Mental Health

Mental Health

How well you cope with life - your mental health - is just as important as your physical health. Worry, stress, anxiety affects everyone, but if it overwhelms your ability to cope, make good decisions, and have fulfilling relationships, you need help. Counseling, medications, and supportive friends can help strengthen your ability to cope - and improve your mental health.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    You can manage your schizoaffective disorder by consistently taking your medication and attending regular psychotherapy sessions. The medications will mitigate or completely eliminate your symptoms and the therapy sessions give you an opportunity for you to voice all your feelings and feel more connected, as well as discuss your concerns, worries, and struggles in life. It can also help you identify relapse warning signs and learn coping techniques.

    Keep in mind that the medications can have some uncomfortable side effects. If you are unhappy with how the medications make you feel or the side effects they cause, talk to your doctor. Do not stop taking your medication cold turkey.
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    Most people with schizoaffective disorder continue treatment their whole lives. With treatment, many can live independently and have close relationships. A combination of counseling and medication provides the best treatment for schizoaffective disorder. The treatment may be different depending on whether your mood symptoms are bipolar (wide mood swings) or only depressive. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only one drug, paliperidone, specifically for schizoaffective disorder. This antipsychotic reduces such symptoms as delusions (unrealistic ideas), paranoia (unreasonable fears), and hallucinations (perceiving things that don't exist). Doctors may use medicines approved for other similar mental illnesses to treat schizoaffective disorder. These include other antipsychotics, mood-stabilizers (which even out the highs and lows), and antidepressants (which control feelings of extreme sadness). All medications can cause side effects, including medicines for schizoaffective disorder; be sure to discuss any side effects you experience with your doctor. Trained mental health workers, such as psychotherapists, can provide reassurance and practical advice about how to manage the symptoms at work and home. Group therapy offers an opportunity for emotional support and exchanging tips on how to cope.
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    Muscle dysmorphia has no specific physical cause, and any underlying physical or genetic cause that may be present is also typically heavily linked to psychological and social factors. People may develop muscle dysmorphia because they feel pressure to become more muscular, or because they are insecure about their body image. There is also evidence that some people have a genetic predisposition to the condition. While all of these things can influence the development of muscle dysmorphia, they do not necessarily always cause or intensify the condition.

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    People with muscle dysmorphia display an abnormal preoccupation with looking muscular. In order to obtain a more muscular appearance, some people may attempt to lose what they perceive as excess fat, while others attempt to "bulk up" by gaining a lot of muscle mass. You may notice someone with this condition looking in the mirror, lifting weights, or dieting more than you consider normal. They may become very agitated or worried if they miss a work-out session and may miss social or family engagements in order to work out.

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    Muscle dysmorphia is characterized by a distorted self-image, which can lead to damage to the body as the person strives to attain an imagined ideal body state. People with muscle dysmorphia are more likely to use steroids and other related drugs, which can damage the body in various ways in time. If you have muscle dysmorphia, you're also more likely to work out more than your body can actually handle, so you run the risk of straining or damaging your muscles, joints, cartilage, and other areas affected by weight lifting.
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    Men and boys are at much higher risk for muscle dysmorphia than girls and women, as the condition almost always occurs in males. People who think they are small or weak have increased risk, as do people who have low self-esteem. There has also been research to suggest that certain genes can increase a person's risk for developing muscle dysmorphia.

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    Muscle dysmorphiacan be very difficult to diagnose, as diagnosing the condition often requires that the affected person come forward and ask for help and treatment. Many people with muscle dysmorphia do not recognize that they have a problem or are afraid of becoming weak if they discontinue their habit. About 50 percent of people known to have muscle dysmorphia refuse treatment. Once a person does come forward and seek help, though, diagnosis is mostly based on the person's own report of their history and habits.
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    If you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of muscle dysmorphia, you should talk to a doctor. Muscle dysmorphia not only has the potential of negatively affecting your health, but it is often a condition characterized by unhealthy and damaging beliefs about your self-image and low self-esteem. A doctor may be able to help restore a normal self-image, diet, and lifestyle and help you become content with your natural, healthy self.

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    Treatment for muscle dysmorphia is usually conducted by a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or health specialist who can help you learn to think more positively about yourself and take control of your health. They may conduct cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that will help train you to engage in healthy habits and avoid destructive behavior. Sometimes a psychiatric medication may also be prescribed.
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    Medications can sometimes treat body and muscle dysmorphia. In some cases an anti-depressant may be prescribed. Because the disorder is mostly caused by warped perceptions about your body and low self-esteem, psychotherapy and other counseling-focused approaches may be recommended before you turn to medication to treat the problem. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, however, are an antidepressant medication that has been shown to help people with body dysmorphia by altering their brain chemistry.