Why We Need to Talk About Men and Mental Health

Why We Need to Talk About Men and Mental Health

Traditionally, men are taught from a young age that they must measure up to a tough façade. But expecting men to be protectors or leaders and correlating them with anger and aggression can be destructive. The tainted belief to “act like a man” has significantly influenced how men perceive themselves and their place in the world.

Men face emotional and physical abuse and need mental health interventions to prevent trauma-related concerns, addictions, or behavioral issues. The problem is the stigma that surrounds men and mental health.

Although more women reportedly suffer from depression every year than men, depression and suicide are the leading causes of death among men in America.

Men are more likely to cultivate a substance use disorder than women, and more men have drug and alcohol dependencies than women. Sixty-two thousand men die from alcohol-related causes every year, while the number of women who die from equivalent causes every year in the U.S. is 26,000—less than half the number of male deaths related to alcohol.

These astonishing numbers show us that men are far less likely to pursue treatment for their mental health issues but still suffer from mental health problems in increased numbers.

The Weight of Men’s Mental Health

American men are exposed to a culture where the standard of masculinity is destroying their mental health. The “boys will be boys” mentality has created a world where men feel they can’t convey any feelings, resulting in men’s difficulty expressing emotions.

These extreme masculine norms are damaging to men’s mental health and other areas of life and can lead to the following:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Health risks, such as cardiovascular or metabolic disease
  • Dating and interpersonal intimacy issues
  • Interpersonal violence issues
  • Psychological distress issues
  • Discouragement in seeking help
  • Homophobia

When the negative impact is increased mental health issues, substance misuse often follows. Men struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders and avoid healthy coping mechanisms because they have been raised to “be tough” and instead turn to alcohol or drugs to numb their pain.

The only way to help men learn that emotions don’t degrade them or make them weak is by instilling that truth at a young age. As a society, it’s crucial to remember that everyone is human, and finding healthy ways to process emotions is essential for all of us, specifically men.

Establishing Social Connections

Some men have a more challenging time establishing social connections. Social networks can act as a barrier against stressful or adverse life experiences on mental health or the onset of mental health disorders, such as depression and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Social connections can also increase the probability of individuals with mental health issues seeking professional help. When people have a support system, they feel empowered and encouraged to succeed in their mental health recovery journey.

Warning Signs for Men’s Mental Health

Men and women can experience different symptoms of the same mental health disorder. This observation might reflect differing views of mental health, both among health care providers and men themselves.

Men are more likely to seek help for physical symptoms of mental health disorders. However, they may disregard emotional symptoms, disguising the sadness of depression as anger, irritability, or aggressive behavior. Self-medication with drugs or alcohol is common among men, worsening symptoms and causing the development of other health concerns.

The National Institute of Mental Health lists several symptoms that may be warning signs of mental illness in men, including:

  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless or on edge
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed
  • Misuse of alcohol and drugs
  • Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Aches, headaches, or digestive problems without a clear cause
  • Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
  • Unusual thinking or behaviors, including high-risk activities

The dangers of ignoring the warning signs only result in negative consequences. As a society, it’s important to remember that everyone is human, and finding healthy ways to process emotions is essential for all of us, especially men. Masculinity needs to be looked at through a different lens. There must be a revolution in changing the American culture where males are more comfortable articulating themselves and how they feel.

Men who may be experiencing mental health issues are susceptible to the isolation COVID-19 produces. This isolation may heighten the precursors of mental illness, therefore adding to the significance of overcoming the barriers to accessing mental health resources among those less likely to seek professional help.

Mental health disorders in men must be reexamined. Men’s mental health must be addressed, and the only way to help is by breaking the stigma surrounding men and mental health. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in Oceanside, CA, wants to help. We have developed an innovative approach to treating men’s unique challenges when managing mental illness or emotional traumas at CCI. Our personalized treatment plans guarantee that each client receives quality care with effective results. We will support you from crisis to independence at CCI by providing a compassionate team of professionals ready to help you take back your life. Let CCI help you on your way to long-term recovery. Call 760.433.4357 today to learn about our effective treatment programs. If you need assistance and live outside of California, SAMHSA offers the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to help find mental health services near you.

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Let’s Talk About Conversion Disorder

Let’s Talk About Conversion Disorder

Could you imagine experiencing something so traumatic that you find yourself paralyzed and unable to speak, literally? It’s terrifying to imagine, but symptoms such as paralysis, numbness, deafness, or blindness can result from a rare condition known as conversion disorder. Conversion disorder gives a new meaning to the concept of mind over matter.

What Is Conversion Disorder?

