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Disorders

Grief Counseling

Grief is the reaction to the loss in whichever form. It is expressed in a variety of ways with emotions conveyed as the key way of expressing grief. The feelings are in a full range. It could be anger or sadness or regret all the same. How people adapt to loss is different and unique as there are individuals out in the world. There may be similarities in how different people will react to grief, and there are studies which many believe to be gospel truth, that the reactions to pain can be classified and categorized. The fact remains that dealing with grief is as unique as the individual going through a season of grief.

Grief counseling is a field in psychotherapy aiming to aid people through grievous seasons in their lives as they mourn the death of a dear one or a life change that may trigger painful feelings. Counselors will suggest that individuals who are grieving will grieve in a way that can easily be based and related to their backgrounds and cultural upbringing, hence the expectation of a broad range of emotional reactions and behavior that are associated with grief.

When grief overwhelms an individual, then it becomes necessary for them to make appointments with the grief counselors who will help them cope with the situation at hand. This is when grief details the individual from their regular schedules or when it affects them so badly as to have their productiveness suffer due to the underlying pain is fueling that. The whole process of counseling through grief is a journey which one will take, allowing them to face the challenge, leading them down to a path of acceptance and having them come up with ways to cope with the situation at hand.

Some red flags to show that grief is becoming a burden for individuals is such as, a change in appetite and mood swings, overpowering feelings of disorientation and disorganization, perpetual tiredness and insomnia or having trouble sleeping, poor concentration as well as more vivid dreams. Grief is displayed in two major ways, either instrumentally or intuitively. While instrumental grieving leads the individual down the path of problem-solving and less admittance as less emotion is conveyed in the person’s undertakings, intuitive grieving is an emotional roller-coaster where an individual will admit how they feel and talk about it openly.

Grief counseling becomes key especially when a grieving person is not grieving at all. Psychologists argue that bottling up the disturbing emotions is a dangerous journey that more often than not will end up in an explosion of the bottled up emotions. What may result in trauma or even psychosis if not handled correctly? Taking a step down the road of acceptance always is a golden beginning for the grieving individual as they are expected to continue down the path to recovery and finally manage to pick up their lives and move on from where they had left off.
Down the road of recovery, there is the stretch where one has to learn how to cope with grief. One of the scariest thoughts the grieving party has to deal with is the feeling of loneliness through the grieving period. This is a downside because this way, it’s hard to open up and share and this will lead them into bottling up their grief. This is opposed to how pain should be handled and because it can also lead to depression which could cause far more damage to their mental health and general wellness. This is among the reasons why seeking further assistance from professionals and having companions’ support all through the period of grieving, is important.

A healthy and happy life after the recovery period, having gone through grief is as achievable as successful treatment through many illnesses. It takes a personal decision and a lot of support from those who surround the grieving individual. It is paramount that as one grieves, they grieve the right way, dealing with it in such a way as to heal from it completely, never to resurface or to become a hindrance over their lives again. In the case of severity of grief, seeking professional advice is highly recommended.

Disorders

Different Types of Anxiety

They can be defined as the constant feeling of anxiety. This is because feeling anxiety occasionally is a normal occurrence for the average person. It is also relatively brief and mild in nature. On the other hand, individuals with anxiety disorders experience anxiety that lasts longer and is quite intense. They can be in the state of anxiety for several hours or a couple of days hence the name. It is the most common problem of mental health with women are the highest number of victims.

Anxiety disorders are manifested in 6 major categories. These include panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, phobias, acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (popularly known as OCD).

All the above types of anxiety disorders are unique but have several similarities as follows:
• Victims tend to exhibit fear that is both excessive and irrational.
• Victims of these disorders also experience tense and apprehensive feelings.
• All victims also experience extreme difficulty in properly managing everyday tasks and tasks that have significant distress.

Types of Anxiety disorder

1. Panic disorder

It is characterized by panic attacks that are both unexpected and repeated. Sometimes it is accompanied by agoraphobia, especially one avoids or endures certain situations that had significant distress.

Symptoms – Symptoms can be categorized into physical, cognitive and behavioral. Some of the physical symptoms of the disorder include the following:
• Victim will experience some chest pain or some level of discomfort.
• The victim may fell nausea or dizziness.
• A victim may start shaking or trembling.
• The most common symptom in most victims is the feeling of shortness of breath.

