Everyone has an opinion these days. It seems like the age-old concept of politely avoiding conversations about sensitive topics (like politics and personal beliefs) has been thrown out the window. Chances are you’ve run into a negative, politically-fueled conversation at some point in your life. Now, in the wake of another presidential election in November, it’s more important than ever to know how to defuse a negative confrontation with someone you love.
Here are a few things you can do to master the art of handling negative conversations with grace while keeping your sanity…
Try To Talk In Person
For better or worse, social media has given people a convenient and widely-accessible platform to voice their opinions. Some people are very loud behind their screens - - we all know a person or two, right? When it comes to political conversations, try to have them in person.
One-on-one conversations can help eliminate distractions and misconceptions. Understanding someone’s tone is much easier to do in person. Remember to control your body language and make sure you are actively listening even if you don’t agree. If your mind is so busy shaping what you are going to say next, you aren't really listening.
Remember: People Can Be Stubborn
This is really an important concept to remember before you engage in a political conversation! You might not change someone’s mind. If that’s your goal then it’s best to opt out of the conversation entirely. An impassioned speech probably won’t change your 85-year-old grandmother’s political leanings.
Before you engage, think about what you’d like to gain from the conversation. Is it a new perspective? Are you trying to understand where the other person is coming from? Never make the goal of a politically-heated conversation be to change someone’s opposing view!
Know What To Say To Defuse The Conversation
Choosing your words wisely is an important part of defusing negativity. Think about what you say and how you say it. Stay focused on how you feel. Don’t attribute emotions to other people - that just adds fuel to the fire! Instead of saying , “You must be uncomfortable”, try “I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable.”
Here are a few helpful ways to keep the conversation going in a constructive manner:
“Thank you for your response, I appreciate your feedback.”
“What I heard you say was…”
“I wasn’t aware of this—tell me more!”
“What can we do to change the situation?”
Express How You Feel
“It’s important to stand up for what you believe. It’s equally important for you to express your feelings so you don’t suppress your emotions,” said Dr. Mottsin Thomas, a leading psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health. "Suppressing your emotions, whether it's frustration, sadness, or grief, can lead to physical stress on your body over time.”
Of course, even if you follow our advice, sometimes there just aren’t the right words to defuse a negative conversation. Remember that it’s OK to walk away if a constructive conversation isn’t possible.
We understand how challenging these times are for our community. Between social unrest, looming wildfires, a global pandemic, and an upcoming presidential election, it’s no wonder you might be feeling a little uneasy these days.
It’s OK to not be OK.
We’re here to walk with you through your struggles from the comfort of home with our telepsychiatry services.
You don’t have to push through another day feeling miserable. Even though times are tough, you deserve happiness! We’re here to help you find it…
Over the past six months, the novel coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Familiar routines and schedules came to an unprecedented halt almost overnight. The uncertainty of the situation and changes in routine have caused many children – and parents – to feel stressed and anxious. Now, as we head into a new school year, it’s more important than ever to address the emotional impact of COVID-19 in children and teens.
Understanding Resiliency In Children
Mental health problems are expected to rise dramatically as a secondary effect of COVID-19. The disruptions and closures of schools and activities have only added to the mental distress children and teens are experiencing during the pandemic.
It’s important to remember that children aren’t equipped with the life experience or brain development to fully comprehend the impact of a global health crisis. Unfortunately, many people think children are uniquely resilient. There’s a misconception that they’re able to bounce back from whatever life throws their way.
“Children and teens thrive out of consistency and stability. They really struggle without routine and knowing what to expect which can lead to a lot of anxiety that may present itself in temper tantrums, isolation, and irritability. They are also incredibly attentive to the environment around them and model what they see caregivers and other adults in their life do. If we panic and do not manage our own stress during this pandemic, our children are going to follow suit,” said Kayleigh Soto a dual licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Clinical Counselor. “Young children and teens may be unable to verbalize distress and discomfort during these challenging times making it essential for parents to check in.”
Find What Works For YOUR Family
As we head into a new school year amid COVID-19, remember that every family is different. What works for your neighbor might not be a good fit for your family. Everyone reacts differently. Some families might make a smooth transition into new routines while others may struggle trying to balance work and home duties.
Remember that young children may be unable to verbalize their distress and discomfort. Parents and caregivers of young children should watch for signs and symptoms of anxiety that can show up as increased moodiness, irritability, clinginess, or behavioral regression.
Some children may experience intense sadness or anger, others may be withdrawn or act as if nothing has occurred. For teens, abrupt changes and social isolation can aggravate signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Parents should always communicate openly and allow teens to express their feelings. Open conversations provide empowerment for teens as they’re able to label and validate their feelings during these challenging times.
Watch Out For Signs and Symptoms of Mental Distress
Even though you can’t control the spread of a global pandemic, there are things you can do to help your family move forward in health and happiness. Try setting aside a specific time for you to talk with your children about what’s going on in the world. Provide a safe space for them to discuss their feelings.
