Yearly Archive2021

Get Help and Find Treatment for Panic Attacks in Utah

Panic attacks are not themselves life-threatening, but because The symptoms frequently mimic actual medical emergencies, it’s a good idea to seek immediate medical attention. In the most severe cases, medication can usually reduce the worst symptoms of an attack. But if you think you’re in the middle of an attack and you’re determined not to seek medical care, get yourself to as safe a place as reasonably possible and then consider one of these approaches for stopping a panic attack. Afterwards, it’s wise to find follow-up treatment for panic attacks.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Panic Attacks

There’s an entire range of therapeutic methods that fall under the umbrella of cognitive-behavioral therapy. There are online manuals that explain the standard steps associated with CBT for panic disorder. This information is helpful for people who are terrified by not knowing what to expect from therapy. Just know before going in that an online manual is no substitute for having a qualified therapist guide you through the actual process. First and foremost, you’ll have an empathetic ear that can improve your mental health from the start. From there, personalizing the educational materials, cognitive therapy, and behavioral techniques that are used to treat panic disorder can make all the difference in the world, as they say. EMDR, for example, is a modified form of CBT that has become increasingly popular in Utah as a treatment for panic attacks.

DIY Strategies for Preventing Panic Attacks

An achievable goal for most people in Utah is to eventually be able to manage your panic and anxiety levels effectively on your own. And without the help of prescription medication. More often than not, this means first seeking treatment from a qualified mental health professional. There are relatively simple things you can try on your own, now and later, that may help reduce and prevent your panic attacks.

  • Avoid stimulants, including nicotine, caffeine, and a number of over-the-counter medications. We admit it ain’t always easy. There’s a lot of people out there who need their morning coffee and/or cigarette. But even choosing a head cold medication can be a tricky choice for those who struggle with stimulant-induced panic.
  • Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. Here, too, there are a handful of variations for each of these activities. And the results can range from dramatic improvement to a mixed bag of effects that need to be explored with a therapist. Some people prefer the structure and aural stimulation of guided meditation programs. Some people prefer the physical element of a regular yoga habit. Other people prefer the minimalism of basic breathing exercises.
  • Physical exercise is also recommended, although cardio-workouts and over-exertion may create their own physical triggers—elevated heart rate, shortness of breath—that increase anxiety levels in the very short-term for some people.

Find Treatment for Panic Attacks in Utah

That said, there is no single strategy, or combination of strategies, that work for everybody. Likewise, these preventative strategies tend to take time to work. You may not be able to stop today’s panic attack, but maybe you can stop tomorrow’s. To this point, simply learning how to monitor your panic level and the effectiveness of different therapies can be a big help. Talk to a therapist or mental health provider in Utah.

What People in Utah should know about Neuroscience

Neuroscience is one of the big buzzwords in psychiatry and mental health, but if you’re not careful this buzz can turn into a bunch of noise. Given today’s media portrayals and marketing strategies, it’s all-too-easy to take on misconceptions that may hurt your understanding of mental disorders—whether it’s your own mental health at stake or someone you care about. Take a few minutes to read about the big picture surrounding the buzz and hopefully gain a better perspective of the conversation the next time you hear about the “amazing advances and wonders of brain science.”

What is Neuroscience, and how does it Relate to Mental Health?

In its simplest terms, neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. And while this human curiosity dates back to ancient times, the modern-day version arose in the 1970s with new brain-imaging technology and then solidified itself as a separate branch of scientific inquiry in the mid-1980s. It’s true that we’ve made incredible advances in describing the structures of the brain and its cellular substrate. But here’s the catch: Rarely is there a clear path from seeing which parts of the brain light up and which stay quiet to developing revolutionary cures for things like schizophrenia, depression, and other mental disorders. Put another way, what’s changed is what we’re able to study—not what we’re able to understand—about mental illness.

Popular Misconceptions about Neuroscience

With the media is today, it’s easy to think that the study of the brain and nervous system is going to lead to futuristic neural implants and newer prescription drugs that will cure serious mental illness overnight. And for certain neurological conditions, these treatments may yet become a reality. Today, however, it’s closer to the truth to say that neuroscience is providing more accurate and valid feedback on which treatments work and why. For this reason alone, neuroscience is an invaluable tool for directing future psychological research, but it’s nowhere near a cure-all for mental health.

