Mental Health Archives - Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc.
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What is PTSD? Know the Signs and Symptoms

What is PTSD? Know the Signs and Symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder caused by trauma. The trauma can be mental or physical or both. It can happen to anyone but is common among soldiers and victims of violence or emotional abuse. Illnesses can also cause PTSD.

Signs and Symptoms 

If you’ve experienced trauma, watch for these signs. PTSD can occur immediately after the event or years later. The types of symptoms include intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in mood and changes in physical and emotional reaction. 

Intrusive memories

  • Recurring, unwanted memories of the event.
  • Reliving the event in flashbacks.
  • Upsetting nightmares.
  • Severe emotional distress or reaction to something that reminds you of the event. 

Avoidance

  • Avoiding thinking about it or talking about it.
  • Avoiding people, places, or activities that remind you of the trauma. 

Negative changes in mood

  • Negative thoughts about yourself and others or the world
  • Hopelessness
  • Memory trouble
  • Trouble maintaining relationships
  • Feeling detached from others
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed. 
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Changes in Reactions

  • Always on guard
  • Easily startled
  • Self-destruction like using drugs or alcohol
  • Difficulty concentrating and sleeping
  • Guilt or shame
  • Outbursts

In children 6 years or younger

  • Reenacting events in play
  • Terrifying nightmares

The feelings can be intense and you should seek outside help to learn to cope and move on. Mantachie Rural Healthcare offers behavioral health services including counseling for PTSD. Don’t suffer alone, get help now. Click here to schedule an appointment

Meet Our New Behavioral Health Provider Elizabeth Duncan, PMHNP

Elizabth Duncan, PMHNP,  has always had a desire to help people. It’s no wonder that she’s put that desire to work for 46 years as a nurse. She’s spent 28 of those years as a family nurse practitioner and 14 years as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. 

“I love helping people. It’s not a job, it’s something I enjoy. I can help them get well if they want to get well,” said Duncan.

Duncan moved to Batesville in 2005 where she worked with Region 4 Mental Health before moving to Itawamba County to help care for her mother-in-law who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Duncan worked for Right Track in 2020 before joining the Mantachie Rural Healthcare staff in 2021. 

Much of Duncan’s psychiatric work consists of treating patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, sleep issues, and school and life issues. Duncan says patients often come in with challenges that have made them cautious about getting treatment. Those challenges include failure with other providers. Duncan encourages her patients to try one more time if they were unhappy with their first appointment. 

“I’ve never seen anyone I couldn’t help, if they wanted to be helped,” she said. 

Duncan says another big challenge for both patient and provider is trust. Patients often face difficulty trusting their provider with their private and personal problems. For Duncan and other professionals in her field, the challenge is getting the patient to open up and be real about the issues they are facing. 

Duncan wants her current and future patients to know that she is available and here to help. She wants to help her patients have better functioning lives and to know that she truly cares about them and getting them the help they need.

When asked about her most memorable experience as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, Duncan said that moment happened on her last day working in Corinth. She had been caring for a patient who was going to be placed on disability. The patient had both physical and psychiatric health issues. 

He told Duncan, “I might as well not have been alive. You were my last hope.” 

That patient is now working as a manager a large plant. 

When she’s not treating patients, Duncan, who grew up on a farm, enjoys gardening in her raised beds and when time allows, fishing. 

As you can see, Elizabeth Duncan is a caring provider who will go the extra mile to help her patients get better and live a full life. To schedule an appointment with Duncan, dial 662-262-4226 or click here.

What You Need to Know About Children’s Mental Health

Children’s mental health affects all aspects of their lives including their physical health, school success, and success at work and in society. However, out of the estimated 15 million children who could be diagnosed with a mental disorder, only 7 percent will receive the professional services they need. One way to increase this number and get more children the appropriate care is through education about children’s mental health disorders. 

