Browsing articles tagged with " anger"

PTSD

“You cannot experience traumatic symptoms in a relaxed body.”  Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC (12/10/15)

End The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health Rhode Island

End The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health Rhode Island

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental illness or some sort of neurological disorder at some point in their lives. This places mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide affecting more than 450 million people. However, mental illness is still the highest untreated disease. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 40-50% of individuals with bipolar or schizophrenia go untreated each year, and the number of those suffering from anxiety and depression is greater. Many ask why so many individuals will not seek treatment, and the simple answer is because of Stigma.

Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Those struggling with mental health illnesses feel fear of disclosing their condition to a complete stranger thinking they may be judged or mistreated. They feel shame or embarrassment that they can’t handle their problems on their own. And others don’t believe they need any help at all.

The populations most affected by stigma include young people such as teens and adolescents, men, minorities, military personnel, and those who work in the medical/health field. These people are found to be in the most need of mental health services but most likely will not pursue them.

Many “A” list celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Catherine Zeta Jones, Mel Gibson, Robin Williams, Demi Lovato, and Chris Brown have all been diagnosed with Mental Health conditions and have openly discussed such topics with the public. Lady Gaga goes as far as singing about being “Born this way” as she suffers from depression. We recently just laid Robin Williams to rest after his battle with depression.

It is not uncommon for many of us to be experiencing symptoms of a mental health issue. However, it is common that many of us will not get help due to stigmatized reasons. No illness should go untreated because of stigma. Here at Anchor Counseling Center, our mission is to provide superior, family-oriented, mental health services through dependability, integrity, and social responsibility across Southern New England through education to understand that mental illness should be regarded the way physical illness is – as something to be diagnosed and treated without judgment or stigma of any kind.

We at Anchor Counseling Center want to help you, no Stigma attached. If you or a loved one is in need of mental health treatment, please call our office at 401-475-9979 to schedule an appointment.

You can also find us on our website at www.AnchorCounselingCenter.com

Written by Sarah Porier

References:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

http://www.who.int/mental_health/en/

http://www.anchorcounselingcenter.com

What is DBT? How does it work? Can it help me?

What is DBT?  How does it work?  Can it help me?

The Queen of DBT

At Anchor Counseling Center, Inc. in RI we offer individuals Dialectical Behavior Therapy or better known as DBT.  Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Founded by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the late 1970’s, is a modification of Cognitive Behavior Therapy that focuses its main goals on teaching clients how to cope with stress, regulate emotions and improve relationships with others and their inner self. DBT can be used to treat a number of mental health conditions including those suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, those who have suicidal thoughts and feelings, and those who exhibit self-destructive behavior such as eating disorders and substance abuse. DBT works on the foundations of radical acceptance of the self and validation of client’s capabilities and behavioral functioning.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy works in four stages: Emotional Regulation, Mindfulness, Interpersonal effectiveness and Distress tolerance.

Stage one: Emotional Regulation- seeks to regulate client’s emotions by teaching them techniques and giving them tools to regain control of their behaviors. This stage will help the client develop healthy coping skills to dealing with their emotions. The main goal of this stage is to help clients stop self-harmful behaviors or behaviors that interfere with their logical thought process.

Stage Two: Mindfulness -seeks to help the client focus on experiencing their emotions. This stage teaches clients to completely experience all of their emotions without the feeling of losing control.

Stage Three: Interpersonal Effectiveness- seeks to help clients deal with everyday life, its stressors and accepting them for what they are. This stage expands on working to have more successful relationships, careers and social lives by really understanding the self and accepting the inner you.

Stage Four: Distress Tolerance-seeks to reintegrate and connect the client to their everyday world. This is the stage clients will use what have learned in stages 1-3 and put them to use to help deal with relationships, careers and social life. This stage encourages the client to engage and takes steps into making their life more meaningful to challenge what they have learned.

