Five ways to enhance your mood and mental health

When someone is diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety, first-line treatments usually include psychological therapies and medication. What’s not always discussed are the changeable lifestyle factors that influence our mental health.

Even those who don’t have a mental health condition may still be looking for ways to further improve their mood, reduce stress, and manage their day-to-day mental health.

It can be empowering to make positive life changes. While time restrictions and financial limitations may affect some people’s ability to make such changes, we all have the ability to make small meaningful changes.

Here are five lifestyle changes to get you started:  more

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The Dangers of Mixing Street Drugs with Psychiatric Drugs

According to recent studies, more than seventy percent of adolescents who abuse psychoactive substances also have one or more psychiatric disorders. Many of them continue to use illicit substances while on a regimen of prescribed medication, and there is clear potential for dangerous interactions.

Although there is a prevailing theory that teen substance abuse is actually an attempt to self-medicate underlying psychiatric issues, a recent meta-analysis contradicts this, concluding, however, that use of street drugs can in fact exacerbate the issues being treated. Therefore, even in the absence of problematic interaction, adding street drugs to a prescribed regimen is a bad strategy.  more

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What Really Happens When You Drink While on Psych Meds?

When people combine stimulants with alcohol, Karpyak says, the rush of energy and seeming invincibility leads them to consume significant amounts of alcohol—much larger than they’re used to or normally capable of, which leads to “miscalculations.” But of greater concern than alcohol and stimulants is actually alcohol and sedatives, or a combination of sedatives with each other.

You’ve probably heard that combining alcohol and Ambien can make you act weird—loopy, irrational, generally embarrassing—because people are always getting kicked off airplanes after trying too hard to relax. (Occasionally a nun will consume a glass of altar wine and then try to fall asleep before waking up in a different state with no recollection of how she got there or how she managed to crash a car into a building.) Benzodiazepines, the popular class of medication for anxiety, are also frequently prescribed for insomnia. These include Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, and, of course, America’s long-standing psychiatric favorite, Xanax.   more

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