Factors Affecting Children’s Mental Health

Several risk factors can affect a child’s mental health. Some children are born with genetic and biological factors which increase their risks for mental health disorders. Environmental factors like a child’s home life and where they live can also put them at a greater risk. Relationships with family members, teachers, fellow classmates, and other important people in a child’s life affects their mental health as well. 

Most Common Types of Children’s Mental Health Disorders

Understanding the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders affecting children helps parents to get their child the help they need. The following conditions are the most common children’s mental health disorders diagnosed today. 

  • Anxiety
    • Signs of anxiety include being afraid when away from parents and extreme fear of specific situations.
    • Social anxiety in school and fear of the future or of bad things happening are also common symptoms. 
    • Children with anxiety may suffer from repeated panic disorder episodes with symptoms including but not limited to sudden, unexpected, extreme fear, trouble breathing, pounding heart, and/or dizziness, shakiness, or sweating. 
  • Depression
    • Symptoms include feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable. Other signs are:
    • Changes in sleeping or eating habits.
    • Changes in energy, from being tired or sluggish to tense or restless.
    • Inability to focus or concentrate.
    • Feeling worthless, useless, or guilty.
    • Infliction of self-injury or self-destruction.
  • ADHD
    • Signs of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) such as a lack of focus and forgetting things easily are also accompanied by other symptoms such as:
    • Being prone to daydreaming often.
    • Impulsiveness
    • Fidgeting and/or talking too much
    • Trouble getting along with others
    • Making careless mistakes
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    • OCD consists of having unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again causing stress or anxiety. 
    • Other obvious signs include having to think or do something over and over again or perform a ritual following certain rules to stop obsessive thoughts. 
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
    • Children who act out so seriously that their behavior causes problems at home, school, or with peers may be diagnosed with ODD.
    • Behaviors of ODD include often being angry or easily losing one’s temper, arguing with adults or refusing to comply with rules set by authority figures, and being resentful or spiteful.
    • Children with ODD may also be easily annoyed by others or attempt to annoy others themselves, and they may also blame others for their mistakes or misbehaviors. 
  • Conduct Disorder
    • Conduct disorder occurs when a child persistently shows a pattern of aggression towards others and violates rules and social norms at home, school, and among peers.
    • Children with conduct disorder may display behaviors such as running away from home, staying out past curfew, skipping school, lying, causing damage to other people’s property, and being aggressive toward others. 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Some children recover quickly from trauma while others suffer long-term effects with a condition known as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
    • Signs of PTSD include reliving the traumatic event over and over again, having nightmares or difficulty sleeping, and becoming upset over memories of the event.
    • Other symptoms may also occur such as intense, ongoing sadness, irritability, angry outbursts, and being easily startled. 
    • Children with PTSD may also become withdrawn or lack positive emotions. 

If you believe your child is suffering from a mental health disorder Mantachie Rural Healthcare can help. Dial 662-282-4226 to request an appointment with our behavior health specialist. 

What is Social Pain and Why It’s More Common Than Ever

Social pain isn’t a term one hears often. But in the last year, the number of people suffering from social pain is greater than ever due to the effects of the pandemic. Social distancing, unexpected deaths from covid-19, canceled events and plans, and political unrest are just a few contributors to the increased number of people experiencing social pain. 

What is Social Pain?

Social pain refers to the painful emotions caused by situations involving other people. Emotions include but are not limited to feeling rejected, alone, ostracized, devalued, abandoned, disconnected, and grief. A study by the University of Sao Paulo suggests the pandemic has caused a substantial spike in social pain. Social pain is often a reaction to the loss of relationships by way of rejection, abandonment, moving away, death, etc. Social distancing and quarantining has increased the negative emotions associated with social pain due to the lack of contact with people whose relationships we value. 

The Benefit of Social Pain

Like physical pain, the function of social pain is to alert us to threats to our social well-being. In turn, these emotions will deter us from doing things that undermine our relationships. Social pain often leads us to make more effort to maintain intact relationships.

