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What Bipolar Really Means

bipolarBy Dr. Craig Dike

How often have your heard a stressed-out friend or officemate say they are “feeling bipolar today” when describing their changing or unsteady moods? However, having changing, irregular, or “out of control” moods is very different from having a very serious mental health diagnosis like bipolar disorder. What’s the difference?

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Know Your Phobias

im ShoppingstressBy Dr. Craig Dike

A phobia is simply a fear. But it is a fear intense enough to cause significant distress and dysfunction in someone’s life. A phobia is not just something that grosses you out or makes you feel uncomfortable. It involves a visceral and overwhelming reaction to a particular situation, object or experience.

Phobias occur in about eight percent of the population and include many types of fear such as: animals, heights, closed spaces, germs and social situations. Here are some practices that can help decrease the likelihood of forming a phobic reaction or diminishing the impact of a phobia: (more…)

PTSD Awareness Day – June 27

imageby Dr. Marc Kossmann

In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. In addition, June has been designated as PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD).

Just what is post traumatic stress disorder? Well, you can think of it like this. All living creatures come into the world hard-wired with a drive to survive. And nature figured out along the way that when it comes to survival, you don’t want to have to study very hard to learn survival lessons. In fact, your brain is wired to require only one experience to learn this powerful lesson provided that experience makes you fear for your life.

In some ways, PTSD is quite normal. It’s just a normal response to an extreme situation where you either fear you may die or be severely injured, or you witness someone else having an intense, life-threatening situation.

In general, we’re talking about situations that are violent in nature. And once that experience is seared into your brain, you start to experience symptoms that can be very upsetting. Powerful, vivid memories of the event my suddenly enter your mind making it hard to focus on present moment reality. Vivid dreams or nightmares may set in. Sensory experiences like a sound, a smell, or a sensation may trigger intense symptoms of distress.

Because these experiences are so unpleasant and so intense, the next part of PTSD comes in the form of wanting to avoid anything that can trigger the symptoms. You might find yourself avoiding people, places, or sensory experiences that you’ve discovered are triggers for these intense symptoms to flood your system.

The reason this all gets classified as a disorder despite the fact that it’s a normal part of our brain’s wiring is that the combination of intense symptoms and the patterns of behavior you develop to avoid the triggering of symptoms can seriously disrupt your ability to function well in everyday situations. It may be hard to get work done. It may be hard to focus on your relationships.

As upsetting as PTSD can be, it can help to put your experiences into perspective by remembering that this is nature’s way of being extremely over-protective. Survival is one of the most powerful drives in nature. And one experience of exposure to traumatic violence is enough for your brain to go into hyperdrive to avoid anything that puts you in that situation (or anything even remotely like it) again.

That said, we need to be able to keep functioning. And that’s where psychological treatment comes in. If PTSD symptoms are part of your experience after trauma, it’s time to reach out for professional help before the symptoms cause you to experience a job loss, a disrupted relationship, or turning to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to numb the symptoms. Treatments for PTSD in the form of psychotherapy and or/psychiatric medications can be very helpful.

 

Dr. Kossmann received his Doctorate in Psychology from Widener University in 1993.

A Licensed Psychologist, Dr. Kossmann works with adults, utilizing individual, couple/marital and group therapy modalities and is bilingual (English and Italian). His areas of specialty include medical stress, adjustment, trauma, achievement and goal planning, major life transitions (changes and crisis), relationship problems, psychological/emotional trauma, stress management, spiritual crisis, infertility, workplace stress, anxiety and depression. He has training in mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and he has extensive oncology experience, working with patients undergoing treatment for cancer.

 

Summer Lovin’

Relationship Advice

by Dr. Christopher Awosika

Dr. AwosikaThere is a myth that all relationships start off in the “honeymoon stage.” In fact, many relationships begin with conflict due to differences in personalities, spirituality, communication styles, cultural backgrounds, relationship expectations, values, etc. For example, a woman with traditional values may expect her date to pay for her meal, pay for the event that they attend together, and open her door. However, a woman with non-traditional values may be satisfied with “going dutch” or opening her own door. A traditional man may desire to be the breadwinner and for his significant other to cook him meals and clean. In contrast, a non-traditional man may be okay with cooking his own meals and his partner working and financially supporting the relationship. These differences in values can increase tension in the relationship and possibly lead to a break-up. Therefore, it is imperative that dating couples communicate their expectations and differences, especially at the onset of their relationship. This may prevent both individuals from wasted time and energy as well as disillusionment.

In any relationship, conflict can and will arise. However, managing the conflict in an effective and healthy manner is vital to a successful relationship. To learn how to manage difficulties in your relationship, schedule a Psychology Video Visit >.

Doctor On Demand’s licensed psychologists will be happy to provide you with useful tips about conflict resolution and ways to foster healthy, long-term relationships

Dr. Christopher Awosika is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist from Atlanta, GA. He has trained and worked in various state and federal hospitals as well as community mental health centers throughout the United States. He graduated from Wright State University and has over 11 years of experience working with and treating families, couples, and individuals from all ages with a variety of mental health concerns. These concerns include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, psychosis, PTSD, OCD, sexual and physical abuse, substance abuse, learning disabilities, marital issues, divorce, child rearing, suicide prevention, anger management, chronic pain management/rehabilitation and psychological disorders due to general medical conditions.

