Some fall victim to the stigma and are afraid to be judged. Others are worried about what they might discover about themselves in the treatment process. There are those who have heard negative things about mental health care and doubt that it can help them. And those who simply think they should solve their problems on their own. And then there are those who want to seek professional help, but lack the resources, whether due to cost or location. Whatever the reason might be, the grim truth is that less than half of Americans with mental health concerns receive help. Before we tell you about the unique advantages of Antidote’s mental health care services, we want to start by briefly discussing the advantages of mental health care as a whole.
If you feel overpowered by life’s challenges, if you feel like your emotions and behaviors are getting the best of you, if you no longer enjoy things you used to, if you feel like you have lost control of your life, seeking help is the right thing to do. Mental health is no different than any physical health concern in the sense that sometimes you really do need a professional to guide you. If you can see a dentist for sore gums, then you can visit a doctor for prolonged sadness or heightened levels of anxiety. Meeting with a healthcare professional can help you to regain control and significantly improve your lifestyle.
There is no reason for you to go through your journey alone.
So, how can Antidote help you?
Before we dive into the different conditions that Antidote Health’s board-certified doctors treat, we wanted to introduce our overarching treatment method: Enhanced Evidence-based Care (EEBC).
When a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes, they can measure their blood pressure or take a blood test to see how different medications affect their condition. If the numbers go down, then treatment is successful, and if they don’t, adjustments are made. What happens if your medical condition can’t be measured with a blood test or a scan? When it comes to mental health, for many years there was simply no reliable way to track patients’ progress.
With the creation of EEBC, that has changed. Before you start your first appointment with one of our board-certified mental health doctors, and throughout your treatment process, you will be asked to fill out scientifically validated questionnaires. These questionnaires are our way of measuring your progress and knowing that we are providing the best treatment possible. Clinical research has repeatedly found the EEBC method to be up to twice as effective as usual care.
What do we treat?
Antidote Health’s board-certified doctors treat 7 of the most common mental health conditions. They are:
While off-days are a natural part of life and it’s absolutely normal to occasionally feel down, deep and prolonged sadness might be sign of clinical depression. It is impossible to pinpoint the exact causes of this highly common condition, but it is thought to be a combination of genetics, stressful life events, and chemical changes in the brain.
While standard treatment is effective for most types of depression, each patient responds differently to treatment. The only way to continuously ensure the right treatment is through follow-up visits and status updates. That is why we are such firm believers in EEBC.
Fill out a questionnaire and get a clear understanding of your specific condition, then receive a customized treatment plan from a doctor. Keep evaluating and adjusting as the treatment process continues under the guidance of your doctor. Know where you stand at all times, and make sure you’re constantly on the right track towards a healthier life.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Another common condition, GAD is more than simply stressing over an upcoming test or losing sleep due to a major life event. People are diagnosed with GAD after showing prolonged and excessive signs of anxiety that is detached from a specific stressful occasion. Similar to depression, GAD is thought to be rooted in both environmental and biological factors.
Symptoms of GAD include feeling nervous, having an increased heartrate, feeling tired, struggling to concentrate, and even experiencing aches and pains or digestive problems. But GAD ranges widely in levels of severity. Some people have mild anxiety that doesn’t dramatically affect their daily lives, while others struggle with implementing basic daily activities. There are a number of ways to treat GAD, from lifestyle changes to medication to therapy. If you feel like anxiety drives your life, or that you constantly worry about multiple things, reach out to one of our board-certified doctors for assessment and regain control of your life.
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by panic attacks and is distinctly different from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Panic attacks usually manifest physically, with symptoms such as elevated heart rate, excessive sweat, and heavy breathing. They are also known to be abrupt and seemingly not triggered by anything specific.