Conversion disorder, also known as functional neurological symptom disorder (FND), is a fascinating psychiatric disorder where a person’s physical symptoms are inconsistent with the usual pattern of other known neurological diseases.

Conversion disorder is often inadequately understood, developing unwarranted accusations and stigma surrounding the condition and the individual. Understanding this unformulated mental health disorder will involve learning more about the symptoms and treatment methods and the social, biological, and psychological factors associated with conversion disorder.

Symptoms of Conversion Disorder

Even though conversion disorder has no biological basis, the symptoms substantially affect an individual’s capacity to function. In particular, the condition is categorized by symptoms impacting an individual’s sensory or motor functioning, including:

  • Blindness
  • Paralysis
  • Dystonia
  • Anesthesia
  • Inability to speak
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Incontinence
  • Balance problems
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty walking
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES)

Unfortunately, conversion disorder is frequently overlooked during the initial medical and neurological tests because a conclusive organic diagnosis is lacking. Instead of the symptoms resulting from a physiological effect, they emerge from a psychological conflict.

Diagnosing Conversion Disorder

Conversion disorder is complex and challenging to diagnose. Some ways to thoroughly examine the diagnostic process include performing a complete medical history and physical exam to rule out existing illnesses, running CT and MRI scans to reveal any possible head trauma, or EEG to determine if there is evidence of seizures.

Although no specific cause of conversion disorder exists, social, psychological, and biological factors are relevant when diagnosing a client with conversion disorder. There are also comorbidities to look for when analyzing the condition. The clinician can ask if any of the following social, psychological, and biological factors or comorbidities are present in the client:

Social Factors Associated With Conversion Disorder

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Lives in a rural area
  • Low education level
  • Lives in a developing nation
  • Cultural issues

Psychological Factors to Assess

  • Psychological stress
  • Poor coping skills
  • Internal psychological conflicts

Biological Factors Associated With Conversion Disorder

  • Female gender
  • Young age
  • Impaired cerebral hemisphere communications
  • Excessive cortical arousal

Comorbidities to Consider

  • Mood disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Phobia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Posttraumatic-stress disorder
  • Dissociative disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorder

How to Present a Diagnosis

One of the fundamental approaches for treating clients with conversion disorder is the neurologist’s perceptive and respectful diagnosis presentation. Below are some examples of how to present the diagnosis to clients.

  • Do not inform the client of the diagnosis during the first visit.
  • Reassure the client that their symptoms are authentic despite the absence of a definitive organic disease.
  • Do not give the client the notion that there is nothing wrong with them.
  • Specify socially acceptable examples of conditions that often are considered stress-related, such as hypertension.
  • Provide examples of how the subconscious affects behavior, such as nail-biting.
  • Emphasize that the symptoms are potentially reversible.
  • Clarify that understanding and acknowledging the diagnosis can improve because it allows appropriate engagement with rehabilitation instead of wondering or worrying about what is wrong.

Treatment Methods for Conversion Disorder

Effective treatment methods and coping skills can cure conversion disorder. If you or a loved one are suffering severe or persistent symptoms of conversion disorder, treatment may be necessary. A substantial amount of focus for treatment is on rewiring the brain. Below are some of the standard treatment methods for conversion disorder.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, hypnosis, biofeedback, and relaxation therapy, have been found to help clients with conversion disorder identify triggers and symptoms and learn coping skills to manage and treat the condition.

Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy

Physical therapy or occupational therapy is often used to help with the client’s movement symptoms, including problems with coordination, balance, walking, or weak limbs. It can also effectively prevent secondary complications such as muscle weakness and stiffness.

Medication

The use of antidepressants, anxiolytics, and other psychiatric medications is necessary and helpful for treating underlying stress or anxiety causing the symptoms of conversion disorder.

Seeking Help for Conversion Disorder

Without treatment, conversion disorder can cause problems through underlying stressful situations. The first step is identifying conversion disorder correctly. Some may panic because nothing physical is wrong, but staying calm can ease the symptoms.

If you believe you are struggling with conversion disorder, reach out to your primary care provider for help. In addition, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to help find mental health services in your area.

Crownview Co-Occurring Institute offers specific dual diagnosis treatment for conversion disorder and the co-occurring disorders that typically accompany the symptoms. We understand the critical significance of treating all facets of psychiatric disorders. If you or a loved one are ready to begin your journey to recovery, we want to help you and your mental health. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in Oceanside, CA, provides a thorough treatment plan to ensure clients are treated for the correct psychological struggles causing the symptoms. At CCI, we offer treatment plans to meet the physical and emotional needs for recovery. We will encourage you throughout the treatment process, from crisis to independence, by providing a stimulating environment with a dedicated team of compassionate professionals ready to support you in gaining control of your life again. Call 760.433.4357 today to learn about our effective treatment programs.

