Counseling for Person with OCD: Relieving the Anxiety and Breaking the Rituals

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Imagine your day to start like this:

  • Consuming at least an hour of your day (or even longer) just to make sure that the lights are off by repetitively checking on them.
  • Rubbing alcohol onto your hands almost every minute to get rid of germs (so you thought).
  • Taking several shower or bath times in a day, feeling that you are all dirty and need cleaning.
  • Rotating a plate seven times before taking the first bite of your meal.

All the above are representations of a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). “Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD can be characterized by repetitive, unnecessary activities, or compulsions (like lining up dishes over and over so they look “perfect.”)” according to clinical psychologist Robert A. Lavine Ph.D. A person with OCD finds no pleasure in doing things repeatedly, an only momentary relief from the anxiety that occurs. In fact, they hate their behavior but cannot do otherwise. The moment they stop the routine, anxiety heightens.

What causes it?

Having an unknown etiology, OCD can be caused by several factors such as genetics, brain structure anomaly and brain malfunctioning that may trigger anxiety-producing compulsive behavior. The behavior can also result from a social environment where the person experiences trauma. Strict parental control is the most well-known theory of OCD occurring during the toddler years of the child. Freud explained that power and autonomy govern this age. Toddlers love to experience being in control of the situation. At the same time, this age is predominant in the toilet training period. When parents are strict concerning their elimination process, Freud conceptualized an adult life full of stringent choices and OCD behavior.

It is diagnosed by about age 19 and is seen most in boys than girls. Late diagnosis can also happen at the age of 35 years old.

 

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What to do?

People will notice at first that the person is very clean or meticulous about organizing things. However, the sense of over cleanliness and compulsion to perform specific activities that do not even fit the present situation can be considered pathological and psychologically unstable.

If behaviors start to affect relationships, work, and school activities, it is essential to see a mental health professional obtain a proper diagnosis. Once diagnosed, OCD can be treated using medication and psychotherapy or both.

“The response to treatment of patients with OCD is also varied and, I think, unpredictable,” according to psychiatrist Fredric Neuman M.D. Counseling can be a great help in overcoming OCD, as this may involve working through a therapy program to control obsession and associated rituals that marks the disorder. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) aims to relieve intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors by disentangling anxiety from reality and fact. This therapy will teach a person with OCD how to think, behave, and react to the situations that cause distress without the burden of intrusive thoughts and compulsion to do specific tasks. The benefits of counseling and psychotherapy for OCD are as follows:

  • It helps the person understand their condition – the leading causes of OCD, and why they are behaving as such.
  • Develops self-awareness and fully understand one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that sustain the cycle of OCD.
  • Increase insight into what triggers the reaction and enhance self-esteem.
  • Develops efficient and positive coping strategies to replace compulsive behaviors.

There is no better way of overcoming OCD than seeking mental health consultations. “If you feel completely lost, then one good first step is to learn more about the disorder” Monnica T Williams Ph.D. When one recognizes the problem at hand, the treatment process will just be easy, and early recovery can be an assurance.

Glued To The Tube: Influence Of Media On Adolescent Behavior

 

 

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Currently, media play a significant part in influencing how the youth of today thinks and reacts to their environment’s circumstances and society’s idealism and demands.

 

Whenteenagevulnerability is at an all-time high, that’s when the parents have to swoop in to guide and support their children especially when being exposed to sensitive, violent, or troubling media content. Behaviors of teenagers and adolescents are primarily influenced by what they see played on their widescreen tubes. Therefore, parents should be more adamant about being consistently vigilant in monitoring what their children watch on television.

 

The Negative Side of Media

Behind an innocent façade of entertainment, there lie the different risky materials that teenagers are persistently consuming that are causing adverse altercations to their mindset and behavior. Too much time spent scrolling through social media can result in symptoms of anxiety and/or depression,” according to Katie Hurley, LCSW.

 

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How is media negatively affecting your kid’s behavior?

 

  1. Unrealistic Body Image Perception

As your children grow older, they are on the verge of realizing who they are and what they’re worth and one aspect of growing up is having someone to idolize when it comes to a healthy body image. Although body image acceptance is influenced by numerous factors like family, peers, fashion, and culture, one element stands out, and that’s media – whether mainstream media or social media. Advertising can also damage the youth’s perception of what an “acceptable” body image should be.

