expert type icon EXPERT

Dr. Kristy Marie Griffith, M.D.

Psychiatrist

20 years Experience
Dr. Kristy Marie Griffith, M.D.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • University Okla College Med
  • Accepting new patients

Why am I not happy as all other moms around me are?

Some people suffer from postpartum blues or even postpartum depression. If you are feeling depressed or sad most days, have less interest in things that you used to find fun, READ MORE
Some people suffer from postpartum blues or even postpartum depression. If you are feeling depressed or sad most days, have less interest in things that you used to find fun, changes in appetite, sleep, low energy, low motivation, excessive feelings of guilt, thoughts of death, you need to see a doctor for an evaluation right away.

If, however, you are simply feeling less happy than you could be, there could be a lot of explanations. Becoming a new mom can mean losing sleep, losing a sense of spontaneity, losing some independence, losing exclusivity in an intimate relationship. Having a child changes the dynamics in a relationship. Often, women are caregivers for their partners in many ways, and partners lose that exclusive attention they were receiving which can create conflict. Many women idealize what being a mom will be like, and reality can be quite a shock. Comparing ourselves to others often makes us feel inadequate, as we tend to compare ourselves only to people who have what we want. It is certainly possible that other moms are not quite as happy as they seem, but they may want to display a positive outlook on their lives via social media.

Remember to be good to yourself. It is important to take a break. If you are lucky enough to have trusted caregivers, have them watch your child so you can reconnect with yourself without having to be needed for everything.

Is negative thinking a disease?

It is easy to start thinking negatively when things go wrong. Often times, people will try to control situations by planning for the worst or thinking that they can prepare for READ MORE
It is easy to start thinking negatively when things go wrong. Often times, people will try to control situations by planning for the worst or thinking that they can prepare for disappointment by assuming that it will come. The problem is, the suffering and worry and sadness occur in the absence of any real triggers. The trigger for these feelings is the negative thoughts themselves. Learning to recognize these thoughts is one of the first steps in changing this cycle. There is a specific form of therapy called CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy that targets this process. There are many free CBT self-help resources on the web. Try searching for "unhelpful thinking styles" to learn more.
A major depressive episode or clinical depression is defined as a 2 week or more period of time in which a person's mood is sad with loss if interest or pleasure and several associated symptoms such as problems with appetite, sleep, excessive guilt, poor concentration, memory problems, feeling slowed down or restless, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, low self esteem, low energy, low motivation, and even suicidal thoughts. These symptoms impair a person's functioning at home, at work, or in social situations. If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms, please contact your doctor's office for an evaluation.

I think I started binge eating. Is it a mental disorder?

There are a lot of reasons for these changes in eating habits. It is possible that you have an underlying medical issue that is fueling this behavior. It is also possible that READ MORE
There are a lot of reasons for these changes in eating habits. It is possible that you have an underlying medical issue that is fueling this behavior. It is also possible that overeating has become a way for you to cope with stress. Sometimes, people take medications regularly that increase appetite. Start by making an appointment with your regular physician for a checkup, lab workup, and to discuss your concerns. Your doctor may recommend that you see a mental health specialist for further evaluation. There is hope for you, so don't give up! Try adding some regular exercise into your daily routine, even about 10-20 minutes of walking daily, to help relieve stress, improve sleep, and improve overall well-being. If you find yourself waking in the middle of the night to eat junk food, plan ahead and keep healthy snacks on hand as alternatives. Avoid buying junk food so that the temptation is not as accessible. Sometimes, people get so busy during the day that they forget to eat regular meals, so when they have the time to eat, they eat excessively to try to manage their feelings of hunger and deprivation. Maintaining a balanced diet during the day and avoiding skipped meals will help.

Sudden mental fatigue--what can it be?

After a long day at work followed by household maintenance or spending time with family and friends, it is common for people to feel zapped of energy. It is important to recharge READ MORE
After a long day at work followed by household maintenance or spending time with family and friends, it is common for people to feel zapped of energy. It is important to recharge our reserves to be able to be emotionally and mentally present in our daily tasks. Consider starting by writing down your concerns, tasks, worries, goals, and possible barriers. If this task is difficult, consider looking into mindfulness exercises. You can find these online in various places. Mindfulness helps us become fully aware and present in the moment. If the reason you are having trouble with tasks is physical or emotional exhaustion, prioritize self-care. Get adequate sleep, exercise, nutrition, hydration and social interaction. Cut back on sugars and caffeinated beverages and increase water intake. Take a walk up and down the stairs to stimulate circulation and decrease stress hormone levels. If you think you may be getting depressed or over-stressed, make an appointment with your physician to start the conversation and to screen for more serious conditions.

Privacy and confidentiality with caregivers

The psychiatrist's office will likely require the patient to sign a verbal release of information for you to be present during the visit and involved in the patient's care. If READ MORE
The psychiatrist's office will likely require the patient to sign a verbal release of information for you to be present during the visit and involved in the patient's care. If the patient is unwilling to sign a release or unwilling to have you involved in his treatment, the psychiatrist must comply with these wishes. If there are mitigating circumstances such as safety issues, concern for poor self care, concern that the patient may not be able to make decisions in his own best interest, then the psychiatrist may recommend that you attempt to obtain legal guardianship for the patient. This is a determination made by the court. If you have legal guardianship, then you will be directly involved in treatment decisions and provide informed consent for the patient.