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Contact our admissions team to learn how Crownview can help you or your loved one.

Call Now 760.433.4357

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that severely affects individuals’ capability to control their emotions. BPD is characterized by emotional instability, impulsivity, identity diffusion, and interpersonal dysfunction. Rejection and loss can trigger impulsive, suicidal, self-destructive behavior, emotional responsiveness, and angry outbursts.

The lack of emotional control can increase impulsivity, influence how people feel about themselves, and negatively impact their interpersonal relationships. Effective treatments and coping skills are available to manage the symptoms of BPD.

How Does Borderline Personality Disorder Impact Interpersonal Relationships

Individuals who struggle with BPD often experience a significant impact on their relationships with family, friends, significant others, colleagues, or co-workers due to sensitivity to rejection, changes in plans, or feelings of being insulted. These misrepresentations in the way of thinking can create feelings of isolation, loneliness, and helplessness.

Many individuals with borderline personality disorder also experience extreme and unbalanced relationships with others as a part of the condition. Their relationships fluctuate between good and bad, and they experience conflicting feelings when connecting to the world or other individuals.

The black and white approach to how people with borderline personality disorder think can overflow into relationships, including family, friends, romantic, school, or work associations with loved ones, colleagues, professors, instructors, or supervisors.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) defines interpersonal problems of the disorder as “a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.”

Individuals with BPD may idealize a person or situation and jump into relationships without hesitation. Suppose a conflict occurs to diminish the idealization, such as criticism from a colleague, an argument with a friend, or a low score on a test. In that case, it can cause the person to shift from the idealized perspective to a devaluation viewpoint.

In reacting to a devaluation, the sensitivity causes overreaction, and the individual may explode with anger, become aggressive, or give up. Devaluation can cause shattered friendships, failed classes, or loss of employment. Once seen as ideal, the person, relationship, or job quickly becomes a devastating situation with substantial consequences.

How Is Borderline Personality Disorder Treated?

Borderline personality disorder does not have to be a life sentence. Although there is no cure, effective treatment methods and coping skills are available to help those with BPD manage the condition.

Significant development has been made toward understanding and treating BPD. Both psychotherapy and medication are treatment options that have proved to be effective. Particular therapies have the potential to facilitate the interpersonal aspects of BPD, such as dialectal behavior therapy and mentalization therapy.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a modified cognitive-behavioral therapy approach that involves talk therapy to help clients understand and manage their thoughts, moods, behaviors, and interpersonal relationships.

DBT is especially useful when treating borderline personality disorder because it seeks to address symptoms of BPD by replacing maladaptive behaviors with healthier coping skills, including mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.

Mentalization-Based Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Clients with BPD display reduced mentalizing capabilities, which means they cannot recognize their mental state separate from their actions—the inability to connect the two results in complications with emotional regulation and problems managing impulsivity.

Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the ability to acknowledge and identify thoughts, feelings, and desires and determine how they are associated with behavior. MBT is effective with BPD due to its focus on improving emotional regulation and mentalization.

How Can Loved Ones Help?

Individuals with BPD experience symptoms that cause them to feel empty, dissociated from themselves, and uncertain about how they see themselves.

Having a family member or loved one with BPD can be demanding. Family members may inadvertently act in ways that can intensify their loved one’s symptoms.

Here are some ways to help a family member or friend with the BPD:

  • Take time to understand the disorder so you know what your friend or relative is experiencing.
  • Be patient and try not to argue with them when emotions are high. Waiting for the appropriate time when both of you are calm will work best.
  • Provide emotional support, understanding, patience, and reassurance. Change can be challenging to individuals with borderline personality disorder, but remind them to have hope.
  • Don't judge them. Listen to them without telling them that they're exaggerating or should not feel like they do. You may not understand why they feel like this; regardless of whether you think it's reasonable, it is still how they think, and it's important to acknowledge it.
  • Make sure to encourage them to ask about family therapy.
  • Find counseling for yourself, but don’t see the same counselor your relative is seeing.

Seeking help for mental health disorders is essential to living your best life. Borderline Personality Disorder is manageable with the appropriate coping skills. If you or a loved one want to begin your road to a better future, we want to help. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in Oceanside, CA, offers psychiatric treatment for many levels of mental health disorders. Our customized approach guarantees that each client receives quality care with successful results. CCI has treatment facilities that provide evidence-based, compassionate care with licensed professionals. Let CCI help you form a firm foundation for a successful long-term recovery. Call (760) 477-4754 today to learn about our effective treatment programs. If you are not in the California area and need assistance, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) offers the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to search for mental health services closer to you.