 

Somehow, media is presenting unrealistic, body types quite so often that children think if their bodies do not conform to these media expectations, there is something askew regarding their bodies, and society will never accept them.

 

  1. Violent And Abusive Programming

Violence and abuse have long been the theme of the majority of television shows since the media was born. Kids who witness and are exposed to violent and abusive media material are more likely to think that hitting people, especially women, is a typical thing to do. Therefore, unsupervised viewing of violent and abusive shows can severely influence your kids’ behavior, making them more aggressive, less empathetic, or more anxious about their environment.

 

  1. Unhealthy Habits

Drugs, gambling, smoking, and drinking alcohol are just some of the unhealthy habits that can be picked up from watching television. Adolescents who have little to no understanding of these bad habits will easily adapt one or two of these vices thinking that since it’s shown on TV, it’s something “cool.”

 

Proper Guidance Is Vital

Banning your children from watching inappropriate television content can be difficult because exposure is inevitable especially with the availability of online media that can be accessed 24/7, with or without paying any fees. Therefore, it would be better to guide your adolescents on the pros and cons of media so that their minds would have a better understanding of inappropriate and destructive content. Don’t walk in the door after work in the middle of a conversation,” Dr.Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist, advises. Adequate guidance is essential, and this is done by:

 

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  1. Monitoring What Your Child Watches

Parents are usually unaware of what their children watch whether on the tube or online. Kids these days are cunning and smart when it comes to hiding what they view, but that doesn’t mean that the parents couldn’t control media content. After all, they still have the upper hand inside the house so they can quickly set rules and limits.

 

2. Positively Discussing Confusing Content

Though it’s not an easy conversation to carry out, talking about obscene or vulgar material that was just shown by the media will help your child understand the lesson behind the show. For example, if your child is watching a show that presents bullying, sexuality, and friendships, you can discuss the principles and morals that the show wants to convey positively.

 

Media influence does not stop when the show is over. Negative or positive behavior almost always begins the moment the credits roll and the brain starts figuring out the meaning of what was observed. For this reason, it is crucial for parents to be prepared in providing explanations to positively shape their children’s minds into coping with whatever media content they encounter. “Adolescence and the early twenties in particular are the years in which you are acutely aware of the contrasts between who you appear to be and who you think you are,” says Dr. Donna Wick, a clinical and developmental psychologist.

 

Miscarriage Aftermath: Seeking Professional Help Amidst Depressive Symptoms

“Despite how common miscarriage is, women often experience the loss in silence,” said Alicia Del Prado Ph.D., a licensed counseling psychologist. When sadness can no longer describe the feeling of losing a baby, miscarriage can lead women to a more complex part of grieving – depression. Devastation is a more likely match to explain how the loss of a child feels appropriately. Nevertheless, the suffering that one feels after a stillbirth or miscarriage is normal.

 

But, when does one draw the line between sadness in grieving and depression? How far can melancholia go to be considered pathologic and be the primary cause for concern?

 

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When Sadness Becomes Depression

Miscarriage is defined as the unexpected, abrupt loss of a pregnancy that did not reach the 20th week. Majority of miscarriages happen during the first trimester due to the following reasons:

 

  • Genetic or chromosomal issues
  • Health conditions experienced by the mother like diabetes or infections like STD
  • Hormonal problems involving the adrenal or thyroid glands
  • Autoimmune disorders

 

The loss that is associated with the spontaneous, unwanted abortion is so devastating to couples, especially to women that it usually leads to depression.

 

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Questions That Prompt Counseling

The moment you feel like diving into a bottomless, dark pit with no hopes of a reprieve, it usually is a cause for concern. There are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself if you are pondering about airing your grievances to a therapist.

