Blue graphic with a white DNA strand behind human head with red frontal lobe of brain indicating dementia

Dementia or Alzheimer’s? What’s the difference?

We’ve all heard of the terms Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Unfortunately, they are all too prevalent words in the human vocabulary as we begin to talk about aging and signs of cognitive deterioration, but the distinction between the two can sometimes be a difficult subject to understand. They are most common in aging Individuals 65 or older. People with Dementia experience a decrease in cognitive functions such as reasoning, memory and critical thinking.
Alzheimers is a degenerative brain disease in which cells in the brain break down and can impact memory and behavior. While these sound similar, there is a difference between Dementia and Alzehimer’s.

What is Dementia?

People with Dementia experience a progressive decrease in cognitive functions such as reasoning, memory and critical thinking. Dementia describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, reasoning or other thinking skills. Many different types of dementia exist and many conditions cause it, meaning that Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is a result of damage to brain cells that affects peoples’ ability to communicate, which can affect thinking, behavior and feelings.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by complex brain changes following cell damage.” In addition, Alzheimer’s is actually a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease experience a great deal of difficulty due to confusion and inability to complete thoughts. Alzheimer’s impacts the ability to draw memories together in a complete sequence.

Early onset Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment

Alzehimer’s is most commonly seen in adults aged 65 years or older, however, it can also impact younger individuals. These individuals may experience Mild Cognitive Impairment early on in life that leads to a full diagnosis of Alzheimer’s later in life. Because it is so common for older men and women to be diagnosed with Alzehimer’s, a younger person with early onset is more likely to be misdiagnosed, therefore leading to a mistreatment and lack of support for the condition. Because of this. it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment and monitor its
progression.

If you are concerned about you or a loved one experiencing any signs of cognitive impairment at any age, visit your trusted CCMH Provider. For more  information about CCMH Silver Lining Geriatric Psychiatric Care, call us today.

Disclaimer:

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical
advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any
services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any
links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website
does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the
medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information
may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions
or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Sources:
Identify Alzheimer’s Disease Earlier: https://www.identifyalz.com/
Alzheimer’s Association: https://www.alz.org/alzheimer_s_dementia
Alzheimer’s Association: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers
The Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-
depth/alzheimers/art-20048356

dark haired suicidal woman receiving hug from while male with beard

National Suicide Prevention Week

During the week of September 6th-12th, Americans recognize Suicide Prevention month with hopes to spread awareness of the prevalence of Suicide in your community. This week is dedicated to sharing ideas of how to care for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and provide outlets and resources for help.

Every 40 seconds, one person commits suicide in the United States. That equates to 800,000 people a year who take their own lives. In the state of Oklahoma alone, suicide is the 9th leading cause of death for all people; it is the 2nd leading cause for people ages 10-34. For every suicide, there are approximately 25 attempts. With numbers this staggering, it is important family members, coworkers, and friends are aware of the warning signs for suicidal thoughts in the people we are surrounded by. The following list of risk factors raise our awareness of who may be of higher risk. 

Risk Factors

Every suicide is different and is typically a result of different risk factors. These risk factors may include:

  • History of a mental health problems, especially clinical depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment or abuse
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide or graphic, sensationalized accounts of suicide
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Relationship or intimate partner conflict
  • Stressful life events (death, divorce, job loss, legal trouble)
  • Prolonged stress (harassment, bullying, chronic pain, homelessness)
  • Easy access to lethal methods, including firearms and drugs
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts

Protective Factors

It can be difficult to notice when someone may be close to taking their own life. If you suspect someone is contemplating suicide, you can help locate or provide these Protective Factors to provide support and potentially prevent a suicide attempt:

