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Archive for August, 2022

The Importance of Mental Health. By Our Student Pharmacist, Fahad Alazzawi.


What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects the way we feel, think, and act.

Mental health is a broad topic due to the many things that affect people. It can impact the level of stress, level of energy, and overall person’s health. Mental health is vital for everyone at every stage of life.

Many factors can affect our mental health, including:

  • Genetic components
  • Brain chemical imbalance
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Use of alcohol and drugs

How common is mental illness in the US?

  • 1 in 5 U. S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 20 U. S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 U. S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34


What are some signs and symptoms of mental health illness?

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Significant tiredness, low energy, or problems sleeping
  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Excessive anger, hostility, or violence
  • Suicidal thinking

Why is mental health important?

As mentioned above, mental health is important due to its effect on our overall health. But how does our mental health effect other components of our health?

Many studies have linked the idea that people with long-lasting depression are more likely to develop chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Also, depression can increase the risk of being obese by changing eating habits along with changes in hormone levels.

Regarding hormonal changes, as serotonin levels in the bloodstream decrease, cortisol increases. High cortisol levels lead to nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or constipation. Also, high cortisol levels may lead to eating more and redistributing white adipose tissue to the abdominal region. In addition, elevated cortisol levels can lead to inflammation and weaken the immune system making the body more likely to get infected by many pathogens.

How are mental health disorders treated?

There are many treatments for mental health issues. Seeking help is the most crucial step. Seeing a healthcare professional who can assess then plan the next steps is critical.

Mental health disorders treatment also depends on the severity of the condition.

There are a variety of options for treatment.

Here are some examples:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Therapeutic treatment of mental illness provided by a trained mental health professional by exploring thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Medications
    • Therapeutic treatment that works to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain. Medication does not cure mental illness; however, it helps with the management of symptoms. Medication paired with psychotherapy is the most effective way to promote recovery.
  • Peer Support
    • Receiving help from individuals who have suffered from similar experiences.
  • Other treatments include:
    • Art Therapy: usually it is an adjunct therapy to traditional mental health treatment. The overall goal is to manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem.
  • Self Help Plan
    • It is a plan created by the individual to address their conditions and create strategies that leads to overall wellness.

What can we do to improve our overall wellness?

A self-help plan is a great start towards better mental health wellness by identifying triggers, warning signs, and activities that help our specific condition. For example, some people control their stress, anxiety, and overall mental health wellness by singing, painting, and exercising.

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Does exercising help with mental health?

Exercising is a healthy way to cope with a mental health disorder. YES! Exercising helps improve mental health by releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain, which enhance the sense of well-being and take the mind off thinking about things that we worry about, which breaks the cycle of negative thoughts. In addition, exercising prevents the development of chronic conditions such as diabetes and reduces the chance of having heart conditions.

  1. About Mental Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm Accessed August 9, 2022.
  2. Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495#:~:text=How%20does%20exercise%20help%20depression,your%20sense%20of%20well%2Dbeing Published September 27, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  3. Mental Health by the Numbers. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/mhstats Published June, 2022. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  4. Mental Illness. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968 published June 08, 2019. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  5. Mental Health Treatments. Mental Health America. https://mhanational.org/mental-health-treatments Accessed August 9, 2022.
  6. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise. The Elitex. https://theelitex.com/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise/ Accessed August 9, 2022.
  7. Symptoms of Clinical Depression. Very well mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/top-depression-symptoms-1066910 Accessed August 9, 2022.

Please Welcome Fahad Alazzawi Our Student Pharmacist at Happy Druggist on Karl Road for August.

74F4802D-86AF-4DDD-A8B1-F3F7616966ECThis month, we are joined at Happy Druggist on Karl Road by Fahad Alazzawi, a fourth-year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy.

Fahad will graduate in May 2023 with his PharmD degree and will then take the test to become a registered pharmacist. Fahad will be with Kristie and the staff on Karl Road throughout August, so please stop by and meet him while he is in the pharmacy.

Here is what Fahad tells us about himself:

My name is Fahad Alazzawi. I am a fourth-year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University. I have worked with Walmart for nine years, as a Pharmacy intern for four years, and as a pharmacy technician for five years.

I was born in Iraq and moved to the US back in 2010. I started high school by learning the basics of English; however, with the help of my teachers, friends, and family, I was able to learn and thrive.

I graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2019 and started pharmacy school immediately after. My experience has been mainly with chain pharmacies. Therefore, I am excited to be at Happy Druggist independent pharmacy this month. My goal is to learn more about the excellent services our local pharmacies provide and the challenges they face.

A couple of reasons led me to pursue pharmacy; one of them was that my uncle is a pharmacist back in Iraq. I saw him providing care to people who could not see their doctor, encouraging me to think about what we give.

After I graduate, I am planning to practice as a community pharmacist. I chose community pharmacy to maintain patient interactions and provide care when needed.

Outside of pharmacy, I love playing and watching soccer.

Please Welcome Austin Cotsmire Our Student Pharmacist for August from The Ohio State University.


Cotsmire Bio Picture

This month, we are joined at Plain City Druggist by Austin Cotsmire, a fourth-year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy.

Austin will graduate in May 2023 with his PharmD degree and will then take the test to become a registered pharmacist. Austin will be with Tayler and the gang here in Plain City throughout August, so please stop by and meet him while he is here.

Here is what Ausin tells us about himself:

My name is Austin Cotsmire and I am currently a fourth-year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy. I plan to graduate in May 2023 with a PharmD degree. This will be my third advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE), and my first at an independent pharmacy! I am very excited to gain exposure to community pharmacy in a different setting and look forward to my time spent here at Plain City Druggist this month!

I am originally from North Canton, Ohio where I grew up playing soccer and various other sports to stay active. Prior to college, I worked at the Professional Football Hall of Fame and have met many inductees as a result!

I moved to Columbus in 2015 when I started my undergraduate career at OSU. I discovered I wanted to be a pharmacist in high school because of my love for the inner-workings of the human body and how medications work to alter them. Therefore, I pursued a Bachelor of science degree in pharmaceutical sciences as an undergraduate. I applied to many pharmacy schools throughout Ohio to continue my education post-graduate, but always knew I wanted to stay at Ohio State after having such a positive experience as an undergraduate.

I am currently a student pharmacist at CVS Pharmacy in Hilliard. I started there in 2017 as a pharmacy technician and worked my way up to inventory specialist. Once I started pharmacy school it was an easy decision to remain at this store as a student pharmacist since I loved all my co-workers and built strong relationships with many patients and the community as a whole. I have been a student pharmacist there since 2019 and continue to work weekends while I complete my APPE rotations at other sites. I am excited to build new relationships and explore a new area of pharmacy while I am in this unique setting.

When I am not working, I enjoy playing soccer and volleyball with friends when I can. I also enjoy attending Blue Jackets, Clippers, and Columbus Crew games, although I am a Cleveland sports fan at heart.

Aside from sports, I  love taking my dog, Harvey, who I rescued from the Franklin County Humane Society in December, for walks. I also have a passion for music and attend as many concerts and festivals as I can even if I am unfamiliar with the performers.

I recently moved to downtown Columbus, so I am working on exploring new restaurants and breweries in the area, as well, and would love recommendations!

In my future, I hope to continue my career as a community pharmacist. My time working in this setting has given me a great appreciation for the impact that community pharmacists can have on a patient’s healthcare. I have seen my mentors make huge impacts on patients’ lives which has inspired me to hopefully do the same in my future. I plan to stay in central Ohio after graduation but I would ultimately like to move out of Ohio, either out west or to one of the Carolinas.