Significant cognitive symptoms are the sense of suffocation and having a heart attack. Behavioral symptoms are majorly exhibited by the avoidance of areas the victim previously experienced panic attacks. Avoidance of malls, traveling, making queues and strenuous exercise by the victim.

2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This is popularly known to many as OCD. It is characterized by obsessions or compulsions that are recurrent in nature, can lead to severe impairment, significant distress or time wastage. Obsessions are images, thoughts, and urges that are intrusive or uninvited. These repeatedly surface on one’s mind. Compulsions, on the other hand, are rituals or behaviors that an individual uses to suppress or reduce obsessive thoughts.

Symptoms can be categorized into physical, cognitive and behavioral. Some of the physical symptoms of the disorder are muscle tension and discomfort. Cognitive symptoms are for instance a person thinking that if he touches a door handle, he will infect his whole family with germs. Behavioral symptoms, on the other hand, include avoiding public washrooms or doors. It can also be exhibited by excessive cleaning, washing or even checking things.

3. Acute Stress Disorder

It usually occurs after a person witnesses or experiences that were life threatening or posed some threat to physical injury. It is known to occur roughly a month the ordeal. The victim in most cases has disturbing memories of the traumatic event, and this causes an emotive reaction of reliving the ordeal.

Symptoms – Symptoms can be categorized into physical, cognitive and behavioral. Some of the physical symptoms of the disorder include:

• A general feeling of restlessness. Difficulty in concentrating and sleeping.
• A startle response that is exaggerated.
• The victim will feel tense and constantly on edge.

Behavioral symptoms are the avoidance of scenarios which instigate traumatic recollections. It can also be an emotional reaction that is intense or the lack of emotional responsiveness. Cognitive symptoms are, for instance, the feeling that you will get trapped and perish in a car crash.

4. Post-traumatic Stress Disorders

It is the development of individual symptoms due to exposure to a significant source of traumatic stress. It usually involves helplessness, horror or intense fear. Symptoms can take three months to manifest but may delay up to a couple of years. The traumatic event is relived via flashbacks, dreams that are4 distressing and intrusive memories.

Symptoms – Symptoms can be categorized into physical, cognitive and behavioral. Some of the physical symptoms of the disorder include:

• A victim having sleep disturbances and nightmares.
• A victim may experience outbursts of anger or irritability.
• A victim can also have hyper vigilance for danger.

Behavioral symptoms include avoidance of feelings, thoughts, conversations, places, people or activities that have some relation to the trauma. Cognitive symptoms, on the other hand, may include a victim saying people should not be trusted.

5. General Anxiety Disorder

It involves excessive worry and anxiety. It occurs for several days for a minimum period of 6 months. Victims are usually not able to control feelings of fear.

Symptoms – Symptoms can be categorized into physical, cognitive and behavioral. Some of the physical symptoms of the disorder include:

• Tension in the muscles.
• Being unable to relax.
• Feeling of restlessness and irritability.
• Sleep that is disturbed by the feeling of worry.

Behavioral symptoms include a victim avoiding news and newspapers. It can also be through the victim participating in limited activities because of excessive concerns over the possible outcome. Cognitive symptoms are for instance worrying that something is going to go wrong.

These disorders are typically misunderstood; it is only through learning more about them that we can understand and live better with their victims.

Disorders

What Causes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Today there is an increase of awareness of Attention Deficit- Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, consequently this has led to a better understanding for children and adults who once were considered a family or social problem.

It is important to discuss what does not cause ADHD, before addressing what does cause such a condition. A multitude of unrelated myths abounds and confuses many people as to its origins. Here you will find a list of disputed assumptions considered by research.

1. Diet – This assumption dates back to the 70’s as it was felt that the Disorder is caused by sensitivity or allergy to certain types of food, for the most part, baby food. Although, no research in decades past proves this claim to be the cause. The rumor that increased intake of foods like sugar tends to make children impulsive, and the media have reinforced hyperactive. Clinical research has established no relation between the intake of sugar and the behavior of children and their learning patterns.

2. Hormonal Imbalance – Although hormones do influence the moods and behaviors of an individual, hormonal imbalance does not cause the condition. Keep in mind that there has not been any substantial connection between an ADHD episode and hormone levels. Hormones may be at play while causing individuals to be out of focus or impulsive at various times but they do not cause ADHD and its many other symptoms.

