Do I, or my child, need help?
It seems the discussion of anxiety and depression has never been more common. Have these mood issues increased, or are we just more aware? With information freely flowing at our finger tips, it's hard to know what's applicable.
What I can say is most of us will not leave this planet without experiencing some anxiety or depression, even obsessions and compulsions. So how do we know when to seek help? Clearly your visit to this page tells us you're struggling. When depression and anxiety don't decrease on their own and effect daily living (school, work, family and fun), then it's time for help.
There are several types of anxiety, I"ll explain them here.
Social Anxiety, It’s the extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance situations: Social anxiety disorder can wreak havoc on the lives of those who suffer from it. This disorder is not simply shyness that has been inappropriately medicalized.
Symptoms may be so extreme that they disrupt daily life. People with this disorder, also called social phobia, may have few or no social or romantic relationships, making them feel powerless, alone, or even ashamed.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things.
People with the disorder, which is also referred to as GAD, experience excessive anxiety and worry, often expecting the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms.
Panic disorder is diagnosed in people who experience spontaneous seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and are preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack. Panic attacks occur unexpectedly, sometimes even during sleep.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, commonly called OCD, appears in different ways, and not every person has the same symptoms; many people have combinations of various OCD symptoms. In general, those who have OCD suffer from unwanted and intrusive thoughts that they can't seem to get out of their heads (obsessions), often compelling them to repeatedly perform ritualistic behaviors and routines (compulsions) to try and ease their anxiety.
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
Decreased energy or fatigue
Moving or talking more slowly
Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
Appetite and/or weight changes
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment are also very much symptoms of anxiety and depression.
so what can be done to help?
First of all, it's important to recognize that anxiety and depression are the most common emotional problems, which means a lot of research and methods of help have been created. You don't have to struggle with anxiety and depression, period! I like to compare it to diabetes. For many individuals, if they eat right, exercise, improve their stress levels and sleep you'd never know they had diabetes. Actually, they would live a more healthy and full life due to the need and desire to take better care of themselves. So what methods are used to treat anxiety and depression?
I'll explain them here.
Assessment and education is the first step to getting proper help. In your first hour long meeting I'll get to know you as a person and begin understanding what your symptoms are. It's important that you are being treated as a person, not a diagnoses. However, it is imperative that we understand what form your anxiety has taken (see types above) so we know what path to take. It is also extremely healing to begin to let out what's been bothering you and know that there is hope. I will also spend time explaining to you what anxiety and depression are, and are not. The more we understand the "enemy" the better we can conquer.
History gathering and goal setting is the next step in conquering your mood. Understanding how you were raised, how experiences in life have effected you and what you "really" want in this life is imperative. We often go around chasing the dreams other people want for us, leading us to empty paths. Goal setting is very important in counseling. My goal is to get you in, an get you out as soon as possible. Understanding what you want to accomplish helps keep the sessions focused and improves success.
Skill building and cognitive behavioral therapy is the best combination to get you feeling better, quick.
Identifying the core issues and negative self beliefs is imperative to ending your anxiety and depression once and for all.
Exposure work is the final piece to ending your anxiety. Don't worry, it's not as intimidating as it sounds. Basically, you get the opportunity to face the very fear that has created the angst. When you finally face the monster that has been bullying you, you quickly realize that it has no teeth! There is a strong sense of renewal, almost a new lease on life feel as you conquer your fear. Instead of dreading the day, you'll be excited each morning to attack all your goals for the day.
"Basically, we're going to end the behaviors and symptoms of anxiety, by changing your thoughts and habits. As well, we are going to get to the core of why you do what you do. When we change habits and beliefs, we truly end panic and manage anxiety."