Utilize distractions and relaxation techniques to help them adapt to the ‘new normal’. Remember that children who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders need extra support during this time. Children with depression have the tendency to isolate which is made even easier during an era of social distancing. Be sure to include your child in family activities like dinners and walks together. It’s essential to keep them engaged!
All of the stress surrounding COVID-19 can exacerbate children’s feelings and symptoms. It’s difficult for parents to distinguish between sadness and clinical depression or anxiety. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support! The mental health of your family is just as important as your physical health.
Our convenient telepsychiatry services allow you discuss the mounting pressures of parenting during COVID-19 from the comfort of your home. We understand the additional stress and anxiety you might be facing during these challenging times.
It’s OK to not be OK. Our compassionate team is here to help you start your journey to mental wellness. Contact Us Today
In the second episode of her new podcast, The Michelle Obama Podcast, the former first lady revealed that she has been suffering from ‘low-grade depression” as an effect of quarantine and news about civil unrest and politics.
“There have been periods throughout this quarantine where I just have felt too low,” Mrs. Obama said, adding that her sleep was off.
External Stressors That Contribute to Depression
We know that depression is a complex condition. Biological, psychological, and environmental stressors all play a role in the impact of depression. Mrs. Obama opened up about the external stressors that are making her feel “off” and many of us can likely relate.
We’re living in an unprecedented time.
We’re all being asked to adjust and adapt to this ‘new normal’ caused by a global pandemic and it can really weigh you down.
The psychological effects of the pandemic are not yet fully clear. But, in May, the World Health Organization warned of a “massive increase in mental health conditions in the coming months.” The anxiety, stress, isolation, and fear of COVID-19 are external stressors that can fuel bouts of anxiety and depression.
More than 1 in 3 Americans reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in a recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Comparatively, a year ago, that figure was 1 in 10.
Clearly, the psychological impact of COVID-19 is starting to set in for many Americans and people across the world. What’s worse is that so many people suffer silently and are afraid to come forward and get help because of the stigma surrounding mental health.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Ending The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
When Michelle Obama and other prominent public figures and celebrities talk about depression, it helps normalize the conversation surrounding mental health. We’re thankful for her willingness to help put mental health in the spotlight at a time when we need it the most.
It’s important to remember that depression can bring down the best people -none of us are immune! You can’t “snap out of it”. Major depression is so much more than just feeling sad or having a bad day. No one chooses to be depressed. Depression can’t be cured with positive thoughts or a positive attitude.
Depression can zap your energy for living life.
It can wear you down and make you feel empty inside.
Depression can rob you of creativity, motivation, and happiness in life.
Even when it’s low-grade, depression can cause a lingering feeling of sadness, irritability, agitation, social withdrawal, loss of interest, and hopelessness. Unfortunately, there’s a dangerously untrue association between depression and “weakness” that’s part of the toxic stigma surrounding mental health.
Treating Depression In Our Long Beach Community
Mental illnesses don’t discriminate. It’s OK to not be OK especially during these challenging times. Luckily, there are many effective treatments available to help those who suffer from depression live happy and fulfilling lives. Don’t suffer in silence.
At Pacific Mind Health, convenience is key. With offices throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, our patients are able to get consistent care without the additional stress of traffic. All of our providers are also trained in and available for psychiatric care through our innovative telemedicine program.
We’re here to help you find relief so you can get back to enjoying your life! Start by giving our office at
562-279-0180 or fill out a form
Call it a short fuse, bad temper, or just an awful day. Maybe it’s stress about the pandemic or a conflict at home that’s making you extra grouchy these days. Whatever the reason, anger seems to come over you in waves sometimes crashing down and destroying your world.
You don’t understand why you’re feeling this way.
Why you are so on edge?
You’d like the unexplained anger to surpass.
You’re not alone!
Anxiety affects an estimated 40 million people in the U.S. alone. It can also affect the way we think about things especially during a global pandemic. When you are anxious, every situation can feel like a perceived threat. Your mind can take you to the ‘worst-case scenario' regularly.
In some cases, anxiety can leave you feeling physically uncomfortable or tense. It’s also debilitating for those who suffer from more serve levels of anxiety that cause physical sensations like feeling sick, or tightness in your chest.
The truth is, anxiety can present itself in many ways and bring you down. Watch out for these sneaky signs that anxiety is showing up in your life.
You Are Feeling More Tired Than Usual
One sneaky thing about anxiety is that it’s naturally tiring. Constant and excessive worry can cause your energy levels to go up…and crash down. This vicious cycle of fatigue and anxious thinking can impact the way feel and function.
Many people with severe stress and anxiety are also prone to sleeping problems. Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night? Do you have trouble falling asleep? All of these disturbances add up in a big way and make it hard for you to focus and stay alert throughout the day.
Things like eliminating technology and stimulation (i.e. caffeine) before bed can help. Some people will find relief from meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. If anxiety is affecting your sleep quality, it’s important to reach out for support as medication and psychotherapy might help you find restful night again
You Get Angry Or Frustrated Easily
People who suffer from anxiety might find themselves getting easily frustrated or just generally on edge. This anger may be directed at yourself or others. Anxiety can cause you to overthink things and become more self-critical. Maybe you feel like you’ve been falling short. Perhaps you are focusing on physical appearance too much and filling your mind with negative self-talk. Or you might find yourself snapping at your partner more than usual.