We at Anchor Counseling Center want to help you, If you feel that you or a loved one would benefit from this type of therapy, a number of Clinicians at Anchor Counseling Center offer this treatment please call our office at 401-475-9979 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can visit our website:  AnchorCounselingCenter.com

Article written by Sarah Porier.

Common Mistakes in Co-Parenting

Common Mistakes of Co-parenting

As the divorce rates continue to trend upwards in America, many parents are finding themselves with a new challenge to face.  At Anchor Counseling we recognize this trend.  Once a marriage has officially dissolved, many people would like to close the proverbial door on that chapter of their lives.  However, when children are involved, the ex-spouses are forever linked in that very special way.  Through my work with counseling co-parents, I have discovered some common road blocks many couples stumble over preventing them from successful co-parenting their children.

One of the hardest aspects most co-parents will face is trying to move past the residual emotions left behind from the dissolved relationship.  The separation process tends to leave a trail of resentment, pain, and mistrust for different reasons; yet, in order for successful co-parenting to occur, these emotions have be left out of the process.  This is certainly easier said than done, which is why parents are encouraged to find their own appropriate outlet for these emotions (talking to a family member or friend, exercise, yoga, relaxation techniques, reading, and any other healthy stress-relieving activity).  Although using the phone to vent to a trusted support can be helpful, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Children are often extremely curious about the details regarding these situations, and they can be quite adept at eavesdropping on phone conversations.   Make sure to double-check for “little ears” and find a remote location before expressing your frustrations regarding your ex-partner.

When you are speaking to your child (or if he/she is in earshot), please refrain from saying anything negative regarding the other parent.  I typically encourage co-parents to keep it either positive or neutral when discussing the other parent with the child, and if this is too difficult, I revert back to the old saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.  Children can be quite impressionable, and negative comments about the other parent can be full of impact and confusing.   Most children have a difficult time dealing with a fundamental shift in their family’s dynamics, and any added confusion is not helpful.  As best as you possibly can, you want to encourage the child to have a positive relationship with the other parent.  Although the other parent may have been a poor spouse, he/she might have some positive aspects to their parenting from which your child could benefit.   As children grow, they will discover which parent(s) are there for them, which parent(s) they can trust, and which parent(s) truly love them.  If you do your part, they will come to respect you for it when they get older.  If the other parent does not do their part, the child will recognize this as they mature – you don’t need to point it out to them every step along the way.

Often times throughout co-parenting, the child will need to transition from one parent’s care to the other’s care.  These transition times can be impressionable for the child, and they provide another opportunity to successfully co-parent.  In order for these interactions to be positive, both parents need to demonstrate a level of respect for the other person.  For the sake of the child, each parent should interact in a positive and cooperative way during these transitions.  A child can be quite in tune to a parent’s affect and body language, so each parent should be aware of how he/she is presenting during these transition times.  Each parent needs to demonstrate respect in what they say, as well as how they act.  If one parent is going to be late for the transition meeting, he/she should alert the other party to inform them of this development, therefore demonstrating respect for the other parent’s time and schedule.  Role modeling a healthy and respectful relationship with the other parent can be tremendously influential to the child’s development and happiness.

Co-parenting with an ex-partner can seem overwhelming, unbearable, and downright impossible at times.  However, when co-parenting is done correctly (through respect, healthy communication, and positive transitions), this process can become a little easier.  If you find yourself in this situation, please remember to keep the best interest of this child first and foremost.  When this perspective is taken, the co-parenting process can be successful.  Remember, you can only control yourself.  If you focus your efforts on becoming the best co-parent that you can be, hopefully the other parent will follow suit.

We at Anchor Counseling want to help you.  Please visit our website by clicking here.

If you would like any additional information on my own professional ideas or modalities of treatment please click here.

You can also reach us at 401.475.9979

Trevor Yingling, LMHC

Assistant Clinical Director

Anchor Counseling Center

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Treating Opioid Dependence with Suboxone in Rhode Island

Opioid Dependence and Suboxone

By Kate Logan LMHC, LCDP

What are opioids and what are the characteristics of opioid dependence?

