What Are Behavioral Health Services?

It’s easy to think that mental and physical health doesn’t affect each other. Research, however, tells us the opposite is true.

Your mental health affects your physical health in various ways, and vice versa. Conditions like addiction and mental illness have major impacts on your body.

So, how do you effectively address both sides of this equation?

That’s where behavioral health comes in. In this article, we’ll be discussing what behavioral health services are, who needs them, and what benefits they bring.

What Is Behavioral Health?

Behavioral health describes the connection between your behavior and well-being. It describes the overall health of the body, mind, and spirit. How do things like drinking, exercising, or eating affect your physical and mental health? The key is looking for a connection.

In past decades, behavioral health was seen as singling out behaviors that prevented illness or affected health. Later, it became concerned with behaviors that help manage diseases.

There’s also been much more attention paid to how mental health affects our behaviors. We’re realizing more and more how traumatic events affect our physical state of being.

Behavioral health looks at how conditions like addiction affect other symptoms like anxiety.

Behavioral Health vs. Mental Health: What’s the Difference?

Behavioral health often gets mixed up with mental health. This is because of their similar focus on how a person’s mind affects their everyday lives.

When talking about these two disciplines in tandem, it’s important we don’t confuse these terms.

Behavioral health is a blanket term that includes mental health. It looks at how behaviors affect someone’s physical and mental health.

In other words, mental health is a single category of behavioral health.

Mental health has a variety of factors including biology, habits, and psychology. Behavioral scientists look at how those habits are affecting a person’s mental and physical health.

A behavioral scientist might address an eating disorder differently than other doctors. They’ll track down behaviors and habits that contributed to that person’s disorder.

What Are Behavioral Health Services?

So, what do behavioral health services look like?

We’ve established how behavioral health encompasses a wide range of symptoms and issues. This complicates our definition of behavioral health services.

In other words, behavioral health services look different for each patient. One person might need help overcoming addiction. Another person might need help addressing their anxiety or eating disorder.

When patients engage with a behavioral health service program, they have a wide range of professionals to choose from.

Behavioral health professionals include:

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are the most qualified physicians when it comes to things like mental health and addiction. They can diagnose your condition and single out behaviors that might be affecting your overall health.

Social Workers

These professionals are part of institutions aimed at helping people overcome mental and physical health issues. Child, family, or substance abuse social workers are pivotal in addressing behavioral health symptoms.

Psychologists

Psychologists offer help to those that need psychotherapy or a more specific psychological diagnosis. They can help narrow down psychological symptoms that might be affecting your behaviors.

Counselors

Counselors don’t provide specific diagnoses or prescribe medication. Instead, they help patients address a specific condition or issue, such as addiction or marital issues.

Benefits of Behavioral Health Services

But what are the benefits of behavioral health services?

Behavioral health looks at a person’s health from a holistic perspective. This means addressing their addictions or issues this way improves both physical and mental health.

This means no stone is left unturned. Behavioral health services help patients find the root cause of some of their symptoms.

As such, positive behavioral health leads to happier lives. It means you can be more productive at work. You’ll be able to cope better with everyday stresses since you know where your stressors come from.

It helps eliminate negative behaviors like addiction. This means healthier eating or sleeping habits.

Who Benefits from Behavioral Health Services?

Broadly speaking, almost everyone will benefit from behavioral health services. The CDC claims that more than 50% of Americans will suffer from mental illness at least once in their lives.

As we’ve established, there are also connections between mental health issues and medical issues. Heart disease, respiratory illness, and other physical health challenges are often connected to mental health.

Behavioral health services can benefit anyone who suffers from these problems. Professionals can help get to the root of those issues and address it in a healthy and meaningful way.

Let’s look at two examples of people who benefit from behavioral health services here:

American Workers

These mental and physical health challenges often intersect in the American workplace. Over 60% of American adults are part of the workforce, and nearly 1 in 5 are struggling with mental illness.

Behavioral health services in the workplace can help address some of these issues. It can lead to better work engagement, happiness, and productivity.

It can also prevent further health complications for workers. Addressing their mental health early decreases the risk of heart disease or other physical health issues down the line.

Addicts

People struggling with addiction benefit greatly from behavioral health. For example, counseling and therapy can break down someone’s behaviors and habits that are leading to substance abuse.

It combines counseling with medication to get at the root of the issue. Behavioral health services help manage these symptoms to the point where people can use other strategies to overcome addictions.

Leverage Behavioral Health Services Today

Addressing mental health or substance abuse is always complicated and doesn’t have one convenient solution. Behavioral health services look at finding those solutions in a productive and holistic way.

Use this article to understand what behavioral health does and how it can help those in need.

Are you or someone you know suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Contact us today and we can help you find the right solution.

How to Curb a Busy Mind: The Ultimate Meditation Guide

It’s estimated that the average person has more than 6,000 thoughts every day.

This being an average, it means that some of us will have fewer thoughts. Some of us will have many more.

If you find that your mind is becoming overactive, it can cause a lot of stress. A busy mind can leave us unable to fully switch off or relax, which isn’t good for our health.

If this sounds like you, then read on as we look at some simple but effective ways to curb a busy mind.

What Is a Busy Mind?

A busy mind can be a mixture of thoughts, worries and anxieties, emotions, doubts, and other thought patterns.

We all have these types of thoughts on a daily basis, but when the sheer number of these thoughts begins to get too much, then you’re suffering from a busy mind. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about things, but when you start overthinking and aren’t able to control the number of thoughts you’re having, then you might want to consider ways to curb your busy mind.

How to Curb a Busy Mind

There are some simple but effective exercises you can try which can help to calm your busy mind. By incorporating these exercises into your daily life, you can begin to calm your mind and remove the stress that a busy mind can cause.