Unfortunately, untreated anxiety can turn into anger that stems from an underlying fear about something. The cause of anxiety is complex and sometimes hard to pinpoint which can leave someone feeling even more frustrated.
There are several possible causes of anxiety that aren’t fully understood. Life experiences, such as traumatic events, seem to trigger anxiety disorders in people who may be more susceptible,” said Dr. Mottsin Thomas, a leading psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health.
You're Always Busy, But You Can't Get Things Done
Another sneaky sign of anxiety is lack of focus. Do you often find yourself starting a million things but never really scratching anything off of your list? Poor time management, low productivity, and difficulty prioritizing can all be signs that your anxiety is getting worse.
Anxiety disorders can encompass many other psychiatric conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, and ADHD. It’s important to remember that anxiety disorders are not just reserved for people who tend to worry a lot. Anyone can develop an anxiety disorder. There are a number of factors that come into play including your environment, upbringing, genetics, and chemical imbalances in the brain.
Find Relief From Your Symptoms At Pacific Mind Health
The good news is that anxiety disorders can be managed effectively in most cases. With the right treatment plan, it’s possible to lead a very successful and fulfilling life despite your anxiety. There’s no reason to suffer! Treatment should be started as soon as possible.
Like any medical condition, the sooner you can start treatment for an anxiety disorder, the better. The longer it goes without getting help, the more severe your condition can become.
There are many great treatment options available including medication, therapy, alternative treatments, and self-help options. We’re here to help! Schedule a consultation today.
We’ve all heard it before: “Look on the bright side or try to see the glass as half full.” But sometimes, the bright side is very hard to see and it seems like the glass has been empty for days! Perhaps you are feeling this way amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s OK to not be OK especially during these unprecedented times.
It’s been six long months and cases are still rising. Many people had hoped things would improve by this time but it’s clear we still have a long road in front of us. So, what can you do to move through these challenging times and emerge more resilient? Here are a few tips.
Let Go of Negative Thinking
The brain naturally gravitates toward negative thinking. Unfortunately, negative thoughts can be intrusive and the source of many mental health problems. When you are always thinking the worst, it’s hard to find the good in life.
One of the first steps in changing your negative thinking patterns is letting go of “black-and-white thinking.” Do you find yourself thinking that things are either a complete success or total failure? Other negative thinking habits include overgeneralization, jumping to conclusions, and catastrophizing everything.
Dr. Joshua Flatow, one of our leading providers at Pacific Mind Health, said negative thinking is normal, but it’s important to let go of those thoughts.
“Don’t ignore your thoughts and feelings. Oftentimes, the more you try to stop your negative thoughts, the more they will surface. Instead, process them and think about what’s really causing you to feel that way,” he said.
This advice couldn’t be more timely! We’ve all been asked to adapt and change over the past 6 months. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed (the outbreak of COVID-19) can help you focus on circumstances that you can control that impact your health and happiness (wearing a mask, social distancing etc.).
Remember, you are still capable of doing great things in life even though you are facing a ‘new normal’. Change helps you grow and evolve. Some people see change as something to fear or dread, instead of something that brings new opportunities for fulfillment.
Put An End To Bad Habits
If you want to feel better than you have to be proactive! We all have bad habits to some extent. All too often, people turn to bad habits when they lose meaning in their lives and become disinterested. You can help kick bad habits and mindless routines to the curb by finding hobbies that interest you.
Try something new! Finding a hobby is rewarding. Channel your energy into a yoga class, scrapbooking, art, woodworking, learning a new language - the possibilities are endless! Engaging in meaningful activities that help to rediscover your interests, talents, and strengths can help you move forward in positivity.
Of course, overcoming adversity in life is not easy. Some people need help on their journey. We’re here for you through the tough times. We’ll walk with you to the other side so you can find the peace and happiness you deserve in life.
Give our compassionate team a call today and learn more about our psychiatric services that can help you hit ‘reset’ so you can move forward with positivity and mental wellness.
You know that feeling when you’ve simply got SO much going on that you decide not to do anything? Sometimes it seems like all the stressors in life come together to create the perfect storm of fatigue, anxiety, overwhelm, and eventual burnout.
We’ve all been there - especially during these challenging times brought forth by COVID-19. The good news is you have the power to move from surviving to thriving no matter what life throws your way with the power of proper self-care.
Self-care is one of those trendy buzzwords that can conjure up images of relaxing bubble baths and weekend spa retreats. This is just another one of society’s misconceptions because, in reality, proper self-care doesn’t have to cost a dime. It’s also not just a trend- it’s a necessity!
Because self-care helps improve your physical and mental health and reduces the effects of prolonged stress on your mind and body. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.
Think about the last time you flew on an airplane. You were instructed to apply your oxygen mask first before helping others. Metaphorically speaking, there are probably lots of times in our daily lives when we forget about our oxygen masks (the essentials and necessities of our wellness) because we’re too busy and focused on helping others.
