What Is an Eating Disorder?

What Is an Eating Disorder? [Infographic]

What Is an Eating Disorder?

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An eating disorder is an illness that disrupts a person’s eating behaviors and can cause a person to become preoccupied with food, food intake, and/or their body weight. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate associated with any mental illness, and at least 30 million Americans deal with an eating disorder, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

What Causes an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders have been associated with a variety of potential causes, and a combination of some or all of these factors is believed to contribute to an eating disorder.

  • Biology: Studies have shown that individuals sometimes have brain circuitry variants that may contribute to an eating disorder.
  • Genetics: Research indicates that certain genetic variations may contribute to an eating disorder, and an individual with a family history of eating disorders is seven to 12 times more likely than others to develop an eating disorder.
  • Personality: People who are prone to obsessive thinking, harm avoidance, and impulsivity have an increased likelihood of developing an eating disorder.
  • Trauma: Physical and/or sexual abuse or other traumatic events may make a person more susceptible to shame, guilt, and other feelings, which can lead to an eating disorder.

What Are the Types of Eating Disorders?

Common eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa: Causes severely low body weight, a distorted view of weight, and extreme fear of gaining weight; people struggling with anorexia are typically below a healthy weight.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: Leads a person to eat large amounts of food (binge), then purge to eliminate extra calories; people struggling with bulimia may be within a normal weight range.
  • Binge-Eating Disorder: Causes recurring episodes in which an individual eats large amounts of food and feels unable to stop eating.
  • Pica: Involves craving or chewing ice, clay, soil, and other items that have no nutritional value.
  • Avoidant or Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID): Results in highly selective eating habits, interrupted eating patterns, or both; ARFID is similar to anorexia, but it does not cause distress related to body shape or size or an extreme fear of gaining weight.

What Are the Symptoms of an Eating Disorder?

A person dealing with an eating disorder may display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Food rituals
  • Uncomfortable eating around others
  • Skipping meals or consuming small portions at meals
  • Preoccupation with weight and/or diet
  • Mood swings
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Gastrointestinal issues like constipation and/or stomach cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness

How to Treat an Eating Disorder

Common eating disorder treatments include:

  • Medication: Antidepressant and/or anti-anxiety medications are sometimes used to help patients manage their eating disorders.
  • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy allows a patient to discuss his or her eating disorder thoughts and feelings with a mental health counselor and develop coping strategies.
  • Dietary Changes: A nutritionist can help an eating disorder patient create and implement a balanced, nutritional diet.

Explore Eating Disorder Treatment Options Today

To learn more about eating disorder treatment, please contact Achieve Medical Center online or call us at (858) 427-5060.

New Year's Resolutions

How to Best Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions When You Battle Depression

The new year is fast approaching, and now may be a great time to start considering a New Year’s resolution for 2020. However, for those coping with depression, the stress, anxiety, and pressure that goes along with developing and keeping a New Year’s resolution often adds up quickly.

Depression is a mood disorder that can affect people at all stages of life. It causes emotional and physical problems, and sometimes makes a person believe that life isn’t worth living. If a person dealing with depression experiences sadness and hopelessness when thinking about the new year, this individual may put off a New Year’s resolution entirely.

Depression can also make it difficult for a person to think and concentrate. As a result, depression can impact a person’s ability to make decisions, and can cast doubt on a person’s ability to follow through on a New Year’s resolution.

Fatigue is a common depression symptom as well. If a person feels tired and exhausted due to depression, this individual is unlikely to feel any urgency to create a New Year’s resolution or stick with it for an entire year.

In addition to these hurdles, if a person manages to make a New Year’s resolution and fails to stick to it, the emotional consequences can be severe. Sometimes, depression can cause extreme feelings of guilt and worthlessness associated with not meeting a New Year’s resolution, which can then cause recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

How to Cope with Depression While You Establish and Follow Through on a New Year’s Resolution

A New Year’s resolution should be a positive thing — a resolution that a person can look forward to completing in the new year. With the right approach to creating a New Year’s resolution, a person coping with depression can develop a realistic resolution and stay with it in the foreseeable future.

