Caffeine and other substances

Caffeine and other substances can impact your mental health.  Both caffeine and nicotine can interfere with medications you take and keep them from working like they should.  This means that you may need higher doses of medications to compensate or "make up" for the presence of nicotine or caffeine.  Substances like alcohol can actually increase some of the effects your medication has on your central nervous system (CNS) and cause things like excessive sedation.  Alcohol can also reduce the effectiveness of certain medications, for example, it may reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants.  Alcohol use should be avoided or minimized.

Exercise

Exercise is a potent non-pharmacologic (non-medication) way to decrease anxiety, stabilize mood, promote weight loss, and promote more restful sleep.  We recommend that you engage in exercise activities like a brisk walk which gets your heart rate up and causes a light sweat, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

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Sleep

Sleep is important for overall general physical and mental health.  The average adult needs between 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  The average adolescent needs at least 8-9 hours of sleep.  The average child needs at least 9 hours of sleep.  Poor sleep can negatively effect memory, concentration, mood, metabolism, and the ability to tolerate or manage stress.


Nutrition

Healthy dietary practices are not only important for your physical health but also for your mental health.  Poor nutrition, eating junk foods, and skipping meals can contribute to increased anxiety, poor focus and concentration, and irritability.

Optimal Behavioral Health