Neuroscience is far from the only leader in mental health today. EMDR, one relatively new and promising therapy, was developed through clinical observation of eye movements and anxiety levels rather than, say, looking at an MRI or under a microscope. Moreover, the most recommended and effective treatment for a whole range of mental disorders continues to be some combination of cognitive and behavioral therapies delivered by a mental health therapist.

It’s also important to remember that dramatic results are themselves a mixed bag. For decades, some form of electro-convulsive therapy has been used to treat depression, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders, often with dramatic effects. Unfortunately, significant memory loss is a common side effect, and the benefits tend to wear off after some number of months.

Psychoeducation as Part of Getting Help

The everyday depiction of neuroscience is frequently distorted to destigmatize mental health conditions. A growing number of mental health organizations, for example, are branding mental disorders as “brain disorders” and “real medical conditions”—not because we suddenly have a comprehensive understanding of these conditions—but because many people are reluctant to seek therapy for something that’s “all in their head.”  And Utah is certainly no exception when it comes to this reluctance to ask for help.

Recognizing the factors that have led to a mental disorder can be a powerful resource in reducing the shame and anxiety that may keep someone from seeking help. Yet, when taken to the opposite extreme, a person may start to think that all they have to do is show up for therapy to be effective. In other words, just because it’s not your fault that you have a mental disorder doesn’t mean you’re powerless to change. Often times, the only way to get better is through months of behavioral changes and cognitive therapy. This is also why psychoeducation—learning about the nature of your mental disorder—is such a common part of mental health therapy.

Thus, what people in Utah need to know is that neuroscience can be a great ally when it comes to improving your mental health, but it’s no substitute for talking to a therapist and setting aside the time to work on your mental health. Whether it’s reducing psychological distress or overcoming a behavioral impairment, don’t hesitate to search for a qualified mental health professional in Utah.

Higher Rates of Major Depressive Disorder in Utah a Myth

A lot of people think that Utah is one of the most depressed states in the country, but in fact, it’s right at the national average. According to the Utah Department of Health, the prevalence rate for major depressive disorder is 4.2 percent in Utah and nationally. This means that, at any given time, about 4 percent of the state’s residents are depressed. (About one out of every ten Utah residents will go through a major depressive episode each year, and one out of every five residents will do so at some point in their lifetime.)

Popular Misconceptions about Major Depressive Disorder in Utah

Utah shows up near the top of a lot of lists for most depressed states. It’s an issue of data selection and methodology. Due to the inherent difficulties in researching the prevalence of major depressive disorder, there a lot of studies that look at antidepressant use, mental health treatment, suicide rates, and other general information. The thing is these correlating factors serve as a poor substitute for rates of depression that are rigorously calculated through randomly selected populations and statistical analysis.

What’s more, there are many reasons why these correlating factors may be an especially poor method for Utah:

Antidepressant Use and Standards of Care: According to one Ogden psychiatrist quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune, northern Utah’s especially high rate of antidepressant use can be linked, in part, to Intermountain Healthcare’s effort to integrate mental health services with its primary care model. In other words, rising rates of antidepressant use reflect the fact that we’re doing a better job of providing help to the people who need it.

Religion and Self-Medication: There is a solid amount of evidence to suggest that religion and antidepressant use are correlated, but there is no shortage of plausible theories about why this is the case. The one that seems most convincing to us is that lower rates of alcohol use are also correlated with these groups. Thus, religious groups tend to use antidepressants more because they’re less likely to self-medicate. You can see a fuller treatment of this discussion here.

Mental Health Stigmas: Meanwhile, rates of talk therapy are often downplayed overall in calculating rates of major depressive disorder. As laudable as it is, Utah’s culture of self-reliance and industriousness doesn’t do us any favors when it’s time to ask for help from a qualified mental health therapist. Utah residents may be especially likely to seek help from a medical doctor instead.

Cost and Insurance Coverage: On a similar note, the health insurance statistics for Utah suggest that, in addition to a slightly higher rate of coverage overall, Utah has an especially high rate of coverage for employer-sponsored plans. These plans frequently include stronger benefits. Compare this with the coverage and out-of-pocket costs for seeing a therapist on a weekly basis.

Dual-Diagnosis and other Mental Illness: Utah also shows higher rates of diagnosis and mental health services for other types of mental illness. Not only are antidepressants sometimes prescribed for anxiety, OCD, pain, PTSD, and off-label uses, but the 2010 report on Antidepressant Use in Utah showed that the highest rates of antidepressant use were for people with two significant, chronic diseases.

