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Examples Of Mental Health Issues That Specifically Affect Medical Doctors

Examples Of Mental Health Issues That Specifically Affect Medical Doctors

Medical doctors play a vital role in our healthcare system, often working under intense pressure and demanding circumstances. While their expertise and dedication save lives, the unique stresses they face can lead to specific mental health challenges.

At Flourish Psychology, we understand the distinct needs of medical professionals, and also how challenging it can be to seek professional help, especially given your position. We encourage anyone working as a doctor or other medical professional to seek out care, as there are specific mental health issues that affect those in the medical community, including:

1. Burnout

Burnout is a prolonged response to chronic stressors in the workplace, marked by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. For medical doctors, long working hours, high patient loads, and the emotional toll of dealing with life-and-death situations can all contribute to burnout.

2. Depression

The intense demands of the medical profession can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and an ongoing sense of sadness. The combination of work pressure, administrative burdens, and the personal sacrifice required in the medical field makes doctors especially susceptible to depression.

3. Anxiety Disorders

The high-stakes nature of medical work can generate chronic anxiety. Whether it’s worry over patient outcomes, concerns about medical malpractice, or the ongoing pressure to keep up with ever-changing medical knowledge, anxiety can become a constant companion.

4. Substance Abuse

Unfortunately, the pressures faced by doctors can sometimes lead to substance abuse as a coping mechanism. The ready availability of medications and the intensity of the work environment can be contributing factors.

5. Compassion Fatigue

Caring for patients in pain, distress, or nearing the end of life can be incredibly taxing emotionally. Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress, occurs when caregivers feel overwhelmed by the constant need to provide emotional support.

6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Doctors are frequently exposed to traumatic situations, from emergency cases to witnessing patient deaths. These experiences can lead to PTSD, manifesting as flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and increased emotional arousal.

7. Imposter Syndrome

The constant pursuit of perfection and the life-and-death nature of medical decisions can sometimes lead to imposter syndrome. Doctors may feel as though they are not competent or capable, despite evidence to the contrary.

Flourish Psychology: Support For Medical Doctors

Flourish Psychology is committed to supporting medical professionals in their mental and emotional well-being. We offer specialized therapy and counseling tailored to the unique challenges faced by those in the medical field. Our services are designed to provide a safe, confidential space for doctors to discuss their struggles and seek professional guidance.

A Call To Care For The Caregivers

Doctors are at the frontline of our healthcare system, providing essential care to those in need. Recognizing and addressing the specific mental health challenges they face is not only crucial for their well-being but also for the health of the patients they serve.

If you or a medical professional you know is struggling with these or other mental health challenges, please reach out to Flourish Psychology. Our dedicated team of mental health professionals is here to support you throughout the state of NY.

Why ARE We Still Doing Fireworks?

Why ARE We Still Doing Fireworks?

We hope you had a wonderful fourth of July with your friends and family! Walking outside in Brooklyn, we could smell the barbecues, hear the laughter, and see a lot of happy faces.

It’s also a good time to ask a question that we ask twice every year: why are we still doing fireworks?

Working with Trauma

It’s true that fireworks can be very beautiful. Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks are often some of the best in the United States. Some of us have memories of our first ever large scale fireworks displays. Those of us from other states may have also lit our own fireworks in our backyards with friends and family.

But most of us are not wowed by fireworks anymore, and – unless you have a front row seat – they’re really more like little lights in the distance. The majority of us do not even attend fireworks displays, choosing instead to watch them on TV or ignore them altogether.

So, as therapists, we have to ask: do we really need fireworks?

People with post-traumatic stress disorder – including, if not especially, veterans of the armed forces, are often triggered by fireworks. In one of the great “ironies” of fireworks displays, some of the very people that many of us pay respect to on July 4th are those that have severe anxiety, stress, and sometimes even emotional breakdowns as a result of fireworks displays.

There are already many questions about the value of fireworks.

  • Fireworks release dangerous particles in the atmosphere.
  • They can cause injury or even death when mishandled.
  • They keep people awake at night.
  • They are expensive, at a time when income inequality and social service investments are down.
  • They have led to fires, a risk that is even more common now that the climate is changing.

But the fact that they also trigger traumatic episodes in shooting survivors, veterans, and others that have experienced trauma, it may be time to really sit down and think about whether or not fireworks are still a necessity for our more enlightened society. Fireworks can be beautiful. But there are many other options available as well, and the loud noise, pollution, and psychological consequences of fireworks may no longer be worth it. It may be time to consider alternative options for our mental health.

