3 Types of Paranoia: What does paranoia mean?

Recently someone asked me a question regarding the relationship between anxiety and paranoia. They reported feeling paranoid and were wondering if treatment for anxiety would help them feel better. Is paranoia a symptom of anxiety? What does paranoia mean? There aren’t actually 3 types of paranoia and being paranoid means very different things to people with anxiety, OCD, or psychosis.

If you know someone who is paranoid or are curious about the best ways to provide support, download this free PDF guide:   read more

4 Myths About ADHD in Adults

ADHD myths can get in the way of people seeking treatment and contribute to the stigma against people with ADHD. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 4.4% of US adults have ADHD although less than 11% receive treatment. Myths and stigma play a role in the huge discrepancy between the number of people with ADHD and the number with ADHD that receive treatment. Adult ADHD can cause significant challenges in relationships, employment, and self-esteem for people who are not adequately treated. read more

Bipolar 2 Disorder and Hypomania: What Everyone Should Know

When people think of bipolar disorder they often think of mania and the extremes that can happen. However, bipolar disorder exists on a spectrum with 2 main types: Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2. Bipolar 2 is a milder (yet still uncomfortable!) form of bipolar. People with Bipolar 2 Disorder experience hypomania instead of mania. So what is hypomania and how is it different from mania?

In order to explain Bipolar 2, I will review the DSM-5 (the diagnostic manual for psychiatric conditions) criteria used to diagnose it and add the personal perspectives of someone who has experienced hypomania.

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Physician Burnout: We all Lose

Despite loving my patients, I burned out. I chose my own quality of life over continuing to work with the chronically mentally ill population that I adored. This patient population is frequently shortchanged with their quality of care and I have joined the ranks of people failing them.

Physician burnout

This is my experience working in one mental health clinic in the United States. Every clinic runs differently and there are fantastic systems out there. I am so grateful for the amazing clinicians and psychiatrists that continue to dedicate their lives to this population even when they are underpaid and overworked. read more

5 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack

Panic attacks can be terrifying and life-altering if they are not controlled! Often they are so scary that every detail of someone’s first attack becomes etched permanently in their mind.  Are you wondering how to stop a panic attack? Let me tell you what to do during a panic attack so that you can learn how to control panic attacks instead of them controlling you.

Panic attacks cause a sudden intense fear when no danger is present or there is no identifiable trigger. This fear triggers your bodies emergency system to be activated causing the physical fight or flight reactions. Your body reacts as if you were under attack and fighting for your life. read more

Will a Prescription Monitoring Program Help Combat Addiction?

Up until recently, doctors had no reliable way of knowing what controlled substance medication patients were filling and if the patient was “doctor shopping”. Diverted prescription medications flowed into communities contributing to the problem of prescription medication abuse. The DEA has estimated that prescription drug diversion is a $25 billion-a-year industry! Prescription monitoring programs are one way to help curb the diversion of controlled substances and identify patients who may be struggling with a substance use disorder or at risk for overdose. read more

The Best Resources for Anxiety

Address anxiety and learn how to manage symptoms. Explanations and links provided for excellent self-help resources for children and adults, including some of the best anxiety books, websites and apps available.

Want to learn additional ways to deal with anxiety? Don’t spend any more time letting anxiety interfere with your quality of life. Get help if you need it. Here is a list of excellent self-help resources including some of the best anxiety books, websites, and apps available to target anxiety.

There are so many different options available!

  • Read more about different anxiety disorders and options for treatment.
  • Learn techniques to manage the symptoms of anxiety.
  • Track and graph your moods.
  • Identify your triggers.
  • Set goals.
  • Learn meditation and mindfulness.
  • Reduce negative thinking.
  • Join peer networks with others that struggle with anxiety.

Helpful websites related to anxiety:

  • My favorite site is The Anxiety Boss. Dr. Carlo Carandang is a psychiatrist and anxiety expert and maintains this comprehensive resource. He has many articles about anxiety disorders and options for treatment.
  • Anxiety.org has a thorough and well-written overview of different types of anxiety, causes, risk factors, and treatments. I like this article: What is anxiety?
  • The Anxiety Coach is a self-help guide for people with anxiety disorders. They offer information and techniques for the management of anxiety.
  • Fear of Flying SOAR program is meant for people that want to conquer their fear of flying. It includes articles and these videos with tips on how to overcome it. The creator of this program is a pilot who combines his expertise in airplanes with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and created this very effective program.
  • Driving Fear is a site for people looking to overcome their fear of driving. They have self-help programs and a blog.
  • Social Anxiety Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes understanding and treatment of social anxiety disorder.
  • The Anxiety Social Net is a social network for people struggling with anxiety disorders.
  • Emetophobia Online is a site for information and support for those suffering from the fear of vomiting.
  • Simplified Skills maintains a list of natural remedies they recommend to help treat anxiety.
  • Previous blogs I have written related to anxiety: Do what you are afraid of! Stop letting anxiety control you and Benzodiazepines: Do they treat anxiety?