Get Help for Major Depressive Disorder in Utah

State-wide statistics may seem especially important to someone struggling with their own course of major depressive disorder, but these prevalence rates, treatment patterns, and cultural influences can be instructive as individuals seek help for their depression and decide whether to see a therapist or a doctor. We also encourage you to look for local resources in your neighborhood.

How to Stop a Panic Attack: Four Different Scenarios and Approaches

1.       How to Stop a First-Time Panic Attack

Seek medical attention. Generally speaking, panic attacks pose no immediate threat to your physical well-being. Recurring attacks will eventually take their toll and poor decision-making can lead to physical injury, but panic alone is not life-threatening. That said, there’s another reason to seek medical attention for stopping a first-time panic attack. The symptoms of an attack may be something more than just panic. Heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, nausea, dizziness, numbness, etc.—well, let’s just say there’s a reason we tell people to talk to a doctor. We’re not saying you necessarily have to rush to the ER at the first hint of symptoms, but if it feels like something’s really wrong, there’s zero reason to feel ashamed later. (Even if some jerk has the misfortune of telling you that it was “just” a panic attack.)

There’s another reason short-term medical care can be helpful. People who have one attack are at a greater risk of developing panic disorder—in which a person has recurring panic attacks that reinforce his or her tendency to panic. Medical attention can reduce the length and severity of the attack and is thus helpful in minimizing the secondary effects that may or may not emerge. If necessary, medication may be prescribed, though the attack may also subside on its own.

2.       How to Stop a Panic Attack on Your Own

Whether you’ve been through a panic attack before and know what you’re up against, or you’re the stubborn type and you simply refuse to seek medical advice, there are things you can do to hopefully stop a panic attack on your own. First, find a safe place. Or at least a place that feels safer than the one you’re in now. In other words, whether you’re having a panic attack during a concert at the Salt Lake Tabernacle or at a family dinner with the in-laws, remove yourself, at least temporarily, from the situation. Be polite if you can. But get out of there.

A combination of environmental and physical exercise can help mitigate the severity and length of an attack. Once you’ve done the best you can to remove any personal, environmental stressors, start paying attention to your breathing. Or more precisely, bring your attention to the individual breaths that you’re taking. Find a way to mark each breath. You can count them if you prefer, but we recommend using a simple, repeatable phrase that you decide on beforehand. One breath in, one breath out. Or it could be a personal mantra of some kind that you make up on your own.

With time, your breathing and heart rate will gradually slow down, and the attack will subside. Now, if it doesn’t work right away—and it probably won’t—you’re liable to start panicking about not being able to stop panicking. That’s okay. Allow yourself a moment to panic and then start again. One breath in, one breath out.

3.       How to Stop Someone Else’s Panic Attack

Personal insight can be invaluable in coping with panic in the long term, but it’s rare that comforting thoughts alone will stop an attack. Know that it’s difficult-to-impossible for anyone to stay rational in the midst of a panic attack. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer someone comforting words. Just know that you can’t argue away a panic attack.

Instead, do your best to show patience and to give unconditional support to your friend, intimate partner, or family member. The person may be inconsolable at first, but once they start looking to you for help, there is something you can do. Try to do with the breathing exercise together. Or, instead of having the person focus on their own breath, have them focus on yours instead. Slowly, try to match the pace of your breathing to the same rhythm. And, again, if there’s any doubt, have the person seek medical care.

4.       How to Stop a Panic Attack from Coming Back

In the most severe cases, prescription medications may be warranted in the short-term to manage the most acute symptoms. Talk to your doctor, but we also recommend you pay extra attention to the potential for long-term abuse. Have that conversation with your physician from the beginning.

Then, start looking for a therapist who makes sense personally, financially, and geographically. There are all kinds of cognitive and behavioral therapies that can help. Some of them are as straightforward as empathetic listening. Some of them—emdr techniques, for example—sound a little strange and, yet, can be strangely effective. Therapy can reliably deliver at least partial relief from symptoms in the short-term, but studies have shown it makes a big difference in the long run, too.

The Connection between Statistics, Baseball and Mental Health in Utah

On a gut level, baseball and mental health go together like Christmas and childhood memories. There’s the crack of the ball hitting the bat, the pop of the ball in the catcher’s mitt, and catching a foul ball in the stands or a home run on the lawn of Smith’s Ballpark. There’s bonding with family at a young age or making new friends at any age. You can enjoy the in-game entertainment, or there’s plenty of opportunity to catch your breath and reflect a moment between innings—followed by moments of fleeting, yet structured, drama on the field. There is a set of rules and an ultimate objective, but there is also a sense of endless, undirected fun. And there’s a collective sense of belonging that comes with rooting for the home team.

