Behavioral Health

Research shows a strong link between sound mental health and robust physical health. The connection between mind and mood play key roles in maintaining overall wellbeing. In fact, depression and other mental health issues can contribute to digestive disorders, sleep problems, lack of energy, heart disease, and other health issues.

Fortunately, there are many strategies for strengthening mental health while reducing the burden, and associated health risks, of mood disorders. Exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction techniques can keep the brain in tip-top shape. Other interventions can help reduce anxiety and depression and keep symptoms from getting worse. With expertise from preeminent behavioral health experts at Harvard Medical School, consumers can take positive action to manage stress and enhance their quality of life.

Addiction (Substance Use Disorder)

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Addiction is a common and complex problem and one that clinicians do not take lightly but one many used to consider to be a personal “weakness,” initiated for self-gratification and continued because of a lack of sufficient willpower to stop.

We now know addiction is a brain disease, and many people engage in potentially addictive activities to escape both physical and emotional discomfort.  Addiction is often preceded by emotional problems, so treating behavioral health issues is part of addiction treatment.

With expertise from preeminent addiction medicine experts at Harvard Medical School, consumers and their families can learn more about:

  • the signs and symptoms of addiction
  • the most effective treatments
  • planning for long-term recovery

Special Health Reports:

  • Overcoming Addiction
  • Understanding Opioids
  • Alcohol Use and Abuse
  • Quit Smoking for Good
  • Coping with Anxiety
  • Understanding Depression

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Depression: A Common Condition

Sadness touches everyone. But depression is a clinically recognized condition that causes a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms can range from lack of interest in daily activities to headaches and physical pain. Clinical depression may be linked with more serious conditions such as heart disease.

Fortunately, people suffering from depression have a wide array of treatment options that lead to symptom alleviation. The mental health experts of Harvard Medical School offer up-to-date, evidence-based advice to help people understand when to seek appropriate help for depression.

What is Depression?

Depression comes in many forms. Influenced by genetics, changes in brain structure, stressful life events, medical problems, or even hormonal changes, depression can trigger a wide variety of emotional and physical symptoms. With advice from the experts at Harvard Medical School, consumers can identify depression-related symptoms and learn when to seek diagnosis and care from their medical provider.

Depression's Health Effects

Depression often goes hand-in-hand with other conditions. There’s some evidence, for example, that depression is a risk factor for heart disease, or that coronary events like a heart attack or stroke can cause the condition. 

Our preeminent mental health experts provide guidance on the latest treatment approaches for depression, while highlighting the range of symptoms and conditions that contribute to its manifestation.

Hope and Help for Depression

Too many people struggle silently with depression. Fortunately, many treatment options are available to help those who suffer lead healthier, happier lives. In fact, according to one study, seven out of 10 people with depression experienced complete relief from their depression when they adhered to their treatment regimen.

We offer the most up-to-date depression care information, including data on medications, advice on finding a therapist, self-care strategies such as exercise and diet, and other traditional and alternative treatments.

Fear Itself: Anxiety

It’s normal to experience some level of anxiety. But for some people, up to 40 million Americans, feelings of worry, fear, and stress can be all-consuming and debilitating.

The good news? With a proper evaluation and a customized treatment plan, people who suffer from anxiety can establish lifelong coping skills to keep their anxiety under control. With advice from the nation’s foremost mental health experts, we provide information that can support those suffering from anxiety to manage their conditions and live a fuller, happier life.

Anxiety in All Its Forms

Racing heart, heavy sweating, shortness of breath. These are typical symptoms of anxiety that most of us experience from time to time. But when anxiety symptoms take control and interfere with the ability to function in everyday life, it’s likely that additional help is needed. Our experts explain guide consumers to recognize the difference between typical stress and atypical anxiety, and offer suggestions for how and where to find help if its needed.

Where to Begin

How much exercise is enough? What is safe? Should I talk to a doctor first? Questions about the right exercise program shouldn’t prevent people from starting one. We provide common-sense, evidence-based guidelines to help consumers safely incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

The Many Rewards of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is more than just a popular meditation technique. It has been shown to offer a host of important health benefits, from boosting happiness to lowering high blood pressure. In fact, in addition to treating depression and anxiety, it’s a technique prescribed by clinicians to complement therapy for cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. Experts from Harvard Medical School offer some simple daily techniques to help consumers elicit the “relaxation response” and reap its many benefits in their daily lives.

Exercise: The Best Medicine

Can a few laps around the block eliminate depression? Probably not, but a regular exercise program might help. A review of studies stretching back to 1981 concludes that regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression. It also may play a supporting role in treating severe depression.

Consumers often have questions before they start an exercise program, especially if they’ve been inactive for a long time. How much exercise is enough? What is safe? Should I talk to a doctor first? Our experts provide common-sense, evidence-based guidelines to help consumers safely incorporate the best exercise regimen into their daily lives.

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