 

  1. Am I Displaying Depressive Symptoms?

To know if you have signs of clinical depression, reflect on the following factors:

 

  • Constant feeling of emptiness, worthlessness, and hopelessness
  • Changes in sleep pattern and appetite
  • Less or no interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Agitation and difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide

 

  1. When Did The Miscarriage Happen?

Grief and depression are said to have similar signs and symptoms. For women who have experienced recent miscarriages, the overwhelming feeling stays with you for a period but eventually, they can cope and move on with their feelings of despair. Depression, on the other hand, is more pathological and lasts for months which can go on for years.

 

  1. Is Your Relationship Compromised?

Constant bickering and arguing after miscarriage is a sign that you and your partner are undergoing severe emotional turmoil that requires therapeutic intervention. “First we must acknowledge that some anger is a valid, necessary, appropriate and unavoidable human emotion,” wrote Stephen A. Diamond, PhD. Problems that have erupted after the loss of pregnancy and has persisted overtime may severely affect your relationship.

 

  1. Do You Have The Urge To Seek Professional Help?

If so, then you should immediately schedule a meeting with your therapist. Not only are your mental and physical health at risk, but emotional strife can also jeopardize a meaningful relationship. When you feel like everyone’s opinions are no longer working out for you, it’s best to get advice from an expert.

 

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Moving Forward With Counseling

Recovering from depression that is primarily caused by miscarriage can take time to heal. But with a capable support system coupled with antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and other forms of treatment, results can be promising. By sticking to the therapeutic plan, eating healthy meals, getting adequate sleep, and exercising, depressive symptoms can eventually be alleviated.

Karen Kleiman MSW, LCSW, wrote, “[W]hen a woman endures the pain of disconnection from her baby, or fails to meet the expectations dictated by her critical mother, or can’t face her own reflection in the mirror because she has lost touch with the soul within—it’s hard for her to know where to turn.”

It is also important to emphasize that miscarriages not only affect the mother alone; remember, couples are most affected by the loss of a child. Therefore, counseling is highly beneficial for couples who are going through a rough time dealing with their depression.

 

The Life Of A Certain Miss

[Dealing With Unexpected Life Transitions]

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According to Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W., “Ready or not, we all go through numerous transitions in our lives – living high school to go to college or work, changing jobs, getting married, having children.” Looking back when there were fewer demands to womanhood, being a mother at a young age was ideal. Women were allowed and expected to have a child as soon as she was physically able. But those were the days! Today, our society has expanded the context of being a woman that it has come to the point where the expectations are becoming too much to handle.

According to Avery Neal, M.A., L.P.C., “Many women do not know how to cope with change, and depending on the severity or amount of trauma the change has inflicted, women can face a difficult and painful time.”

Let me tell you a story about a certain Miss who now struggles to be a “Mrs.”

Miss was a careless young adult who had the world in the palm of her hand. She dreamed and made it into reality until one day, she fell in love, or so she thought. At the back of her mind, there was always the curiosity of how life would be if you’re living it with and for someone.

More than nine months later, Miss became Mrs. She married a knight in shining armor and lived her fairytale, but then again, so she thought. She didn’t realize that her changing of her surname was the start of her nightmares. Mr is not a knight in shining armor saving the damsel in distress, but the frog who’ll never turn into a prince no matter how many times you kiss him.

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Five years later, they now have three beautiful kids. Mrs. is a picture of strength that no matter the odds, she remained faithful and firm. Little did people know that with those five years, she was physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially abused! So much for a happy ending.

She was being beaten with little to no reason but just the fact that Mr is evil! She was drained and always left to feel worthless. She was empty- there was no space for growth anymore. All she was good for was assuring the wellbeing of her family. But who would look after her? She was alone in a room that’s crowded with her soul crushed with no faith to save her. And how can it be that she was forsaken to worry about the future of her children?

It isn’t the life that she thought she’d have when she decided to become Mrs., but she can’t turn back now. She needs to gather more strength than she ever had in the last five years. She needs to overcome her challenges to become whole again for her sake and the sake of her children.

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There is no such thing as too late when it comes to living. “It’s good to know about these perspectives on life transitions, because they show us that there’s nothing inherently bad about change,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. It’s about taking each downfall as an opportunity to rise, and as we may think that we’re alone, there are people out there who care more than we know. Don’t be a sad story. You have the power to turn your world upside down. It is about recognizing your mistakes, the people who caused you pain and your part in making it happen. But don’t stop there! Move forward and acknowledge help from people who love you! You owe them the courage to love and respect yourself again.

