Flushing Hospital Warns That Getting Help for Mental Health Issues is Nothing to be Ashamed About

Mental illness affects millions of Americans, yet not surprisingly, many of those who need help do not receive it. There are many reasons why – it could be due to limited availability of services, or a strong distrust of others, or those who are mentally ill might have such a sense of hopelessness that they do not seek care.

While all of these are factors as to why someone doesn’t seek support, perhaps the biggest single reason is a sense of fear and shame associated with admitting help is needed. This sense of shame is very common and it is only reinforced by society, which has attached stigmas to mental illness. The beliefs the public has about mental illness leads those who need help to avoid it so they are not labeled as “crazy” and have their condition negatively affect their personal relationships and career goals.

Getting society to overcome the stigmas associated with mental illness is the key to having more individuals come forward, but unfortunately negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common. These stigmas can lead to obvious and direct discrimination, such as someone making a negative remark about mental illness or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding an individual because they assume they could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to mental illness.

Those with mental illness should never be ashamed of their condition and here are some reasons why:

  • According to the World Health Organization, one out of four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.
  • Shame is pretty much guaranteed to make things worse. Feelings of shame are proven to have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health
  • Mental illness is no one’s fault. No one asks to have a mental illness and it is definitely not a choice we make.
  • We’re not ashamed when our bodies get sick, so why should we be ashamed when our minds aren’t in top form.
  • There is no normal – our minds are complex things and no single brain is the same
  • Our mental health doesn’t define us. Don’t let your mental illness become who you are, it is just one aspect of you.

It’s time to speak out against the stigmas associated with mental illness and reframe the way we see it. Getting help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.

Flushing Hospital advises anyone who feels they need help to get it.  Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief and help you in life.

To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Center, please call 718-670-5522.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Know the Facts About an Anxiety Attack

We all feel anxious from time to time. It is a natural reaction where we feel apprehension, uncertainty, or fear in anticipation of an event, situation or circumstance that we consider to be threatening. However, some people can develop feelings of anxiety that are so intense and overwhelming that they result in a feeling of “losing control.” These episodes are commonly referred to as an anxiety (or panic) attack.

An anxiety attack usually occurs without warning and has no obvious cause. It may even wake a person from their sleep. In addition to an incredible feeling of fear, anxiety attacks are potentially accompanied by many other symptoms such as:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest Pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness, light-headed, or feeling aint
  • Feeling detached from reality

Since each person is different and chemically unique, an anxiety attack can affect each person differently.  One person may experience only a few minor symptoms while another may have many symptoms with much greater severity.

An attack can last anywhere from a few moments to over an hour. The length of the attack is usually determined by how frightened the individual is.  While the symptoms of an anxiety attack can seem very powerful, they are typically not harmful.

Although the exact causes of these attacks are unclear, the tendency to have them runs in families. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college, getting married, or having a baby.  Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger a panic attack. In some cases, panic attacks can be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes. If you’re suffering from symptoms of panic, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out an underlying medical issue.

The good news is that these attacks are treatable. They can usually be managed successfully with self-help strategies or a series of therapy sessions. To make an appointment with a mental health professional at Flushing Hospital’s Mental Health Clinic, please call 718-670-5562.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Mood Music

Music has been known to make us smile, excite us, make us dance or bring us to tears.  It can bring back a memory so vividly that we actually feel we are there.

Music can stabilize or have an enhancing effect on our mood, but how does it have this profound power over a person’s emotions?

Maybe because it is a common phenomenon that crosses all boarders of nationality, race and culture.  Music is often used as a tool for arousing feelings and can be far more impactful than language.

Did you know that when we listen to a musical rhythm, our heart can actually begin to synch with it?  Studies have shown that a “major key” will signify cheerful communication to our brain, while a “minor key” can bring on sighs and lamentations. All of this has an effect on the brain, which directs our psyche to feel what’s being communicated to us.

In many instances, music is utilized for treating depressed or anxious patients since the meter, timber, rhythm and pitch of musical arrangements are managed in areas of the brain that deal with emotions and mood.

Although the overall phenomenon still has its certain level of mystery, many people turn to music for a general sense of well-being.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tips for Dealing With Holiday Stress

During the holiday season, many of us struggle to complete an extensive list of tasks in what often feels like very little time.   We run rampant decorating our homes, attending social gatherings, shopping for loved ones, volunteering, traveling or cooking.  These activities are often added to our already busy schedules, which can make us feel overwhelmed.