Mental Health Statistics and the Role of Luck

What many people don’t know is that the study of baseball also contributes to the study of mental health. Whether you’re trying to determine which treatments are most likely to improve mental health or which skills and players are most likely to contribute to a winning team, careful observation, recordkeeping, and statistical analysis is required.

And the truth is that human perception isn’t naturally predisposed to reading and interpreting quantitative data. What looks like random outcomes in an everyday context can add up quickly over time. A 5 percent improvement to a player’s batting average—one extra hit per week—is the difference between an average ballplayer and a Hall-of-Famer. An antidepressant that’s 5 percent more effective than what’s available today can be hard to detect in clinical studies, but it could also mean a more stable mood and higher resilience for tens of thousands of Utah residents.

The same science and math skills are used to answer questions across many different types of human activity, baseball and mental included:

  • Does a player’s horrible batting performance in May indicate a lack of focus, a string of bad luck, or an inability to adapt to new defensive strategies?

 

  • Does an antidepressant drug that makes 65 percent of patients feel better owe its success to a better chemical formula and molecular structure, selection bias in finding patients for the study, or heightened placebo effects that come from oral medications and doctors in lab coats?

 

  • And sometimes the link between baseball and mental health is a direct one: Is a pitcher who was struck in the head by a line drive 3 months struggling to throw strikes because there are lingering effects of a brain injury, a newly formed fear of getting hit in the head, or simply because it’s taking a little longer than expected to regain his previous form?

Emerging Realities and Incomplete Data

In baseball as well as mental health, early detection and intervention are crucial. Recognizing before any other team that a young second baseman with stellar defensive skills is also going to fill out and develop into a power hitter in a few years is the kind of thing that sets the most successful teams apart. Likewise, getting an accurate diagnosis for autism, bipolar, or schizophrenia twelve or even six months earlier can have a substantial impact for treatment and long-term mental health outcomes.

Years of recruitment and development—not to mention diligent practice routines—go into assembling the baseball team that we as Salt Lake Bees fans go to see. Likewise, there is a complex tapestry of environmental and genetic causes that go into the presentation of most mental disorders. And yet, from one day to another, dumb luck creates unpredictable outcomes for what happens on the baseball diamond and what happens to an individual’s development and mental health.

Development of Skills across Industries

You might be thinking that this is a neat idea, but does baseball really contribute to mental health in any material way? We think it does. In fact, people often underestimate the ways in which professional skills that are developed by one organization or industry tend to bleed into other applications. And baseball and statistics are far from the only crossover.

Take the VA system, for example. Due to an inability to process veterans’ claims, track and report patient wait times, and generally provide a reasonable access to health services, there have been calls to privatize the VA system. (Other policymakers are instead pushing to revamp and better fund the VA system.) But smart, experienced people who have looked at the issue point out that one of the things that make privatization impractical is the VA’s role in training mental health professionals.

Many of the doctors and psychologists who treat head injuries in Utah due to car collisions, organized sports, occupational hazards, and canyoneering—many of these professionals received their education and early career training in the VA system. And while the private health care system could possibly accommodate more patients in the short-term—for a price—it doesn’t have the infrastructure or track record when it comes to replacing these professional training programs.

The Statistics We’re Trying to Change

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 44 percent of adults know little to nothing about  mental illness and 31 percent of adults say a fear of being judged by others would stop them from seeking mental health treatment. Try as we might, the goal of a completely informed and destigmatized society is not realistic. But even making a small difference—one more person, one more mental health insight, one more therapy session per week—will eventually lead to a large, positive impact. Improve your own mental health tools by talking with a mental health provider in Utah.

What the Rat in the Cage Tells Us about the Causes of Addiction

There is a famous addiction experiment, known as Rat Park, conducted in the 1970s by researchers in Vancouver that shows rats are more likely to become use cocaine when they have nothing else to do. Specifically, the researchers created two different cages. In both cages, they hung two water bottles—one was regular water, the other bottle was laced with cocaine. The difference was one of the cages was left barren, while the other was given every amenity and play area a rat could dream of.

The result? The rats in Rat Park consumed 75% less cocaine water and didn’t seem particularly interested in the cocaine bottle. Meanwhile, most of the rats in the barren cage started consuming the cocaine water heavily or exclusively, to the point that many died of excessive use.

