bipolar or ADHD, missing the correct dual diagnosis which impacts the success of the prescribed treatment plan.

Differences of Hypomania and ADHD Symptoms

On a simple level, one of the biggest differences between the manic phase of Bipolar Disorder and ADHD is that Bipolar affects mood (mood swings from high to low), ADHD affects behavior and attention. Another big difference exhibited is that adults with bipolar disorder cycle through different episodes of depression, hypomania or mania. Adults with ADHD experience chronic symptoms but do no experience cycling of their symptoms. For those with a dual diagnosis where differences are blurred or cannot be detected, a correct diagnosis and treatment are often missed and not comprehensive.

Hypomania, ADHD, or a Dual Diagnosis Require Comprehensive Evaluation

Receiving a correct diagnosis of hypomania or bipolar disorder, ADHD, or a dual diagnosis leads to an appropriate treatment plan and interventions individualized for your specific needs. For a correct diagnosis call Dr. Hege and take the first step that can change your life for the better today.

Sleep Connection with Adult ADHD Diagnosis

Research data has shown that approximately 75% of adults with ADHD also have sleep issues that impact achieving regular circadian sleep patterns. While all issues related to ADHD may not be associated with circadian sleep patterns, there is extensive evidence indicating that adults with ADHD do tend to display problems with their sleep cycle.

ADHD and Sleep Connection Phase

A disturbance in the natural sleep cycle or circadian system may be physiologically connected to ADHD as well as having links to other mental health issues like depression or bipolar disorder. Some relevant symptoms and behaviors which indicate a connection between adult ADHD and circadian or sleep rhythm include:

  • Those with ADHD often have great alertness in the evening (opposite of the general population)
  • Sleep-related disorders associated with adult ADHD include restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • Changes in the level of sleep hormone melatonin delayed by 1.5 hours from those without a diagnosis of ADHD
  • Changes in sleep-related movement patterns are delayed
  • Core body temperatures associated with sleep are delayed which corresponds to the delay of melatonin changes
  • Approximately 70% of those diagnosed with adult ADHD show over-sensitivity to light, with many needing to wear sunglasses during the day; this light sensitivity may be associated with a circadian shift

Sleep Disorders Associated with ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD and medication used to treat the disorder often interrupt the person’s sleep and result in related sleep connection disorders such as insomnia. Some of the most common sleep problems associated with ADHD include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Sleep-disordered breathing and sleep apnea
  • Interrupted sleep (waking during the night)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Restless legs syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder
  • Delayed sleep-phase disorder

Adult ADHD Sleep Rhythm Treatment Options 

If sleep connection issues are impacting your daily life and ability to function it may be time to talk with a mental health professional about treatment choices. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive mental health evaluation to determine all adult ADHD treatment options, including medication and adjunct therapies, available for your individual needs.


Mental Health Medication Differences Generic vs Brand Name

The demand for generic mental health medication has risen with improved diagnostics, increased acceptance of reaching out for help with mental health issues, and the escalating cost of brand name medications. In the United States, approximately 80% of prescriptions being filled, are generic, whether this is based on insurance coverage or due to patient preference for financial reasons.

Generic Mental Health Medication Availability to Increase

While not all mental health or psychiatric drugs are available in generic form, the use of generic medications is expected to grow as the cost of medications continues to rise, insurance coverage looks for a less expensive alternative, or patients themselves are looking to reduce out-of-pocket costs. For those unsure about using generic or pharmaceutical alternative medications, working with a knowledgeable psychiatrist can ease your mind about which medication is the best one for you and your needs.


Generic vs Brand Name Differences and Similarities

For those who are concerned about the effectiveness of mental health generic versus brand name medications, it is important to review just how the two types of drugs are both the same, and different. If the physician does not want generic psychiatric or mental health medication used, they may specify this on the prescription. If you have questions or concerns about the use of generic drugs, talk with your doctor about this.

Generic or pharmaceutical alternative medications are the same in that:

  • Pharmaceutically equivalent to the brand-name drug
  • Generic contains the same active ingredient as the brand-name
  • Is identical in strength to brand-name
  • Identical in dosage form to brand-name
  • Identical in the route of administration
  • Bioequivalent when compared to their brand-name counterpart
  • May be similar in terms of efficacy, safety and in how the body tolerates the drug

Generic or pharmaceutical alternative medications are different in that:

  • Generics do not have to contain the same inactive ingredients as the brand name (inactive ingredients include binding materials, dyes, preservatives, flavoring agents which do not affect the therapeutic action of the medication)
  • Generics made by different manufacturers may look different from each other. A patient may be allergic to one generic, but not another due to differences in manufacturing and inactive ingredients used
  • The active ingredient may be chemically bound in a way that is different from the original drug formulation and may result in differences in how the body uses this type of medication
  • Some generics may leave you not “feeling” the same as with a brand name drug
  • You may have an allergic reaction to the inactive ingredients used (which could also occur with a brand-name medication)

Mental Health Medication Prescription Doctor 

The use of a brand name or generic psych meds is a discussion to have with your psychiatrist if you have any concerns. Call Dr. Hege for an appointment to discuss your mental health concerns as well as having your generic psychiatric medications evaluated for optimal effectiveness.