How to Cope with Social Pain

Social pain is not unmanageable. In fact, most steps taken to treat these negative emotions are done at home. The first step to managing social pain is to accept that what you are feeling is real. These feelings are completely normal but do not indicate something is wrong with you. However, these emotions may mean your social connections are not where you want them to be. 

Managing your thoughts is the next step. Learning to train your thoughts away from the source of your pain keeps you from wallowing in your feelings. Find an interesting distraction like a hobby, music, reading, working out, or even watching a compelling movie or television show. Practicing meditation is another way to train your mind to control your thoughts. 

Social pain responds to sensorial experiences which means doing something as simple as moving your body or resting can take your mind off your pain. Looking at beautiful and colorful things, listening to music, taking a warm bath or shower, and even grabbing a hug from a loved one or pet living in your home can ease feelings of social pain. 

Finding ways to connect with others is also essential. The more personal and direct the communication is, the better it works to treat social pain. Video chats and phone calls work best but email and texts are better than nothing at all. Reminiscing with old photos, letters, or messages as well as thinking about positive memories of your loved one can also take away negative feelings. 

Of course, if your social pain lasts longer than two weeks or more with no relief, seek help from your healthcare provider. Mantachie Rural Health Care provides both medical and mental health care and can help you get over the hump of social pain. Click here to request an appointment now. 

ADHD During a Pandemic: How to Help Your Child Stay on Task

ADHD During a Pandemic: How to Help Your Child Stay on Task

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is more common than ever among schoolchildren. Children with ADHD are easily distracted, impulsive, often fidget, and struggle to pay attention or focus on the task at hand, such as listening to a class lesson or completing an assignment. Over the last few decades, great strides have been taken to help children with ADHD improve their symptoms and perform better in the classroom. However, the recent pandemic has seen an upswing in children who are again struggling to keep up with school work. 

What causes ADHD?

ADHD is a result of less activity in the part of the brain that controls attention or imbalances in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Children with ADHD are either predominantly hyperactive/impulsive or predominantly inattentive. Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive children display more fidgety or disruptive behaviors while predominantly inattentive children simply struggle to focus attention. 

ADHD Treatments

Providers treat ADHD by two different methods–medication and therapy. The most successful treatment of ADHD combines both medicine and therapy. Stimulant medications are the most commonly prescribed and best medicinal treatment for ADHD. Certain non-stimulant medicines are also sometimes used but are believed to carry a higher risk for the patient. Talk therapy and support therapies such as social skills therapy can help children with ADHD learn how to cope with struggles. It may also boost their self-esteem, as well as teach them how to get along well socially. 

The role of the parent or guardian is as crucial in the treatment of ADHD as therapy and medication. Parents or guardians can help their ADHD child stay on task with the implementation of a daily written schedule or routine. This schedule should include all tasks to be completed from the time they wake up to bedtime. Tasks include basic daily activities such as eating breakfast, brushing teeth and hair, and getting dressed, as well as any home tasks such as chores or homework. 

Parents are also their children’s biggest advocate at school. They should ensure the school treats their child’s ADHD virtually through special education and modifications to help the child stay on task. IEPs and 504s should be in place for any student with ADHD.

ADHD and Coronavirus Pandemic

ADHD doesn’t place your child at a greater risk for contracting coronavirus. However, the pandemic could still affect their condition. Behavioral health experts have seen a rise in ADHD children who are struggling to keep up with schoolwork due to distance learning and other hurdles caused by the pandemic. Luckily, parents and children can implement a number of measures to help ease ADHD struggles.