The Power of Pause

The modern world moves at a relentless pace, and it can feel like it’s not going to stop to give you a chance to catch your breath. Even if the world doesn’t pause for a second, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Take a moment to pause and focus your attention on your senses, allowing you to refresh and renew yourself without any other concerns. One of the simplest ways to do this is with a body scan.

  • Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap
  • If you can, close your eyes
  • Bring your attention to your feet and feel the sensations as they interact with the floor
  • Bring your attention to your legs and how they feel against whatever you are sitting on
  • Now bring your attention to your chest and focus on your breathing, noticing the rise and fall
  • Bring your attention to your arms and hands, noticing any sensations within them
  • Open your eyes and feel how a short pause has made you feel refreshed and renewed

If you find your busy mind starts to think about other things during this exercise, don’t allow this to cause tension within you. Just acknowledge what has happened and redirect your attention to your body.

The power of the pause doesn’t have to involve taking a long break from your day. Try to incorporate short pauses into your daily life to slow things down a little. You could take a short pause:

  • After completing your current task and before moving on to the next
  • If you are interrupted, before dealing with the interruption
  • If your phone rings or you get a message or email, take a short pause before checking your phone

By building these small pauses into your day, you break up the relentless pace of daily life and allow yourself room to breathe.

Mindful Listening

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you suddenly realize you didn’t take in a single thing they said? Sometimes our minds are racing so much we fail to give attention to the person speaking.

Mindful listening involves bringing your full attention to the conversation you are having. Follow these steps:

  • Stop whatever else you are doing and focus solely on the conversation
  • Take a breath to give yourself time to process what you hear
  • Focus only on the content of what is being said rather than how it makes you feel
  • Ask yourself if you understand what has been said and if not, ask for clarification
  • Reflect back on what you have been told to confirm your understanding

It can be harder to practice mindful listening when you’re on the phone rather than face to face. During phone calls:

  • Put down anything you are holding so you’re not tempted to fiddle
  • If it helps, close your eyes so that you’re not distracted by anything in your field of view
  • Try to sit as still as possible to remove any distracting physical sensations

Connecting With Your Senses

A busy mind usually stems from thinking or worrying about things that have happened in the past or things that will happen in the future. A simple but effective way to pause those thoughts is to focus on the present moment.

One way to do that is to connect with your senses and bring your attention to what you are feeling in the here and now. The beauty of this technique is that you don’t have to take time out to do so; you can perform this exercise whilst going about your day. For example:

  • When you’re eating, focus your attention on the sensations in your mouth and on your tongue
  • When you’re getting dressed in the morning, bring your attention to the feeling of your clothes against your skin
  • If you’re in bed at night, listen to the sounds in your room and outside
  • If you’re driving, notice the sensations of your hands on the steering wheel
  • If you’re out walking, notice the different smells around you

By bringing your attention to the present moment, you stop your brain from worrying about the past or the future, giving your busy mind a break and allowing yourself to reset and recharge.

Are You Looking to Curb a Busy Mind?

If you’re struggling to curb a busy mind and you find that these techniques aren’t sufficient to make a difference, then we’re to help.

We treat a wide range of mental health issues, from mood and anxiety disorders to trauma and personality disorders. We have the highest success rate of any comparable program based on published scientific outcome statistics. We also offer luxurious off-site housing right next door to our treatment center so that you can move seamlessly between your appointments and your accommodation.

We’re here to help; contact us today.

Learn the Difference: Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack

Recognizing the symptoms and causes of a panic attack vs anxiety attack is a crucial step to releasing yourself from the grip of the attack.

One difference is that panic attacks may begin suddenly, while anxiety attacks escalate more gradually. Still, every person experiences panic and anxiety in different ways.

Once you can better differentiate between the two experiences, it might also be beneficial to share this information with a loved one. Then, they can better support you when you’re having a panic attack or anxiety attack.

Learning more about how your body responds to stress and trauma means you can begin to develop a deeper relationship with yourself. If you want to more fully understand your body, your mind, and your triggers, keep reading.

What’s a Panic Attack

When your autonomic nervous system takes charge of your body, it’s perceiving a threat to your person and reacting in the only ways it knows how.

This can also be referred to as your fight or flight response (which also includes the freeze and fawn responses).

Your body is bracing for impact, even if that potential danger is a conversation or a fear of elevators, and not a predator or hurricane. That being said, this stress is still genuine, even if the potential trigger doesn’t seem like it should be a “big deal.”

Panic attacks can arrive quickly. Sometimes there are no warning signs, and the physical symptoms can feel overwhelming.

In addition, panic attacks are typically more short-lived and subside in around 10 minutes. This may not be the case for all panic attacks, but it is a general estimation.

What’s an Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks can more frequently or easily be connected to a specific trigger.

For example, if you’re anticipating stress about a business meeting, that pre-event stress can cause an anxiety attack.

The level of overwhelm can vary for anxiety attacks. But the symptoms are more likely to linger in your body for minutes or hours after recovering from the attack.

These symptoms may grow and subside multiple times throughout the experience, as well.

Frequent anxiety attacks can be a result of other mental health conditions or phobias. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), claustrophobia, and other memories of trauma can cause extreme anxiety.

All the Symptoms

The symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety attacks are similar. So, it’s understandable why it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between the two.

But there are a few symptoms that might be able to help you identify which experience you’re having, and potentially why it might be happening.

Panic Attack Symptoms

Some panic attack symptoms include chest pain, nausea, sweating, and dizziness.

While an anxiety attack could exhibit similar symptoms, a panic attack can also include feeling a loss of control. This feeling can be accompanied by a fear that you will die, or mentally dissociating from yourself or your surroundings.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Symptoms of an anxiety attack might also involve irritability, numbness in your arms or legs, and shortness of breath.