3. Vestibular or Balance Problems – Research of the past has determined that learning and behavioral problems stem from the vestibular system of the brain, which controls a proper balance. The proposed treatment at that time for the condition was that of motion sickness. However, over the years of research has not proven the relationship between the vestibular system and ADHD. There has been no link found between the two.

4. Family Life and Parenting – Many individuals attribute poor parenting or family problems as the cause of the disorder since the symptoms involve behavioral problems. However, the parents have not raised these ADHD children poorly not do they come from ADHD dysfunctional families. For instance, an ADHD child is not encouraged by its parents to misbehave at school and not sit still. Rather their behavior can still be hard to manage even when receiving the proper disciple from their parents and perhaps even more, but since their problem also has neurological components.

5. Excessive Television Viewing – Popularly seen as a cause for the Disorder is television. Although research has shown that viewing violence on television can increase aggression in children may be comparable to the hyperactivity and impulsiveness in patients with ADHD, however, such behavior is not synonymous to ADHD. In reality, research has proven that the amount of time spent viewing a television show is not different from that of children of the same age group.

People can now focus on the more plausible causes the Disorder since these other factors play no part in causing ADHD. Research shows that the majority of the elements are found in prenatal, genetic and neurological factors. Knowing what does not cause, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder helps many individuals to understand what causes the condition. Studies still have not determined a precise origin of the disease. Nevertheless, with more research, the mystery of illness may soon surface.

The treatment of ADHD can be dissected into many different parts. While there is no one method of treating ADHD, there is often a use of various combinations of therapy, counseling, medication and changes in lifestyle required for full recovery. It is more of a holistic approach towards treating ADHD, with the different treatments allowing for a gradual climb from the symptoms into a normal and healthy life. One of the more popular methods of treating this condition is the use of behavioral management and intervention, psychological therapies that have been around for decades, using ever changing and advancing cognitive techniques to improve behavior.

These include aspects of family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal skills and of course social skills training. These various forms of treatment are crucial to change the behavior patterns that Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder has instilled into the individual. There is also the use of stimulants and medication, being the most effective and cheapest ways to treat ADHD. Medication has been approved by various bodies within the psychology circles all over the world, but their long-term safety has not been well documented. Many of these medicines and stimulants are used to treat patients over a period for as long as 5 or even ten years at a time. These two are the primary methods of treatment when it comes to ADHD and so far, more than 70% of the children and individuals that have contracted ADHD use a combination of these methods to recover fully.

While there is no guaranteed 100% cure for ADHD, and there are dangers of lapses, therapy and medication have been seen as the most effective treatments and management of this behavioral disorder. The symptoms that appear in ADHD often come in the form of impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattention, and this is a problem that is affecting more than 20% of the world’s population. Hyperactivity is very common among small children and even teenagers, but it tends to disappear when they reach adulthood.

What you need to know about these treatments is that they are entirely crucial and must be applied when the subject is in the early stages of ADHD. In fact, through professional appraisal and therapy, other co-existing conditions may pop up and require a different set of treatments. There is no one exact cause for ADHD, and science has narrowed the root of the problem to areas like genetics, environmental factors, diet, social activity and even the physical surroundings of a child. This is even more pertinent when the child is in the developmental stages of his learning when areas like behavior and temperament are beginning to form due to learning and environmental absorption. One of the best ways to treat ADHD is of course through prevention and knowing more about why it comes about on top of how to treat it is the best ways to ensure that it never happens.

Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety refers to a condition whereby you experience fear and uncertainty, due to a myriad of reasons usually involved with transition periods in life. There are many different anxiety disorders, named for their various characteristics, but the general underlying symptoms are that sufferers tend to worry in excess about the little details in everyday life. For each anxiety disorder, there are different cause triggers, symptoms and treatments available, hence the importance of identifying the correct stress disorder from which you are suffering. The different types of anxiety disorder include panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, to name a few. There are many different treatments available on the market, and it is not necessary to have to live with the fear and uncertainty that anxiety disorders bring.