Dr. Christopher Awosika is passionate about mental health recovery, stability, and maintenance. His non-judgmental, caring, and insightful approach has helped facilitate and cultivate wellness for a variety of individuals with mental health concerns. Furthermore, he is sensitive to individual and cultural differences and provides a warm therapeutic environment for all to flourish.

Get the Scoop on Healthy Poop

Chris Bailey MDJune is Men’s Health Month. Dr. Basu addressed preventive care and important health screenings in our June 1st post. Now it’s time for number 2.

 

Guys, listen up…your poop is trying to tell you something!

We asked Dr. Bailey to give us the low-down on healthy stools. So here’s the scoop on poop.

 

Q: Dr. Bailey, why is this an important topic during Men’s Health Month?

A: As Oprah Winfrey said, “Everybody looks at their poop”. There is actually a great wealth of health information that can be gathered from our stool. Taking a peek in the bowl can tell us if we need to make changes to our diet, or even reveal early signs of serious disease. Unfortunately, men can be prone to putting off health maintenance exams. (Lets change that, fellow men!) Spotting trouble in the poop may just lead to a lifesaving visit with a doctor.

 

Q: So, can you describe what to look for, and maybe give us a lesson in stool coloration and consistency?

A: Ideally, stools should be well formed, relatively soft, and easy to expel. Small, hard, pebble-like stools can be difficult and even painful to pass. If that sounds familiar to you, than increasing your fiber and water intake can help bulk up and soften your bowel movements.

 

Stool is typically brown in color, thanks to a digestive substance called bile. It may be perfectly normal to spot partially digested food and plant matter like corn and seeds in the stool. The color can also be influenced by food coloring additives, natural coloring from vegetables, iron supplements, and certain medications. Primarily green stools may indicate a trip that was a little too fast through the digestive tract. Pale or clay colored stool can indicate a serious problem with the biliary system (liver, gallbladder, and pancreas). Finally, stool that is red or black (like tar) can indicate bleeding somewhere in the digestive tract. Red or black stools should be evaluated immediately by a doctor.

 

Q: How much is too much? How many times a day should we go number 2?

A: There is no magic number to the frequency we should be going #2. Twice a day or twice a week may be equally as normal. The important part is how we feel. If you consistently find yourself feeling bloated, gassy, or in pain because it’s been too long since your last bowel movement, then something isn’t right. Talk to a doctor about healthy ways to increase the frequency of your bowel movements. On the other end of the spectrum, more than three loose stools per day can be considered “diarrhea”.

 

Q: What about diarrhea? At what point should someone be concerned and see a doctor?

A: If you are having more than three loose stools per day, your output meets the definition of diarrhea. Diarrhea can further be categorized as acute (less than 14 days duration) and chronic (greater than 14 days duration). Diarrhea is a common symptom, with many potential causes. Much of the time, diarrhea resolves on its own in a few days time. If it has been longer than 14 days, continuous or intermittent, I highly recommend being evaluated by a doctor. Additionally, you should see a doctor for any of the following reasons:

 

— Increasing abdominal pain or constant lower right abdominal pain

— Frequent vomiting (unable to keep liquids down)

— Having more than 5 loose or watery stools per day

— Blood in your vomit or stool (can show up as a black or red color)

— Dark urine, or reduced urine output

— Weakness, dizziness, or fainting

— Fever over 101.0°F (38.3°C) for more than 3 days

 

Q: Are there certain medical issues or diseases related to the digestive system that men should be aware of as they age?

A: Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, but its mortality rate has been decreasing thanks to earlier detection and treatment. Routine screening for colon cancer starting at the age of 50 is highly recommended. If you have a family history of colon cancer or certain other disorders of the digestive tract, screening may need to start even earlier. The gold standard for screening is with a colonoscopy, though there are less invasive alternatives available. I haven’t reached the age for screening yet myself, but I have participated in a few colonoscopies. I can reassure every man, thanks to a little pharmacological help from the anaesthesiologist, the patient is the most comfortable person in the room during the procedure!

 

If you have any questions regarding your current bathroom situation, preventative screening for diseases of the digestion system, or just want us to double check your poop (take a picture!) please contact a board certified physician at Doctor on Demand.

 

Wishing you the best in health and a Happy Father’s Day!

Dr. Chris Bailey

Doctor On Demand

 

Bio – Dr. Christopher Bailey is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana­-Champaign. He studied as a James Scholar Honors member and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Molecular Cellular Biology. He received his Medical Doctorate degree from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He then went on to complete his residency at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital in Hinsdale, Illinois. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

Dr. Bailey has a special interest in obesity and weight loss medicine. Having struggled with excessive weight as a child, Dr. Bailey uses his personal experiences to add to his expertise in helping others lose weight. He believes that with the right guidance and education, anyone can reach a healthier weight.

Always fascinated with technology and the advancement of medicine, Dr. Bailey has chosen to have a full time practice with Doctor On Demand. Dr. Bailey’s personal philosophy on patient care is to treat every patient as if they were a member of his own family. Practicing as a part of Doctor On Demand, he knows his family just got a lot bigger!