endanxietyblog

Dr Pamela Polcyn Phd, MFT

WHICH MEDICAL TESTS TO HAVE FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

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You are experiencing increasingly disturbing feelings such as stress, worry, hopelessness, sadness, irritability, or guilt.  You are breaking out into a sweat, experiencing tingling in your extremities, have shortness of breath, feel faint or dizzy, or feel continuously weak and exhausted. You find yourself questioning whether you are exaggerating, physically ill, or going crazy. You wonder who to turn to for help and wonder if you should see a doctor, a psychotherapist, or go to an emergency ward.

It is often difficult to discern which course to follow to get the most accurate diagnosis and treatment for confusing symptoms. Certain medical tests can help to exclude medical conditions as the cause of your suffering. Although physical conditions may not be the sole cause of the discomfort you are experiencing, they may be a contributing factor in the development and depression of depression and anxiety symptoms.

Low thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, is the most frequently associated medical condition with symptoms of depression. Thyroid hormones control cellular activity in the brain and the nervous system. Symptoms of forgetfulness, fatigue and slowed thinking can occur along with physical discomfort such as coldness in the extremities, reduced body temperature, weight gain and constipation when the thyroid is not functioning correctly. A diagnosis of this condition is made through blood tests that measure hormone levels.  If treatment is necessary, daily supplementation of hormones can reduce much of the discomfort.

Anemia is another possible contributor to depression.  It involves a decrease in the number of red blood cells that carry oxygen.  It can result in drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia,  and difficulty concentrating.  Anemia is diagnosed through a blood panel and treated with supplementation.

Hyperthyroidism can cause both anxiety and depression symptoms such as edginess, irritability, insomnia, palpitations, sweating, exhaustion, and anger outbursts. Radiation, drugs or surgical suppression of the gland  treat this disorder.

Other conditions that can cause mental health symptoms include some of the following disorders.

*Cushing’s Disease, which involves a low functioning adrenal gland, can cause fatigue, nausea, impotence, decreased appetite and other physical problems.  Blood tests will determine if this illness is a factor in causing your symptoms.  Supplementation and other treatments are effective in controlling this disease.

*Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar,  can cause symptoms of confusion, fatigue, faintness, sweating, and nervousness.  Blood tests determine if this is a factor in causing the symptoms that you are experiencing. Treatment recommendations include eating frequent meals and decreasing the intake of  simple carbohydrates.

*Central nervous system injury and illness such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, head trauma,  tumors, and some cancers are associated with depression symptoms.

*Medications can also trigger depression and anxiety.  Sleep medications  can cause depression, drowsiness, amnesia or forgetfulness.  Prednisone and cortisone can lead to restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, mood swings, and personality changes.   ADD medications  can cause anxiety, irritability and insomnia.  Seizure medications  can cause depression, irritability, fatigue, and mental slowing.  Allergy and asthma medications can lead to agitation, insomnia, nervousness and drowsiness. Anxiety medications have the possible side effects of insomnia, depression, mental slowing, and confusion.  Antidepressants  have the possible side effects of irritability, insomnia, and agitation.   Beta blockers  can cause fatigue and insomnia.

Although this is only a partial listing of possible diseases or medications that can cause mental health symptoms, a physician can help you in determining the diagnosis of possible physical conditions and in assessing the proper use and dosage of any prescribed medication.  A medical professional can also assist you in assessing possible nutritional deficiencies, sleep problems, food allergies or other physical problems that may be contributing to your mental health condition.

A psychotherapist can work with you to reduce your mental health symptoms and to reevaluate any lifestyle factors which are contributing to your mental health condition.  A combined medical and mental health evaluation will offer you a more complete picture of  the factors that may be contributing to your discomfort.  This can result in developing a more effective treatment plan for your symptoms.

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