Category Archives: Mental Health

An Introduction to Panic Disorder


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Alexander Salerno

Since 2001, Dr. Alexander Salerno has lead Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues, including anxiety and panic disorders.

In the United States, approximately 6 million individuals have panic disorder. These individuals experience regular intense panic attacks, a fear response that usually arises out of proportion to the presenting situation. The attack incorporates a broad range of emotional and physical symptoms, including dizziness and the feeling that one’s life is at risk. Many people with panic attacks also report shortness of breath, dizziness, and trembling as well as chest pain and heart palpitations, the combination of which can make patients feel as though they are experiencing medical emergencies.

Repeated experiences of such attacks can severely interfere with an individual’s quality of life. Individuals with panic disorder often begin to avoid situations and places where attacks have occurred, and this avoidance frequently escalates to the level at which the person becomes agoraphobic. Timely diagnosis can help the patient to avoid the condition’s escalation to this level, though the universality of many panic disorder symptoms can make panic disorder a difficult diagnosis to reach. Once identified, however, the condition often responds to a combination of medication and psychotherapy.


Lack of Sleep Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer’s Disease

As the second-generation head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno works to improve health outcomes for patients of all ages. Dr. Alexander Salerno stands out as founder of the Community Health Outreach Program (CHOP), formerly known as the Senior Health Outreach Program (SHOP), which brings integrated medical and behavioral care to patients in urban neighborhoods.

According to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, insufficient sleep may significantly contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease has been evident for some time, as many individuals with the illness struggle with sleep disorders as well. Past speculation suggested that the disease caused damage in the areas of the brain that regulate sleep, but researchers have found that the actual cause may instead lie in the ability of sleep to optimize brain functions.

In 2009, a study at Washington University in St. Louis revealed that beta-amyloid plaques, which build up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, grow more rapidly in mice who are deprived of sleep. Researchers went on expand on these findings and analyze why sleep deprivation correlates with plaque buildup. They found that in deep sleep, the cerebrospinal fluid circulates through the brain and clears out toxins, including those that form plaques. The hope is to test this hypothesis in human trials and determine whether there is a causal link between a lack of deep sleep and the premature buildup of Alzheimer’s disease-inducing amyloid plaques.

Signs of Memory Loss in Aging Adults

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Memory Loss

Dr. Alexander Salerno, the lead physician of Salerno Medical Associates, has dedicated much of his career to providing elderly individuals with integrated care. With his experience assisting the elderly, Dr. Alexander Salerno also founded the Community Health Outreach Program—formerly known as the Senior Health Outreach Program—which offers mental health care and other medical services to the elderly.

Although the occasional memory lapse can frustrate and even worry the older adult, such events are not typically cause for concern. Even if an individual forgets the name of an acquaintance or the purpose of an errand, he or she is likely to retain the ability to function as normal and to make rational decisions. For some elders, however, memory loss becomes intrusive enough that daily functioning and quality of life suffers.

Older individuals with serious memory loss may forget how to perform simple, daily self-care tasks, such as bathing or dressing. They may become lost in places they know well, lose the ability to follow directions, or repeat a question having just heard the answer. Planning and problem-solving skills may suffer, even in familiar situations, and orientation to time and place may decrease. Individuals with such issues may wish to consult a qualified physician, who can assess the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and similar conditions.

An Introduction to Hospice

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As second-generation head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno offers integrated care to a diverse patient population. Dr. Alexander Salerno also stands out as founder of the Community Healthcare Outreach Program, formerly known as the Senior Health Outreach Program, and is dedicated to improving access to services within under-resourced communities.

Unlike traditional medical care, which offers treatment in the hopes of extending life expectancy or facilitating a cure, hospice care focuses solely on quality of life and comfort. It is intended for patients whose medical condition is considered terminal, and as such it offers pain and symptom management as well as occupational, physical, and other supplemental therapies. Hospice addresses the needs of the entire family, not only the patient, and as such also provides caregiver support and grief counseling.

Hospice can be considered an option when the patient’s life expectancy is six months or fewer. However, if the patient does exceed this prognosis, care continues as long as it is relevant and therapeutic. The patient may receive care at his or her home or at a medical, nursing care, or specialized hospice facility, depending on availability and individual patient needs. Patients with terminal illnesses and their families can discuss the details of hospice with a doctor or other professional.

Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder pic
Panic Disorder

As the head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno offers integrated multidisciplinary care to a diverse patient population. Dr. Alexander Salerno also oversees the practice’s Community Healthcare Outreach Program (CHOP), which provides behavioral and medical care to older individuals in need.

Although many people experience worry and even panic on an occasional basis, some find that these feelings become so chronic that they interfere with everyday life. These individuals experience panic attacks that arise not only out of proportion to the current situation, but also with such intense fear that they prompt physical symptoms. Individuals with panic disorder often report feeling chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or heart palpitations. They may shake, feel like they are choking, or experience a sense of unreality.

The intense somatic nature of these symptoms often makes people with panic disorder feel as though they are experiencing a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or a stroke. They may become so afraid of an attack recurrence that they begin to avoid certain situations and may begin to feel isolated. Fortunately, many people who experience panic disorder can find relief in the form of medication or psychotherapeutic interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy.

Seasonal Affective Disorder – An Introduction

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Dr. Alexander Salerno, the second-generation lead physician at Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, upholds a personal and professional dedication to caring for underserved members of the community. Dr. Alexander Salerno strives to ensure that all patients have access to primary care for medical and mental health issues, including seasonal affective disorder.

As its name suggests, seasonal affective disorder causes mood disturbances that correlate with the cycle of the yearly seasons. Most people with the condition experience symptoms during the fall and winter months, when periods of daylight are shorter, though some clients report that they experience depressive symptoms in the summer months instead. Regardless of time of onset, patients typically present with the expected signs of clinical depression, such as feelings of hopelessness and a lack of interest in their usual activities.

Because diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder is based solely on patient self-reports, physicians must be careful to rule out similar-seeming illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and underactive thyroid before confirming a diagnosis. Patients who do receive a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder often find relief with light therapy, in which they sit near a lightbox that emits a particular fluorescent light that mimics natural sunlight. Medication may also be helpful to certain patients in managing depressive symptoms, while psychotherapy can provide additional resources for redirecting negative thoughts and developing adaptive coping skills.

Older Individuals and Problems with Dizziness

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Older Individuals and Dizziness

Dr. Alexander Salerno, who practices in New Jersey, has received recognition for excellence in patient care. Over the years, Dr. Alexander Salerno has worked with patients of a wide range of ages, including elderly individuals who are experiencing problems with their balance.

Many people experience dizziness and balancing issues as they age. This can pose a serious problem by making it more difficult for a person to live alone or navigate his or her living space safely. Inner ear problems, such as an infection, can cause a person to experience dizziness, or vertigo. However, in many cases, the cause of the dizziness is a general decrease in the body’s functioning that occurs with age. For instance, the number of nerve endings within the ear declines, and blood flow to the area tends to decrease. As result, a person might experience more difficulty staying upright and balancing, particularly while walking on ground that is uneven or in areas that are not lit well.

To prevent a potentially serious accident from occurring, older individuals and their family members should take steps to safeguard the home. These steps may include installing sturdy railings along hallways or handholds in the bathroom. Upgrading the lighting to ensure that the person can see well and removing walking obstacles are other good ideas that can help prevent an accident and provide improved peace of mind.