Depression is complex.
You’ve probably heard this before if you have Treatment-Resistant Depression. It’s the complexity that makes depression so hard to overcome sometimes. What works for one person might not work for another, which is why innovative treatment plans are essential for relief and healing.
Even though depression can look different for everyone, at its core, depression is pain. It is an endless cycle and a constant battle against an invisible enemy. And sometimes, it feels like you're losing.
Depression is busy thoughts and negative feelings you wish you could change but lack the motivation and energy to alter them. It's feeling ashamed of yourself for not being able to 'snap out of it'. It's wanting better for yourself but feeling undeserving of it or guilty that you don't feel okay in the first place.
Why is depression so hard to overcome?
Because it never really goes away. It ebbs and flows, comes and goes, but it always lingers in the background, waiting for the opportunity to pounce again. But despite how difficult it is, many people manage to overcome depression every day. So the opportunity to finally feel well and rested enough to start making positive changes is worth exploring.
Depression Is Apathy & Fatigue
It's easy to feel like you're stuck in a rut when you're depressed. Everything feels gray and bleak, and it can be hard to muster up the energy to care about anything. Mix apathy with a lack of energy, and you end up with merely a list of changes you wish you could make but seem impossible and useless. It's no wonder that depression is so hard to overcome for some people – when you no longer care about improving your situation, it's hard to take the necessary steps to make changes.
Depression Can Be Frustrating & Isolating
There are many manifestations of depression, each with its symptoms. For some people, it's complete withdrawal and isolation. Some experience changes in eating and sleeping habits, while others may have difficulty concentrating or completing tasks. Not recognizing the wavering signs, combined with the stigma about depression and fear of asking for
help, leads to not getting help – or, at least, proper support.
So many people suffer from depression in silence because they're afraid to speak up or ask for help. This is one of the reasons why depression is so hard to overcome – because people are dealing with it on their own. Depression can be incredibly isolating, making people feel like they're all alone in their battle. Unfortunately, this isolation only worsens things and makes it even harder to ask for help.
Depression Treatments Can Vary
Depression is often described as a "trial and error" illness because its causes vary significantly from one person to the next. What works for one person may not work for another, and it can be frustrating to feel like you're constantly trying new things with no success. However, it's important to remember that depression is a complex illness, and the journey to recovery can be a long and frustrating process of trial and error when it comes to medications.
The most important thing is to keep seeking help and working with your doctor to find an individualized treatment plan that works for you. TMS Therapy is an excellent option for those who have not found relief from traditional methods. At Pacific Mind Health, we offer this cutting-edge treatment that has helped countless individuals overcome depression.
Depression is a very real illness that deserves more individualized understanding and support. If you are struggling with depression, we encourage you to give us a call today. Our team of experts will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and is covered by most major insurance companies.
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. Joshua Flatow, the lead 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…
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. Flatow 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!
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. Joshua Flatow. "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?
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. Joshua Flatow. “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.
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.
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. Joshua Flatow, 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!
Even though we’ve had a few days for it to soak in, the death of Kobe Bryant, one of the world’s most beloved basketball stars, still feels like a bad dream. He was headed to his daughter’s basketball game and he is no more. How did something so mundane become so terminal? And why are we reeling from the loss of this man we only knew through our television screens?
“Celebrities are often the subject of our affection, and though it’s an affection that is unrequited, it can foster a powerful sense of connection,” said Joshua Flatow, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health in Los Angeles. “When that celebrity dies, especially in an unexpected way or at a young age, the grief that follows results from that connection. You may never have met the person or even been in the same room with them, yet you have shared their ups and downs with them. You have seen private details of their lives. You have memories with them. You miss them. And you mourn them.”
With Kobe Bryant’s passing, the community of Los Angeles immediately flocked to the home of the LA Lakers, the Staples Center, in order to show their respects. But they also flocked there as a first response to grief.
“Death has an interesting ability to unite people through grief,” said Joshua Flatow, a psychiatrist at Pacific Mind Health in Los Angeles. “When a loved one dies, families typically come together to console and support one another through the grieving period. When a celebrity dies, shared grief brings entire communities and, in some cases, the world together to grieve. Grief is real, it is powerful, and it can become complicated and debilitating.”
“There’s no silver lining here, it’s just awful… It’s all bad. It’s all sad.” - Jimmy Kimmel
Grieving and Loss: Time Heals Most Things
Time and retrospect are almost miraculous in their ability to help people focus on how human beings, particularly loved ones, lived and impacted their world - as opposed to how long they lived. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger… they died before they were 40 years old but the love we have for them continues to this day. In some cases, their memory has lived longer than they did.
Remembering those who have died is a healthy aspect of grief, one that can bring comfort during times of immense sadness. Connecting with others is also useful, especially others who are grieving, as they understand how you feel and share the same sense of loss.
“It is important to remember that grief does not come in one simple form, nor does it progress in a linear fashion,” said Dr. Flatow. “Grief can cause sleep disturbances, appetite changes, stomach upset, and headaches. It can also cause feelings of anger, sadness, loneliness, despair and irritability.”
Most people will experience bouts of sadness and anger that pass fairly quickly – they are likely experiencing a normal grieving pattern.
Understanding Grief and Managing Mental Health During Times of Loss
With the onset of grief, many people fall into a sudden and acute state of pain. At first, it’s important to let yourself feel the pain of your loss. Knowing that it’s normal and many others who are grieving will also experience this symptom can help you through this phase.
While you may be tempted to shift into isolation, this is where psychotherapy or talking to people close to you can help you validate your feelings. Some people find that chronicling their feelings in a journal is helpful as well, and even writing a note to someone who has passed away can be cathartic.
Maintaining a normal routine can also be helpful in times of grief. Patterns provide comfort and restore a sense of predictability and security, especially after an unexpected or senseless death like Kobe Bryant’s.
If you or a loved one believes that your cycles of grief are impairing your ability to function, treatments are available. Specialized psychotherapy targeting grief as well as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) medications like Lexapro, Prozac, or Zoloft may also be a first-line approach to treat event-provoked or grief-induced depression. The practitioners at Pacific Mind Health are available to support you through grief whatever your treatment requires.
Pacific Mind Health offers comprehensive mental health care for a range of psychiatric conditions. 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.
Read the entire article in Psychology Today here.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the next-generation NeuroStar Advanced Therapy transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) device for patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD), the company has announced.
To read the complete Medscape article, click here.