Researchers then started looking for evidence in humans to support this theory about our surroundings playing a central role in drug addiction. Given the time they were living in, the researchers didn’t have to look very hard. The Vietnam War was coming to an end, and because cocaine, heroin, and marijuana use were known to be common among U.S. soldiers, a lot of people were terrified there would be a public health crisis of prolific substance abuse. Never happened. Needless to say, most soldiers struggle to transition after their active service, and there is a correlation between veterans, drug use, and PTSD. But this, too, only reinforces the importance of the cage we live in. What veterans tended to bring back with them wasn’t drug addiction, so much as the war itself.

Addiction, the Human Cage, and Socio-Economic Status

The Vietnam War provides a stark contrast in living conditions, but everyone lives in their version of a cage. And whether it’s wall art, entertainment, starting a new hobby, or healthy delicious food three times a day, in the real world, you need money to make your cage fun to play in. Thus, this theory could help explain why poverty is so highly correlated with substance abuse. It’s not just, or even primarily, that addicts are less likely to make money. It’s also that making less money leaves you vulnerable to addiction.

Yet, there’s still plenty of room to explain why people with higher socio-economic status also fall victim to substance abuse. People with clinical depression, anxiety, psychosis, or post-traumatic stress tend to use drugs at a higher rate as a way to self-medicate. No matter how good the cage looks, these individuals, as part of their mental disorder, have trouble experiencing and benefitting from the cage’s soothing effects.

Personalized Treatment Plans for People in Utah

The rat in the cage has a lot to tell us, but addiction is not a single, one-size-fits-all story. And people are a lot more complicated than rats. Thus, it’s important to understand the boundaries of your mental landscape so you know who to remake a cage that will help you permanently kick your drug habit. Here are some common ways in which personalized treatment plans use these concepts to help individuals achieve success.

  • Substance Abuse Treatment and Social Services: Within the Utah Health Department, people can find targeted assistance through the Division of Services for People with Disabilities and the Division of Child and Family Services, as well as the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. But there’s also the Department of Workforce Services to help struggling individuals find gainful employment. Don’t know where to start? Clinical social workers are something of a catch-all for mental health services, offering mental health therapy as well as networking support through the state’s various resources and agencies. For many people in the state, these resources are the best way to make substantial changes to their living conditions.
  • Coordinated and Integrated Treatment for Dual Diagnosis: For those struggling with addiction as well as another mental disorder, a personalized treatment plan is crucial. This treatment is often provided through an integrated plan created with a mental health provider, though individuals may discover that focusing on one problem first provides something of a key to deal with the other. For example, someone with borderline personality disorder may struggle to develop their emotion regulation until they stop drinking. Other people may find it impossible to stop using illicit drugs, until they get a handle on their long-standing depression or anxiety disorder.
  • Wilderness Therapy in Utah: Here’s one of the most dramatic examples of changing the cage. Designed for teenagers and young adults, wilderness therapy is usually built around a 2-3 month stay in the wilderness. These programs offer clinical therapy services and wilderness guides that seek to leverage the therapeutic environment of Utah’s natural beauty. Not coincidentally, addiction is one of the most common reasons for enrollment.

What Utahns Should Know about Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that emphasizes the harm that occurs when the story of our lives is dominated by a particularly destructive narrative. The primary method of therapy then becomes the therapist and client investigating past events together looking for places where the current narrative doesn’t fit and where a more positive, competing narrative can take hold.

For this reason, it’s crucial to find a therapist you can connect with. Someone you can trust is letting new narratives unfold organically, rather than projecting their own biases. The good news is it shouldn’t be hard. Therapists are trained to offer a clinical setting and style of dialogue that specifically promotes this type of honest collaboration.

Choosing a Therapist

Know that if you go looking for a narrative therapist in Utah, your options are going to seem limited. That’s because this therapy is primarily viewed as a therapeutic method, rather than a comprehensive approach to psychotherapy. In other words, most therapists think of narrative therapy as one more tool in the toolbox to helping their clients achieve their mental health goals. Thus, you can get an overview of narrative therapy, but if you’re interested in this type of therapy as a personal treatment, look for a therapist who describe themselves as eclectic, client-centered, or holistic.