It is important to remember that a New Year’s resolution doesn’t require a person to go to extremes. Instead, a simple lifestyle change like performing exercise for a few minutes a day can help a person develop a successful exercise regimen in the new year. Or, gradually replacing unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives can help a person build and maintain a healthy diet in the new year.

Trial and error is usually a good way to go with a New Year’s resolution, too. For instance, a person dealing with depression who wants to relax more in the new year could try a few minutes of meditation each day. If, after a few days or weeks, meditation helps a person improve relaxation, this individual can continue with the routine. On the other hand, if meditation is ineffective, it’s ok to try deep breathing exercises, mindfulness activities, or other relaxation techniques in lieu of meditation.

Using a buddy system can also be an effective way to stick with a New Year’s resolution. With support from a family member or friend, there is no telling how successful an individual may be in accomplishing a new year’s goal.

There is no need to implement more than one New Year’s resolution, either. By choosing a single New Year’s resolution, a person can be fully committed to getting the best results.

How to Get Started on Creating a New Year’s Resolution

One of the best ways to get started on creating a New Year’s resolution is to establish priorities. This allows an individual dealing with depression to establish goals for the new year, then prepare accordingly.

After a New Year’s resolution is in place, it is helpful to set milestones and track progress toward achieving the resolution. This enables a person to celebrate accomplishments throughout the year while working toward achieving a bigger goal.

Finally, the medical clinicians at Achieve Medical Center are happy to help patients find ways to manage depression so they can accomplish their New Year’s resolutions. We provide a wide array of depression therapies, and each depression treatment is tailored to a patient’s requirements.

Depression challenges men, women, and children, but there is no need for it to dampen the new year. At Achieve Medical Center, we offer medication, psychotherapy, and other treatment options to help patients manage their depression symptoms. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online, or call us today at (858) 427-5060.

Holiday Stress

4 Causes of Holiday Stress and How to Cope with It

The holiday season is here — and so is the stress that impacts many people during the season.

Holiday stress can be problematic, and the holiday season is sometimes filled with loneliness, sadness, and anxiety, all of which can contribute to this issue. Fortunately, people who understand the causes of holiday stress can take steps to cope with it.

There are many reasons why people feel stressed around the holidays. Now, let’s examine four causes of holiday stress, as well as strategies that you can use to manage holiday stress.

1. Holiday Gatherings

The holiday season is often the perfect time to get together with family members, friends, and other loved ones, even distant relatives who you have not seen in a long time. Yet dealing with toxic relatives that you otherwise avoid throughout the rest of the year can cause stress that dampens your holiday spirit.

People struggling with depression sometimes face a stigma when dealing with toxic relatives during the holidays. For example, in certain instances, toxic relatives might believe a person coping with depression is lazy or that the condition is all in an individual’s head, which is never the case.

To deal with stress related to holiday gatherings, it is important to remember that the holidays are a great time to focus on forgiveness. Even though you may not be able to change a relative’s view of you or your depression, you can focus on self-care. You can also accept the fact that maintaining a healthy state of mind is a top priority — and do whatever you need to do to feel happy and healthy during the holiday season.

2. Holiday Shopping

Gift-giving is common around the holidays, but the temptation to spend above and beyond your means to purchase the perfect present can cause serious financial stress during the holiday season and after it ends.

Ultimately, it helps to create a holiday shopping budget and stick to it. You can also give gifts that don’t require you to spend money, like a handmade present or the gift of quality time. This allows you to provide exceptional holiday presents that show who you are to the people you love — without breaking your budget.

3. Holiday Obligations

You want to make the most of the holiday season, so you may try to attend as many holiday parties, parades, and other events as possible. In addition, you may commit to decorating a Christmas tree, preparing holiday cookies, and performing other holiday activities.

As much as you may try to plan ahead for holiday obligations, the sheer volume of obligations can sometimes lead to increased stress. In this situation, you may be susceptible to less sleep, overeating, and more drinking during the holiday season, WebMD states.