Anxiety attacks are currently included in the DSM-5, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But, some other symptoms attributed to anxiety attacks are extreme worry and distress, and restlessness.

Possible Triggers

What causes panic attacks and anxiety attacks could be any singular event or a combination of stressors.

An upcoming work project or social gathering could trigger an anxiety attack. Recalling past trauma or being in a toxic relationship could cause a panic attack. Or, the resulting reaction could be vice versa.

What You Can Do

While you can’t necessarily control when or how a panic attack or anxiety attack occurs, there are some things you can do to reduce your stress.

Over time, you can learn to recognize and accept your emotional and physiological responses.

At Home

There are some holistic relaxation practices you can incorporate into your routines and reactions at home to help with anxiety and panic. Some of these include breathing patterns and other mindfulness efforts.

Learning to relax and destress isn’t something that happens in a day or two. It is a regular practice of returning to the present moment.

You have to learn to recognize that your body’s response to danger isn’t founded in any physical threat to your well-being.

In other words, your stress is still real and valid. But the threat your mind perceives will not actually physically harm you in that moment of overwhelming stress.

Practices like meditation, yoga, and journaling can also help bring your body back to reality and reset your mind’s perspective.

Lifestyle Changes

While practicing yoga and coloring are effective methods to relax, they can only help so much.

If showing up at your job every day is a constant source of stress, or your three cups of coffee are more for comfort than for increasing productivity, you might need to make some serious lifestyle changes.

Huge stressors like your job, your relationship, and your eating habits can be significant triggers for panic attacks or anxiety attacks. Altering your lifestyle is imperative to reduce your body’s overwhelming responses to stress.

Try to slowly cut back on your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and drugs. Incorporate physical movement into each day. If you want to connect with others who are experiencing similar struggles, join a support group.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack

It may be confusing to determine the differences between a panic attack vs anxiety attack. Ultimately, your main job is to take care of yourself and recognize how your body is responding to extreme stress.

If you resonated with this information, make sure you have all the information you need before you make any significant life decisions. If you’d like to seek out more in-depth personal care, check out our programs here.

Talkspace vs Headspace vs BetterHelp

There are over 1,000 mental health apps available to smartphone users.

These apps cover a broad scope, touching on everything from therapy with a live counselor to guided meditations. Some of the apps connect users to licensed therapists, while others are personally-oriented and don’t offer access to medical professionals.

Having these apps as supplements, tools, and guides is a fantastic option, but it’s worth noting that only about 14% of them include evidence such as clinical research. Doing your own research before downloading and using is a wise idea.

That’s likely why you landed here, where we compare Talkspace, Headspace, and BetterHelp — three of the more notable offerings. If you’re curious, keep reading for an honest look at the pros and cons of each.

Talkspace

First on our list is Talkspace, the #1-rated online therapy app that boasts over one million users.

Talkspace attempts to take the place of an in-person therapist. Users take a brief assessment, which pairs them with a list of recommended therapists. If you end up choosing one, you’ll begin a therapy journey with that counselor.

Here’s what you need to know.

Pros

Talkspace provides 24-hour access seven days a week. Often, a person can’t predict when they’ll genuinely need a conversation with their therapist. Talkspace provides access when you need it.

If you begin your journey with one therapist and find the connection isn’t working for you, you can switch—at no extra cost. Additionally, Talkspace has several plans that fit a wide range of budgets.

Talkspace also specializes in treating teens (13-17) or couples.

Cons

Unfortunately, many things can be missed when one does therapy over the phone—even slight behavioral changes that are noticeable in-person.

Humans are nuanced creatures, and diagnosing someone virtually may prove to be more difficult for severe mental health disorders.

Headspace

Headspace is a guided app that covers a different part of mental health: meditation.

If you find meditation challenging to do on your own, Headspace makes the practice easier and more rewarding. It aims to help its users be “less stressed,” “more resilient,” and happier.

We talk about its advantages and negatives below.

Pros

Headspace can be done for minutes at a time, offering users a world of convenience. Perhaps you arrived to work five minutes early, you’re sitting in your car in the driveway after a long day, or you’re about to make a major decision. Simply pull out your phone and allow yourself that brief but meaningful escapism.

Headspace also covers a wide range of topics, allowing users to find something specific to their current needs. Maybe you want to learn more about mindful eating, how to sleep better, or wish to cultivate a more mindful office space.

Headspace talks about all these subjects and more.

Cons

While Headspace does provide its users with a handful of free meditations, it’s likely you’ll soon want to upgrade.

The free ones tend to be shorter in length and are limited, meaning you can make your way through the entire selection—ten sessions—quickly.

Headspace is a wonderful supplement to your regular mental health routine. Still, those with more serious disorders will need something besides the app, such as a program, to care for themselves adequately.

BetterHelp

Finally, we have BetterHelp — another app like Talkspace that connects its users with licensed therapists that offer counseling sessions.

BetterHelp also specializes in individual therapy, couple’s therapy, and therapy with teenagers.

Pros

BetterHelp allows users to connect with their therapist in several ways. One can communicate over the phone, through video, or through messaging or chat options. This feature lets you choose a preference that’s most comfortable for you.

Additionally, BetterHelp doesn’t require the use of appointments. One can message their therapist at any time, and from there, schedule a live session at the next convenient moment.

Cons

While you can message your therapist at any time, that doesn’t mean there’s a specific time when you’ll hear back. This point can leave some users feeling dejected.

While you can switch therapists if you find your match doesn’t quite fit, BetterHelp encourages its users not to choose their own.