People who suffer from anxiety disorder seldom seek help as they either feel embarrassed about their problem, or they are unaware of even having a problem. Safe to say, if you are reading this article, then you probably have an idea that you need help and that there is help available. There are many symptoms that people who suffer from anxiety disorder experience, ranging from the physical to the psychological. These include having a rapid heart rate, sweaty palms, and nausea, as well as inexplicable fear, loss of control and,  need to flee.

If you frequently experience such sensations, it would be advisable to seek a professional opinion. If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, there are different treatment options available to help you deal with your problem. These range from medication and therapy to alternative therapies. Some treatments include cognitive therapy, behavior therapy and medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other drugs or herbal supplements.

It is important to understand as much as you can about your problem, and the possible treatments before you speak to your doctor. This will help you be able to ask the right questions and understand the treatment options that are being offered to you. Anxiety disorder is a serious problem as they can affect your life. While it is possible to recover, there is no such thing as a quick fix for this issue. As the reasons for triggering your disorder are likely to be stress related, treatments should take the line of behavioral or cognitive therapy and not medication. Medication will suppress the symptoms, but it is advisable to solve the root of the problem to prevent recurrence of anxiety disorder. Usage of drugs such as Xanax is also likely to cause harmful side effects, such as hallucinations.

If possible, you should explain your problem to your family and close ones so that they can help you cope with and overcome your problem. This will ensure that they understand what you are going through, and can provide you with the emotional support that you will need. While the process of recovering is a long and tedious one, it is possible to live without anxiety disorder disrupting your life.

Anxiety disorder affects many people in today’s society. The added stress of situations and the sheer amount of different things people are exposed to can result in them having a fear that causes them an enormous amount of pressure and or anxiety over these situations. There are many types of anxiety disorder, and each has its different symptoms and characterizations.

A lot of people experiences panic disorders for various reasons. The common thing among these sufferers is that they experience an overwhelming feeling that they have lost control or that they could even be dying. This, of course, leads to things like a racing heart, chills, hot flashes or shortness of breath that make the condition even worse. If they have a more mild case of this condition, it may go away after a short period; others will continue to suffer wave after wave of panic.

We have all seen the ballplayers who must pull each glove up, tap their shoes and then spit. Or the pitcher that bounces the rosin bag on their hand three times before each pitch. What about the individual who must be the receiver of the phone with a disinfectant or immediately wash their hands every time they touch something. These are all examples of an obsessive compulsive disorder. These people fear that without that ritual or ceremony, there could be a horrible result.

Social anxiety is also one of the common types of anxiety disorders. Individuals who are suffering from this experience panic or fear when they are faced with certain social situations. They believe that they are judges at every corner, thus creating anxiety when they are confronted with these conditions. It is quite easy to understand while some of these individuals end up living a hermit style life if they cannot control these fears.

Phobias, their form of anxiety disorder, are also associated with many of these other disorders. It seems as though these phobias are what lead to the development of another condition. Being scared of flying, driving crowds or germs are all examples of phobias. People that fall victim to phobias often find themselves not being able to function at all when faced with the proposition of being exposed to one of their phobias.

Any anxiety disorders can be debilitating to those that are suffering from them. Imagine wanting to do nothing more than go to a ballgame and not being able to because you experience sheer terror when you are in a crowd. How about not being able to do a simple thing like grocery shopping because of suffering frequent panic attacks in the grocery store? How horrible would it be if your child was injured and you had to take them to the hospital but had a fear of driving? Anxiety disorders are severe conditions and need to be treated as such not only by those suffering from them but also by the people that often ridicule them as they do not experience these feelings.

Disorders

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Some people have gestures or habits to make them feel better such as rubbing the nose, tugging the ears, or scratching the head. These are OK if done in moderation and may be removed any time. What’s worrying is when these actions are done repeatedly and uncontrollably. It may qualify as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by thoughts and behaviors that are recurring and seemingly unstoppable. The repetitive thoughts urges, or images are the obsessions while the actions done to satisfy these three are the compulsions. People who suffer from OCD are aware of what they do; yet, they cannot control it.