If you say yes to every holiday event or activity, you could burn out quickly. So, when it comes to holiday obligations, remember that it is ok to say no if a holiday event or activity causes your stress levels to rise.

4. Memories

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year for many people, but for others, it can bring up memories that incite feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and guilt. For instance, people sometimes dwell on memories of the past or memories of deceased loved ones during holiday events, and this can make it difficult to celebrate in the present.

If certain memories affect your ability to enjoy the holidays, professional help is available. In fact, Achieve Medical Center offers a wide range of psychiatric and mental health services to help people cope with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), anxiety, and other mental health conditions before, during, and after the holiday season.

Holiday stress is sometimes unavoidable, but Achieve Medical Center helps patients find the best ways to cope with this issue. Achieve Medical Center’s clinicians are passionate about patient care, and treat the biological, psychological, and social aspects of the individual. They also offer modern, non-invasive treatment options, along with personalized treatment programs to accommodate each patient’s needs. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online, or call us today at (858) 427-5060.

Holiday Depression

A Guide to Coping with Holiday Depression

The holiday season fosters excitement, joy, and other positive feelings. Yet for some people, holiday depression is a serious problem. If holiday depression is ignored and goes untreated, it can hinder your or a loved one’s ability to celebrate and enjoy the holidays.

What Is Holiday Depression?

Holiday depression refers to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and anxiety that occur during the holiday season. It happens for a variety of reasons, such as stress, fatigue, financial worries, and unrealistic holiday expectations.

There are many symptoms associated with holiday depression, including over-eating, insomnia, headaches, and excessive drinking. In addition, holiday depression can begin at the start of the holiday season, and continue after New Year’s Day.

Holiday depression is not always preventable, but people who can identify the symptoms of this problem can develop and use techniques and strategies to manage their symptoms. That way, these individuals can take steps to cope with depression symptoms before they dampen their holiday season.

How Can a Person Cope with Holiday Depression?

One of the best ways to manage holiday depression is to set realistic expectations for the holiday season from the get-go. For example, a person can choose to follow a few past holiday traditions, but also be open to accepting a few new ones. This can help a person avoid stress, anxiety, and other depression symptoms frequently associated with the idea of trying to have a “picture-perfect” holiday season.

Creating a holiday budget is a great idea to help cope with financial worries that can sometimes cause holiday depression. With a budget in place, an individual will know precisely how much he or she can spend on holiday gifts. Plus, the budget may even lead a person to become more creative with his or her holiday gift-giving, resulting in homemade gifts and gifts of service.

Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen is often beneficial during the holiday season, too. Junk food sometimes contributes to depression, and the temptation to eat fruitcake, cookies, and other holiday treats may seem overwhelming. So, if necessary, an individual can enjoy a healthy snack before attending holiday events where these treats will be available to satisfy his or her hunger pangs. One can also exercise for at least a few minutes daily, as exercise helps ease depression symptoms.

Should You Seek Medical Help for Holiday Depression?

For those who find that their holiday depression makes it tough to function, or causes suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death, seek medical help right away.

A doctor can perform a physical exam, lab tests, and a psychiatric evaluation to help diagnose holiday depression. If a doctor believes an individual is dealing with holiday depression, medication may be prescribed to help the patient manage his or her depression symptoms. Or, psychotherapy may be recommended to help an individual develop coping techniques and strategies for his or her depression symptoms.

The medical clinicians at Achieve Medical Center can help patients with holiday depression as well. Our clinicians prioritize patient care, and work closely with each patient to provide him or her with a personalized depression treatment plan. We also provide extensive and compassionate mental health and wellness services designed to address the biological, psychological, and social aspects of each of our patients.

Schedule a Depression Treatment Consultation with Achieve Medical Center

The holiday season comes only once a year, but holiday depression sometimes prevents people from enjoying the holiday season to the fullest extent. At Achieve Medical Center, we provide medication, psychotherapy, and other treatment options to help patients manage holiday depression symptoms. To learn more or to schedule a treatment consultation, please contact us online, or call us today at (858) 427-5060.