Non-Medication Anxiety Treatment Options Successful

Medications for the management of anxiety disorders may be a useful tool in the overall treatment strategy. Non-medication and alternative practices are becoming a very viable and successful option in the treatment of anxiety. Reducing symptoms that impact one’s daily life without the use of medication can be achieved through a multifaceted therapeutic plan.

Non-Medication for Anxiety Disorders

The most common psychiatric complaint is anxiety, with up to 40-million Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder. While medication may be prescribed in the short-term to get symptoms under control, use of a mix of cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and other non-medication treatment techniques have been shown good success in the reduction of symptoms, including worry, fear, and panic.

Anxiety Disorders Respond to Non-Medication Treatment

Treatment options vary with individual needs and symptoms experienced. Non-medication options have shown to be effective for those with:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Panic Disorder

Working with an experienced anxiety psychiatrist, your recommended plan may include a variety of therapeutic techniques that may or may not include use of medication.

Medication versus Non-Medication for Anxiety

Medication may be recommended following a comprehensive evaluation by a specialist in anxiety disorders. Treatment strategies may include prescription of non-abusable medications over the use of addictive drugs such as Xanax, Klonopin, or Ativan, depending on the individual needs, prescription history, and behaviors of the patient.

Non-Medication Treatment Options

Use of a multi-faceted or combination treatment approach may be part of the prescribed plan of recovery from an anxiety disorder. Some of the non-medication alternatives include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Biofeedback of physiological reactions
  • Physical exercise
  • Relaxation and deep breathing techniques
  • Dietary shifts (avoiding certain foods and substances, following healthy diet plan)
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Structured sleeping patterns and rest periods
  • Herbal and nutritional supplements with doctor approval
  • Massage therapy
  • Other alternative medicines such as Yoga or acupuncture

Atlanta Specialist in Anxiety Disorders

While anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions in the U.S., many are hesitant to seek treatment for a variety of personal reasons. Working with a specialist in anxiety can be your path to a life of peace and calm – Call Dr. Hege for a treatment approach that includes medication, non-medication options, adjunct therapy, and alternative medicine practices.

Nicotine Addiction Recovery That Lasts

Tobacco products which include cigarettes, cigars, pipe smoking, or smokeless tobacco can all be addictive due to the nicotine they contain. Nicotine addiction recovery is difficult with about 35-million people making the attempt to quit smoking every year. Relapse is common, often within the very first week.

Nicotine Addiction Recovery from Smoking

For smokers, it is the nicotine in the tobacco that is addictive. While each cigarette may contain about 10-milligrams of nicotine, only about 1-to-2 milligrams from each cigarette is actually absorbed into the lungs. Nicotine is highly addictive, and even in the small amounts actually absorbed by the body, a person soon finds the compulsion to smoke turn into an addiction.

Nicotine and Body Chemistry

Once inhaled, nicotine travels to the brain within 7-to-10 seconds and its influence on body functions is immediately felt. One of nicotine’s effects on the brain is in the release of adrenaline, which in turn increases heart rate, and blood pressure while restricting blood flow to the heart. While the release of adrenaline also moves excess glucose into the bloodstream, the nicotine works to hinder the release of insulin from the pancreas, thus allowing a state of blood sugar higher than normal to exist.

Another significant effect of nicotine on the brain is that it activates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, which gives the smoker feelings of euphoria, which plays a major role in nicotine addiction recovery.

Nicotine Addiction Recovery Treatments

Recovery from tobacco addiction can become your new reality. Working with a nicotine addiction professional provides the specialized direction, use of cognitive-behavioral treatment programs, and prescribed medications, like Chantix, while following a successful individualized plan to quit smoking, ending your addiction to nicotine.

Nicotine Addiction Recovery Doctor

Research has shown the most effective way to quit smoking is to utilize both medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. Free yourself from the prison of nicotine addiction and start enjoying living nicotine free – Call Dr. Hege for a convenient appointment that meets your life schedule.