Opioids are drugs that are either derived from, or chemically related to opiates or opium. They include, but are not limited to, vicodin, morphine, codeine and heroin. Many of these drugs are commonly used painkillers, and people often become addicted as a side effect of long term pain management treatment.

Common Characteristics of opioid dependence include:

  1. Tolerance to the Opioids—this happens when you require more of the drug to get the same effect, or getting less effect from the same amount of the drug
  2. Withdrawal Symptoms are present when opioids are not used. These symptoms generally occur about 6-12 hours after the last use of the drug, and the most common symptoms are sweating, muscle pains/aches/cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, “goosebumps”, dilated pupils and insomnia.
  3. Taking larger amounts of opiods than planned or for longer periods of time than planned
  4. Persistent desire for the drug, or inability to quit using
  5. Spending a lot of time and effort to obtain, use, or recover from use
  6. Giving up or significantly reducing social activities or obligations
  7. Continued use regardless of the negative consequences

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medication used for treatment of opioid dependence. It is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that blocks opioids from attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain. This medication reduces withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings. Naloxone is typically used to treat opioid overdose, by knocking other opioids off the receptors and therefore preventing the negative effects of the drug. The naloxone is present in Suboxone to deter people from injecting the drug. If it is injected, the naloxone can cause serious withdrawal symptoms.

By using the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, suboxone works to suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms as well as reduces opioid cravings.

What will my treatment be like?

Here at Anchor Counseling Center, we work hard to provide you with the correct amount and type of support to make your treatment successful. We provide you with a psychiatrist to handle your suboxone treatment, as well as a counselor to provide support and education for you and your family. Working together, they will develop a treatment plan perfectly suited to meet your needs. Typically, you will be seen weekly by a therapist and anywhere from 1-4 times monthly by the psychiatrist. There is no time limit to treatment, and the length of time that you are on suboxone is a decision only you and your psychiatrist can make together.

If you want to take the first step in receiving treatment for opioid addiction, call the office at 401-475-9979. We will be happy to answer any questions you have and get you on your way to health and recovery!

References:

Suboxone Sublingual Film. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. September 14, 2012. www.suboxone.com

Clinical Guidelines for the use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 40. Rockville, MD. 2004

Do we need Stress in our lives? 6 Steps to decrease.

Sep 17, 2012   //   by Shawna Figueira   //   Blog, East Bay, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Mental Health, Stress, Uncategorized, cranston  //  No Comments

Do you really need stress in our lives?

I know many of you may be thinking “Well of course not, who needs stress?” but believe it or not we do need some level of stress in our lives in order to function.  There is such a concept as good stress (eustress) as well as bad stress (distress).  I think most of us are more familiar with distress but eustress actually helps us thrive in our daily lives.

Eustress (good stress) can be events such as starting a new job, getting married, having a baby, etc.  To most of us, we may think these are great moments in our lives and of course while they are great moments, it also involves some level of stress.

So now let’s switch over to distress.  It’s something everyone has encountered and coped with differently.  If we are able to see challenges in our lives as manageable, it will lead us to handling stressful situations effectively.

I would like to offer some self-care techniques that can help us cope with stress more effectively.  These are strategies that when implemented on a consistent basis will help improve our mood, overall well-being, and perspective in general.  Please check out the bulleted list below to learn more about these strategies and see if you are already applying them in your daily lives.

v Take time to relax. Seriously this is important.  Try to take mini breaks throughout your day.  Examples include going outside for a brief walk, stretching, taking deep breaths.

v Get enough sleep. We underestimate how much sleep we really need in order to function.  A healthy range for adults is anywhere between 6-8 hours every night.  If you can get more then you’re in good shape.

v Practice positive self-talk. This will help us to view stressors as manageable rather than impossible.  Examples include:  “I will get through this”, “Things will get better”, etc.

v Exercise. Believe it or not adding physical activity to your day will help release energy in a positive way and provide you with a more balanced outlook on life especially stress.

v Make a to-do-list. Getting organized by making a checklist at the beginning of your day of reasonable items you can accomplish will alleviate stress.

v  Enlist social/family support. Talk to friends and/or family members on a regular basis.  It is vitally important that we connect with others and share our feelings.  It is okay to ask for help.