In honor of International Self-Care Day, slow down and add these self-care tips to your daily routine.
Meet Your Basic Needs
Are you eating, drinking, and sleeping enough? If not, start here! Remember that proper self-care doesn’t have to be luxurious or indulgent. Sometimes getting 7 hours of sleep instead of 6 can make a big difference in the way you feel. You can use food as fuel for your mind, body, and soul. Never underestimate the importance of proper nutrition, sleep, and hydration when it comes to your health and wellness.
Physical wellness can impact other areas of your overall health. If training for a marathon or lifting weights every morning is simply too much for you to even think about, change your fitness mindset! Focus on incorporating movement into your daily routine. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. You might be surprised how simple lifestyle changes can add up. Go for a walk with your family, take the stairs, or play with your children outside.
Set Healthy Boundaries
The average American worker puts in 44 hours of work per week! It’s clear we’re a work-driven culture that’s connected 24/7 making it difficult to take a break and unplug. Now, amid a global pandemic, people are experiencing additional stress trying to find a work/life balance now more than ever.
However, no matter how demanding your career, there’s always room to incorporate self-care. From a professional standpoint, self-care can be about setting boundaries with coworkers or creating a list of small goals for each day to avoid a burnout. Bring balance and organization to your life by managing your work/life schedule so you don’t overextend yourself too much on one day.
Focus On Emotional Self-Care
Staying mentally healthy is another important part of self-care. Your psychological well-being is about self-compassion and personal acceptance. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, then don’t say it to yourself. Do things that make you happy in life. Build meaningful relationships and let go of the ones that don’t add to your happiness.
Avoid unnecessary stress and overwhelming feelings by focusing on the moment at hand. Meditation—which is just about bringing your focus to the present moment— has a whole host of benefits. It’s a lot easier to think about all the things that are going wrong than to remember the things that are actually going right. Mindfulness can help you focus on all of the goodness in your life to help create a positive outlook and mood.
Find Professional Support
Self-care is about putting yourself first and reconnecting with your thoughts, feelings, and general wellness. Common mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, OCD, and ADHD can prevent you from thriving in life. You don’t have to suffer alone or in silence. There are many successful treatments available that can change your life!
“We focus on whole-person wellness by taking a holistic approach at Pacific Mind Health”, said Dr. Mottsin Thomas. “We offer both traditional and new approaches to mood disorders that help our patients improve their quality of life and personal satisfaction”, Dr. Thomas said.
Above all, the most important thing you can remember is that self-care is NOT selfish...it’s essential! Self-care is about being as kind to yourself as you would be to others. It’s also about setting boundaries and practicing self-compassion to prevent a burnout. It’s all about taking care of yourself.
Our team is here to help you feel better. We want mental healthcare to be accessible to anyone who needs it, without adding additional hassle. Since our inception, we have offered telemedicine video appointments that allow you to be seen from the comfort of your home. It's easy, convenient, and makes continuity of care easier than ever. Give us a call today!
It’s been months since the first publicly confirmed case of COVID-19 hit Washington state at the end of February. Since then, we’ve all had to adjust to a new normal in order to move forward in health and safety.
For many people, home has taken on a completely different meaning! It’s become a place to work, to learn, to exercise, and, most importantly, a place to stay safe from the dangers and risks of COVID-19. But for those affected by domestic
violence, staying at home is anything but safe.
In fact, new estimates from the United Nations Population Fund suggest that three months of quarantine will result in a 20 percent rise in IPV (“intimate partner violence”) throughout the world. Today’s lockdown measures appear to be fueling increased instances of domestic violence but the question still remains: why?
The Dangers of Isolation
It’s well known that social isolation and loneliness can take a toll on your physical, mental and cognitive health. There’s a lot of discussion about the effects of isolation, loneliness, and depression, but we also need to put the spotlight on the impact isolation has on domestic violence.
Unfortunately, social isolation is a common tactic abusers use to limit outside contact. By isolating someone from family, friends, and work, abusers are able to control their entire environment. This creates a cycle of abuse that can leave one feeling trapped with no way out.
Stress isn't a psychiatric diagnosis, but it's closely linked to your mental health in a few ways. Increased stress can trigger for anger, irritability, and unhealthy outbursts which can all be contributing factors to increased reports of domestic abuse,” said Dr. Flatow, a Psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health.
Disease outbreaks can foster a type of stress due to fear of the unknown. Unlike natural disasters or catastrophes, it’s hard to look forward. There also economic anxiety and increased unemployment rates that can add to daily stress and trigger abuse.
Meanwhile, reports show that alcohol sales have skyrocketed as people continue to stay at home. We’ve seen liquor and wine stores remain open as “essential businesses” during the COVID-19 outbreak. Increased alcohol consumption coupled with the other factors listed above contribute to cases of domestic violence and abuse
Help For Domestic Abuse
It’s important to know there are many resources for those affected by domestic abuse and violence even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many women in abusive relationships find it difficult to trust others. Also, if and when they do reach out, they want reassurance and support knowing that something is available for their safety.