Psychiatric Self-Diagnosis Delays Correct Treatment

Successful psychiatric treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis. Psychiatric self-diagnosis not only delays correct treatment, but it may also lead to further exacerbation of the symptoms being experienced or allow disruptive behavioral manifestations to increase, impacting others at home, work, or in social situations. Many self-diagnose reaching often inaccurate conclusions about what may, or may not, be the problem.

Psychiatric Self-Diagnosis Lacking in Skill Base

Being able to provide a comprehensive and accurate psychiatric diagnosis requires extensive training, expert clinical knowledge, updated professional continuing education, and a solid foundation developed over the years through hands-on experience working in the field. In addition, psychiatrists are specialists skilled in not only understanding critical differences between and among psychological disorders, but who are able to determine the impact of any medical issues that may play a vital part in the overall diagnosis and development of a treatment plan.

Psychiatric Self-Diagnosis Typically Incorrect

Deciding “what is wrong” with yourself is often self-limiting, looking at yourself, your symptoms, your behaviors with a subjective eye. Studies, for example, have shown that almost 70% of those who report anxiety as their main concern is later diagnosed with the second issue of depression. Discovering a second or third mental health disorder, or a medical factor, which needs to be treated and planned for, maybe completely overlooked with self-diagnosis.

Psychiatric Self-Diagnosis Misses Medical Issues

Working with a skilled psychiatrist who provides a comprehensive and complete evaluation before making a final diagnosis will ensure any medical issues that may be a complicating factor, or which may be masquerading as a psychiatric syndrome can be discovered. Self-diagnosis would miss a serious cardiac, endocrine, or neurological problem – treating symptoms with over-the-counter medications, herbs, or other natural methods may be an incorrect decision that may impact or worsen your overall health.

Atlanta Diagnostic Psychiatrist

If symptoms or behaviors are causing problems or unrest in your home, work or social situations, seek out an experienced mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis. Call Dr. Hege, the Atlanta diagnostic psychiatrist of choice for adult mental health disorders.


Prescription Drug Addiction on the Rise

Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem in the U.S. affecting more than 15 million people at any one time. More than 48 million have abused prescription drugs during the course of their lifetime. Prescription drug addiction is on the rise, with The National Institute on Drug Abuse reporting the numbers of adults who abuse these medications now exceeding those that abuse the illegal drugs of cocaine, heroin, inhalants, and hallucinogens combined.

Prescription Drug Addiction Growing Problem

Increased visits to one or multiple physicians, or the ER show a significant increase in the request for more medications such as opioid pain relievers, stimulants for complaints of ADHD symptoms, or depressants prescribed for anxiety or sleep issues. In addition, the purchase of over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications, especially those that contain dextromethorphan, have shown a sharp rise. Drug treatment programs report a sharp rise in admissions related to prescription drug addiction that now rival admissions for addiction to illegal drugs.

Prescription Medications Commonly Abused

Prescription drug addiction generally involves three classes of medications. The medication classes that may lead to addiction are:

  • Opioids, which include Vicodin, Opana, OxyContin, Codeine, Morphine, may be used effectively to treat pain on a short term basis. When used long-term they may lead to prescription drug addiction and physical dependence.
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin, may be used to treat medical issues of ADHD, ADD, depression, narcolepsy and numerous other problems.
  • Central nervous system depressant medications such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin or Ativan may be used to treat anxiety, panic, insomnia, and sleep disorders. These medications typically decrease brain activity resulting in a calm or drowsy state.

Prescription Drug Addiction Help Locally

An experienced addiction psychiatrist can help change the direction your prescription drug use is taking. Call Dr. Hege, Atlanta’s prescription drug addiction professional to regain your ability to live and function without the turmoil and pain of addiction. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

PTSD Diagnosis Affects 1 in 11 Adults

PTSD diagnosis affects an estimated one out of every eleven adults at some point in their lifetime, yet research data shows that those with PTSD seek treatment less than with other mental health issues. Only one in three adults will access treatment within the year after meeting the criteria for having PTSD.

PTSD Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Post-traumatic stress disorder requires exposure to an event that involved actual or possible threat of death, violence, or serious injury, from situations that include natural disaster, a serious accident, or acts of violence. Exposure to the event can be through direct experience, being witness to the event happening to others, discovering that someone close to you was impacted by the traumatic event, or through repeated exposure to graphic details of the traumatic events.

PTSD Diagnosis Impacts Function

Those who may have PTSD typically continue to have intense or disturbing thoughts and feelings long after the event occurred which cause significant problems in ability to function, negatively impacting behaviors and interpersonal relationships in social situations, work settings, and home life.