Can you think of a time in which you were faced with what you thought was an impossible thing to overcome?  Think about how you handled and could you have handled it differently.  If so, would it have made a difference on how you felt following the outcome of that event in your life?

The Military presents challenges for all!

Sep 17, 2012   //   by Shawna Figueira   //   Blog, East Bay, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, News, Self Help, Stress, Uncategorized, cranston  //  No Comments

At Anchor Counseling we provide therapy to families from deployed individuals.  As a military wife/SO for over 10 yrs I have been a part of many different experiences. Military life is a unique cultural that at times can present challenges to individuals and families as well as lots of successes.  As the war comes to an end, there will be many soldiers returning home that may be dealing with many different changes and expectations.  As a clinician, I think it is extremely important to become educated with this population and be aware of different issues/needs and concerns that they may face on a daily basis.  Reintegration is a joyous and stressful time!  Reintegration is about more than coming home. It is about resuming and establishing relationships that provide pleasure, comfort and support.

Many service members returning from deployment may experience what are referred to as “invisible injuries”. Invisible injuries include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),  traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression and anxiety that can result from combat exposure. Sometimes alcohol, tobacco and drug use, as well as impulsive or aggressive behavior can magnify these conditions.   All of these problems can compromise relationships reducing one’s ability to enjoy pleasurable and health activities.  Here are a few helpful tips for what soldiers/spouses and children may feel/experience.

With deployment comes change. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with changes can make homecoming more enjoyable and less stressful. Below are some hints you might find helpful.

With deployment comes change. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with changes can make homecoming more enjoyable and less stressful. Below are some hints you might find helpful.

Expectations for Soldiers:

  • You may miss the excitement of the deployment for a while.
  • Some things may have changed while you were gone.
  • Face to face communication may be hard at first.
  • Sexual closeness may also be awkward at first.
  • Children have grown and may be different in many ways.
  • Roles may have changed to manage basic household chores.
  • Spouses may have become more independent and learned new coping skills.
  • Spouses may have new friends and support systems.
  • You may have changed in your outlook and priorities in life.
  • You may want to talk about what you saw and did. Others may seem not to want to listen. Or you may not want to talk about it when others keep asking.

Expectations for Spouses:

  • Soldiers may have changed.
  • Soldiers, used to the open spaces of the field, may feel closed in.
  • Soldiers also may be overwhelmed by noise and confusion of home life.
  • Soldiers may be on a different schedule of sleeping and eating (jet lag).
  • Soldiers may wonder if they still fit into the family.
  • Soldiers may want to take back all the responsibilities they had before they left.
  • Soldiers may feel hurt when young children are slow to hug them.

What Children May Feel:

  • Babies less than 1 year old may not know you and may cry when held.
  • Toddlers (1-3 years) may hide from you and be slow to come to you.
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years) may feel guilty over the separation and be scared.
  • School age (6-12 years) may want a lot of your time and attention.
  • Teenagers (13-18 years) may be moody and may appear not to care.
  • Any age may feel guilty about not living up to your standards.
  • Some may fear your return (“Wait until mommy/daddy gets home!”).
  • Some may feel torn by loyalties to the spouse who remained.

Amy J. Chirichetti, LICSW

https://www.militarymentalhealth.org/

You can also visit our website at www.AnchorCounselingCenter.com

Mental Health News: 10 Steps to Prevent Suicide

Jul 19, 2012   //   by Shawna Figueira   //   Blog, East Bay, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, News, Self Help, Stress, Uncategorized, cranston  //  No Comments

Anchor Counseling Center is sharing the latest on Suicide Prevention.  As a private practice with locations in East Providence, Cranston, Lincoln, and North Attleboro, we are very involved in the community and reach out to our members with a caring and supportive manner.  Our mission is to provide our patients with the help they want as quickly as possible with reliable, courteous, and professional counseling and psychiatric interventions.