Rather, BetterHelp wants to connect you with a therapist of its choice based on answers you provide to a questionnaire. Again, like Talkspace, this process may feel a little impersonal to some. It may also cause the app or its therapists to miss something that could be important to your mental health journey.

Finally, the cost of BetterHelp is about the same cost as a traditional, in-person therapist.

Of course, you won’t have the convenience of speaking to them from the comfort of home (or elsewhere)—but some see that as a reason to have reduced costs. Expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $90 per session with BetterHelp, or $240 to $360 a month if you do weekly sessions.

Are These Mental Health Apps Right for You?

Having options is a good thing. It allows you to work with individual apps or use two or more in tandem.

Perhaps you find you enjoy using Talkspace to speak with a therapist, followed by a quick guided meditation on Headspace. Or, maybe BetterHelp is enough for you.

Either way, we hope this article provided you with transparent insight into each of these apps. At Solara Mental Health, we care about providing honest information and compassionate help. Our priority is you.

Click here to learn about our own programs, which provide anything from screenings and assessments to family programs or 24-hour, in-person programs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Say Cheese! The Effect of Smiling at Others

You are probably familiar with the effects of smiling on your own mind and body. From living a better and longer life to appearing more approachable and confident, from reducing the risk of certain serious diseases to releasing hormones that help decrease stress levels, the benefits of smiling are plentiful.

But are you aware of the effect of a smile on others? Yes, when you smile, the people around you can benefit from it, too.

Let’s shed light on why you should smile for the sake of your own happiness as well as that of others. Are you ready to smile more often?

Triggering Positive Feelings

Countless studies have shown that the very act of seeing another person smile triggers an automatic muscular response that produces a smile on our face. Yes, smiling is contagious, and science has demonstrated that time and time again.

When someone else smiles at us, regardless of whether we know them or not, it automatically lifts our mood. We can’t help but smile back, in an act that is almost involuntary, but which releases a wealth of benefits that we might not even be aware of.

The main one? A waterfall of positive, happy feelings. If we felt like we started our day in the wrong way, seeing someone smile at us will inevitably make us feel better.

All of a sudden, our day won’t look that terrible anymore—thanks to the power of someone else’s smile.

Because smiling back at someone is an automatic act (if you don’t do it, it’s normally because you are actively choosing not to), we are now reaping all those great, feel-good benefits that we would if we were the ones initiating the smiling.

Promoting Better Health for Everyone

Smiling at and with other people — whether they be friends and family or complete strangers that we come across on the street — also releases a host of great hormones in our bodies, which enhance everyone’s health. Stress levels are lowered, thus reducing any related chance of inflammation and pain.

And did you know that by decreasing inflammation, you also help prevent some of the root causes of serious diseases, such as cancer and heart disease?

Smiling more and smiling at other people can have such an incredible ripple effect, helping to make you and others around you lead healthier and longer lives.

Making Others Feel Rewarded

What other emotion would you say you feel if someone smiles at you? Besides happiness, calmness, and improved mood, another feeling triggered by a smile is a sense of feeling fulfilled and content.

It turns out that this is not just the psychology of smiling, but it has some medical and physical cause. Several scientific studies have noticed that when someone smiles at us, the part of our brain that controls feelings of reward is activated.

Yes, you’ve read it right: if we receive a smile, we may feel like we have been given a beautiful prize. And, of course, this feeling generates other positive sensations, which in turn continue to produce positive effects on our minds and bodies.

Facilitating Good Relationships

Picture this scenario. You are a student, on their first day at a new school, feeling understandably nervous, shy, and a bit lonely. You sit at your desk and start looking around at your new school mates, who are sitting all around you.

Some of them are greeting you with a smile, others are ignoring you, and another group is staring at you without smiling. Which ones will you be speaking to first, hoping to create some new friendships?

Correct: the ones who are smiling at you. In any situation, but particularly in those that might make us feel uneasy and anxious, we are drawn to bond with people who show us that they are friendly, approachable, and interested in getting to know us.

In this specific example, the students who are smiling at you are also very likely to be the ones who start a conversation and end up involving you in their lives and wanting to become a part of your life. In a nutshell, they are the ones who are going to become your friends.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be able to make friends with people who don’t smile at you! It means that it might take a little bit longer, as your guard might be up and you might be feeling more uncertain if you were in a relationship with them.

The Effect of Smile on Others: A Powerful Tool for Greater Wellbeing

As we have discussed, smiling is not just a wonderful way to stay happy, positive, and healthy. It also creates a ripple effect on the people around you, who reap some pretty amazing benefits from such a simple and daily act.

The effect of a smile on others is so powerful that you should really consider smiling more, and at more people, regardless of whether you know them or not.

By smiling at others, you can contribute to their happiness and their health can make them feel rewarded and create strong and long-lasting bonds and relationships.

Are you feeling like you don’t have any reason to smile at the moment? This might be a symptom of something more serious going on. Why not get in touch with us and see if we can help you?

Wraparound Services in Mental Health

Mental health wraparound services are a wonderful way for the mental health care community to care for children who experience mental health or behavioral challenges and their families.

This innovative approach brings people together and provides all parties involved with the support they need and to ensure that all the needs of the family and child are met so that mental health and behavioral goals can be met, too.

In the past, mental health issues in children were traditionally treated using a science-based, counseling-focused approach only. This still works for some children in crisis, but it doesn’t work for everyone.

Wraparound services symbolize a movement towards a new kind of aid for youth. Through these methods, the focus is not only on the child but on the child’s entire family. It builds on the goals and strengths of the family unit to help the child and, in turn, the entire family.

Read on to learn more.

Families Need Wraparound Services

Many young people and their families today face countless challenges. Sadly, many homes and families in our country today experience issues like poverty, family disharmony, unemployment, illness and disease, lack of food, violence in neighborhoods, domestic violence, and so much more.