OCD can affect anyone, but is usually diagnosed at the age of 19 or earlier for boys. A study shows that 2-3% of the world population is affected by this disorder. The causes are still unknown, but if a person has any of the following, he or she may be at risk:

  1. Immediate relative who suffers from the disorder, especially if it was developed during childhood or teenage years
  2. Abnormalities in the brain such as different frontal cortex and subcortical structures
  3. Physical or sexual abuse or trauma

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the signs and symptoms that a person is suffering from this disorder are 1) frequent cleaning or washing as he or she is worried about being contaminated or contaminating someone else; 2) persistent checking of doors, locks, or stove as the person wants to ensure safety; 3) periodic counting or repeating of phrases to check his or her memory and perception; 4) incessant arranging and rearranging of objects because he or she has a strong inclination for symmetry. These actions do not necessarily make them feel better, but they get instant yet brief relief from their obsessive thoughts.

Aside from the actions mentioned above, persons suffering from OCD have other psychiatric and physical symptoms. Some experience anxiety and depression, tic disorder, eating disorder, and impulse control disorder among others. Physically, the person may have skin eruptions caused by excessive washing, hair loss because of too much hair pulling or combing, and other skin lesions due to overindulgent skin picking.

Because other psychological and psychiatric abnormalities may coexist in a patient with OCD, diagnosis proves to be a challenge. Hence, the American Psychological Association (APA) has provided screening questions to identify people with OCD clearly. An example of which is identifying the individuals involved in the fear. A person with OCD would usually involve another person in his or her fear, e.g. fear of contaminating someone else; a person with depression is mainly focused on himself or herself such as feeling guilty for previous actions.

Treatments

Despite the seemingly irremediable case of having the disorder, treatments and therapies are available to alleviate the persistent urge and hence the compulsive acts. Medicine-wise, the patients, may be given SRI or SSRI. These stand for serotonin reuptake inhibitor and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor respectively. Clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, and sertraline are the most common prescriptions for these patients. People with OCD are believed to be lacking serotonin; hence, these medications are prescribed. They help the brain provide enough neurotransmitter serotonin. Antipsychotic medicines are also prescribed if the both SRIs and SSRIs do not improve the patient’s condition.

In prescribing drugs, doctors opt for augmentation instead of replacement, as the latter may take longer to exhibit positive effect. Augmentation means increasing dosage or prescribing another medication to be taken along with the existing one.

Along with the medication, psychotherapy is also recommended for patients with this disorder. Cognitive behavior therapy and habit reversal training are the most common. The former teaches how thoughts and behavior are interrelated and promotes stress management and problem-solving skills. For example, if a patient does not want to sit on public chairs for fear of germs, the therapist may ask him or her to sit on one repeatedly. This will be done until the patient learns to resist the urge to clean the chair thoroughly before using it. The latter, on the other hand, is helpful for tic disorders as it fosters tic awareness and teaches how to respond to these tics. This training has three stages: first, identification of the behavior and the urge for doing the behavior; second, devising competing for action for that conduct; and third, relaxing to diminish the behavior that was replaced.

Family and the people around the patient are also encouraged to act accordingly when the person is around. Some of the recommended actions are:

  • Not arguing with the patient about his or her behavior. The person is aware that what he or she is doing is nonsense, but that person cannot control the actions. Hence, arguments are not helpful.
  • Not avoiding things that trigger anxiety. Patients must be taught how to cope with them instead.
  • Being prepared for sudden onsets of the disorder. It may happen anytime regardless of the mood in the environment.
  • Joining family counseling or asking for support from other people who experienced the same things. Their experiences and experts’ advice help a lot.
  • Celebrating small victories.

Another treatment doctors use for such disorder is deep brain stimulation (DBS) although it is not regarded as a cure. Instead, it reduces or treats the symptoms of OCD. DBS is done by placing a thin strip of the metal electrode where needed. It is then attached to a pulse generator that is implanted below the collarbone. A programming computer will then be placed near the pulse generator and adjusted according to the needs of the patient. This process changes the abnormal brain activity by delivering constant pulses of electrical charge until normal brain rhythm is achieved. This treatment takes time, however, for the optimal results to be visible. Hence, the patient opting for this should be committed to long-term treatment. Also, this option is only for patients who have not responded positively to medicines and psychotherapy.

For all the above mentioned treatments and therapies, one thing is incontestable: consistency. Not being able to finish treatments may result in worse signs and symptoms. However, it should be noted that, according to a study, only about 10% completely recover from OCD with the help of treatments. Nevertheless, 50% show improvement. Therefore, a patient must be assisted and encouraged not to stop trying.