Seasonal Depression

Educating Yourself About Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Not all forms of depression are the same, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a unique form of mood disorder that takes place around the same time each year. To better understand SAD, let’s examine this type of depression and how it affects individuals at different times during the year.

In certain instances, people with SAD may experience anxiety, moodiness, and other depression symptoms that start in fall, continue into winter, and end in spring. Some SAD patients, however, experience depression symptoms that start in summer and conclude in fall or winter.

SAD symptoms include feeling depressed for the majority of a given day, virtually every day, loss of interest in activities that an individual once enjoyed, fatigue and low energy levels, difficulty sleeping, and trouble concentrating, the Mayo Clinic indicates. In addition, people who experience SAD may be more prone than others to feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless, as well as experience bouts of agitation or irritability, appetite or weight changes, and thoughts of suicide or death.

The symptoms of SAD sometimes differ based on the seasons. Common winter-onset SAD symptoms include sleeping too much, weight gain, fatigue, and appetite changes. Spring and summer SAD symptoms may include insomnia, agitation, anxiety, weight loss, and poor appetite. Along with the aforementioned SAD symptoms, people coping with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) may experience increased moodiness during certain seasons. This may occur due to seasonal changes, along with reduced sunlight exposure.

Some researchers have theorized that SAD occurs due to hormonal changes. There is less sunlight in fall and winter, which can lead the brain to produce less serotonin leading to abnormally functioning nerve cell pathways during these seasons, resulting in SAD.

The body’s biological clock has also been studied in relation to SAD. Since there is reduced sunlight in fall and winter, there may be a disruption in a person’s circadian rhythm, which affects an individual’s sleep patterns and how the body performs, increasing susceptibility to symptoms of depression.

There was once a time when psychiatrists believed SAD affected women more frequently than men, but recent research indicates that women and men are equally susceptible to SAD. Other factors that may impact a person’s risk of experiencing SAD include a family history of depression, current MDD or Bipolar Disorder symptoms, or living far north or south of the equator.

If a person believes that he or she is dealing with SAD, proper diagnosis and treatment are key. Once a person pursues diagnosis and treatment for SAD, this individual can take the first steps to manage his or her depression symptoms.

SAD diagnosis typically requires a patient evaluation that involves a series of steps. A physical exam is used to learn about a patient’s health, as well as determine if a physical problem is contributing to his or her depression symptoms. Lab tests like a complete blood count may be used to make sure a patient’s thyroid is working properly. Also, a psychological evaluation or questionnaire may be necessary, and allows a patient to share his or her depression thoughts, feelings, symptoms, and behavior patterns. Criteria from the American Medical Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) may also be used to analyze a patient’s depression symptoms.

Following SAD diagnosis, treatment options are explored. SAD treatment may involve light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy, or some combination of these treatments, Mayo Clinic states.

Light therapy involves the use of a special light box that replicates natural outdoor light to help stimulate brain chemicals linked to mood. Comparatively, antidepressant medications may help treat severe SAD symptoms. If a patient ultimately receives a SAD diagnosis, he or she may be required to start using an antidepressant just before symptom onset usually takes place each year. With psychotherapy, a patient can identify and modify negative thought patterns that lead to SAD symptoms, along with finding safe, healthy ways to cope with these symptoms.

At Achieve Medical Center, we provide comprehensive and compassionate care to patients dealing with SAD and other forms of depression. To learn more, please contact us online, or call us today at (858) 427-5060.

Eating Disorder

How to Handle an Eating Disorder

In order to understand how to handle an eating disorder, it is important to first define what an eating disorder is and how it impacts a person’s life. Ultimately, an eating disorder disrupts your ability to eat, creating corresponding preoccupations about food intake and body appearance, affecting one’s thoughts and emotions to the point of interrupting daily activities and creating health problems. Millions of Americans have an eating disorder, which concerningly carries one of the highest mortality rates among all mental illnesses. The most common eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa: Refers to an extreme food restriction that causes a significant decrease in body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and distorted perception of one’s own weight; people struggling with anorexia are often below a healthy weight.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: Involves consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time, followed by purging to get rid of calories; people struggling with bulimia can actually be within a normal weight range.
  • Binge-Eating Disorder: Involves the consumption of large amounts of food in a short period of time without compensating for calories; unlike bulimia, people with binge-eating disorder do not purge after eating.
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID): Involves the development of highly selective eating habits, disturbed feeding patterns, or both.