These challenges can be overwhelming when faced one at a time, but many families experience more than one simultaneously.

When, on top of that, a child experiences mental or behavioral health challenges as well, it may seem impossible to move forward. Facing and overcoming these difficulties may seem insurmountable for some.

Wraparound services recognize that families face many challenges every day. This method of care also recognizes that all families have their own goals and strengths.

These should be embraced and harnessed to help the family thrive together as one, which will help the child who experiences behavioral or mental health challenges in countless ways.

Who Is Eligible for Wraparound Services?

Participation in a wraparound services program is optional and voluntary. In most cases, a mental health professional who is already familiar with the child’s issues, family, and needs will identify the need for a wraparound services plan.

Families eligible for this type of program include a child who has mental health or behavioral issues that interfere with the functioning of the family or participation in school or community activities.

Often, the child is already at risk of being placed in a residential psychiatric treatment facility.

The goal of wraparound services is to keep the child in the home with his or her family.

How Wraparound Services Work

The process of engaging a family in a wraparound services program is simple. The length of time each family will use these services varies and will differ from family to family and situation to situation. However, the process is linear for all participants.

Step One: Determine Needs

Once it is apparent that a family could benefit from wraparound services and all parties agree to give it a try, a team is assembled to facilitate the delivery of services.

Each team will have a coordinator to work with the child and the family to determine what the family needs. All family members will have a voice in the process. The coordinator will make sure all participants are on board with changes and decisions.

Step Two: Create a Plan

After discussing the family’s needs, the coordinator will reconvene with the support team to create a plan.

This plan will be based not only on the needs of the family but on the strengths of each member as well. It will also incorporate the use of community-based mental health services to offer support.

Step Three: Evaluate and Adjust the Plan as Needed

In order to reach the child’s goals, the plan will then be put into action. The family and the team will meet on a very regular basis to review the plan and to discover what is working well and what is not.

If the plan is not working, the team will develop new strategies to help the family and their child.

Step Four: Success and Transition

This process will continue until progress on the child’s goals is evident. Once the intended outcomes are reached on a regular and ongoing basis, the family can begin to transition out of the wraparound services program.

Benefits of Wraparound Service Programs

It’s clear that wraparound service programs can be a great help to families with children in behavioral or mental health crises. The benefits of this sort of comprehensive care are numerous and immense.

Many families embrace this type of program because it focuses on the strengths of the family and on the strengths of each individual family member.

It gives everyone in the family a voice and an opportunity to participate in finding solutions and in reaching both short and long-term goals.

Further, wraparound service programs are outcome-based. Although services like counseling and support groups are undoubtedly vital components in mental health treatment, the lack of clear, concrete, visible outcomes can be challenging for many.

On the other hand, wraparound service programs set solid, attainable, achievable goals, and when they are reached it is clear to everyone involved.

Most importantly, wraparound services are personalized. The administration of these services takes a big step away from the one-size-fits-all style of treatment. It takes into account the family’s needs, culture, resources, and preferences, and helps to create independence, confidence, and stability in the families that voluntarily choose to participate.

Wraparound Services Empower Families

As you can see, wraparound services can be very helpful and powerful to families who need them. No family wants to have to send their child away for inpatient care if it can be avoided.

Wraparound services are an intervention that, in many cases, keeps that from happening.

They allow families to play an active role in helping their children to overcome the mental health and behavioral obstacles they face. It’s likely that wraparound services will become more common and widespread moving forward from here.

If you believe your family may be one that is a candidate for wraparound services in San Diego, please contact us. The helpful staff at Solara can help lead you in the right direction to get the help that you need.

7 Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety Most People Don’t Notice

Anxiety hurts. 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, making them the most common mental illness in the United States.

Few people would imagine just how prevalent anxiety is. Mental illness isn’t a physical disease. It doesn’t show up on the body. It resides in the mind, which can make it hard to recognize.

High-functioning anxiety is especially difficult to see. Many people who have it are successful people. Yet, it can be crippling.

Learn to recognize the signs of high-functioning anxiety, and you can learn how to manage it. Here are seven signs of what it’s like.

1. Being an Overachiever

It’s important to set goals and take strides toward them. But people with high-functioning anxiety may set too many high goals.

People with high-functioning anxiety may not stop working. They don’t take vacations, and they stay late at the office. Once they achieve a goal, they set a new one and start working on it.

A person may never feel satisfied with their work. Their coworkers and boss may regard them very positively. But all that matters to the overachiever is the next goal to hit.

It’s hard to recognize when someone is an overachiever. Overachievers meet deadlines and present a professional appearance. Many overachievers have full and active social lives.

But they can’t stop working. Their anxiety compels them to keep going, beyond a point that is healthy.

2. Being a Perfectionist

A little anxiety can serve as a mental check. It can help a person recognize the mistakes they have made and correct them. But too much anxiety can prompt a person to be too cautious.

Someone with high-functioning anxiety stresses out over every detail. They may revise a written work many times over. They may check-in with employees many times a day, exercising too much control.

They may become afraid of failure. If they make one small mistake, they view themselves as having failed.

People with high-functioning anxiety can become focused on results, neglecting the process of creating work. The people around them usually see them as good workers. But the truth is they are pushing themselves too hard.

3. Apologizing for Insignificant Things

A related behavior to perfectionism is over-apologizing. Many bosses forgive or correct small mistakes. But to someone with anxiety, no mistake is too small.

Many people with high-functioning anxiety apologize for something that isn’t their fault. They take responsibility for someone else’s mistake. They take responsibility for an accident that was outside their control.

Apologizing for small things may lead someone to take on more work. They want to correct a mistake, so they redo their work or ask for another task. This can cause a person to feel stretched too thin.