Common Narratives in Utah

Competing narratives can occur on both a personal and cultural level with no set rules about which narratives may be harming and which may be able to help your mental health goals. Likewise, different narratives may intersect in complex ways that are best explored with the support of a narrative therapist

  • Many families in Utah have serious disagreements about their spiritual beliefs and attitudes. Many families have serious disagreements about the social, political, and economic influences that impact their daily lives and those of their friends and neighbors. Narrative therapy can help family members learn to disarm the tension within this larger cultural narrative by continually refocusing on the personal narrative that has made the family so strong in the past.
  • At the same time, there’s no denying that some people get the short end of the stick from their family and life history. With comparatively little to hang their hat on from the standpoint of personal narrative, finding positive meaning in a larger cultural narrative becomes increasingly important. This typically includes connecting with relevant social groups and support systems. Old and new, family can come from many places.
  • Other types of narrative therapy have less to do with competing narratives and more to do with reclaiming the ability to tell one’s personal story at all. Traumatic stress, for example, can disrupt our brain’s episodic memory and language center so that it becomes difficult to describe even basic details about our past events. Yoga, meditation, and acupuncture may all be used to help someone reach a place that is safe and secure enough to reclaim a narrative meaning to their lives.

The Role of Choice

In the mental health community, the primary criticisms of narrative therapy are often centered on the notion that competing narratives lead to a relativistic worldview that may be harmful to long-term mental health goals. This explanation is overly simplistic, but it does point to a critical element of success for people who are interested in this particular approach to therapy: Choosing a more positive narrative for one’s life.

This isn’t to say choosing a narrative for one’s life is easy. If it were, you probably wouldn’t be thinking about therapy at all. But even when the choice feels like an impossible one, even when it doesn’t feel like a choice at all, there is a different tale that can be told. And that’s because the choice is nowhere near as difficult as it seems right now. By talking to a therapist who can help you investigate and then recast life events, the richness of alternative narratives should become more evident—as does the viability of choosing a different story that gives meaning to your past, present, and future.

One final note on this subject: Because of the huge role that choice plays, some people also think of narrative therapy as a particular type of existential therapy.

Find Narrative Therapy in Utah

Like almost any approach to therapy, expect to put in some time working to improve your mental health. But know that reclaiming the power of narrative and channeling it toward your personal goals can be a life-saving, life-changing process. We encourage you to find a therapist in Utah who can help you explore the potential of this therapy for your life.

Learn about Different Types of Depression Therapy

Whether for a first depressive episode, a recent tragedy that has triggered a relapse, or a more persistent depression, many individuals are interested in learning more about the different types of depression therapy and which ones are the best fit for them. We can’t recommend a therapy for individuals. That’s what doctors and mental health professionals are for, but we can provide information about popular therapies and how they work to reduce the symptoms of depression.

Antidepressants vs Placebos

More formally known as pharmacotherapy, antidepressants are one of the most common treatments for depression. Most of these medications are believed to work by increasing the active level of neurotransmitters in the brain by inhibiting the absorption or reuptake of these neurotransmitters. These medications are generally classified by the neurotransmitter they act on: serotonin, norepinephrine, monoamine, and/or dopamine. That said, it is not well understood how this mechanism helps alleviate the symptoms of depression. There is even a substantial segment of the scientific community which believes that this depression therapy works mostly, or entirely, through placebo effects. It could be that perceivable changes in the brain and the drugs’ side effects enhance the client’s expectation of improvement and explain why some studies show antidepressants have a slightly larger treatment effect for antidepressants than placebos.

Moreover, in about half of cases, placebos have a therapeutic effect on depression without the side effects of antidepressants. Some studies suggest that, for mild and moderate cases of depression, there is no difference in effect size between antidepressants and placebos.

Talk and Cognitive Therapies

This type of depression therapy is attempting to break a pattern of thinking that may be contributing to the depressed mood and other symptoms. In cases where there is a precipitating event that triggered the depression, talk therapy often involves grief counseling or other counseling relevant to the specific stressor. Cognitive-behavioral therapy may also involve pointing out thoughts that are inconsistent, exaggerated, or distorted.

While talk therapy sessions may involve a sudden break-through, the repeated recognition of these maladaptive thought patterns may be even more important. Yet, by learning effective strategies for monitoring one’s own thoughts, these thinking patterns can be broken more effectively and on a more consistent basis.

Physical and Behavioral Therapies

It’s telling that certain physical signs may also be symptoms of depression. A change in appetite, weight, or sleep patterns are some of the most common symptoms. But so, too, are headaches, body fatigue, and stomach pain. By making behavioral changes or engaging in physical therapy, these physical symptoms can be alleviated, and the individual’s mood is often—though not always—lifted. This might include exercise, a change in posture, or other physical activity designed for this treatment purpose. Alternately, behavioral therapy might also include non-physical activities such as social interaction, interpersonal communication, and other actions that might have therapeutic value.