  • Create a new daily schedule/clear routine for distance learning. Work with your child’s teacher or teachers to create the best schedule to manage their ADHD during the pandemic. Ensure the schedule includes breaks that detail activities for the child to do to unwind. 
  • Make sure teachers continue to implement learning modifications and adjusted them to fit distance learning. 
  • Create one space for everything. Students are using a plethora of learning and streaming programs for distance learning. A child with ADHD may become overwhelmed by the various links and programs they must access each day. They may benefit from consolidating links and schedules all in one place. Consider using a Google Document since Google Classroom is a commonly used program among schools. Parents should work with the child’s teacher to create this designated starting place.
  • Develop daily/weekly checklists and scheduled check-ins. Again, parents and teachers should work together to create daily and weekly checklists to help children with ADHD stay on top of school tasks and assignments. Ask to schedule regular check-ins between the child and their teachers to give them opportunities to address problems or questions.
  • Ask for non-screen work. It’s no secret that too much screen time is detrimental especially to children who are already struggling with attention or learning disabilities. Parents should talk with their child’s school or teachers to find out if paper assignments are available to complete and return to the school to help reduce screen time. 
  • Use tools like text-to-speech to help children stay on task. ADDitude Magazine offers a great list of assistive technology apps and extensions to help students struggling with schoolwork.

Has your child been struggling with ADHD-like behaviors for longer than six months? It could be more than just struggles of learning during a pandemic that are causing your child to have problems. At Mantachie Rural Healthcare, we diagnose and treat ADHD with combined work between your child’s healthcare provider and our behavioral health specialists. Don’t let your child struggle through another semester when help is just a call away. Request an evaluation appointment today at 662-282-4226 or through our website.

Teens Active in Extracurriculars Have Stronger Mental Health

Teens Active in Extracurriculars Have Stronger Mental Health

Teens who participate in extracurricular activities tend to have better mental health than those who do not, according to a recent study published in the journal Preventive Medicine. The study, conducted among more than 28,000 seventh grade students across 365 schools in British Columbia, found that those who played sports or participated in the arts had fewer mental health issues than students who spent their free time behind a screen. 

This should come as no surprise. Physical activity and practicing a hobby or art are known to boost teens’ mental health. But in a pandemic year when many activities have been greatly altered or sidelined altogether, teens must get more creative and independent with keeping themselves busy and off the screens. 

How to Maintain Extracurricular Activities During the Pandemic

Many sports and activities have managed to continue in some capacity this year while others haven’t fared as well. Whether your child is participating in an extracurricular that is active this year or holding out for next year, it’s important to keep them on track and in practice for their chosen outlet. 

Encourage them in any way you can. Be a listening ear when they are practicing their music scales or volunteer to play the catcher when they want to practice their curveball. If your budget allows, spring for socially distanced lessons to help them improve their chosen sport or art. If not, check out the many free resources online including YouTube. Yes, we know this means putting your teen behind a screen. However, this counts as productive screen time and you can monitor their progress and lessons to ensure they’re not getting distracted. 

Limited Screen Time is Key to Teens Mental Health

The British Columbian study found that boys and girls overall fared far better mentally with less than two hours of screen time in addition to participating in extracurriculars. Even if your child can’t attend a band practice or art lesson, you can still limit their screen time. And you can encourage other productive activities like reading or learning a life skill. 

We know that limiting screen time during a pandemic is harder than usual. But we and other medical experts believe that making this sacrifice will ultimately reward you and your children in the long run. If your teen is struggling to stay strong mentally, we can help. Mantachie students can begin seeking help at our school-based clinic and continue treatment at our main clinic. Dial 662-282-4226 or request an appointment online to learn more. 

Depression Myths and the Truths Behind Them

Depression Myths and the Truths Behind Them

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. However, we encounter many misconceptions about depression and what it is and is not. Today we are taking a look at the most common myths surrounding depression and revealing the truth behind them.

Myth #1:  Depression isn’t a real disease.

Depression is a very real, complex illness impacted by psychology, sociology, and biology.  Anyone can get depression regardless of your family history. Contrary to popular belief, depression doesn’t just affect your emotional health but it can also negatively impact your physical health as well.

Myth #2: Antidepressants are a cure-all for depression.

