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What Can You do if Someone You Love is Contemplating Suicide?

Suicide Prevention Requires Intervention

suicideLast month suicide prevention was brought to the attention of our nation during National Suicide Prevention Month. It was 30 days dedicated to informing the public about the signs, dangers and help for those who contemplate suicide. This is a major issue in our world and in our nation. Over 2,000 individuals around the world end their own lives every day. Here at home, 22 military veterans commit suicide each day. It is our number three cause of death overall and the number one cause of death for those ages 15-24. Suicide claims the lives of young, old, black, white, rich or poor. It’s a concern which affects us all.

Hopelessness is at the root of suicide. When a person feels there will be no end to their current pain and no way out of their present situation, they feel trapped and without options. Thus, when a person mentions suicide, it’s not an empty threat. They are letting you know that they feel they have no real choices. But those feelings are false, because 80-90 percent of people with chronic depression respond well to treatment. Don’t brush off a person’s offhand reference to suicide. Make sure they get help. Suicide is preventable, but someone must intervene.

At the Family Guidance Center we offer a 24/hour suicide hotline (1-888-279-8188). We also offer treatment. A quarter of a million people per year survive attempted suicide. Prevention is even more successful. But it takes you being willing to get involved. Even if a person doesn’t mention suicide outright, ask them if they have been contemplating it. Then, make a call or bring them by. We have mental health professionals that are available to talk to them at all times.

Mental Health and Physical Health Integration is Best Medical Practice

Expect to Find More Mental Health Evaluation as Part of Standard Care

mental healthOne quarter of all adults experience some kind of mental health problem during a given year. 70 percent of medical visits to primary healthcare providers are somehow linked to mental health and wellness. It is important that mental health and physical health services work together to help each individual on the road to better health.

A person’s body and spirit work in connection to make them who they are. Since people are a marvelous blend of body and spirit, the professionals who treat them must also work in conjunction in order to benefit the whole person. An independent health care approach which focuses merely on management of symptoms (whether mental or physical) has proven to be less than successful. An integrated approach which combines mental health and primary care services provides better results.

Integrating mental health and primary health care isn’t costly, just more effective. In fact, by combining the two, we can expect to save money while improving outcomes. Take diabetes or heart disease as an example. These two illnesses are among the most common reasons for visits to the primary provider. And 20 percent of those with diabetes or heart disease also experience depression. That makes them less likely to comply with doctor’s recommendations and significantly lowers their quality of life.

Yet, with just a few questions, doctors can screen patients for depression and steer them toward successful treatment, thereby improving patient compliance and significantly bettering their daily lives. Perhaps, even extending their lives. Look for primary care providers to start making depression screenings, substance abuse referrals and behavioral assessments for children part of their standard care.

At Family Guidance Center, we work hand in hand with medical professionals on a daily basis. We believe that treating the whole person is the key to improving overall health and wellness. People are more than a list of symptoms. They are complex, interactive beings and we believe that addressing all aspects of a person’s health is the best way to achieve full health.

October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month

Understand How to Recognize and Treat Depressiondepression

Some illnesses seem to touch just about every family you meet. Many illnesses are discussed frankly and openly. Other illnesses aren’t talked about with the same freedom. That is unfortunate because illnesses happen to us all. They are part of the human condition, whether they are physical illnesses or mental illnesses. When you don’t talk about an illness, it’s easy for that illness to become stigmatized. Depression is an illness that affects people worldwide, yet only recently have people begun to open up about how the illness affects them or those they love.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are 350 million individuals worldwide living with depression. In our nation alone, one-tenth of the adult population experiences depression (according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). It is an illness which affects people around you, loved ones and maybe yourself. October is the official month for National Depression Education and Awareness.

How Can You Recognize Depression?

Depression looks slightly different depending upon a person’s age or gender but there are some common symptoms that many share. Those symptoms include: unexplained sadness that doesn’t go away, lack of energy or motivation, trouble concentrating, withdrawal from friends, family and activities and interrupted sleep.

What Causes Depression?

