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Pandemic-Weary Americans Seek Psychiatric Help

PLUS: Common Side Effects of Psychiatric Medications

A third of psychologists said they are seeing more patients since the start of the pandemic. It seems likely that an increase in use of psychiatric medications — which have substantial side-effect risks — would follow. 

CNBC – Coronavirus has rocked the nation with a year of restrictions, lockdowns, missed gatherings and events, isolation and a staggering loss of more than half a million American lives.

As the pandemic stretches into a second year, Americans struggling with increased rates of depression, anxiety, and insomnia are looking for mental health support, and providers are working hard to keep up with the demand.

When the pandemic first began, Dr. Mary Alvord, said there was an almost immediate increase in those seeking treatment for both anxiety and depression.

Alvord is a psychologist and director of Alvord, Baker & Associates in Rockville, Maryland, a group of 19 clinicians focused primarily on children, teens and families.

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“I think everybody was just in a state of disbelief that this was coming on so quickly and dramatically,” Alvord said. “That first rush was anxiety in terms of daily uncertainty of not know what was going to happen [regarding] the pandemic. And I think that it turned to a lot of sadness.”

Psychologists like Alvord report seeing more patients with anxiety and depression over the last year and most say they are treating patients remotely via telehealth.

Last fall, a third of psychologists said they are seeing more patients since the start of the pandemic, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

Of psychologists who treat anxiety disorders, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed by APA reported an increase in demand for treatment, while 60% of those who treat depression saw an increase.

Similar rises in demand for treatment for trauma and stress-related disorders and sleep-wake disorders were also reported.

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“We’ve had a waitlist of about 187 people,” Alvord said. “We seem to reduce it, and then we go back up again.”

The use of telehealth was expanded thanks to emergency orders put in place by states to increase access to services during the pandemic, the APA said …

Click source below to read more. 

Common Side Effects of Psychiatric Medications

PSYCH CENTRAL – There are many common side effects of psychiatric medications, some of which are pretty similar across different classes of drugs.

If you have any of the side effects below, please talk to your doctor the next time you see them.

[HEADLINE HEALTH recommends calling your doctor immediately if you or a loved one are experiencing these side effects, and to get a second opinion before starting any psychiatric medication.]

There may be things you and your doctor can do to minimize or reduce the side effects, such as changing the dosage or changing the time or how you take the medication.

Please don’t make any medication changes, however, before talking to your doctor.

Many psychiatric medications have general side effects that span virtually all classes of drugs. Gabe Howard talks about these common side effects not commonly talked about: taste changes, memory issues, and frequent urination.

Different patients have different treatment responses and side effects to various psychiatric drugs — there is no single recipe or dosage that works for everyone. A patient may do better with one drug than another.

Please keep this in mind as you take your psychiatric medication, and talk to your doctor if any concerns arise or you feel the drug isn’t working (or isn’t working as well as it used to).

Antipsychotics

Side effects of these drugs may include drowsiness, restlessness, muscle spasms, tremor, dry mouth, or blurring of vision.

The long-term side effects include tardive dyskinesia (TD), a disorder characterized by involuntary movements most often affecting the mouth, lips and tongue, and sometimes the trunk or other parts of the body such as arms and legs.

Taking these drugs over a long period of time — usually many years — increases the risk of long-term side effects.

Antipsychotic medications are commonly prescribed for psychosis or schizophrenia.

You can learn more about the side effects of antipsychotic medications here and a patient’s recommendations for dealing with the side effects of antipsychotic medications … Read more. 

 

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