  • Support of family, friends and others (counselors, managers, etc.)
  • The presence of an intimate, supportive partner
  • Church attendance and participation in religious activities
  • Religious coping (prayer, worship, meditation, Scripture, meeting with spiritual leaders, etc.)
  • Moral and spiritual objections to suicide
  • Moral and spiritual sense of responsibility to family, God, etc.
  • Beliefs that aid survival or coping with trials such as “I am loved,” “I am not alone,” and “I can overcome.”
  • Problem solving skills and ability to regulate one’s own emotional response
  • Personal strengths such as persistence, resilience, hope, etc…
  • Family cohesion

Prevention

Ultimately, suicide can be a difficult topic to discuss with anyone. If you or a loved one are struggling with coping with external factors that induce suicidal thoughts, remember help and support are here for you. Ways to help prevent suicide include:

  • Strengthen economic supports such as housing stabilization and household financial security.
  • Strengthen access and delivery of care including mental health care and insurance
  • Create protective environments with reduced access to lethal means and excessive alcohol.
  • Promote connectedness with peer norm programs and community engagement
  • Teach coping and problem-solving skills.
  • Identify and support those at risk with possible crisis intervention and re-attempt prevention courses.

Whether you or someone you know is at risk for suicide, know that there is help and support available. You are cared for and not alone. If you do wish to speak to someone about your current mental health needs, your CCMH Providers are here to help as we all navigate these challenging times. 


Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/fastfact.html

Helping Prevent Suicide: A Three-Part Series from Chaplain Paul Gore (PDF)

children covid

Mitigating the Mental Health Consequences to Children During COVID-19

If we are all honest with ourselves, we have all probably struggled mentally at one point or another throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Problems such as anxiety, suicide, and depression are on the rise. Sadly, over 47,000 individuals have lost their lives to suicide since the beginning of the pandemic

 

The feelings of uncertainty, changes in routine, social distancing, concern over the virus, and loss of income are all issues that can create a mental storm for anyone. Many times, we shelter our children from the news and think they are not affected by all that has gone on in the world. These times present new challenges and things we don’t know how to handle for all of us. Children are not exempt from these struggles. 

 

Quarantine, the sudden stop of the school year, missed activities and milestones are all possible reasons for dealing with mental stress for children. It is also common for children to internalize feelings they don’t understand or are not mature enough to deal with.

 

What changes may indicate a child is struggling mentally?

 

Children often react differently to mental distress than adults, making it more difficult for adults to recognize issues promptly. Here are some warning signs to be aware of: 

 

Unexplained body pain and headaches. 

Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting).

Excessive irritation or crying in younger children.

Unhealthy sleep or eating habits. 

Excessive sadness or worry. 

Acting out and irritability in teens.

Decreased school performance and / or avoiding school.

Difficulty concentrating.

Use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. 

Avoiding activities enjoyed in the past.

 

How can I positively impact my child’s mental health during COVID-19? 

 

Have a positive attitude about school 

 

How you react to the school year changes greatly impacts your own child’s attitude and anxiety level. If you remain positive, he or she will have less reluctance about returning to school. 

 

Spend time preparing your child for the changes that will take place this school year, whether online, on campus, or homeschooling.

 

If he or she will be wearing a mask to school, let them pick out masks that reflect their personality and interests. Have him or her practice wearing their mask, slowly increasing the amount of time each day to become accustomed to wearing it for the school day. Let him or her have extra screen time or do another enjoyable activity while mask-wearing. 

 

Have something to look forward to

 

With so many of our calendars cleared of events, life can feel a little monotonous. Make sure there is always something in the distant future to look forward to. 

 

Even if it is as simple as planning to watch a new movie with your child over the weekend, having “plans” makes us focus less on all the difficulty in the world right now and give some normalcy to our lives.

 

Spend time outdoors 

 

Fresh air and sunlight do the body good. Being in the sun increases your level of vitamin D, the vitamin which regulates calcium and phosphorus and leads to healthier teeth, bones, and muscles. It may also impact mental health by increasing the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin boosts the mood and helps you feel focused and calm. 