Oftentimes, eating disorders tend to run in families, and people may be more prone to develop an eating disorder if a blood relative previously dealt with one. Also, low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, and other psychological factors have been associated with the development of an eating disorder. Society often sets unrealistic standards for appearance, and some people develop eating disorders in their pursuit of the “perfect” body. Furthermore, family or relationship problems, peer pressure, trauma, and other environmental factors can play major roles in the development of an eating disorder.

Eating disorders may occur for many reasons, and the symptoms associated with eating disorders range from emotional and behavioral symptoms like feeling uncomfortable eating around others to physical symptoms such as muscle weakness. Regardless of symptoms, it is important to understand how to address an eating disorder as quickly and safely as possible.

To treat an eating disorder, you may require support from a group of medical professionals, including:

  • Primary Care Practitioner: Treats health or dental problems associated with your eating disorder.
  • Psychiatrist: Provides additional medical guidance and helps you evaluate pharmacological treatment of the physical symptoms associated with your eating disorder.
  • Dietician: Provides nutrition and meal planning insights.
  • Psychologist: Helps you uncover the root cause of your eating disorder and explore strategies to cope with eating disorder

The aforementioned medical professionals tailor an eating disorder treatment plan to a patient, which may involve one or more of the following types of therapy:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Addresses disruptive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to eating disorder
  • Family-Based Therapy: Involves collaborating with family members to cope with unhealthy eating patterns and restore healthy eating habits.
  • Group Therapy: Requires meeting with a mental health professional and other eating disorder patients to explore eating disorder treatment strategies.

In addition to therapy, an eating disorder treatment plan requires nutrition education through which patients understand the importance of getting the appropriate nutrients and develop insights needed to work toward maintaining healthy eating habits and weight. Medications may also be used in combination with psychotherapy to treat an eating disorder. If you are dealing with serious mental or physical problems associated with your eating disorder, you may require inpatient treatment as well.

Many eating disorder treatments are available, and finding the right one is sometimes difficult. At Achieve Medical Center, we offer healthy eating services in conjunction with mental health treatments to help people with eating disorders. To learn more or schedule a consultation with Achieve Medical Center, please call contact us online or call us at (858) 427-5060.

maternal depression

How to Best Cope with Maternal Depression

Maternal depression symptoms can impact the well-being of both women and their families. Research shows that maternal depression affects about one in nine women during pregnancy and up to one year after childbirth. This type of depression has a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Crying
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

Maternal depression can affect women of all ages and ethnicities. One’s unique biology, hormonal changes, stress, and other factors may make some more susceptible to maternal depression than others.

There are four types of maternal depression:

  1. Prenatal: Occurs during pregnancy, causing emotional highs and lows that interfere with a woman’s ability to function.
  2. Baby Blues: Often start in the first few days after childbirth, and may be present for up to two weeks following delivery.
  3. Postpartum: Refers to baby blues that extend beyond two weeks of childbirth, and persist for up to three months after delivery.
  4. Postpartum Psychosis: Begins within two to four weeks after childbirth, with symptoms including hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and other forms of psychosis.

Maternal depression may affect both a woman and her child’s behaviors. In a study of 875 mothers in Chile over a 16-year period, researchers found that half of the study participants were depressed, and one-third were severely depressed. Researchers discovered that children of severely depressed mothers had a lower average verbal IQ score than children without depressed mothers. They also stated that children of severely depressed mothers had a small vocabulary and poor comprehension skills in comparison to children of mothers without depression.