4. Inability to Say “No”

The fear of failure leads many people to associate failure with the smallest things. When they say “no” to someone, they think they are failing in that person’s eyes. As such, many people with high-functioning anxiety don’t say “no.”

Like apologizing, this can lead people to overexert themselves. They take on more work than they should. They stay later to work, exhausting themselves.

The inability to say “no” can lead to trouble in social areas. A person may commit themselves to a relationship that isn’t good for them. They may give too much to their partner and not ask for anything in return.

5. Overthinking

Some tasks deserve more thought than others. Someone with high-functioning anxiety may apply the same level of thought to all tasks.

Someone gives a 100-word assignment the same priority as a 500-word one. They apply sophisticated techniques that aren’t warranted.

This causes the person to exhaust themselves. It can also hurt their work process. They may turn in assignments too late because they spend so much time thinking it over.

A person can even overthink their physical and mental health. They may become a hypochondriac, convinced that they have significant health problems. They may diagnose themselves with generalized anxiety when they have another condition.

6. Too Little Sleep

The most common physical symptom of high-functioning anxiety is too little sleep. A person spends the night at the office, rather than going to bed.

When they do go to bed, their mind is racing. They keep overthinking things, and they can’t fall asleep.

They may wake up in the middle of the night, consumed in thought. They may also wake up early so they can get work done.

7. Coping With Drugs or Alcohol

People with high-functioning anxiety may use drugs to work longer. Drugs can provide a rush that gives them more energy. They may become dependent on drugs or alcohol for feelings of happiness or pleasure.

Some people may recognize that their behavior isn’t healthy. But they don’t seek professional help. They turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with their problems.

Daily Coping Tips for High-Functioning Anxiety

There are many treatment options for people with high-functioning anxiety. If anything in your mental or physical health troubles you, go to a doctor immediately.

You can receive a formal diagnosis of generalized, high-functioning, and/or social anxiety. Your doctor can point to any medical conditions that cause your anxiety.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients to identify negative thoughts. They practice new skills, learning to set attainable goals. They monitor themselves, developing problem-solving strategies to meet challenges.

Psychodynamic therapy allows patients to examine their own lives. They determine the roots and triggers of their anxiety. They learn management methods and grow to have a sense of peace in their lives.

Commit to spending fifteen minutes every day on your mental health. Practice sleep hygiene, sticking to a regular schedule.

When you notice a negative thought, counter it with something realistic. Practice deep breathing and muscle stretching to control your tension.

Go and Get the Help You Deserve

High-functioning anxiety can be complicated and isolating. But you can get help. Recognize some common signs, and you can start improving your mental health.

The most common signs are being an overachiever and a perfectionist. Apologizing for insignificant things and being unable to say “no” are also common.

Many people overthink things, causing them to lose sleep. Some turn to alcohol and drugs to help them work longer or to cope.
You have worth. Find some help that can maximize your worth.

Solara Mental Health is San Diego’s leading mental health clinic. Contact us today, or call us at 844-263-4882.

Blending Food With Mood: How Eating Right Affects Mental Health

eating right affects mental health

Mental health, particularly depression, is a global concern. Despite an increase in mental disorder treatment, the illness is increasing rather than decreasing, more common in young people. The 20th Century has witnessed a dietary shift globally. There’s an increase in the consumption of snacks, sugars, high-energy, and takeaway foods. On the other hand, the use of fiber-dense and nutrients foods is declining.

As we always say, what we eat affects not just our physical health but our mental health and wellbeing too. Our brain takes care of our thoughts, our physical movements, breathing, and senses. It works continuously 24/7, which means your mind requires premium fuel. Our food is fuel for our brain, and hence what we eat directly affects the function of our brain and, ultimately, our mood. Eating high-quality foods loaded with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants nourish our brain and protect from oxidative stress.

Food = Mood

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our appetite, sleep, moods, and inhibit pain. Fact, 95% of our serotonin is produced from our gastrointestinal tract, and it is lined with a million neurons or nerve cells. The inner workings don’t just help digest food but guide our emotions.

The billions of good bacteria influence the function of neurons and serotonin production. These good bacteria make up our intestinal microbiome. These bacteria protect our intestines lining and creates a strong barrier against toxins and limit inflammation, improve how well nutrients are absorbed and activate neural pathways that travel between the gut and the brain.

Studies reveal that when people intake probiotics, their stress perception, anxiety levels, and mental health improve as compared to people who did not take probiotics. Other studies have shown that traditional diets like the Japanese or Mediterranean diet have shown that the depression risk is 25% to 35% lower compared to the modern diet.

how eating right affects mental health

These traditional diets are high in fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains, seafood, and fish and moderate amounts of lean meats and dairy. Sugar is considered a significant reason for inflammation and feeds harmful bacteria in the GI tract. It also causes a temporary spike in dopamine, a “feel good” neurotransmitters. This results in a fleeting sugar rush followed by a crash that breaks down your mood.

While sticking to healthy food, you face fewer mood fluctuations, a happier outlook, and an improved concentration. To sum up, good food = a good mood!

What type of food should you pick?

So, what should you put on your plate? Here’s a quick overview of what food you need to put in your cart.