Just as CPR has been promoted to save lives, it is vital that the general public knows how to recognize suicide risk and prevent suicide. Here are the steps:

1. Notice if the person appears quiet and withdrawn, oversleeps, has crying episodes, has loss of appetite and energy, appears dishevelled, the gaze is downward, the voice tone is flat, consistently negative comments, irritability, or says things like, “Life’s not worth living,” or “I hate my life,” etc.

2. Ask: “How would you rate your mood right now on a scale of zero to ten with zero meaning life’s not worth living and ten meaning life is great?”

3. If the person rates the mood as 5 or under, ask: “Have you had any thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself?” *

4. If the person indicates yes, go to the next step. If the person says, “I don’t know,” hear this as a “yes” to the question in #3.

5. Ask: “Have you thought about how you might end your life?” If the person says yes, the risk is increased.

6. Ask: “What have you thought about as how you might do it?” If the plan or method is ineffective or non-lethal, such as cutting wrists, the risk is low. If the method is lethal such as using a gun or jumping from a bridge, etc., the risk is high.

7. Regardless of the method, ask: “Can we agree together that if you have thoughts of killing yourself, you will speak to me personally (not my voice mail) before carrying out a plan to harm yourself?”

8. If the person says “no” or “I don’t know,” to the question in #7, say: “What I am hearing is that you are in a lot of pain right now and thinking of ending your life, so I am wanting you to go to the emergency room right now and get some help to feel better right away. Will you go? I will make sure you get there safely. Is there a family member or someone I can call to go with you?” Or tell the person you will go with them yourself.

9. Arrange for the suicidal person to be accompanied to the emergency room, and call ahead to tell emergency staff the person is coming.

10. If the person refuses, then ask the person to wait there with someone while you call police in another room to report that the person has threatened suicide with a lethal method. Ask the police to come and accompany the person to the emergency room.

If you know someone that needs help please call us immediately at 401.475.9979.

*Note: If the person rates his mood as 6 or over, after feeling consistently depressed, and he now reports life is great and he is smiling, the risk may be increased because he has decided to end his life and has made arrangements.

Article shared from http://www.prlog.org/11928309-mental-health-news-ten-steps-to-prevent-suicide.html

We treat Pain Killer Addiction in RI with Suboxone!

Feb 2, 2012   //   by Shawna Figueira   //   Blog, East Bay, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Mental Health, News, Self Help, Stress, cranston  //  No Comments

Suboxone

Addiction to prescription painkillers is reduced when the individual is given consistent treatment with the drug Suboxone (buprenorphine plus naloxone), according to the first randomized large-scale clinical trial focused on the use of medication for treating prescription opioid abuse.

Pain medications are helpful when taken as prescribed; however, they have high abuse liability, especially when taken for nonmedical reasons. Researchers in this study set out to examine whether the FDA-approved medication Suboxone could help fight this growing problem.

“The study suggests that patients addicted to prescription opioid painkillers can be effectively treated in primary care settings using Suboxone,” said National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “However, once the medication was discontinued, patients had a high rate of relapse — so, more research is needed to determine how to sustain recovery among patients addicted to opioid medications.”

Interestingly, researchers also found that there was no extra benefit when intensive opioid dependence counseling was added to the drug treatment.

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine to reduce opioid craving plus naloxone, which causes withdrawal symptoms in a person addicted to opioids if Suboxone were taken by a route other than orally, as prescribed.

This combination was developed specifically to prevent abuse and diversion of buprenorphine and was one of the first to be eligible for prescription under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act, which allows specially trained doctors to prescribe certain FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid addiction.