The Importance Of Escapism And Adult Play

The Importance Of Escapism And Adult Play

Growing up, everyone is taught to play. We’re sent outside for recess and given a ball, a Frisbee, or a jungle gym. We’re told to exercise, express ourselves, get into trouble (but not too much) and learn about the world around us. 

So, we go out, and we play. We play pretend, imagining ourselves to be princes and princesses, soldiers and super heroes, villains and monsters. All this play is done in the name of self-discovery:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we enjoy?
  • What makes us happy or sad? 

For many children, this stage of play is important to their development, creating a fictional flood of stories, characters, morals, moments, and messages will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

Much like the children’s fairy tale Peter Pan though, at a certain point as adults we are told that they are no longer allowed to play. Life gets serious, we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and face the unhappy reality that is… reality. 

Go get a job, don’t expect any handouts, and you can sleep when you’re dead. Suddenly this outlet of play that we’ve cultivated and grown within us must be cut out like a tumor of creativity. We’re told this is done for our own betterment, for the inarguable benefit of putting childish things behind us.

The idea of no longer playing can be dangerous to the human experience though.

Psychiatrist and founder of the National Institute for Play, Dr. Stuart Brown wrote an entire book on the subject, titled Play.

“[Play] is all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing,” wrote Dr. Brown, likening play to oxygen. “Play is the purest expression of love.”

The mind is not one track. It needs diversity, challenge, and exploration. Adults can find this release in many places. For some it’s reading, for some it’s video games, others find a team sport or an activity like indoor rock climbing or bird watching. For some, it’s games that have long been associated with childhood, like dungeons and dragons or live action role playing, and learning to accept that even traditionally childhood versions of “play” can be as useful for adults as it is for kids.

How you play is not always important. But fitting in play definitely is. Many of us need to unlearn this idea that games and activities are or can be juvenile, and embrace the idea that our minds, emotions, and mental health benefit from letting loose, having fun, and engaging in activities that give us different experiences and ways of thinking.

It’s Okay to Have a Hobby that Doesn’t Make Money

It’s Okay to Have a Hobby that Doesn’t Make Money

Hobbies are important. More important than we give them credit for. Research into the idea of “leisure hobbies” indicates many potential benefits of maintaining hobbies for your mental health.

Hobbies are a great way to engage in a passion. They can also be a great way to make money. Many businesses started as hobbies. Etsy, for example, was a business literally started because its owner needed a way to sell these handmade wooden computers he made in his spare time. Bob Ross was just painting as a hobby before he made a name for himself as a television personality.

We live at a time where “hustle culture” is all the rage – what can you do to make some extra money? Are there hobbies that you have that can provide you with some extra money? Can you become a professional dog jogger because of your love of running? Can you rent out your home to photographers because of your amazing interior design skills?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a bit of extra money with your hobbies. Life is expensive. If you can make a bit of extra cash here and there doing something you love to do, go for it.

But it’s important to remember that you also don’t need to make every hobby of yours something you can make money off of. Sometimes, it’s just good to have a hobby.

The Benefits of a Hobby that Isn’t Monetized

It’s great if a hobby can make you money. But it’s also great to have hobbies that do not. That is because research into hobbies has shown that monetizing a hobby can reduce the joy of that hobby. This has even been proposed as a way to reduce childhood addiction to video games. Give them a few dollars to play, and eventually they’ll find playing less enjoyable.

Hobbies that you do just for fun – hobbies that you do just for YOU – have many benefits, including:

  • Improving your self esteem as you become good at something.
  • Teaching you to turn off your mind to outside distractions.
  • Giving yourself moments of fun in a stressful world.

You can monetize anything you want if you feel like you’re ready for it. But it is also perfectly reasonable to just have a hobby you can enjoy. Paint without worrying if someone will buy it. Craft something without worrying about someone buying it from you. Write a book without worrying about if someone reads it. If it brings you joy, then it has value that extends beyond money – value that you will experience for months and years to come.

Secure and Discreet Online Therapy in NY for LGBTQ+ Issues

Secure and Discreet Online Therapy in NY for LGBTQ+ Issues

Flourish Psychology is a boutique private practice located in Brooklyn in New York City. We believe in individuality – of being and living your true self in a way that is free of judgment. We want you to be supported, and we want you to know that you deserve to be the true you.

But while we believe in seeing you the way you wish to be seen, we also acknowledge that it remains a challenging world for LGBTQ+ and those living alternative lifestyles. It can also be even harder the further away you are from large city centers, where coming out at all can be dangerous and finding the support you need even more difficult.

Benefits of Online Therapy in New York

The desire for discretion and privacy is one of the reasons that we offer remote therapy for those living throughout New York State. We know that even in big cities, where diversity is more common, it can be hard to feel free to be yourself. It is often even more difficult in the more remote areas of the state, where everyone knows their neighbor and where access to a psychologist that recognizes that individuality can be exceedingly difficult.