  • Whole foods: Food colorings, preservatives, and other additives may induce or worsen hyperactivity and depression. Remember to eat real food or minimally process food. Think of fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Fiber: Fiber helps your body absorb glucose or food sugars, helping you avoid sugar crashes. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are rich in fiber.
  • Antioxidants: They are called inflammation fighters. They are commonly found in leafy green, vegetables, berries, turmeric, Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon, and black chia seeds. Dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants but indulges in moderation.
  • Folate: Folate helps with dopamine production without forcing sugars in the body. You can find them in lentils, greens, and cantaloupes.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential in the production of serotonin, and we get it from sunlight. However, reishi, cordyceps, and maitake mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin D.
  • Magnesium: They take care of everything from muscle and nerve function to keeping heartbeat steady. But it’s also essential for the food-mood connection. A magnesium deficiency can hurt your gut bacteria and cause depression. Find them in dark chocolate, almonds, cashews, spinach, leafy vegetables, beans, and bananas.
  • Fermented Foods: Fermented food are loaded with probiotics- live bacteria good for your GI tract. They are hidden in kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha. These foods are also high in sodium, so consume in moderation or avoid them if you have high blood pressure.

What do you need to do?

Start paying attention to your diet. What are you eating? How are different foods impacting your mood? Try switching to a clean diet for a few weeks—which means cutting out sugar and processed foods. You can add fermented foods or try going dairy-free or grain-free. See how you feel. You can slowly introduce new superfoods in your diet accordingly.

Incorporating functional foods in your diet can be a little challenging in the beginning, but you can prepare a week meal. Inrush, you can use frozen or canned vegetables minus the salt, whole-grain couscous, or quinoa. You can switch from white rice, bread, or pasta for whole-grain versions. And replace a bag of chips, pick a side salad packed with seeds, nuts, and colorful vegetables. It may take some adjustment but it is essential that you do whatever it takes to help your mental health so that you can live a healthy, happy, and productive life.

 

Inheriting Mental Disorders

In the research of finding causes of mental disorders, scientists are connecting the dots at genetic factors. Often, we get the compliment that we look like our parents. We might have their mannerisms, physique, cleverness, attitude, or physical features. But does it relate to the fact that my parents are the reason for my anger or anxiety? Is it because I suffered a tragic loss of my brother in the growing years? Or is it written into my DNA?

The fact is, if a family member has a mental disorder, the chance of an individual having a mental disorder is higher. Even though mental illness is inherited, there may be differences in the symptoms among family members sharing the disease.

One person might have a mild case, while others will have a severe case. However, mental illness does not follow a pattern of inheritance.

Mental health is sometimes a difficult topic to talk about. Those who deal with it always looks out for a reason to avoid the discussion. 

Mental illness is not about a single gene but a collection of genes. According to a recent study, the chances of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder being carried down through family members depend on the type of mental illness and severity. See the table below-

 

  Schizophrenia Bipolar
Lifetime chance (the chance of someone in the general population developing the condition during their lifetime) 1 in 100 Bipolar
If one of your biological parents has the condition 13 in 100 2-30 in 100
If both of your biological parents have the condition 45 in 100 15 in 100
If your brother or sister has the condition 9 in 100 50 in 100
If your identical twin has the condition 40-50 in 100 40 – 70 in 100
If your non-identical twin has the condition 10-15 in 100 20  in 100
If a second degree relative has the condition (for example, your aunt, uncle or grandparent) 3 in 100 5 in 100

 

Always remember the chances of not developing a mental illness even though it runs in your family is high, then chances of developing one. The table clarifies that the chances of not developing bipolar are 97 out of 100. That’s on the positive side.

Source: https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/carers-hub/does-mental-illness-run-in-families/

 

The Intersection Of Mental Illness And Inheritance

  • Epigenetic Regulation: This affects how a person perceives and reacts to environmental patterns and may contribute to mental disorder. Epigenetics is not a constant one. It goes on and off over time — a right combination of epigenetic regulation and environmental factors are responsible for a mental disorder to develop.
  • Genetic Polymorphisms: Polymorphisms found in our DNA make us unique as an individual. It alone may not lead you to mental illness. However, the combination of many specific polymorphisms and environmental factors can lead to the development of a mental disorder.

For example, in addiction, genetics plays a significant role in knowing whether someone is likely to develop an addiction or not. But there are a lot of other things that one should consider–like the environment, mental health history in your family, and complications you might have. Parents who have experiences with mental disorders in the past can help children equipped with solutions when they see the first symptoms. 

The Risk

The probability of developing a specific mental disease is high when a biological parent or other related family members have the same condition. Researchers are working extensively to find patterns in twins and adopted children. The risk of developing schizophrenia is 1% in the population, but the risk is ten times higher if a parent suffers from the illness. The chance increased to about 40% if both parents have schizophrenia.

San Diego Mental Health Facility

The lifetime risk of schizophrenia is correlated with the degree of relationship to the patient (first-degree relatives are at higher risk than second-degree relatives)

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696847/

How Can Parents Work on Mental Health Challenges?                                                                                         

  • Talk to your child: You may feel a little anxious before taking this issue up. But speaking openly about mental health issues and your story is an invaluable way to reduce the risk of passing the illness to your child. Make your children aware of your behavior, how difficult you feel sometimes, and how they can help you overcome those challenges together as a family. There’s no shame in feeling depressed or anxious. Explain to them don’t blame anyone. Children often internalize their parent’s moods. This will lay a foundation for them to stand with strength when they walk down the same mental health path in their life.
  • Inculcate healthy exercise: Try and incorporate daily exercising and meditation sessions in your family wellness program. It helps to boost your therapy while improving your child’s concentration and memory. Explain to them how the treatment is helping you improve your disease. Your kids will learn at the early stage how it is essential to take care of mental and physical health equally.
  • Don’t fear but teach: It is common that those with mental health issues fear of passing the illness to their kids. There is a genetic element to many mental disorders. Please don’t shy away from the fact that there are chances that they might not inherit them. There are so many factors that you don’t have control over. Right now, you have the power to create the most supportive and nurturing environment for your kids, where they can talk openly to you and share their challenges.
  • Stop Punishing Yourself: You have both good and bad days while going through mental health issues. Honestly, parenting is challenging, and it can trigger mental health issues. Do not ignore these signs and, if possible, take a break and divert your energy on your mental condition. When your kids are aware of your situation, they will understand and help overcome those periods.  