Most research focused on treating opioid dependence has been conducted with heroin-addicted patients at methadone clinics. As a result, there has been limited information on how to treat those addicted to prescription painkillers, especially in the offices of primary care doctors. To help remedy this issue, the National Institute on Drug Abuse started the Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study (POATS) in 2007, which was carried out at 10 treatment sites around the country.

“Despite the tremendous increase in the prevalence of addiction to prescription painkillers, little research has focused on this patient population,” said Roger Weiss, M.D., of Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the lead author of the study.

“This is the first large-scale study to examine treatments exclusively for people who were abusing prescription painkiller medications and were treated with buprenorphine-naloxone, which can be prescribed in a physician’s office.”

In the study, over 600 treatment-seeking outpatients addicted to prescription opioids received Suboxone along with brief standard medical management, in which doctors evaluated treatment effectiveness and suggested abstinence and self-help methods. Half of the subjects also received varying degrees of counseling provided by trained substance abuse or mental health professionals.

Results showed that approximately 49 percent of participants experienced a reduction in prescription painkiller abuse during the extended (at least 12-week) Suboxone treatment.

However, when Suboxone was discontinued, this success rate dropped to 8.6 percent.

Reductions in abuse were observed regardless of whether the patient reported suffering chronic pain, and participants who participated in intensive addiction counseling did not have higher success rates when compared to those who did not receive counseling.

According to an annual national government survey, an estimated 1.9 million people in the United States meet abuse or dependence criteria for prescription pain relievers. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that annually, more people die from prescription painkiller overdoses than from heroin and cocaine combined.

The research is published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Source: National Institutes of Health

If you or someone you know need help contact us now!

Or find additional information on our website!

An Anxious World! Anxiety Treatment in RI

Jan 26, 2012   //   by Shawna Figueira   //   Blog, East Providence, Lincoln, Rhode Island, Marriage, Mental Health, News, Self Help, Stress, Uncategorized, cranston  //  No Comments

An Anxious World

At Anchor Counseling Center we believe that s human beings, we all experience a form of anxiety at some point during our lives.  Anxiety is often thought of as worry and fear about uncertainties. It is usually depicted as a negative attribute, but it can also serve the useful purpose of alerting one of lurking danger. We may find ourselves worrying about school, work, our kids, or paying bills, and that’s all perfectly normal. When anxiety and worrying is a persistent, or common, feature causing disruption to your daily life, then it becomes a maladaptive. Excessive worrying may interfere with your relationships, your leisure activities, and can eventually lead to physical health issues.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 40 million adults in the U.S., in the span of one year, suffer from an anxiety disorder2. The average age of onset for anxiety is 11 years old; so many children are affected by anxiety disorders as well2.  Also, women are more likely do experience anxiety disorders than men2. So anxiety is not a new or unheard of phenomenon, and it is fairly common, however, some may not recognize symptoms of maladaptive anxiety because it may not look like the common perception of an anxiety-ridden individual.

In fact, anxiety disorders can take on many forms, and one person’s experience with excessive worrying can be completely different than another person’s experience. Some people have very general based anxiety of which they worry excessively about every little thing throughout the day, from work, school, paying bills, to having enough time to complete a task, or to what will happen if my car stops working. A popular perception of an anxiety disorder is of people with specific phobias. For instance, an individual’s fear-based worrying may only be provoked by exposure to specific stimuli, such as a bridge above water, or snakes. Even though the phobia is highly specific, it may be clinically significant if the individual experiences anxiety about it on a daily basis and it interrupts his/her daily tasks.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, commonly termed OCD, is also a form of an anxiety disorder1. A person with OCD will have obsessive thoughts, which tend to cause marked anxiety or distress, and/or compulsions, which are often performed in order to reduce anxiety.  Take for example, a man who has a fear of germs contaminating his body. This man worries constantly throughout the day about contracting some disease from all the germs he believes surrounds him. In order to reduce the likelihood of him contracting this horrid disease, he washes his hands 52 times, every time he goes to the bathroom or touches an object he does not own. As a matter of fact, he also showers at least twice a day for more than 45 minutes, and if he forgets to clean any body part, he goes back and re-showers entirely.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, and Acute Stress Disorder, are characterized by “anxiety from re-experiencing a traumatizing event, often accompanied by symptoms of increased arousal, and avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma”1. While PTSD can occur any time after the traumatic event, Acute Stress Disorder occurs immediately after the traumatic event, lasting for at most, four weeks. In this form of anxiety disorder, there is a distinct trigger event where the individual felt threatened.