PTSD Diagnosis Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD that may lead up to seeking help include the following:

  • Physical Pain – PTSD symptoms very often begin with common physical complaints that include headaches, migraines, fatigue, chest pain, breathing issues, digestive upset
  • Nightmares or Flashbacks – Commonly reported, re-living the traumatic even can occur in waking images with sensations of physical and emotional pain, fear. Flashbacks to the event may cause sleeping difficulties as well as anxiety when leaving the safety of their home or familiar surroundings
  • Mental phobias – these behaviors may lead to irrational and persistent fear, avoidance, paranoia, depression, or anxiety, related to certain objects, people, or situations, that remind one of the traumatic event
  • Repression – Intentional blocking of memories associated with a past traumatic event or experience is also a PTSD diagnosis symptom. Pictures, memorabilia, music, or newspaper clippings, for example may be destroyed or thrown away.
  • Emotional Numbing – Numbing emotional pain and feelings can lead to gradual withdrawal and isolation from social circles and interpersonal relationships. Numbing may be through self-denial of feelings or through substance abuse and other risk-taking behaviors.
  • Hyper-arousal – For those with PTSD it is common to feel “on edge” or “jumpy” making it difficult to relax. Fear of threats or injury often make those with PTSD easily frightened.
  • Irritability – For those with PTSD, being in a state of constant fear and paranoia may cause extreme PTSD-associated irritability, sleeplessness, lack of concentration, indecisiveness, and difficulty maintaining personal relationships.
  • Guilt and Shame – PTSD symptoms include immense shame and guilt when it becomes impossible to get past the negative traumatic experience and move forward with their life. Many with PTSD relive the event wondering how they could have prevented it from happening, or blaming themselves for the tragedy.

PTSD Diagnostic Psychiatrist

Help and treatment is available. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive and confidential evaluation. Take the steps needed to move forward with your life and end the fear and suffering that has taken control of your life.


Bipolar Seven Factor Diagnosis Gives New Insight

With almost 6-million Americans diagnosed with bipolar disorder many studies have examined data to help those with the diagnosis answer why they have the disorder. A recent long term research study has presented a new bipolar seven factor framework that may give answers, help to correctly diagnose, and make treatment decisions for those with the disorder.

Bipolar Seven Factor Experience

While one patient’s experience with bipolar disorder may vary from another’s with the same diagnosis, all of the different experiences include features that fall into seven classes of characteristics, also known as phenotypes, that can be observed and tracked. This new study from the University of Michigan’s Bipolar Research Program used a decade of data to develop a bipolar seven factor framework that provides a common ground for clinicians who study and treat the disorder to the patients who are living their life with a bipolar diagnosis.

Bipolar Seven Factor Standard Measures

The seven classes or characteristics of the framework include standard measures that are already being used by mental health professionals to diagnose and track the progress of bipolar disorder. Although bipolar disorder tends to run in families, the long term study has revealed that there is not one specific gene to explain the increased occurrence in families, but rather many genetic variances were found to be associated with bipolar risk.

Bipolar Seven Factor Key Findings

Some of the key findings that were discovered during the research in bipolar disorder include:

  • Gender differences were revealed which include poor sleep with links to severity of depression and mania in women, but not men
  • Those with bipolar disorder who also have a strong neurotic personality trait are more likely to have severe illness
  • Migraine headaches are 3 ½ times more common in those with bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol abuse are more common in those who have a bipolar disorder
  • Those with bipolar disorder tested lower on cognitive ability including memory, and executive functioning, than those without a bipolar diagnosis
  • There was an association between levels of certain fat molecules in the blood of bipolar patients and their mood or level of symptoms experienced; those with bipolar disorder also exhibited higher levels of saturated fats in their diets
  • A study of the key features of speech patterns were able to predict mood states which could be useful in predicting need for intervention in preventing episodes of mania or depression
  • Results from the study of neuron cells from bipolar patients were shown to be more excitable, as well as showing differences in how those cells interact and function

Bipolar Seven Factor

The seven factor framework will help in better understanding of the disorder, measure how symptoms change over time, and track response to treatment approaches for use in development of treatment planning and successful strategies. Working with a qualified psychiatrist with a long history of successfully working and developing individualized treatment plans for those with bipolar disorder can bring stability and satisfaction to your life, and the lives of those around you.

Atlanta Bipolar Disorder Doctor

For a comprehensive evaluation and accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder or any mental health issues or concerns you may be experiencing, call the office of Dr. Hege for a personalized approach that is geared to your specific needs. Start living without the daily struggle. Call today.