Can I go to a psychiatrist instead of a psychologist?

Some psychiatrists do provide psychotherapy as part of their practices. If you start with a psychiatrist, he/she will provide you with a complete diagnostic evaluation and make READ MORE
Some psychiatrists do provide psychotherapy as part of their practices. If you start with a psychiatrist, he/she will provide you with a complete diagnostic evaluation and make recommendations for treatment. Medication can be very effective for certain conditions, and psychotherapy can be equally effective for certain conditions. You have the right to choose what type of treatment you feel most comfortable with. If a psychiatrist recommends psychotherapy, he/she may refer you to a therapist for ongoing treatment.
There are different types of therapy and different types of therapists with differing amounts and types of education and experience, so sometimes it is helpful to obtain a referral to try to help connect you to an appropriate therapist.

I'm having some severe chest pain with anxiety. Is this dangerous? What could it be?

It is important to obtain a medical evaluation for chest pain, despite the association with anxiety. If a medical doctor obtains a thorough history, physical, and additional studies READ MORE
It is important to obtain a medical evaluation for chest pain, despite the association with anxiety. If a medical doctor obtains a thorough history, physical, and additional studies to rule out a heart condition, it may be more likely that the pain is a symptom of anxiety. Some people suffer from panic attacks which are sudden episodes of intense anxiety that occur without warning and are accompanied by physical symptoms ranging from sweating and shaking to shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, and even chest pain. This condition can be treated with psychotherapy, psychiatric medication, or both. Psychiatrists are especially suited to treat this condition and to screen for conditions that often occur along with panic attacks.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Zoloft?

It is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking Zoloft (sertraline). You may have additive sedating effects from the medication with alcohol. This means the effects of alcohol READ MORE
It is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking Zoloft (sertraline). You may have additive sedating effects from the medication with alcohol. This means the effects of alcohol are heightened, and the side effects will be heightened as well. An occasional drink is not likely to cause significant harm, but you would need to be aware that drinking may be much more potent and much more likely to lead to intoxication, impairment, and even overdose.

I think I may be depressed. What do I do?

If you are depressed, it is important to discuss your concerns with your primary care physician who can often work you in to be seen sooner than a specialist. Symptoms of clinical READ MORE
If you are depressed, it is important to discuss your concerns with your primary care physician who can often work you in to be seen sooner than a specialist. Symptoms of clinical depression include having at least a 2 week period of time of depressed mood, loss of interest, and associated symptoms that may include appetite changes, sleep changes, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with motivation, poor energy, feelings of low self esteem, excessive guilt, feeling slowed down, and even thoughts that life is not worth living or of suicide. Some people also experience associated symptoms such as hearing a voice saying mean things about you or to you. If you have been having any thoughts of suicide or homicide, severe hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, or hallucinations, don't wait to get help. You can seek immediate assistance by going to a nearby emergency room or by calling 911. You may also call 211, which can link you to local mental health resources and the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255). There is even a text hotline. Simply dial 741741 and text any phrase, and someone will get back to you. You are not alone, and it is always okay to ask for help. Thanks for your question.

At night, thinking prevents me from sleeping. Can I do anything about it?

After a busy day, lying in bed is often the first time we have to be alone with our thoughts. Many people can start to overthink during this time, leading to heightened alertness READ MORE
After a busy day, lying in bed is often the first time we have to be alone with our thoughts. Many people can start to overthink during this time, leading to heightened alertness and inability to fall asleep. There are many ways to address this issue. First, look at your bedtime ritual. Are you going to bed the same time every night? Are you waking the same time every morning? How many caffeinated beverages are you consuming? How late are you drinking caffeine? Do you have a television in your bedroom? Is the bedroom dark enough and cool enough for comfortable sleep? Are you looking at a bright tablet or phone screen before bed?

It is important to ensure your bedtime environment is optimal for proper sleep. Avoid caffeine after 1 pm. Avoid watching or listening to TV in the bedroom or right before bed. Make sure the bedroom is cool and dark. If there are noises keeping you awake, try wearing ear plugs. Bright screens before bed can be too stimulating and cause more difficulty falling asleep. Avoid alcohol because alcohol can inhibit deep, restorative sleep and lead to multiple awakenings. Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to sleep and waking about the same time every day.

Relaxation exercises such as deep breathing can be helpful for sleep initiation. While deep breathing, try to allow your worries to gently flow by without trying to fight them. You can visualize this happening as if a worry is drifting on water, in one ear and out the other. You can shift your focus to a soothing word such as "peace."

Another helpful strategy is to write down the thoughts that are bothering you. Do the worries seem as important when you read them? Are any solutions coming to mind that you would like to remember? Write that down too. Some people find it helpful to write down the things they feel grateful for, shifting their focus to the positive aspects of their daily lives.

If these strategies are not enough, and the worrying and trouble falling asleep are associated with muscle tension, restless energy, irritable mood, excessive worry throughout the day, and trouble with daily functioning due to these symptoms, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder that may be identified and treated by your primary care physician or a psychiatrist.