Although antidepressants are a very powerful and effective treatment for depression in most instances, they aren’t always enough.  Psychotherapy or talk therapy often successfully treats depression.

Myth #3: You can snap out of your depression on your own.

Depression is not the same as sadness. Just like any other medical condition, depression requires proper diagnosis and professionally prescribed treatment. People who are depressed cannot talk themselves out of it one day. If you have battled depression for months or even years, it’s time to talk to your provider about treatment.

Myth: 4 Depression is caused by trauma.

Unhappiness or sadness are completely normal emotions following a sad or traumatic event but this is not the same as depression. Depression causes feelings of sadness, emptiness, or loneliness at any time even if things are going relatively well. These feelings typically last for long periods and often have no cause.

Myth #5: If you have a family history of depression, you will get it, too.

Depression is more common in people who have a family history of the condition. However, family history does not guarantee that you will be affected by the illness, too. 

Myth #6: Only women get depressed.

This simply is not true. Men experience depression, too, but they may not be as likely to talk about it as women. In fact, the number of men in the US who die by suicide each year is four times that of women. Another reason we urge men to reach out more about their emotional health. Your provider’s office is a safe place to find help.

Myth #7: Once you’re on antidepressants, you’re on them for life.

Some people will need prescribed medication for depression for the rest of their lives. However, not every depression patient fits that description. Each case of depression is different which is why there isn’t one perfect cure-all for the disease. Many patients are able to successfully wean off of medication with their doctor’s help after a certain period of successful treatment. 

Are you struggling with depression or have depression symptoms? Don’t suffer alone. Mantachie Rural Health Care offers behavioral and medical help for depression. Click here to request your appointment now. 

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Statistics paint a bleak picture when it comes to suicide and addiction. A Psychology Today article cites drug and alcohol abuse as the second most common risk factor for suicide. One in three people who take their own life are under the influence of drugs. Poisoning composes the third-leading method of suicide and three-fourths of those deaths by poisoning use drugs. The article points to drug or alcohol abuse as the leading indicator of suicide risk over depression or mental illness. For true suicide prevention, we must support opioid and addiction recovery.

Links between suicide attempts and addiction include depression resulting from an inability to fight an addiction, the loss of relationships due to addiction and the use of drugs and alcohol to mask mental illness. Persons who abuse drugs may also have lowered inhibitions and show a readiness to take more risks. 

Addiction Recovery Key to Suicide Prevention

Treatment for opioid addiction addresses not only the known addiction but also the mental illnesses and mental trauma triggering the addiction or depression caused by the addiction. Opioid and addiction recovery are key to suicide prevention, but it’s important for addicts and family members to expect a holistic approach to drug treatment. Managing both underlying mental illnesses and addiction improves an addicts chances at recovery and reduces the risk for suicide. 

When an addict seeks treatment, family, friends and their medical team should ask the hard questions “have you considered or attempted suicide or are you considering suicide?”. Asking the hard question does not give your loved one ideas about suicide, but rather opens a conversation about an otherwise stigmatized subject. 

Signs to Know

Not every person considering suicide shows signs of depression. Often family and friends piece together signs of a loved one’s suicide plan after the fact. Because of the increased risk of suicide related to drug addiction, it’s imperative for the addict to seek treatment and for friends and family to ask the hard questions. 

Signs a person is considering suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use
  • Talking about feeling trapped
  • Displaying increased anger or rage
  • Talking about not wanting to be a burden to others
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping less or more
  • Isolating themselves

If someone you know is talking about suicide, whether they have an addition or not:

  • Ask them if they plan to commit suicide.
  • Listen without judgement.
  • Remove objects that could be used for suicide
  • Stay with the person or leave them in the care of someone else while you get help.
  • Call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Call 9-1-1 if self-harm is imminent.