Reaching out isn’t always easy, but safety is essential during these challenging times. On a national level, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides support through their hotline (1-800-799-7233) or online chat (thehotline.org). Locally, in the Long Beach area, the Women’s Shelter of Long Beach provides a 24/7 crisis hotline (562-437-4663). You can also find more information www.womenshelterlb.org.
Trying to find your way forward in life isn’t always easy. Sometimes it can feel like there’s no way forward, especially when you live with the heavy burden of depression day after day. It’s hard to even think about the future because depression breeds a continuous self-defeating cycle of sadness, stress, anxiety, and hopelessness making people feel stuck and misunderstood.
When you live with depression, you spend your days trying to navigate through the fog hoping that maybe…just maybe…tomorrow will be different.
Now, with Express TMS, there’s new hope in tomorrow.
What To Do When Medications Fail
Treating disorders of the brain is just as important as treating disorders and conditions that affect your physical health. The goal of medication is to help people find healing and relief from symptoms. When people get sick, they go to the doctor looking for a cure.
In some cases, routine treatments simply don’t work or cause unwanted side effects. And, in those cases, doctors move on to second-line treatments, alternative medicine, and off-label use of drugs to find healing and relief for patients. We see many examples of successful second-line treatments in life-threatening diseases such as cancer and diabetes. In fact, the advancement of modern medicine over the years has helped provide renewed hope and healing in many ways.
Second-line and alternative treatments continue to help improve outcomes and quality of life for patients around the world and for that, we’re thankful.
Major Depressive Disorder Affects Over 300 Million People Globally.
In the field of psychiatry, we have successful second-line treatments that help our patients find relief when first-line treatments (like antidepressants) don’t work or cause unwanted side effects. We know that sometimes antidepressants and therapy aren’t enough.
In fact, antidepressants don’t work for 30 percent of patients leaving them stuck in that self-defeating cycle of sadness, stress, and lingering hopelessness.
So what do we do for the 30 percent of patients who fail to respond to first-line treatments such as antidepressants?
Where can you turn if you’re sick of feeling sick… and tired… and generally miserable?
Maybe you’ve tried medication after medication to no avail. You’ve increased doses and incorporated therapy but nothing seems like it can help lift the veil of depression.
Now, Express TMS offers an alternative, non-invasive option with a high success rate.
3-Minute TMS Therapy - Come See Us On Your Lunch Break!
We are very pleased to now be offering Theta Burst Stimulation (TBS) at Pacific Mind Health. This is a newly FDA- approved, 3-minute 'Express TMS' protocol which has been shown to have equal or better efficacy than traditional TMS protocols lasting 30+ minutes. This new treatment protocol minimizes time expenditure and discomfort and our state-of -the-art MagVenture TMS machine is one of the only TMS machines capable of delivering this type of treatment.
“MagVenture is the only company to offer FDA cleared 3 minute TMS sessions and we’re happy to have this available for our patents at Pacific Mind Health,” said Dr. Mottsin Thomas. "This revolutionary TBS (theta burst) protocol is a faster TMS treatment that’s just as safe and effective for the treatment of major depressive disorder as standard TMS, only much faster. The ease and convenience of Express TMS works with busy schedules allowing our patients to come for treatment and get back to their day", said Thomas.
Remission from depression is possible! If you’re one of the more than 4 million patients who does not receive adequate benefits from antidepressants and/or can’t tolerate the side effects caused by them, give our office a call today.
Our compassionate team is here to help you find a new way back to health and happiness through 3 Minute Express TMS Therapy. Give us a call today 562-279-0180 or fill out our form for a call back
Sometimes, when you live with depression, it’s not just one big thing. It's all of the little things that can really wear you down and make everyday life challenging. It’s the lingering sadness, anxiety, loss of interest, and general hopelessness that continue to build up and make it difficult to function.
With depression, it can feel like life’s simply lost its flavor.
Clinical depression is so much more than just having a bad day. In fact, depression is currently the leading cause of disability and poor health worldwide and it’s something that an estimated 1 in 6 Americans deal with each year. Luckily, many will find relief in medications and/or therapy. But what about the 30% of patients who still can’t find relief from their depression symptoms?
TMS Therapy Can Offer Hope For Relief
For that one-third of people, the symptoms continue to linger and build. They likely worsen over time and the heavy veil of depression makes it harder and harder to function. When patients don’t experience relief from medications, TMS Therapy offers new hope.
TMS is a non-invasive therapy that involves no medication and has very few side effects”, said Dr. Mottsin Thomas . “When medications fail to proved relief for patents, TMS therapy might be more effective than trying yet another antidepressant medication.”
TMS Therapy is an FDA cleared in 2008 and patients have been treated for major depression with TMS since the mid-1990s. This treatment uses MRI strength magnetic pulses that are delivered several times per second into the front part of the head.
The Results Can Be Transformative
If you or a loved one suffers from depression, you might be wondering how anyone can really relate to what you’re going through. You want to get better, but it’s hard to see hope when you are living life in a fog.
