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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people in the United States often experience tremendous mental health and substance use disparities. High rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidality within the LGBTQ population may originate in “minority stress,” which is comprised of chronic stigma, discrimination, feeling for rejection and being ostracized, and violence. Minority stress operates within cultural institutions and social structures, including health and mental health care systems, and may disproportionately affect gender non-conforming individuals and rural LGBTQ persons

We're starting a five-week period called "the holidays." We're supposed to look forward to the holidays and hope that they will be a time of happiness, friendliness, fellowship, and harmony. Yet often our anticipation and excitement turns into feelings of depression, commonly called holiday blues. Symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, intestinal problems, and unnecessary conflict with family and friends.

Part of what happens in the holiday season, in terms of mood changes and anxiety, may occur because of the stressfulness of holiday events. Overdrinking, overeating, and fatigue may also cause it. The demands of the season are many: shopping, cooking, travel, houseguests, family reunions, office parties, more shopping and extra financial burden.

International Survivors of Suicide Day is November 21st.

I wanted to share a few statistics on suicide as well as awareness on supporting people who are survivors of suicide.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)

  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. (CDC)

  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)

  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)

  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)

  • 80% -90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS study)

  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).

  • 1 in 100,000 children ages 10 to 14 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)

  • 7 in 100,000 youth ages 15 to 19 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)

  • 12.7 in 100,000 young adults ages 20-24 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans. (CDC)

  • Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for adults ages 18-65. (CDC)

  • The highest increase in suicide is in males 50+ (30 per 100,000). (CDC)

  • Suicide rates for females are highest among those aged 45-54 (9 per 100,000). (CDC)

  • Suicide rates for males are highest among those aged 75+ (36 per 100,000). (CDC)

  • Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed. (SMH)


When searching for the right therapy to help a patient reach remission treating depression, it can (at times) become very frustrating from patients. Approximately 2/3 of individuals do not achieve remission for depression with serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) monotherapy. Basically, this means that a psychiatrist who has 20 clients and is treating them for depression could have 14 who have no (or very little) improvement with their symptoms. Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a term that is used to describe these type of patients. It is used to describe people with Major Depressive Disorder that do not reach remission after multiple antidepressant trials.

With the polar vortex upon us earlier than ever this year, it's important to remember that although most people may feel a little down during the winter months, a number of individuals actually suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, often referred to as SAD. SAD is a form of depression that occurs seasonally, typically with symptoms beginning in the fall, and abating in the spring.

Symptoms are similar to those of major depression disorder, and include low energy, lack of interest in doing things, increased sleep, increased appetite, unhappiness, and feelings of hopelessness. SAD is a problem for many Americans living in northern latitudes, where sunlight is scarce during the winter months, and it is often too cold to go outside even when the sun is out.

Our office is now offering genetic testing as a part of our medication management program. Great Lakes Psychiatric utilizes Millennium Health to investigate a person’s ability to metabolize medications effectively and to reduce potential of secondary side effects.

The process includes a saliva sample that is collected at our office and shipped to a lab located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Results are received in 5-7 days approximately for your provider to review. Once a month we also have a Millennium Lab Assistant in office, for collections as well.

Testing is covered by most insurances and Millennium offers an income sensitive repayment plan option for others. Results can also be used as tier therapy evidence for insurance companies to authorize medications without having to trial and fail insurance formulary requirements.

Mindfulness is the practice of being intentionally present in the moment. It seems to be something that we would do all the time, yet, how many times have you put special effort into something only to miss it? For example, making a special meal and not taking the moment to truly enjoy the experience due to watching television, reading, or even being a good host. Multi-tasking is a skill set that we are expected to participate in more and more in our society. Interestingly enough, people who multi-task are not as productive as people who mindfully do one task at a time.

Number of Americans Affected by Mental Illness

  • According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) one in four adults-approximately 61.5 million Americans-experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17-about 13.6 million-live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year.
  • Approximately 18 percent of American adults-about 42 million people-live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder or phobias.
  • About 9.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.

The holiday season can often be an emotional rollercoaster. Many people go into a funk or depression after all of the holiday hoopla winds down and find it difficult to function normally in their daily routine. Holiday blues, holiday depression or post-Christmas blues, these commonly used terms depict the mental distress occurring after the winter holiday season. Post-holiday depression can impact anyone, but it can be extremely likely for those with a current diagnosis of depression.

Post-holiday depression can occur because of a variety of factors. Perhaps, the holidays were not as festive or celebratory as expected, your plans fell through, or expectations simply were not met. There may be guiltiness over spending too much money, drinking or overeating. Also, you might feel guilty because, perhaps, you did not attend an even that you were expected to. It is important to realize that we are not alone with these feelings. However, you do not have to let the holiday blues get you down. Here are some strategies experts suggest to survive the blues and get back on track for the new year:

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