There’s no hidden fact that mental health issue is a tough topic, and we all have a fear of passing them to our children. But believing in fear and creating an overprotective environment might pull your kids away, affecting your conditions. It’s better to talk about the situation with your doctor. Learn how you can bring this topic with your family and build a support team, not just for yourself but for your future generations. Unlike yesterday, we are having a healthy discussion on mental health. As we see, more solutions and support are coming forward to help people suffering from mental health disorders live a healthy and fuller life.

Is Your Boss Destroying Your Mental Health?

Toxic Workplace-two words define everything that might be going wrong in your life. We tend to spend a big chunk of our life in our workplace. We learn, share, and grow as an individual while climbing the career ladder. However, these winning moments also overshadows our efforts, mental stress, and ignorance that we take every day. Firstly, your job is your self-worth. You do what you love. Honestly, your job pays your bills. But can money drive your mental health?

That constant fear in your gut.

The constant pressure to impress your boss.

Those anxiety-fueled thoughts, restless nights, never-ending nightmare. Yes, you’re right. Your job is killing you.

Is your boss responsible for mental trauma? Do you enjoy your office environment? Ask yourself.

As “The Toxic Boss Survival Guide” says – It’s easy to spot a toxic leader. They’re controlling, egomaniacal, two-faced, and narcissistic.

But when you know your boss is killing your work culture and affecting your mental health, how do you cope up with such situations.

 

Work on Controllable Task

Working in fear is damaging your physical and mental health, according to health experts. A toxic boss brings worry into your life and work. You don’t enjoy your work because you have constant pressure to impress and deliver. This takes a toll on your skills and experience. The fear of losing a job, being bullied, or targeted for every silly mistake are some of the reasons for your mental fatigue.

In such a situation, you must stay calm. Pick things that make you feel positive, create a balance between work and personal life, and detach yourself from work in your free time. One of the best advice ever heard- work on your controllable task and stop worrying about uncontrollable things. You can control your work, next presentations, but people’s reaction, getting a raise is something beyond your control. This allows focusing on the happenings that you can control.  

San Diego Mental Health

Exercise, Food, Sleep and Repeat

I don’t have to emphasize on the benefits of exercise, food, and sleep. Kickstart your day with a power exercise and health-loaded breakfast. You can pick yoga, meditations, a brisk walking under the sun, or a Zumba training. Keep yourself active and nourish your body with a balanced diet.

Sleep deprivation can hinder your ability to react to complex challenges at a personal and professional level. When work is keeping you all night, try sleep hacks- read a book, pick a coloring book, use morning for your worry time, exercise for 20 minutes, practice sleep meditation before bed or set up a sleep routine.

 

Connect with your team/colleagues

A very early sign of toxic, dysfunctional workplace brings significant communication challenges and often between multiple departments, employees, supervisors, and management.

We’re a social animal by nature. Community is a baseline of our behavior. But you might shut yourself from co-workers because of the micro-management from your boss. You put yourself in a social isolation zone that can bring loneliness. Such isolation is linked to increasing levels of stress hormones, accelerated cognitive decline, and poor sleep patterns.

Cultivate healthy relationships with your colleagues, who plays a significant role in keeping your work environment stress-free. Treat them with humility and gratitude, become an observer, listener, and plan an informal dinner/meet-n-greet outside your office.

 

Say No

Never try to become a guy who know-it-all and do-it-all because in this situation, you work like crazy without getting recognition. Take projects where you can dedicate your energy and time, which is also beneficial to your company.

Don’t turn down a project on a whim. For example-

The project is challenging – if you have the skills, you can try to learn new skills and implement them quickly.

Different than your job description- if you have the skills to complete the projects, don’t turn down because it wasn’t part of your job description.

But say no because of the unrealistic deadline, too much on the plate, you lack the necessary skills. Explain your management about your current workload. Delegate your work and set realistic benchmarks and timeframe. But Say NO when needed. Don’t take projects to avoid a conversation with your boss.

boss contributing to mental illness

Address The elephant in the room

After all the tactics, you still feel pressured and bullied at your workplace. It’s time to have to talk to your boss about his treatment. Explain the A-Z of his behavior with you- how negative attitude is disturbing your mental health. It’s difficult to open to someone who has a history of being unnecessarily rude to you. But at times, you need to spot the elephant in the room. You can’t let him ruin your day, your health, and your life.

If you don’t feel comfortable, ask your human resource team to join the conversation. Don’t make yourself look weak, but don’t forget to point out flaws in your boss’ leadership. If they fail to find a solution that works for you, I believe it’s time to leave your current employer and look out for an environment where you are valued.

 

Be Honest and Make a Choice

The foremost important thing is to ask yourself – is your job killing you? Do you want to see your boss tomorrow again? Are you being ridiculed in front of your co-workers? Is he putting your confidence down every time you speak in the meeting? Think harder.

So, the job that is killing your will to live is not the right job for you. Do you agree? You can’t hang in the toxic workplace with a control-freak boss looking for hope. I know, quitting a job is a tough decision. But don’t take this decision hastily. But if you know, it’s the time to bid goodbye, plan your options and make the right move. You deserve to be respected and treated well for your ideas, your work, and your experience. 

 

Things aren’t perfect, and you can’t walk away from an opportunity without trying. You can decide to strike a balance and give your 100 percent to make things work for you and your boss. But you can’t pick your toxic job over your mental health. Don’t let a lousy history play with your confidence. Look out for new opportunity stored for you. Putting your health- physical and mental- will bring back strength in your life.