Maybe you’ve tried antidepressants without relief.
Maybe the side effects from your current medications are weighing you down.
Maybe the uncertainty, fear, and stress surrounding COVID-19 have taken a toll on your emotional wellness…
We understand. Our team is here for you.
Book A TMS Consultation Today
Whether it’s through medication, psychotherapy, or TMS Therapy, our team at Pacific Mind Health is dedicated to treating each individual with compassion while focusing on patient safety, comfort, and wellness. Untreated mental illnesses can cause frequent stress and affect your overall health and happiness in life.
You don’t have to walk through your struggles alone.
At Pacific Mind Health, we’re committed to helping patients in our community find renewed hope and health through restorative state-of-the-art treatments like TMS Therapy. We’re here to provide the best in diagnosis and treatment to put you on the path to healing so can live your best life. Schedule your TMS Consultation today by connecting with our care coordinator 562-279-0180 or fill out our form
Welcome to May!
We’ll be the first to admit that keeping track of time…or even what day it is…has proven to be somewhat challenging during the quarantine. But now it’s officially May and a great time to move forward in positivity.
May is a well-known transitional month as we move from spring to summer. We get to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day, but did you know that May is also Mental Health Month? That means we have the spotlight to help shed some light on the realities of mental and emotional wellbeing and the psychiatric conditions that threaten it.
Mental Health Month: 'Tools 2 Thrive'
More than just observing a month like this, let’s use the opportunity to learn what we can do to make a real difference in the life of someone who suffers from a mental health disorder. Mental Health America’s theme this year is “Tools 2 Thrive.” The goal is to help provide practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency regardless of the situations they are dealing with (like COVID-19).
“One in five people will experience mental illness during their lifetime, but all of us will have experiences that affect our mental health,” said Dr. Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist with Pacific Mind Health. “Destigmatizing mental illness is an important first step toward getting people the help that they need before they reach a point of crisis. This wonderful national campaign is something we fully support at Pacific Mind Health. The tools we use to help our patients thrive include everything from pharmacologic and therapy-based treatment to innovative treatments like IV Ketamine and TMS Therapy.”
As part of Mental Health Month, Mental Health America has put together a variety of screening tools that you can take individually or offer to a loved one who may be struggling. While these screenings do not take the place of a professional evaluation, they are useful in getting people to recognize symptoms in themselves and to spark dialogue about mental health care in general.
We want to make it easy for you to get well and the right tools matter!
Breaking The Burdens of Shame
One of the most important ways to #endthestigma surrounding mental health is to talk about mental health disorders openly just as we do with a physical illness like diabetes, cancer, or a heart condition to name a few.
Depression is more than just having a bad day. It can be a crippling disorder that forces people to live under a veil of darkness…
Anxiety Disorders can result in a debilitating cycle of persistent, excessive worry day after day…
OCD is not a quirk, a preference for tidiness, or something that you can just ‘get over’
The more we make psychiatric disorders part of casual conversation, the further back we push the stigma associated with this suffering.
Mental Health Awareness Helps Reduce The Stigma
Even though we’ve come a long way over the past few decades when it comes to mental illnesses, we still have a long way to go in acceptance and normalization. The good news is mental health disorders like GAD, Major Depression, ADHD, and OCD are very treatable. The key is to get help as soon as possible. It is possible to lead a very happy and successful life, hold down a career, and have a strong social life despite having a mental illness.
We’re thankful for celebrities who help us normalize mental illnesses by stepping out into the spotlight. Johnny Depp, David Beckham, Howie Mandel, Whoopi Goldberg, Jessica Alba, and Heather Locklear are just a few A-listers who’ve publicly shared their struggles.
“It takes a lot of courage to say ‘My anxiety is flaring up and I need to take a break’ in the middle of a birthday party. Try it, though, and I suspect you’ll have a few other people who follow you to a quiet space,” said Dr. Joshua Flatow, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health in Southern California. “More and more, as people are honest about their struggles, the stigma around mental illness fades. Mental Health Awareness month is intended to empower people to let go of any shame related to a diagnosis and to educate others about how they can openly and usefully support loved ones with mental health issues.”
Pacific Mind Health Can Help You Thrive
Medication and therapy are often effective treatments for common mental illnesses. Our team also embraces Neuroscience breakthroughs by providing cutting-edge treatments like Ketamine and TMS Therapy for hard-to-treat cases of depression.
You can be free of depressive thoughts, despair, and that awful feeling that you don’t belong or fit in. You can live a full and rewarding life. Celebrate Mental Health Month by making your mental wellness a priority. It all starts with an evaluation - call today!
It’s day - who knows what, of week - can anyone remember? and minute - at least 8 trillion of Quarantine 2020.
Families are sequestered in homes that used to be places of comfort but now feel more like institutions of confinement. If you try to escape for a few minutes, don’t dare take a walk around the neighborhood without a mask or you’ll feel like Cersei on her “Shame” walk. Speaking of shame, has TikTok really become our best chance at modern human connection?