 

If your child isn’t big on the outdoors, now is a good time to work to find an outdoor activity he or she will enjoy.  It may be a great time to find an activity that the whole family may enjoy as well. From swimming to hiking, to fishing, to practicing a sport- there are many great options! 

 

Promote a mental health-friendly diet 

 

In 2010, a study found that women who ate unhealthy diets common to our culture had more psychological symptoms. These food include:

 

processed and fried foods

sugary products

refined grains (such as white bread)

beer

 

Some diets may, on the other hand, lessen anxiety and depression. Some of the diets include the Mediterranean diet, lower-calorie diets, and intermittent fasting. 

 

Discern when to talk about it and when to shelter them 

 

Don’t assume because your child isn’t saying anything about the virus that he or she is not bothered by it. 

 

Focus on making age-appropriate questions without confusing your child or adding to their fears. Begin by asking questions such as, “What have you heard about the virus?” “What questions do you have about it?”

 

Your child may be worried about getting sick or you getting sick, especially if he or she knows someone who has been seriously ill or died from the virus. 

 

Kids of all ages can be taught the importance of handwashing and how germs are spread. Knowing there are healthy habits that can prevent the spread will help him or her feel more confident that he or she will be ok. 

 

Take time every day to build them up

 

Some days during a pandemic are just survival mode. Take a few moments every evening to discuss the good and bad of the day. Focus on asking specific questions instead of just “How was your day?” The linked article has a great list of questions to help get the conversation going with your child. 

 

No matter what, remind your child they are surviving something none of us have ever navigated before. Celebrate the small victories and strategize plans for conquering the challenges. 

 

Make them unplug

 

Social media can be a great source of entertainment and a way to stay connected with friends and family. Especially during a pandemic, many of us have been spending time online. However, too much time online can lead to unhealthy physical habits as well as emotional ones. Not only does the bad news make us anxious, but many teens and even adults also struggle with comparing themselves to others which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and depression. 

 

According to the BBC, unplugging, even for small periods of time can decrease anxiety. So, it may be a good idea to implement a time when your whole family unplugs. Especially consider unplugging in the evenings as we know screen time can affect sleep quality

 

If you suspect your child is struggling at this time with problems such as anxiety or depression, please reach out. Your CCMH Providers are here to help as we all navigate these challenging times. 

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

PTSD patients

Do You Think You Have PTSD?

When thinking of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), many think of soldiers. As a proud military community, we cannot deny the fact that PTSD is a troubling problem for those in the military, especially those who have faced the difficulties of combat. In fact, depending on where they served, 11-20% of all veterans experience PTSD. However, statistics also clearly show that PTSD is not just a problem that affects our military.

 

What is PTSD?

After a traumatic experience, sometimes the feeling of sadness, anxiety, and fear do not improve over time. If this is the case, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD may develop following any traumatic event.

PTSD affects people who personally experience the traumatic event, witnesses to the event, and those who assist afterward such as emergency workers and law enforcement officers. No matter the cause, with treatment and support, it is possible to manage your symptoms, reduce the pain of memories, and move beyond the trauma.

 

Statistics about PTSD 

Of the 70% of adults in the United States who have experienced a traumatic event, 20% develop PTSD.

5% of Americans have PTSD at any given time.

1 of 13 people in the U.S. develop PTSD during their lifetime.

1 out of 9 get PTSD at some time in their lives and women are about twice as likely as men to experience PTSD. *

*Statistics gathered from Sidran Institute 

 

How PTSD Occurs 

PTSD is different from person to person because everyone’s nervous system and tolerance for stress is different. While PTSD is likely during the hours or days following a traumatic event, it can sometimes take years before symptoms appear. Sometimes symptoms even appear out of the blue. Other times, they are triggered by a painful reminder of the traumatic event. Examples include an image, certain words, noise, or smell.