Just because exercise or posture can lead to improvement in depressed individuals doesn’t mean that individual suddenly has an “easy fix” for depression. Meeting with a mental health professional can improve the effects of these behavioral changes and reinforce a motivational attitude toward these therapeutic behaviors.

Neurological Therapies

These include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). These neurological depression therapies are typically only recommended for individuals with severe, persistent depression and who do not respond to other depression therapies. These treatments are usually effective but also temporary (around 6 months on average). They carry a cost, too, as individuals frequently experience some level of memory loss as a side effect. The big advantage of ECT is that its effectiveness and side effects are more established. The big advantage of TMS is that it’s perceived as less invasive and can be completed in an outpatient setting.

Inpatient Treatment and Residential Therapy Programs

For individuals who experience severe and acute depression symptoms especially suicide ideation, these depression therapy programs are designed to prevent individuals from harming themselves or others, while sustained depression treatment is provided. Both these intensive treatment programs involve some number of overnight stays. Basic inpatient treatment usually involves a few days of observation and treatment in a hospital setting. You can find a list of medical centers in Utah with a behavioral health unit.  hospital with a behavioral health center. Residential programs usually involve longer stays and a more involved treatment schedule.

Depression Therapy and Guided Treatment

Keep in mind that a depression therapy is often combined with other therapies in a personalized treatment plan. Rather than a hodge-podge approach, the best outcomes generally result from guided treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular approaches and seeks to rapidly leverage and integrate the benefits of both cognitive and behavior therapies. No matter what therapy is right for you, don’t wait to get help from a mental health provider for a serious case of depression.

Get More from Your Yoga Therapy in Utah

Yoga therapy is a catch-all phrase for yoga classes that are taken to achieve therapeutic goals. The term can just as easily be used to discuss the benefits of yoga for recovering from a physical injury, medical procedure, or mental disorder. In fact, the precise cause isn’t always known. For example, yoga can be a great way to improve your gastro-intestinal health, whether your stomach hurts because of a poor diet, anxiety disorder, or some combination of factors.

Yoga as Supplemental Therapy

This doesn’t mean that yoga therapy is a cure-all. If you suspect you have a serious medical condition, don’t hesitate to talk to a physician. If you suspect you have a serious mental health condition, we strongly urge you to seek the counsel of a qualified mental health therapist. These health professionals can help you understand the underlying cause of your pain and discomfort, as well as make an evaluation of yoga’s potential benefit. When yoga is included as part of a larger treatment plan for a health condition—medical or mental health—it’s often referred to as an adjunct or supplemental therapy.

Meditation vs. Mindfulness

Here’s a great example of how a mental health therapist can help you get more from your yoga therapy. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you may have noticed that the instructor ended the session with a meditation, known as savasana. Often, though not always, this meditation is guided by the instructor’s voice. Guided meditation has its own mental health benefits, but the practice of silent mindfulness holds even more promise for many people and their mental health.

Simply put, mindfulness is focusing on the present moment and the non-judgmental observance of one’s conscious thoughts. Talking to a therapist, however, can help improve your practice of mindfulness, while also putting this cognitive therapy in the more personal context of your own mental health troubles. A therapist can also help you evaluate the immediate benefits and long-term potential of yoga therapy for you.

Many yoga studios offer some combination of the two, by including a short, guided meditation at the beginning of the savasana, followed by plenty of time to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the studio space. That said, while some people find that the end of yoga is the absolute best time to engage in the practice of mindfulness, others prefer to alternate between a yoga studio session one day and a mindfulness meditation in their own home the next day.

At-Home Yoga vs. Studio-Based Therapy

To get the most out of yoga therapy, you should really find a studio and instructor who you can connect with. That said, this is one of those situations in which a studio class is better than yoga at the house—which is itself a lot better than nothing. And, at home, it’s free. And close. And it works around your schedule. Thus, we recommend getting out to the studio whenever you can but maintaining a regular yoga habit at home whenever you need. The popularity of this mix-and-match strategy also helps explain why there’s such a heavy incentive for studios to market unlimited monthly passes and punch card discounts. This can make studio yoga more affordable, while making it harder to accommodate scheduling uncertainty.