All this time in isolation has given us lots of time to think. Normally we long for those quiet moments where our brains can have still reflection, but it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Especially for those with anxiety.
With anxiety, overthinking is a baseline. The brain spirals into thoughts that are often out of proportion with reality. No matter how hard you try, you can’t suppress them, and the frustration of being out of control feeds the anxiety even more. Sometimes it ultimately culminates in the near-death experience of a panic attack. You can’t breathe, your chest seizes up, your vision blurs, your arm goes numb, and your hands clench against your will. You’re convinced this is it -- you’re having a heart attack and a stroke at the same time.
Except you’re not. You’re in the grips of anxiety, experiencing the very real symptoms it brings, and it’s just awful.
“Anxiety is understandably on the rise with the Covid-19 pandemic, not just in patients with anxiety disorders but also in people who typically manage anxiety without issue,” said Joshua Flatow, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health in Los Angeles, Calif. “The constant worry, the isolation, the actual threat of death -- these are legitimate concerns having a significant effect on all of us.”
For those new to anxiety thanks to Covid-19, it seems like this cycle of feeling out of control, worried, frustrated, and trapped will never end. We can’t escape to the gym or a spa to reset because our normal coping places are closed. No more heading to the pub for happy hour with friends to blow off some steam. We can’t get relief from our families because they’re likely contributing to our stress levels. This will not last forever, but what are we supposed to do in the meantime?
Get professional help for your anxiety. Seriously. This is not a time to be coy about struggling.
“Getting help early will not only prevent an escalation in symptoms, but it can also prevent a decline overall,” said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health specializing in anxiety management. “Stress and anxiety can lead to emotional instability, insomnia, abuse of alcohol or drugs, and even depression or suicide. Early intervention can spare patients from getting to the point of crisis.”
To ensure all patients who need it can get timely comprehensive care, Pacific Mind Health is offering telepsychiatry and teletherapy, an easy-to-use service that allows providers to see patients through an encrypted, HIPPA compliant online video service. For those with known anxiety disorders or those with pandemic-induced anxiety, telepsychiatry provides continuity of care and a face-to-face interaction while respecting health-related mandates.
Pacific Mind Health is offering Telepsychiatry and Teletherapy
Several medications exist for the treatment of anxiety, the most common of which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). SSRIs and SNRIs target neurotransmitters in the brain to increase a person’s threshold for stress and decrease the intensity anxiety responses.
Other medications like buspirone may be indicated for panic attacks, as it provides a rapid calming effect.
Benzodiazepines were historically used for management of anxiety, but as understanding of the underlying causes of anxiety and the long term effects of benzodiazepines increased, reliance on them has decreased. They still have value for short-term, immediate relief of anxiety symptoms, but they are no longer considered a first-line treatment for anxiety.
One exciting new development in the treatment of anxiety associated with depression is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS stimulates brain cells associated with mood control and depression, however many studies indicate it may be useful in treating a range of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety and OCD. To that end, Pacific Mind Health is offering TMS therapy to qualified patients.
In addition to medications and TMS, therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, can help patients learn new tools for coping with anxiety, especially in times like these when our normal coping methods are unavailable to us.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is useful in teaching patients how to become aware of anxiety triggers, to explore stressful situations in less frightening ways, and to cultivate better coping and problem-solving skills. Pacific Mind Health offers CBT in person or through its convenient, easy-to-use telepsychiatry service.
“CBT is based on the premise that thoughts dictate feelings,” said Dr. Flatow, who said he recommends therapy to the majority of the patients he treats for anxiety. “By challenging thoughts, you can reprogram negative thinking patterns and stave off anxious feelings.”
The cognitive restructuring cultivated in CBT challenges patients with anxiety to:
“Anxiety is a heightened reaction to input from various areas of life, and this pandemic has essentially pushed most of us into a corner when it comes to managing anxiety. But there is no need to stay in that corner, trembling and worried. There are treatments available. This pandemic does not have to feel like the end of the world simply because anxiety is trying to make it so.” - Dr. Thomas of Pacific Mind Health.
Pacific Mind Health offers comprehensive mental health care for a range of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety and depression. If you are looking for a psychiatrist in Los Angeles or Long Beach, California, or telepsychiatry in California, please contact us to schedule an appointment
The gloom of depression and existential disruption of PTSD can be all consuming and unrelenting. For some patients, medications work beautifully. For others, lifestyle modifications and therapy help to lessen the effects. But for many, depression and PTSD symptoms persist despite treatment, and may even worsen over time.
Thanks to ketamine, a drug historically used for pain, patients who suffer at this magnitude have new hope.
“Ketamine works differently than other psychiatric medications historically available to patients,” said Joshua Flatow, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health in Los Angeles, Calif. “We are excited to offer this innovative therapy to patients and optimize their mental health outcomes.”
Research by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health found that ketamine can boost mood, reduce fatigue and make inroads into helping depressed people who have tried prescription drugs and talk therapy with limited or no success.