Rolling the Dice On Teenage Gambling: When To Seek Professional Help

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When your teen’s poker face is no longer working, it’s time to seek out medical advice.

Opportunities to instantaneously gamble is set on a general, digital level that it can easily be accessed by anybody, primarily by teens. Reiterating and thoroughly explaining to your children the insidious effects of gambling will efficiently influence them with the ideation that addiction starts when recreation stops; thus the consequences will arise. “A parent’s attitude about gambling can affect a child’s attitude about it.” says Emily Mendez, M.S., EdS., a mental health expert who specializes in addiction and substance abuse.

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Signs Of Emotional Self-Harm (Mental Health Issues)

There’s a big difference between those confident and positive people compared to those pessimistic and always insecure ones. “The key is how often you are feeling this sense of distress, how bad it gets, and how long it lasts; that is what can help determine the seriousness of your situation,” says Abby Aronowitz, PhD. Their emotional and mental health varies depending on their social interaction and environment. These people usually don’t take time to care and love themselves and stick to a habit of putting themselves down instead of building their confidence up. With that, they couldn’t see the damage they are doing with their overall health.

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Recognizing Emotional Self-Harm

Running Away From Unwanted Emotion

Emotionally weak people often reject reality for what it is. Usually, they tend to look for diversion and use drugs and alcohol as an escape. They always feel anxious and stressed about things that are not even there, and they see no solutions in every unfortunate situation they encounter. Yes, it is perfectly okay to feel sad and afraid when there are things that fate already decided to happen. But, it is not enough reason to run away from emotions. Emotions are trying to say something, and they represent a more physiological effect. So when there’s no confrontation of feelings, people put their psychological needs at risk. They should understand the necessity of recognizing the things that upset them to develop and enhance their emotional and mental state through self-reflection. According to clinical psychologist Deborah Offner, PhD, “Emotional exhaustion is wider ranging and longer lasting than ‘a bad week.’”

Uncomfortable With Their Personality

Self-harm always start within people’s inner thoughts and feelings. So when they get ashamed of themselves, they begin to bring forward mental issues along the way. It is dangerous because it doesn’t depend on the situation. It always crawls up every time people make mistakes; they get judged from doing something, or even when they are not focusing on their positive attributes. People must understand that shame underlies destructive behavior. Yes, it is an awful thing that all individuals experience, but it shouldn’t have to become a representation whenever they feel bad about themselves. So when these individuals start to feel sorry about who they are, they begin to believe that there’s no room for them to have a healthy life.

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Belittling Accomplishments And Progress

It is a situation where self-harm becomes too apparent. Yes, it is essential not to settle in one thing and continue to set life goals. But it is a different scenario when people don’t give credit on the good things they do. When these individuals don’t acknowledge their capabilities on how far they’ve become, it damages all their mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect. Self-harm grows when they bask on emptiness and discontentment regardless of the achievement they get from hard work and persistence. Bottom line, these individuals ignore to respect, value, and trust their progress because they get too blinded by their ungratefulness.

Buildup Of Conflicted Emotions

In this state, people know what’s bothering them. They don’t try to avoid it though. But they tend not to consider seeking any help. They believe they can handle it alone, it will eventually go away, and there’s nothing to worry about the situation. Usually, they build walls and hide their feelings, and these people are good at that. However, they often forget to recognize that instead of getting better, they are only digging a bigger hole that will take them down to their emotional dilemma. With that, vulnerability becomes vital. Yes, things don’t often work out the way everybody wants it. But when there’s self-pity, it still doesn’t help the situation, nor it will never affect the outcome of any problems. No person deserves to get punished, so there’s entirely no need to beat emotional and mental difficulty.

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Thy Self Is Not A Priority

Taking care of one’s self is the most important thing to do. So when people enjoy bad habits such as smoking, consuming too much alcohol, skipping meals, and not drinking enough water, it destroys them. Not only these habits trigger and worsen anxiety and depression, but it also hinders the overall development of the brain and body. When it comes to mental and emotional well-being, these people don’t know how to consider providing quality care to themselves. That’s because they somehow believe that it is useless, it’s inappropriate, and it’s not going to be worth it.