Our therapists, based in Brooklyn, provide LGBTQ+ affirming care to both support your ability to live your individuality, and to make sure you have the support you need to address some of the anxieties, stresses, and other issues you may struggle with as a result of both the pressures of society and day to day life.

By providing therapy online, you can receive treatment from the comfort of your own home. This allows you to:

  • See a therapist that is not directly connected to your community.
  • Receive treatment in a way that is completely discreet.
  • Be in a place where you feel safe and can be yourself during treatment.

Remote therapy also opens the door to see a therapist in areas that do not traditionally have access to any mental healthcare, let alone one that is experienced in supporting LGTBQA individuals. We can also provide gender affirming care for transgender adults, help you cope with the changes that may arise during transition, and provide coping strategies as you navigate a difficult medical system.

Free to Be Who You Are

In addition to our work with individuals, we also provide couples counseling and relationship therapy to any type of couple, including those in non-traditional relationships. We know you deserve support, and our therapists are here to provide it for you.

Let Flourish Psychology help you be you. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options, or to be connected to one of our therapists.

Happier Living in NYC – Quick and Easy Tips for Faster Happiness

Happier Living in NYC – Quick and Easy Tips for Faster Happiness

Happiness is an emotional state, but emotion is highly tied to biology. The different hormones and neurotransmitters in your brain and the state of your entire body and nervous system all play significant roles in how happy you feel.

By making small, scientifically proven changes in your life, you can influence these biological factors and guide yourself to happier living in NYC.

How to Easily Increase Your Happiness 

The brain and the body are closely tied together. What you feel emotionally directly impacts what your body experiences physically, both at a conscious, noticeable level and at a molecular level. This connection also goes the other way in the sense that by changing what your body experiences physically, you will have a direct impact on your emotions.

Physical changes are often easier and faster to make in our lives since they do not require the willpower to push ourselves into a new emotional state or untangle complicated emotions and previous experiences. This can be one of the fastest ways to increase your day to day happiness, limit your risk of depression, and reduce symptoms of sadness and stress:

  • Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing – This breathing technique relaxes the body by increasing oxygenation, lowering blood pressure, and releasing muscle tension. It will also boost your energy and make you feel warmer through improved blood circulation, all of which will put you in a better mood. For this technique, you will breathe into your stomach. Place a hand on your abdomen and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, feeling your stomach expand. Hold your breath for 2 seconds, and then exhale for 6 seconds. Repeat the process until you feel the effects.
  • Increase Blood Flow to the Brain – Many studies have shown that increased blood circulation in the brain raises the amount of oxygen in the brain. Oxygen is essential for producing serotonin and endorphins – two neurotransmitters tied to happiness. There are a few different tips you can use to increase the oxygenation of your brain by improving circulation, such as physical activity and limiting caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. These changes can have immediate effects on blood flow and making them routine will quickly begin to increase your overall happiness.
  • Aligning Behavioral Circadian Rhythms – Your circadian rhythms are cycles within the body that control the release of chemicals like endorphins and cortisol, both of which directly impact mood, alertness, and feelings of well being. You can align your circadian rhythms by going to bed at approximately the same time every night and waking up at the same time the next morning, including on weekends. Misaligned circadian rhythms can result in uneven production of cortisol, which is shown to lead to increased rates of depression and anxiety and means that any setbacks you experience throughout your days will have a greater negative effect on happiness.
  • Eating Foods High in Tryptophan – The body uses tryptophan, which is an amino acid, to produce serotonin, as well as red blood cells. We do not produce tryptophan on our own, so you will need to eat the right foods to make sure you are getting enough of it. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of foods that contain tryptophan, including meat, eggs, milk, fish, almonds, bananas, and peanuts. Many other high protein foods contain tryptophan as well so you can add more to whatever your diet may be.
  • Alter Fixed Routines – Daily routines result in a fixed emotional state, and while this can be effective at preventing additional stress and feelings of sadness, it also limits you from taking in novel experiences, which will cause a release of serotonin and endorphins. Introducing small adjustments to your routine that are easy to implement will start to introduce a feeling of novelty and improve resilience to make you happier. This can begin by doing something different after work, purposely trying something new, picking up a hobby, or incorporating a different step into your morning routine.

These simple ways of using biology to improve your happiness can be extremely valuable for your overall well being or for a way to reduce depression symptoms, but they are unlikely to solve depression single-handedly. For this, reaching out for therapy in Brooklyn can give you more precise and personalized guidance in how to improve your happiness and go into greater depth on the aspects of your life that are holding you back.

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