Depression doesn’t have one single cause and doesn’t affect only one kind of person. It is an illness that can stem from family history, biological or environmental factors. It affects all people across age, race, ethnic and gender barriers.

On the Road to Recovery

Preventative steps such as eating well, getting sufficient sleep and regular exercise, along with treatment, can help alleviate symptoms of depression. Exercise is a natural mood elevator and often people can benefit from disciplined exercise and attention to other key areas of life.

Depression is Treatable

The important thing to know is that depression is a highly treatable illness. If you think you or someone you love may be experiencing symptoms of depression, contact Family Guidance Center today and start feeling better soon.

New Study Finds Many Patients Unclear About Prescription Drug Addiction Risk

Educating Patients on Risks of Prescription Drug Addiction

Pill Addiction 2When you experience a health emergency, a visit to the hospital emergency room may be necessary. Though emergencies can take many forms, one of the leading prescribed drugs in hospital ERs are opioid painkillers. Despite the fact that prescription drug addiction continues to be a serious problem in our country, the powerful painkillers are routinely handed out because they are so effective in treating pain. A new study suggests that many patients receiving those drugs may not be fully aware of the risks involved in using them.

The Northwestern University study learned that 25 percent of patients in the ER don’t realize that opioid drugs are addictive. The other 75 percent of ER patients believe that there is an addiction ris k associated with using prescription painkillers. One quarter of patients is a significant proportion given the gravity of the risk. Researchers say that one way to bring that percentage down would be for doctors and nurses to spend more time dialoging with patients about the facts and risk associated with prescription painkillers.

For their research, investigators used 174 previously gathered patient responses accumulated during a longer and randomized study. The patient subjects had all been to the emergency room and been given a prescription for painkillers that combined acetaminophen and hydrocodone (like Vicodin). Several days later the patients were contacted and asked directly whether or not they considered their pain medication addictive.

The responses given reflect a patient population unclear about the true facts of prescription drug addiction. Many responses were based on personal experience or the words of others. Considering the fact that drug overdoses kill more Americans than car crashes and that 50 percent of those overdoses are linked to prescription drugs, it’s important to educate the public about the risks of prescription drug addiction.

If you or someone you care about has a problem with prescription drugs, help is available. Contact us at Family Guidance Center; we have experience helping countless others.

Anxiety Disorder Can Wear Many Faces Yet Shares Similar Symptoms

Anxiety Disorder is a Leading Mental Health Condition Worldwide

anxiety disorderMost people have felt it. That momentary flood of fear when the blood is pulsing so rapidly that you seem to feel and hear it. Maybe you were in a near car wreck or perhaps you experienced turbulence during an airplane ride. Anxiety is a normal reaction to situations where someone feels immediately threatened. Yet, for some, anxiety can strike at a time when the threat of danger is minimal or even non-existent and turn into an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorder is a leading mental health condition worldwide, but it is not a one-size-fits-all condition. There are six distinct types of anxiety disorder used in diagnosis: generalized anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), panic disorder and phobias. Anxiety may strike under different conditions and situations for each person, yet many times the experience shares similar symptoms: rapid breathing, sweating, pounding heart, edginess or trouble sleeping.

Many people attempt to manage anxiety on their own, usually by trying to avoid people and situations which trigger anxiety. This may not be effective in the long-term. That doesn’t mean that a person must live with uncontrolled anxiety disorder, however. There are steps you can work with a mental health professional on to help manage your symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and reduced caffeine intake can help. It’s also helpful to actively build a positive support network. These relationships will not only provide comfort and security, but they can help you cope with situations which threaten to trigger anxiety.

If you are experiencing problem anxiety, it’s important that you know that you are far from alone. The steps mentioned above can be useful but it is also important to talk with a mental health professional. They can help you learn positive coping strategies for those times when anxiety threatens and guide you through expanding your boundaries so that anxiety doesn’t hold you in its paralyzing grip and keep you from enjoying life. We encourage you to contact us at Family Guidance Center and learn how to stop anxiety from being a controlling influence in your life.