Contrary to what we may think, these activities which should make us feel happy can actually increase our stress levels.

Although there are various factors such as unrealistic expectations or financial strain that contribute to holiday stress, finding ways to avoid stressors or minimize their effects is very important. If stress is not managed well, it can have a significantly negative impact on our health.

Here are five tips to help you cope with holiday stress and maintain your  mental health:

  1. Set realistic goals– Unrealistic goals often equal added pressure and expectations that cannot be met. If these goals are not met, they can lead to negative feelings such as inadequacy or hopelessness.
  2. Know when to take a moment for yourself (Take a break) – We are often pulled in multiple directions during this time of the year. Know when to take a breather to decompress and clear your mind.
  3. Communicate- The added pressures of the holidays are clearly overwhelming and one of the ways that people sometimes deal with this is to isolate themselves. This is not recommended; instead, reach out to loved ones or a trained mental health professional to communicate how you feel.
  4. Do not neglect healthy habits– Taking good care of your health can help combat holiday stress. Moderating your food intake, fitting in a few minutes of exercise and getting adequate amounts of sleep can be profoundly beneficial for your health.   Additionally, maintaining a healthy daily routine can help take your mind off holiday demands.
  5. Ask for help- We live in a time where multitasking has become the norm but if you begin to feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Soliciting the help of friends or family can alleviate some of the holiday pressure. The holidays can also trigger depression; if you are experiencing symptoms of depression ask for help from loved ones or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

The holiday season can be overwhelming; however, by applying these helpful tips you can take the steps needed to minimize stress and make this time of year more enjoyable.  If you find that you continue to experience elevated levels of stress or symptoms of depression, it is recommended that you seek the help of mental health professional immediately.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

When a person is recognized as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, they demonstrate unreasonable thoughts and fears that make them perform repetitive and ritualized behaviors.  A person with OCD feels obliged to perform these actions as a way to reduce their stress and anxiety. They will feel that by not giving in to these impulses will cause something bad to happen, which can raise their stress and anxiety.
Traits of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders fall into themes:
• Washers  – have a fear of germs makes them wash their hands  over and over
• Checkers – will check to make sure a door is locked more than once
• Doubters and sinners – fearful that harm will occur to someone if everything isn’t done correctly
• Counters and arrangers – everything has to be in a certain order or something will go wrong
• Hoarders – hold on to everything so that nothing bad will occur
There are three main theories as to what causes obsessive compulsive disorder:
• Biology – caused by changes in the body’s chemical make-up or the way the brain functions.
• Environment – causes a person to respond to a triggering event that leads to the obsessive compulsive behavior.
• Genetics – may contribute to a person’s susceptibility to OCD and also a certain level of stress in a person’s life may be a factor.
What should a person do if they feel they may have obsessive compulsive disorder? The first step is to identify what traits they feel they are exhibiting that may be out of the ordinary. Consulting with a primary care physician about symptoms is a good place to begin. They may recommend seeing a mental health professional who can determine the degree of OCD and recommend psychotherapy and possibly medication to control the symptoms.  You can schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Flushing Hospital Medical Center by calling 718-670-5562

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Protect Your Skin Naturally

Wearing sunscreen isn’t the only way to ensure UV protection. During the dog days of summer when the sun is at its hottest try these three delicious fresh fruits and vegetables that naturally offer UV protection.

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  • . Citrus fruit – Bring some fresh lemonade to the beach! Lemons, oranges and limes all contain limonene, which studies have shown to reduce skin cancer risk by 34 percent.
  • Carrots and Red peppers – Snack on some crudité by the pool! Red, yellow and orange vegetables provide carotenoids that help to reduce sunburn intensity.
  • .  Spinach – Take a smoothie to the ball park! Leafy greens, like dark green lettuce, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are great sources of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that studies how halt abnormal cell growth prompted by UV light.

Remember that these fruits and vegetables are not a substitute for wearing sunscreen and protective clothing when outside in the sun, but they may give you an extra line of defense in saving your skin down the line.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What You Need to Know About Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A person stands in front of the mirror and glances at their reflection; they perceive their image to be severely unattractive or obese.  They become obsessed with a particular body part and deem it to be an extreme defect that alters their appearance. While this is their perception, in reality no one else sees these physical characteristics.