How to Treat Maternal Depression

Maternal depression treatment can benefit both a woman and her child. For example, a study of 80 depressed mothers and their children was used to evaluate the impact of different maternal depression treatment options on both mothers and their children. All of the mothers in the study had been previously diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, but had no history of Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. Comparatively, approximately one-third of the children in the study had a psychiatric disorder. Study researchers noted that finding the right maternal depression treatment is critical for both a woman and her child, but doing so often requires trial and error. They also indicated that the right maternal depression treatment helps reduce a woman’s depression symptoms and behavioral issues, and frequently helps her child do the same.

There are many options to treat maternal depression, including medications and psychotherapy. Antidepressant medications may help women manage their maternal depression symptoms, and research indicates that certain antidepressants have not been shown to adversely impact breastfeeding infants. Meanwhile, psychotherapy can help a woman explore the thoughts and feelings associated with her maternal depression and find ways to cope with her depression symptoms.

At Achieve Medical Center, we provide comprehensive and compassionate care to women who are experiencing symptoms of maternal depression. Our clinicians understand and respect the unique bond between a mother and child, and take into consideration all the aspects of that relationship when collaborating with patients about a treatment plan. To learn more about our current maternal depression treatment options, please contact us online or call us at (858) 427-5060.

Insomnia and depression

Understanding the Link Between Depression and Insomnia and How TMS Can Help

Depression and insomnia are often related conditions. To better understand the link between depression and insomnia, let’s first examine each condition individually.

Depression, often diagnosed as Major Depressive Disorder, is a medical illness that affects the way a person acts, feels, and thinks. It can cause feelings of sadness, low energy, weight changes, sleep pattern changes, decrease interest in or enjoyment from previously pleasurable activities, and many other symptoms.

Insomnia is a medical disorder that makes it difficult for a person to fall or stay asleep. There are two types of insomnia: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia refers to a sleep disruption that happens for a short period of time; for example, a person may experience acute insomnia after a stressful event such as the loss of a loved one. Chronic insomnia refers to disrupted sleep that lasts for three months or longer. The insomnia can either be due to another medical or psychiatric condition, or can be independent. Insomnia is associated with a variety of physical and mental issues, and can impair a person’s ability to function properly

Research has highlighted the correlation between depression and insomnia. In a study published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, researchers evaluated patients dealing with depression and insomnia to determine if there was a “genuine” relationship between the two conditions, and in fact, found that there was a genuine relationship beyond a simple overlap of symptoms. Their results showed that insomnia treatment may help reduce depression symptoms and that both depression and insomnia symptoms could be treated at the same time.

In a study published in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, researchers examined the association between sleep disturbance and major depression. Researchers found that depressed patients frequently experience sleep disturbances that alter the function of the brain’s neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that carry signals to cells across the body. They also indicated that depressed patients who managed their sleep disturbances improved their quality of life and had a decreased rate of depression recurrence.

Does Insomnia Trigger Depression, or Vice-Versa?

Insomnia does not necessarily cause depression on its own, but can often be a sign of clinical depression. If a person experiences frequent sleep disturbances, he or she may be dealing with clinical depression.

A lack of sleep can make it difficult for an individual to manage his or her depression symptoms. The longer a person deals with insomnia, the worse their depression symptoms may become. If depression and insomnia continue to go untreated, an individual may struggle with both physical and mood-related symptoms that prevent them from enjoying life.

How to Treat Depression and Insomnia

Medications and psychotherapy are two of the most common treatments for depression and insomnia. In some instances, patients use both medications and therapy to treat their depression and insomnia symptoms. A variety of therapeutic interventions are available for the treatment of depression, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

A doctor may prescribe medications that help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep or help a patient stay asleep. He or she may also recommend antidepressants to help treat depression if that is suspected to be playing a role. Each medication treatment program is tailored to a patient, and a trial-and-error approach may be required to ensure that a patient can use medications to treat depression and insomnia without experiencing intolerable side effects.

CBT involves the use of a structured program to identify behaviors and thoughts that cause depression and insomnia. It requires a patient to work with a mental health counselor who helps him or her discover the root cause of depression and insomnia symptoms. Then, a plan is developed to help a patient change his or her behaviors and thoughts. Alternative therapies to CBT are also available, depending on what would be best for each individual patient.