Other forms of an anxiety disorder to mention is Panic Disorder With and Without Agoraphobia, Agoraphobia without a history of Panic Disorder, and Social Phobia.  Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia is characterized by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks about which there is persistent concern, while a person suffering from Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia may experience both recurrent, unexpected panic attacks, and anxiety about places or situations that may not be easily escapable.  That being said, Agoraphobia, “is anxiety about or avoidance of places or situations from which escape may be difficult (or embarrassing)”1. Social Phobia is basically when a person’s “anxiety is triggered by exposure to social situations in which he/she is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possibly scrutiny by others”1.

As you can see, there are a variety of anxiety disorders; however, one thing to note is that anxiety has an altering effect on one’s perception of the world around them and an effect on one’s interpretation of the stimuli he/she is exposed to. A Common behavior associated with people who have anxiety disorders is avoidance behavior. For example, the man with a phobia of bridges above water may stop going to visit his parents because he refuses to drive or walk over any bridge above water. In fact, he may miss a work conference next week that is detrimental to his job security because it’s across a bridge over water.  Another example is people with social phobias who avoid public speaking at all costs. Even with OCD, the compulsions acts as an avoidance mechanism set to reduce ones anxiety about an obsessive thought.

Also many anxiety stricken individuals have cognitive errors set in place that alter their ability to make judgments and function in the every-day world. Most people with anxiety tend overestimate the probability of the occurrence of the worry at hand. On the other hand some people assume that an outcome will be much less manageable than it actually is, also known as catastrohpizing. A big commonality amongst those suffering anxiety is the human tendency to be intolerant of uncertainty, the fear of ambiguity, and the acceptance of change.

Most people don’t like to be surprised by negative events, and more often than not, we want to try and control (or limit) the amount and impact of those negative events. But humans cannot know, or evade every problem—sometimes we just have to go through the pain. And attempting to control or change something you have no power to control or change is physically exacerbating to the human body and psyche. Taking risks, accepting change, and understanding that uncertainty is not an abyss of pain and negativity is a part of alleviating some anxiety.  Dr. Biali (2012), as do many psychologists, argues that anxiety is not always bad—it’s a part of experiencing life and trying something new3,4. Now, excessive anxiety about things you truly can’t control becomes tiresome and is often how clients present—overly stressed. Biali (2012), suggests several healthy ways to help people reduce anxiety, including, writing one’s worries down, practice breathing exercises, do yoga or stretching and exercise to alleviate muscle tension, and to avoid stimulants (like caffeinated beverages)3. Will this rid you of your anxiety? Probably not, but it can help you manage it.

Biali (2012) and Markway (2012), both suggest that in order to address and solve issues regarding your anxiety and excessive worry, one should invoke the assistance of a professional that is trained to guide you in restructuring your current cognitive methodology, and avoidance behaviors. According to the National Institute of Mental Health and the Psychological Diagnostic Manual, people with anxiety disorders usually benefit from methods of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or Exposure Therapy. Here at Anchor Counseling Center, we have therapists trained in both CBT and exposure therapy to help you reduce your anxiety and manage healthier lifestyle.

By: Aryssa Washington

Sources

1The American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

2www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml

3Biali, S. (2012). How to manage the anxiety that comes with change. Prescription for Life: Psychology Today com

4Markway, B. (2012). Can Willpower help you overcome social anxiety: willpower is not always about giving something up. Shyness Is Nice: Psychology Today.com

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