Parents, spouses, children and friends of addicts worry about overdoses and violence involving their loved one. Suicide adds another line to the worry. Treatment isn’t just about the addiction but about healing behavioral and mental health issues contributing to or caused by the addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid or addiction recovery and suicide prevention, call our behavioral health clinic at 662-282-4359 for an appointment or in case of a medical emergency call 9-1-1.

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer’s is Being Studied with Promising Results

A New Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer's is Being Studied with Promising Results

Experts have long believed that earlier treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is the key to slowing or stopping the disease. Now, a new blood test for Alzheimer’s is being studied. It demonstrates promising results that could lead to early diagnosis and treatment. 

A study presented virtually at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020 and in the JAMA medical journal revealed promising results for those fighting to cure dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The new blood test–which still likely won’t be available for several years–detects different types of tau protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. 

How the New Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Works

The new test works by focusing on the specific subtypes of tau protein. This key protein becomes abnormal as Alzheimer’s disease changes the brain. Initial results found Alzheimer’s patients exhibit more of a particular subtype, a modified tau protein called p-tau217, than healthy patients who participated in the study. 

Studies of the blood test have shown its results to be as accurate as a spinal tap or PET scan. The blood test can also distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from Parkinson’s disease and other types of dementia with 89% to 98% accuracy. What’s more, the test could differentiate between the different types of cognitive dementia and flag early signs of Alzheimer’s. 

Experts say earlier detection of dementia could lead to testing current treatments for these diseases at a much earlier stage. Earlier treatment could result in slowing or completely stopping the progression of dementia. 

Just how early can this new blood test detect Alzheimer’s? Possibly up to 20 years before the first symptoms occur by measuring p-tau217 levels. 

As you can read, exciting moves are being made in the quest to cure Alzheimer’s and dementia. Though we may still be several years away from seeing these new tests become available for patients, we’re confident the treatments for these terrible diseases are going to improve greatly and change the lives of patients and their families. Learn more about the new blood test study here.

How Pets Improve Mental Health

How Pets Improve Mental Health

We all know someone or may even be that someone who seems to constantly be rescuing and nursing a stray pet back to health and happiness. Pet lovers and rescuers never seem to get enough of loving on their furry friends. As it happens, studies have shown there’s an actual reason we find pets so appealing–pets improve mental health and literally bring more joy to our lives. Here’s how.

Pets decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.

Pets of all sorts ease stress and cure loneliness. Simply watching fish dance around an aquarium or stroking a furry pet can instantly ease tension and anxiety. Your pet’s companionship itself helps you feel less lonely and they can also help you meet new people. Dog parks are great places to meet people that share at least one common interest (pups!) and pet lover groups of all different types of pets exist on social media and often meet together in person. If rescuing strays gives you an even bigger thrill, joining one of the many rescue groups in our regions is another great way to meet new friends. 

Pets that can be walked like dogs and even cats (we’ve seen it happen!) provide another avenue for easing depression and stress–daily walks! Just make sure you research the type of dog breed you are interested in before adopting. Most dog breeds enjoy a good walk every day but working breeds need much more exercise than a walk down the road. You’ll also want to consider your household when adopting a dog. You want a dog that is friendly with everyone in the family including children and other pets. The last thing you want is to return a pet because they didn’t get along with everyone else. 

Pets add routine and structure to your day.

Believe it or not, having some sort of routine or structure to your day helps keep depression and anxiety in check. But if you’re retired, disabled, or don’t work outside the home it’s especially easy to lose daily structure. Having a pet to care for returns structure to your day and cures boredom. 

Pets build self-confidence.

Few things make us feel better about ourselves than the joyful greeting our pets give us when we come home for the day. Training pets and volunteering with shelters or rescues are other ways we can increase our self-confidence.

Are you struggling with anxiety or depression? Getting a pet is a great way to start feeling better. A proper diagnosis and treatment is another way. Mantachie Rural Healthcare provides both primary care and behavioral healthcare for your convenience. Click here to request your appointment now.


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