In addition to medications and CBT, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is quickly becoming a top choice to treat depression and insomnia. TMS therapy may be performed on its own or in conjunction with medications and CBT to help patients alleviate depression and insomnia symptoms.

A Closer Look at TMS Therapy to Treat Depression and Insomnia

TMS is a revolutionary therapy for Major Depressive Disorder. It involves the use of magnetic pulses sent to the brain which stimulate neurons involved in the regulation and production of mood symptoms, all with the goal of treating the symptoms of depression.

A TMS therapy program requires five sessions per week, conducted over the course of six weeks. Each TMS treatment session lasts 20 minutes, and a patient can resume his or her normal activities after a session. Plus, TMS therapy does not require medications, anesthesia, or electrical shocks, and the treatment’s side effects are often minimal.

Schedule a Depression and Insomnia Treatment Consultation with Achieve Medical Center Today

Achieve Medical Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treat depression, insomnia, and other medical disorders. We offer comprehensive mental health and wellness services for children and adults, and we work diligently to provide our patients with the best care and support. To schedule a treatment consultation with Achieve Medical Center, please contact us online or call us at (858) 427-5060.

What Is Psychiatric Medication Management?

What Is Psychiatric Medication Management?

Psychiatric medication management, commonly referred to as psychopharmacology, helps people take a comprehensive and personalized approach to identify the right medications to address their mental health symptoms.

Psychopharmacology involves working with a psychiatrist who understands the complexities associated with mental illness. This psychiatrist recognizes that each patient is different, and he or she understands that there is no one-size-fits-all medication to treat all types of mental illness. Thus, a patient can discuss his or her mental health concerns with a psychiatrist, who then works with this individual to develop a personalized psychopharmacology program.

With psychopharmacology, a patient receives a full diagnostic assessment that allows a psychiatrist to identify and diagnose mental and physical health issues. Following diagnosis, a psychiatrist may recommend one or more medications to help a patient safely and effectively manage his or her mental illness.

A patient who begins a psychopharmacology program receives ongoing medication management and follow-up care. A psychiatrist tracks his or her patient’s progress throughout treatment to ensure that he or she can achieve the best possible results. Psychiatric medication management can occasionally require coordinating with other prescribing providers such as primary care physicians, cardiologists, or OB/Gyn, all in order to ensure that there are no adverse medication interactions.

Is Medication the Best Option to Treat Mental Illness?

Psychopharmacology is one of several options to treat mental illness. Other mental health treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy is used to help people identify and resolve problems that contribute to mental illness.
  • Ketamine therapy involves low-dose infusions of ketamine to help reduce symptoms of mental illness.
  • Neurofeedback is a form of brainwave training designed to help the brain perform at its fullest capacity.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS therapy) involves the use of magnetic pulses delivered to the brain to stimulate neurons responsible for depression symptoms.

At Achieve Medical Center, we offer psychopharmacology and other mental health services. To schedule a free consultation with Achieve Medical Center, please contact us online or call us today at (858) 427-5060.

Neurofeedback: How Optimizing Your Brain Can Help Treat Depression and Anxiety

Neurofeedback: How Optimizing Your Brain Can Help Treat Depression and Anxiety

Neurofeedback, also referred to as electroencephalography (EEG) biofeedback, is a type of brainwave training used to teach the brain how to operate at its fullest capacity. Neurofeedback is sometimes mistaken as biofeedback; however, it is crucial to note the differences between biofeedback and neurofeedback.

Biofeedback refers to a method used to obtain information about the body, such as tracking skin temperature or blood pressure. It promotes the use of conditioning to help people gain control over involuntary body processes.

Comparatively, neurofeedback focuses on feedback from brainwaves. It helps people gain control over neurological issues and prevent them from recurring.

Neurofeedback to treat depression and anxiety is now an available form of treatment. In addition to treating depression, neurofeedback is commonly used to address the following issues:

  • Insomnia
  • PTSD
  • Addiction
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Autism
  • Brain injury

A typical neurofeedback training session involves the use of advanced computer technology that helps to optimize the brain’s performance. To start a neurofeedback session, a provider asks a patient a series of questions; that way, the provider can evaluate the patient and ensure he or she is a good candidate for neurofeedback.