 

Symptoms of PTSD

There are four main symptoms of PTSD:

  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event through flashbacks, nightmares, or memories. This includes intense mental or physical reactions when remembering the trauma.
  2. Avoiding reminders of the trauma. This includes losing interest in activities one was taking part in when the incident occurred and feeling emotionally detached from others.
  3. Hyperarousal is also a common symptom. This includes sleep problems, irritability, hypervigilance, feeling jumpy, and having angry outbursts.
  4. Negative thoughts and difficulty concentrating or remembering. This includes hopelessness, feeling distrust, betrayal, guilt, shame, self-blame.

 

PTSD symptoms in children

For children, especially younger children, the symptoms may include:

  • Fear of separation from their parent
  • Lose of previously-acquired skills such as toilet training
  • Nightmares and difficulty sleeping
  • Play in which aspects of the trauma are repeated
  • New anxieties and phobias such as fear of monsters
  • Re-creating the trauma through stories, drawings or play
  • Aches and pains without an apparent cause
  • Aggression and irritability

PTSD may also result from surgery when children are too young to fully understand what’s happening to them.

 

If you are struggling to recover from trauma, please reach out to one of our providers today. You can find a list of them at cmhhealth.com/providers.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

mushrooms on table

Mushrooms May Affect Cognitive Health

Love them or hate them, mushrooms are a wonderful addition to your diet. Recent research has shown that mushrooms may have even more health benefits than we previously realized!

 

Why are mushrooms good for you?

 

Many edible varieties of mushrooms are found in the vegetable section of your local grocery store. However, mushrooms are not vegetables. Mushrooms are actually fungi. Edible varieties contain a high amount of antioxidants, protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and also minerals.

According to recent research, eating mushrooms may also reduce the risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

 

What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

 

MCI is a type of memory impairment which is often a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease. It is the stage between the normal cognitive decline of aging and the more serious decline of dementia. MCI involves problems with language, thinking, memory and judgment that are beyond normal changes as a person ages.

Patients with mild cognitive impairment may be aware that their memory or mental functioning is “off”. Others may also notice a change. MCI is not severe enough to interfere with normal day-to-day functioning, however.

Mild cognitive impairment may increase someone’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions later in life.

 

What is the relationship between mushrooms and MCI?

 

Researchers in Singapore gathered data on 663 Chinese men and women. All of the participants in the study were over the age of 60. Researchers recorded diet information, including data about the participant’s mushroom consumption. The investigators focused on the consumption of some of the most common mushrooms that people in Singapore eat. These varieties include:

 

oyster mushrooms
golden mushrooms
shiitake mushrooms
dried mushrooms
canned button mushrooms
white button mushrooms

 

They also interviewed each participant and conducted various cognitive tests.

This controlled study accounted for various factors including socioeconomic factors, health and other behaviors. Researchers also considered each participant’s consumption of vegetables, meat, and green fruits and nuts. The participants who ate one to two 5- ounce portions had a 43 percent reduced risk for MCI in comparison to those who had one portion or less. Participants that consumed more than two portions, however, had a 52 percent reduced risk. 1

 

Why do mushrooms help ward off Alzheimer’s?

 

It is unclear why this relationship exists between mushrooms and a reduced risk of MCI. Mushrooms do contain various antioxidants that may inhibit the buildup in the brain of amyloid beta and tau. These are proteins that are present during Alzheimer’s disease.

 

What are the signs of Alzheimer’s?

 

Some of the top signs of Alzheimer’s include:

difficulty remembering what just happened
struggling to manage bills or finances
misplacing things
vision problems
inability to follow conversations
difficulty completing day-to-day tasks
losing track of dates and times
poor decision making
inability to plan or problem solve
withdrawing from work or social activities
getting easily lost in their normal environment
mood/ personality changes
uncommon feelings of depression, suspicion, anxiety or confusion

 

If you or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms, reach out to a CCMH Provider for an appointment. You can find a list of our providers at Ccmhhealth.com/Directory.