There is a possibility that this person may be suffering from a chronic body-image disorder known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which is a compulsive obsession with an imagined or exaggerated physical trait that often no one else can see.

BDD is known to occur in both men and women and usually begins during teenage years or early adulthood.  Factors that may contribute to the development of BDD are

  • Low self-esteem
  • Traumatic events
  • Genetics
  • The influence of others who are critical of the person’s physical appearance

Characteristics of the disorder may include an obsession with skin imperfections such as scars or wrinkles, facial features (it is very common for those afflicted with BDD to be obsessed with size of the nose), body weight and hair. There are several behaviors that are identifiable with BDD, they are:

  • Constantly looking in the mirror and trying to cover up the perceived defect
  • Asking for reassurance that the defect is not obvious
  • Isolation from people due to the belief that imperfections will be noticed
  • Becoming increasingly self-conscious
  • Avoiding mirrors
  • Excessive grooming in an effort to cover up a flaw
  • Frequently consulting plastic surgeons or undergoing cosmetic procedures
  • Developing other psychological disorders such as eating and anxiety disorders

If someone you know is exhibiting these behaviors, it is recommended that they seek help immediately as this disorder can lead to self-harm. Once diagnosed with BDD, treatment will usually include a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, group or family therapy and medication. For more information about body dysmorphic disorders or treatment please contact Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry at 718-670-4416.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Slow Changes Can Lead to Wellness

Rear view of young hiking couple walking through field

When looking for a routine that can bring wellness to your entire being, you don’t have to climb a mountain in Tibet or strip away all food you love. Experts say that the best way to bring a wellness routine into your life is through a series of small changes that will gradually make a difference.

Changes such as:
◾Meditation – Take a moment in the morning to meditate. It will set the tone for the day and clear your head to prepare for what the day may bring.
◾Music – Play calming music. The body’s internal rhythms sync with the rhythms of music. By focusing on the music and its melody, you will start to feel your breathing and heart rate begin to slow down, bringing you to a much calmer place
◾Plan a trip – According to research, happiness spikes when planning a trip.
ut down your smartphone – When the impulse to pick up your phone comes, and you resist it, you may feel a wave of anxiety. Don’t panic! Breath through the anxiety and you will see that there is calm that will follow.
◾Breathe deeply – Sit in a comfortable place, breathe naturally and settle your attention on your breath. With each inhale and exhale, mentally repeat the words “in” and “out.” Even if you mind wanders, don’t get distracted; just bring your attention back to your breathing.
◾Don’t check your email when you first wake up – When you wake, sit silently and allow your mind to wander. Take 10 minutes to just center yourself before you start your day.
◾Walk – Use part of your lunch break to take a walk. This activity will aid with digestion, keep you active and relieve stress.

No one likes change and it rarely comes easy. That’s why slowly incorporating small steps toward your goals overtime can lead to huge changes in the long run.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Memory Loss

Some degree of memory loss is common as people get older. It is not uncommon to forget momentarily where you left your car keys, your eyeglasses or the name of someone you know.  It is when these occurrences become more frequent that it may indicate a serious problem. Severe memory loss may be related to dementia which indicates that there are problems with reasoning, judgment, and progressively worsening memory. These symptoms may eventually inhibit a person’s ability to work and function independently.
There can be many causes of memory loss. These include:
• Alcohol, tobacco and drug use
• Vitamin B-12 deficiency
• Sleep deprivation
• Depression and stress
• Medications some examples being antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety, tranquilizers, sleeping pills pain medication
• Head injury
• Stroke
• HIV
• Syphilis
The treatment for memory loss will depend on what is causing it. If it is due to taking certain medications than alternative treatment may be the way to treat a condition.  The first step in diagnosing the cause of memory loss will be a general physical exam by a physician that will include questions and the ability to answer them appropriately.  If you think that you are experiencing memory loss and would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

Talking with Grandma

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Power of Positive Thinking

positivethinking

According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health.

Try these morning affirmations and get your day started right:

  • Today, I will think pure and positive thoughts
  • Today, I release the past and move into the present
  • Today, I choose to have joy
  • Today, I choose peace
  • Today, I realize that I am worthy of good things
  • Today, I begin to make healthy choices for my body, mind and soul
  • Today, I claim that the healthier I live my life, the better my life will be
  • Today, I like who I am

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.