During a training session, sensors are placed on top of a patient’s ears and scalp. These sensors enable a neurofeedback technician to analyze the patient’s brain activity and examine frequencies that regulate brain function. The sensors are only used to examine electrical activity from the brain, and they do not administer any frequencies to the brain.

As a patient’s brain activity is monitored, he or she watches fractal images created from brain activity. Meanwhile, neurofeedback training is used to help the patient regulate his or her brain’s performance. In doing so, neurofeedback drives self-regulation of the brain.

Neurofeedback sessions require anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes to complete. Side effects of neurofeedback are minimal, and patients usually require several treatment sessions to achieve the best possible results.

With neurofeedback, the brain gradually heals itself via neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to recognize synaptic connections. Neuroplasticity promotes nervous system changes and helps a patient achieve long-lasting neurofeedback training results.

As a neurofeedback session progresses, a patient’s brain generally transitions from an uncomfortable state to a more focused and relaxed state. This ultimately trains the brain to control arousal and excitement levels, enabling a patient to use neurofeedback to treat depression and anxiety.

Is Neurofeedback a Safe, Effective Treatment for Depression and Anxiety?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has cited neurofeedback as a “Level 1” treatment for evidence-based child and adolescent psychological interventions. Additionally, neurofeedback patients sometimes report improved mood, more restful sleep, and increased focus following treatment.

At the same time, it is important to remember that depression and anxiety treatment results vary. Thus, it is paramount to consult with a doctor to evaluate different depression and anxiety treatment options. This allows an individual to work with a doctor to determine a safe and effective way to treat depression and anxiety symptoms.

Doctors sometimes recommend antidepressant medications to combat depression and anxiety. These medications may help an individual address his or her depression and anxiety symptoms. Conversely, they may also cause nausea, vomiting, and other intolerable side effects. In certain instances, antidepressants have no impact, and patients continue to experience depression and anxiety symptoms despite their medication use.

Also, doctors may recommend neurofeedback and other alternative therapies to alleviate depression and anxiety. Alternative therapies used to treat depression and anxiety include:

  • Ketamine Therapy: Ketamine therapy involves the use of an FDA-approved anesthetic shown to relieve depression and anxiety symptoms. It delivers results similar to those associated with antidepressants, but these results may last only a few days or weeks.
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, commonly referred to as “talk therapy,” helps an individual build the coping skills necessary to deal with depression and anxiety. Many forms of psychotherapy are available, including individual, play, and group therapy options. Each type of psychotherapy is designed to help a patient identify the root cause of depression and anxiety symptoms and explore ways to treat these symptoms.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): TMS therapy involves the use of magnetic pulses to stimulate neurons in the brain. It is non-invasive, has few side effects, and does not require any medications. Plus, TMS therapy is FDA-approved to help treat and heal the brain.

There is no shortage of depression and anxiety therapies, and choosing the right treatment may be difficult. Fortunately, Achieve Medical Center is a unique, multidisciplinary, private psychiatric and mental health practice that helps patients find the right depression and anxiety therapy.

At Achieve Medical Center, our philosophy is to deliver comprehensive and compassion care to children and adults. To accomplish our mission, we work as a team to analyze our patients on a biological, psychological, and social level. This enables us to help each patient discover the best way to manage his or her depression and anxiety symptoms.

Schedule a Neurofeedback Training Consultation at Achieve Medical Center

For individuals who are considering neurofeedback or other alternative depression and anxiety therapies, Achieve Medical Center is available. We offer six locations in Southern California and three locations in Oregon, along with expert staff who understand what it takes to treat depression and anxiety symptoms. We also allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about our patients and their depression and anxiety treatment goals. In doing so, we work closely with each of our patients to help them achieve long-lasting depression and anxiety symptom relief.


Achieve Medical Center provides free consultations for individuals who are considering neurofeedback or other depression and anxiety therapy options. To schedule a consultation with Achieve Medical Center, please call us today at (858) 427-5060.