Preventative and Proactive Yoga Therapy

From chronic back pain to mood disorders, many symptoms can be strictly controlled or prevented altogether by maintaining a healthy yoga habit. Further, you can proactively build up your psychological resilience for any stress or trauma you may face down the road. Likewise, many people who effectively treat their mental health troubles end up drifting away from the practice, only to experience a relapse of symptoms.

Now, not everybody needs to see a mental health therapist before signing up for classes. Not all yoga is yoga therapy, but if you are looking to yoga to help with your psychological distress, you’re going to get the most of classes by consulting with a mental health therapist.

Types of Anxiety in Utah Beyond Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is universal to the human condition, and it’s a major symptom in many types of mental illness beyond just anxiety disorders. As our understanding of human behavior has grown increasingly nuanced, trauma, obsessive-compulsive, and eating disorders are now considered separate from anxiety disorders. Yet, anxiety is one of the most dominant and easily recognizable symptoms associated with these mental disorders. By understanding how different types of anxiety are likely to interact with other aspects of your mental health, you can learn how to better manage your anxiety level.

Anxiety and PTSD

The constant expectation of an explosion, a car collision, a gunshot, a blow to the head, or the loss of a loved one can send almost anybody’s anxiety levels off the charts. And yet, in the grips of PTSD, it may be difficult to even register the source of one’s anxiety. Instead, the physical symptoms—the stomach pains, headaches, joint and muscle stiffness, general fatigue—may dominate the attention of those afflicted with post-traumatic stress.

Left untreated, individuals may become so dissociated with the present moment that they act on their fears, and with dangerous consequences. The behaviors that are possible under this type of stress may result in shame which then exacerbates the individual’s psychological distress. The good news is that there are effective treatments for PTSD. Often, the biggest deciding factor is recognizing and seeking therapy in a timely fashion.

Anxiety and Eating Disorders

The most obvious connection between anxiety and eating disorders is the intense anxiety and fear of gaining weight that’s felt by those with anorexia. Utah is for from unique in this regard, but striving for perfection and an expectation to conform with cultural norms are a big part of the state’s culture. The act of self-starvation, binge-eating, and/or purging behaviors make these disorders relatively easy to distinguish from other types of anxiety.

On the other hand, that’s assuming the individual isn’t successful in hiding their eating disorder. The things we do to avoid anxiety often lead to intense feelings of shame after the fact. This can make even otherwise “open-and-honest” people reticent to talk about their problems and to seek help from a professional.

It’s also revealing that, by a large margin, more women than men suffering from eating disorders. On this point, many mental health professionals point to the fact that culture puts more pressure on women than men to internalize their negative emotions. Thus, a lot of men with anxiety become violent and end up in the criminal justice system. Men are also more likely to fall victim to substance abuse.

Anxiety and OCD

Rather than feeling anxious about being exposed to potential threats, obsessive-compulsive disorder tends to make a person feel anxious about NOT engaging in a specific—and often highly ritualized—behavior. Thus, much like eating disorders, OCD is most likely experienced and diagnosed not by the constant presence of anxiety, but rather by the behaviors that are used to avoid anxiety. And, again, by the shame that results from compulsively engaging in these behaviors.

Many types of compulsions, though certainly not all of them, take on a religious meaning. Hand-washing and praying (or chanting) are among the most common types of compulsions. These behaviors can be particularly torturous for members of the LDS faith, as well as other individuals with highly religious backgrounds.

Anxiety, Depression, and Substance Abuse

Anxiety and depression are more like cousins in the larger family known as mood disorders. The relationship between these two moods is multi-faceted and can take on a variety of behavioral expressions. At Mountain Mental Health, we like to talk about the difference anxious depression and depressive anxiety. We encourage you to read more about the relationship between anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and substance abuse paint a similarly muddled picture. With chronic substance abuse and/or when the drug abuse starts at an early age, it may be essentially impossible to determine whether an underling anxiety disorder was present before the substance addiction.

How to Get Help for All Types of Anxiety

Everybody experiences anxiety. It helps motivate us and focus our attention. It heightens our senses and enables us to better respond to potential threats. It activates our imagination and problem-solving. Just because anxious feelings are unpleasant in the short-term doesn’t mean that the individual has a serious mental health condition. And yet, anxiety can become persistent to the point where worry and fear are nearly constant. But here’s the thing: This doesn’t mean you’re helpless, either. Even if you can’t control your anxiety, you can still control whether you ask for help. It’s never too early to get help for psychological distress. Talk to an experienced Utah therapist about your troubles, and discover that improvement is possible.