Websites addressing anxiety in children:

  • The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry maintains an anxiety disorder resource center for children.
  • The Child Anxiety Network has information for parents, teachers and professionals to help manage and learn about anxiety in children.
  • The website and blog of Hey Sigmund have a great list of articles to help children with anxiety. She is the author of the book Hey Warrior which explains anxiety in a way children can understand.[amazon_link asins=’1925545091′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’drmelissawelb-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’37e5b141-22cd-11e8-a56b-55736298ebd1′]

Recommended apps to help with anxiety:

  • Mood Track Diary: Free app. Track and graph your mood patterns and triggers.
  • Pacifica: Free app to reduce stress and anxiety. Mood tracking, goal setting, relaxation techniques, and peer support.
  • Happify: Free app. Overcoming stress and negative thoughts. Skills to train yourself for happiness.
  • Fear of Flying: $125-$595 depending on which package you buy. Includes online resources and support, DVD’s, and individual counseling. It even includes a package for “flying tomorrow or the next day” where you can get urgent help so you don’t need to cancel your flight because of anxiety.
  • Anxiety coach: $4.99 This app is designed to be used over several weeks to months as a tool to gradually face a feared situation and reduce anxiety.

  • Headspace: Free or paid versions. Meditation and mindfulness made simple.
  • Calm: Free app. Reduce anxiety, sleep better, and feel happier. Includes meditation, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.
  • Breathe2relax: Free app. Stress management tools with practice exercises to help learn stress management skills. i-phone app, android app
  • Insight timer:  Free meditation app. i-phone app, android app
  • Simply Being Too: $1.99 Guided meditation for relaxation. i-phone app, android app

Are you looking for the best books on anxiety?

Best anxiety books for adults:

[amazon_link asins=’1626252157,1400097665,1466451726,0553062182,0767903374,1118016734,0345487427,0765701502,1590305841′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’drmelissawelb-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’075200f9-d36d-11e7-bf84-958f8c02b463′] read more

Do what you are afraid of! Stop letting anxiety control you

If you didn’t have anxiety what would you do differently? How would you live your life? Let me tell you how to deal with anxiety and how to stop anxiety from affecting your life.

Imagine what life would be like without anxiety

Would you:

  • Pursue different careers or hobbies?
  • Try to get that promotion you deserve even if it requires travel and public speaking?
  • Fly in a plane or go back to school to complete your degree?
  • Drive on the highway so you can take road trips?
  • Go to a party at a friends house? Or a work gathering?
  • Go to a store instead of ordering everything online?

Dealing with Anxiety: Anxiety can be healthy!

Anxiety can be a healthy and normal feeling. It’s a motivator! Anxiety is our body’s way to remind us we need to pay attention. If we are anxious about something we may try harder to be prepared. We may study a few more hours until we are confident we can pass the test or use extra caution when doing something that we perceive has some risk. Anxiety can be a helpful tool for our success and survival. read more

3 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Mental Health

The new year is a time to refocus priorities and set goals for the upcoming year. This year make a New Year’s resolution that will improve your mental well-being. Read ahead for 3 suggestions on how to improve your mental health!

Don’t set a goal by listing the end result you want! Break it down into smaller steps.

The more general or vague goals are, the less likely they will be achieved. Saying “I want to lose weight” is much less effective than saying “I am going to cut out soda”.

Or instead of thinking “I’m going to get in shape” plan out the necessary steps to do it such as “I’m going to go walking with my friend during our lunch break 3 times per week”. read more

Sleep and aging: What happens to our sleep and how to make it better

Oh, the joys of aging and sleep!

Insomnia in the elderly is a frequent struggle. The amount of sleep people need (and the quality of sleep) changes over a lifetime.  Sleep may be affected by genetics, mental health, physical health, and medications. These changes can be part of the normal aging process and can happen independently of medical or psychiatric illness.

Sleep and Aging: What frequently happens with insomnia in the elderly?

  • Reduce total sleep time,
  • Cause daytime sleepiness,
  • Increase the number of times you wake up after you fall asleep (reduce sleep efficiency),
  • Reduce dream (REM) sleep,
  • Cause a lighter sleep,
  • Reduce the amount of slow wave sleep so there is less restorative sleep,
  • Shift your circadian rhythm so you are sleepy earlier in the evening and wake early in the morning.

Read here for an in-depth article of everything you ever wanted to know about aging and sleep.

Treatment of insomnia in elderly individuals:

There are many treatment options for sleep problems. read more