 

Resources

1 L Feng, Irwin K-M Cheah, Maisie MX Ng, J Li, SM Chan, SL Lim, R Mahendran, E-H Kua, B Halliwell. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. NUS Study: Eating Mushrooms May Reduce the Risk of Cognitive Decline. 13 March 2019.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

couple sitting outside together laughing

Prioritize Your Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Few would argue that your personal, mental health and wellbeing are not a priority. However, we all know that life gets busy. Between work or school deadlines, caregiving responsibilities and day- to-day activities, our wellbeing often gets “put on a shelf.”

 

Oftentimes, we do not consider how low our mental health has fallen in our priorities until it manifests itself in signs of physical illness. In fact, The World Health Organization reports that by 2030, stress-related illness will surpass communicable disease. 1

 

We cannot avoid many of the stressors of life. However, there are various ways to prioritize your mental health that research proves helpful.

 

Practice self-care

 

Proper sleep, exercise and nutrition are a must to maximize your mental health. These activities should be things we engage in every day. Therefore, do not get into the bad habit of only fitting them in when you have time.

 

Consider mindful living

 

Combat stress through activities such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. These mindful activities are proven ways to elevate brain chemistry.  They also  lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone in our bodies.

 

Avoid the lure of consumerism

 

The pressure to wear the latest fashions, participate in retail therapy, or seek status, puts mental and economic pressure on us. Focusing on the important things in life such as relationships, activities we love, faith, etc., brings more happiness and less stress to our lives.

 

Consider therapy

 

Sometimes we have mixed feelings about seeing a therapist. Just keep in mind that many times we seek services to prevent problems. Just as you take your car to a mechanic for preventative service, seeking the care of a trusted, licensed therapist, can greatly prevent problems that occur from day-to-day mental stress.

 

Not sure how to find a therapist that will meet your unique needs? Ask your CCMH primary care physician or search the internet for referrals from reputable organizations like the American Psychological Association.

 

Take breaks everyday

 

What renews and refreshes your soul? A good book? Some music? A long walk? A hot bath? Commit to finding time for such activities every day! Even if it is just 15 minutes, this time will help you “reset”, refocus and clear your mind of negative thoughts.

 

Cultivate friendships

 

If you’re struggling with mental health or even just feeling a little “down,” loneliness can quickly erode mental health. Our society is more connected yet disconnected than ever before.

 

Surround yourself with positive, caring individuals and cultivate these friendships. There is nothing like sharing some laughs and a cup of coffee with a friend to push away negative, destructive thoughts that creep into our heads in times of loneliness.

 

Learn to say “no”

 

Saying “yes” to everything is saying “no” to your mental health. It seems as if we are addicted to being busy in our society. Sometimes we also feel like our success is driven by the number of activities we participate in.

 

Practice saying “no”. Say it in the mirror and practice it with a friend if you must. Learn to always consider your list of priorities. Practice delegating, renegotiating and making changes in your best interest when the demands of life become too much.

 

Ditch perfectionism

 

Being goal driven can be good for our careers yet hard on our minds. Expecting perfection and keeping a jam-packed schedule in pursuit of our goals can also be damaging in the long run. You do not have to accomplish everything right now. Make realistic goals, celebrate small achievements and laugh and learn from your mistakes.

 

Find humor in life

 

Speaking of laughing, as the old Proverb says, laughter often is the best “medicine.”  Humor contributes towards resilience. When we take life too seriously, we become hypercritical, easily frustrated and often just want to give up. Say “no” to tension and strife inside your mind, say “yes” to enjoying and laughing through the journey.

 

Your mental health is most important. It’s more important than any metrics of success- your job, your status, likes on social media, and your grades. Without good mental health, everything else suffers.

 

Struggling with the stress of daily life? Reach out to a CCMH Provider if you need help. Find a list of them at ccmhhealth.com/directory.

 

Sources

 

1 World Health Organization. DEPRESSION: A Global Crisis. 10 Oct. 2102. 

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.