The study explored the efficacy, safety and clinical guidelines for the use of ketamine in the two focus areas of treatment-resistant depression and PTSD. However it also found that ketamine provided relief for a variety of other mental health problems and symptoms, including fatigue, anhedonia, and suicidal ideation.
Low-Doses of IV Ketamine Delivered Improved Symptoms in Hours
Not only did several studies note that ketamine provided significant improvement in depression versus the placebo used, but that the benefits manifested in a matter of hours or even minutes in some cases.
“Ketamine produces a dissociative experience, which means that patients feel a peculiar disconnect from their body while their brain undergoes an intensely new sensation,” said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health. “The effects are instantly transformative for some and delayed for others, but are felt far sooner than the typical 4-week delay associated with more traditional antidepressants.”
One study noted that ketamine had a more pronounced effect on patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) than those with bipolar depression. Varying dosages were also investigated, with a finding of greater efficacy for low-dose treatments.
Ketamine, like opioids, has potential for abuse because of its dissociative effect, particularly for patients with substance abuse disorders. Providers evaluate each patient’s history in determining whether ketamine treatment is appropriate, and dosages indicated for psychiatric treatment are sub-dissociative and less likely to cause unwanted side effects.
Patients No Longer Have to Feel Tired and ‘Numb’ All the Time
In addition to improvement in depression, patients who undergo IV ketamine therapy report reduced fatigue and increased ability to feel pleasure. Patients endorse feeling the most pronounced effect for the first two days after treatment, with a gradual decline in the benefit over the following two weeks.
For the results of ketamine treatment to last longer, it’s usually recommended that patients receive 2-3 infusions per week for a total of up to 8 infusions. After initial treatment some patients return as needed for ‘ketamine booster infusions. Pacific Mind Health offers IV Ketamine treatment to patients in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Learn more about Pacific Mind Health’s approach to ketamine treatment on our website.
“As practitioners, we are pleased to bring ketamine to our practice because of its quick, positive results for patients,” said Dr. Flatow. “By making ketamine treatment readily available, we hope to give patients with depression and PTSD a new outlook on life.”
Pacific Mind Health is currently offering consultations and accepting new patients for ketamine therapy. If you believe you may be suffering from a mental health condition that could benefit from ketamine, please contact us to schedule a consultation.
By now you’ve probably received an email from your employer, your airline, your phone company, your child’s school, your doctor’s office, and every other entity you’re connected to with some messaging about the coronavirus. We fully expected news coverage of it, and at least a press conference or two from the government, but coronavirus has gone so far as to email us -- repeatedly. It has made personal contact to a private address, bringing with it tips and tricks to avoid it.
The awful truth is that we simply can’t.
The coronavirus, much like Zika virus and Ebola virus and Swine Flu and SARS and West Nile virus, is in the air. It’s already earned a new nickname, COVID-19, to distinguish it from the other coronavirus strains that most of us mistake for a bad cold. It is a real virus that causes a real health concern, especially for older adults and people who may have chronic heart, lung or kidney disease. It does require vigilance and behavior modifications to protect yourself, especially as it is easily spread.
But does it require panic? Will our heightened anxiety about coronavirus translate into protection? Will waiting in line at Costco with a year’s worth of toilet paper spare us or expose us? What should we be doing to stay healthy?
“Intense, sustained anxiety can suppress the immune system, and given the amount of exposure to the coronavirus information being circulated around the clock, most people are experiencing more anxiety and for longer periods,” said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health in Los Angeles, Calif. “Of course, anxiety will not cause any illness, but the suppression of the immune system can increase susceptibility.”
Consider how the run on supplies may be affecting you. Typically you may go buy bottled water and pick up some hand sanitizer while in the checkout lane. Now you can’t find hand sanitizer. Nor can you buy masks. Bottled water is scarce on shelves, and easy-to-find over-the-counter medications for things like fever and cough are suddenly impossible-to-find.
Last week Amazon had to crack down on people trying to profit off of fear by attaching misleading information about coronavirus to products, and this week it has removed more than half a million products for price gouging. How are we supposed to prepare when we can’t get what we need to be prepared?
You Do Not Need to Buy Anything Special to Combat Coronavirus
The reality is you don’t need to buy anything special to combat coronavirus. You need to be disciplined at washing your hands thoroughly and often. You need to maintain a clean environment, including wiping down surfaces touched by multiple people, especially cell phones. You need to avoid crowds and provide some extra personal space when in lines or congested areas. You need to isolate yourself if you are sick or exposed to someone sick, and resist the temptation to find comfort in denial.
And you need to manage your anxiety.
“As troubling as it is, coronavirus has united us around the world,” said Joshua Flatow, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health in Los Angeles, Calif. “We felt for the whistleblowing doctors and nurses in Wuhan. We tried to imagine what it would be like to be stuck on a cruise ship with infected people and no ability to leave. We felt grief and relief as our calendars cleared with all the cancellations and postponements of events and commitments. The world is experiencing the same worry, and it’s this global concern and connection that has spread fear and spiked anxiety.”
The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is going to persist until it stops spreading, and anxiety will continue spiraling as well. Many aspects of t