The unpredictable nature of panic disorder and the concern with being overcome by paralyzing fear can severely harm quality of life. Not knowing when to expect the next attack is stress-inducing on its own. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one might have panic disorder, reach out to a doctor who specializes in mental health. Antidepressants are safe and commonly prescribed to people with panic disorder, and therapy can also help.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
About 7% of the population experience PTSD, a mental health issue caused by experiencing or witnessing a highly traumatic event, like actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. A little-known fact about PTSD is that people may develop it indirectly – after hearing about a loved one’s harmful experience, for example. Research shows that PTSD is more common among women than men, but can affect people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds.
An important fact to keep in mind is that PTSD can be overcome. Both psychotherapy and medications can make a big impact in treating the disorder. Lifestyle changes and stress management are important as well. Contact a doctor to get a better sense of your condition, see what treatment plan is right for you, and work with a doctor to help you manage it.
Sufficient sleep in adults is defined as about eight hours a night – or one third of the day – but many some people don’t get nearly enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep due to habit, street noise, or a new allergy medication that contains stimulants doesn’t count as insomnia. Insomniacs have a hard time falling or staying asleep even when sleeping conditions are ideal, and their lack of sleep disrupts their lives.
Treatment of insomnia disorder includes lifestyle changes and medications if needed. It is recommended that you start logging your sleep 10 days before you see the doctor. Write down when you get in bed, fall asleep, wake up, take naps, exercise, and drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks. Also note if you started taking any medications or supplements, as those might affect your sleep as well.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Almost every teenager goes through a phase where they don’t want to go to school. Some are shy, some would rather spend their time elsewhere, and some might battle with social anxiety disorder. But how can you tell introversion from anxiety? In this case, once again, the difference lies in the phase’s longevity and effect on everyday life. People with social anxiety disorder experience persistent fear of being judged or rejected by others. It tampers with their ability to perform daily tasks, and their feelings are often not restricted to one specific location. Meaning, preferring to shop online over physically going to the grocery store, while having no problem going to work and meeting new people, doesn’t necessarily point at a disorder.
Luckily, social anxiety disorder is treatable with medication, talk therapy, or both. We never rush to diagnose people with a mental health disorder, but if you or a loved one experience significant social fear for more than a few weeks, we recommend that you contact one of our board-certified doctors.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
No, not everyone who is tidy has OCD. This disorder, which affects people of all genders, ages, and races, is defined by recurring and unwanted thoughts, images or urges that often drive people to do something repeatedly. For example, someone with OCD may feel compelled to wash themselves repeatedly each time they touch something that seems dirty; they realize that this behavior is excessive, but they just can’t stop themselves from doing it. Other types of OCD may involve unwanted sexual thoughts, hoarding, or needing to count things a certain number of times.
OCD can be treated with antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, or both. If you believe that you or a loved one is experiencing OCD, know that it is treatable. Treatment can help ease the symptoms of the disorder and the anxiety that comes with them.
While each condition mentioned above has its own, unique characteristics, at least one thing is true across the board: diagnosis of mental health conditions is not easy – and self-diagnosis is even harder. It takes time and expertise to differentiate sadness from depression, poor sleep from insomnia, or a person who appreciates precision from OCD. In many cases, the difference lies in the intensity, persistence, and longevity of symptoms. Therefore, the recommendation for anyone who has been experiencing a loss of control and any type of intense, debilitating, or strange feelings described above is to seek help. Speak with a relative or a friend that you trust and reach out to a professional.
This is true for people who have never been diagnosed with any type of mental health disorder in the past and for those who have been struggling with mental health for a while. The first step is to truly understand your condition – what is it? how much does it affect your life? how severe is it? – and then treat it with the guidance of board-certified doctors.
The most important similarity between the seven conditions we discussed is that they are all treatable. They can all be managed, as long as the person struggling reaches out and chooses to accept treatment. Luckily, affordable, stigma-free, quality mental healthcare was never this accessible. If you are an adult who has been experiencing any of the symptoms or feelings mentioned above, download Antidote Health’s app now to meet with a board-certified doctor.
*Antidote Health’s doctors assess and treat the seven conditions mentioned in the article in adults. We currently do not offer psychotherapy.