Honestly, people know that some of their actions are undoubtedly harming themselves both emotionally and mentally. They better stop doing it before it takes them to a much worse case. As written by Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D., LPCS, “If you know someone who is engaging in self-injurious behavior reach out to him or her.“

Mood Disorders

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Mood disorders are caused by various factors that affect the typical attitude and behavior of a person. This condition can disturb the everyday life activities of an individual and can be very destructive. Awareness that you have a mood disorder is essential to avoid its complications since it can destroy your relationship and even family links.

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3 Tips To Remember If You’re Getting Counseling For The First Time

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“You must work with a therapist to change the way you think, feel, and act. It requires education, understanding, and participation,” says Madhukar Trivedi, MD.

Counseling is a useful treatment for everyone. When you can’t get over your ex or you are about to drown in stress, you can meet a counselor to know how to handle your thoughts and emotions. If you have a mental disorder, different forms of therapy may help you manage it without medication. Besides, you can use counseling to mend broken relationships, bring light into your life, and cope with your issues, among others. You may find similar articles in websites like scarymommy.com and sheknows.com.

Nonetheless, you cannot go to counseling for the first time without knowing the following things.

  1. Look For A Good Therapist

The hard truth is that not all counselors who took the same oath have the same way of thinking when providing their services. While some can quickly act like a professional in the office, others let their worries run amok. You might also find new ones who are too afraid of making you blow up, to the point that they avoid asking questions about your problems.

It will be smart to prepare a list of therapists before you even go to one. Search for them online or get recommendations from your loved ones. This way, if you don’t click with the first counselor, you can meet the second, third, or nth mental health professional until you come across someone trustworthy.

 

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2. Don’t Veil Your Real Feelings

Counselors are not like doctors who have machines to ensure their findings. The former can merely rely on your words as they teach you coping techniques. One with years of experience reading their clients’ behaviors can tell as well whether you are lying or not. So it is best to stop trying to hide your emotions from the therapist.

We get that you may be uncomfortable with the idea of spilling your deepest secrets to someone. You may not have done that even in front of your closest family members and friends, but it matters to be honest if you want to have peace of mind again. “Our brain is very sensitive to perceptions of threat, and when anxiety gets in our way, starts to interfere with our lives, jobs, obligations or social relationships, then that becomes a problem,” says Dr. Scott Bea PsyD. It may be the same anxious feeling that one experiences when going to therapy.

3. Be Patient IfThe Healing Process Takes A While

The only upside of medicating when you have mental problems is that it can make you feel okay for a few hours. You can go on with your day as you usually do; you need not think about your disorder. However, the drugs work to suppress the symptoms of an illness so that it can become addictive in the end.

When it comes to counseling, not even the therapist can honestly tell whether you will see changes in yourself after three weeks or three months. It depends on how open you are to the likelihood of separating yourself from the problems and learning coping mechanisms. Thus, try not to get devastated if your healing process takes a while.

 

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In The End

Nobody goes to therapy for no reason. You surely have some, which you should share with the counselor on your first meeting. That will allow him or her to align their goals with yours and help you move in the opposite direction of your issues. “Therapy can help you explore roadblocks to self-esteem and teach you practical ways to make your happiness a priority,” says Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP. After all, what we want in life is to be happy.

Good luck with your first counseling session!

Cigarette Addiction: Quit!

“The effects and consequences on substance use on families are devastating. Over 7 million children in the United States—more than 10%—live with a parent who has problems with alcohol, according to a 2012 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report. These children and their families are at risk for other co-morbid mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, substance use issues, and addiction,” according to addiction psychologist Jeremy Frank, PhD, CADC. This is true with cigarette addiction.

The number of diseases you can get from smoking cigarettes are incredibly high. We all know it’s not good for us, but why do people still do it? Why are some willing to risk their health? Why is cigarette addictive, and why is it so hard to stop?

Cigarette Addiction: Quit!

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