therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

Self-management Strategies for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is like having a bully stuck inside your head and nobody else can see it” – Krissy Mc Dermott.

Source:emaze.com

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition where the person experiences frequent, intrusive and unwelcome thoughts, images and impulses along with repetitive acts aimed at getting rid of them.

Confronting obsessions is not an easy task for all. The immediate thoughts that would come up in most people’s mind are ‘ I should consult a psychiatrist or ‘ I must go to a Therapist near me’. If you want tips to find one, read more about it here.

But have we ever thought how we can deal with the problem ourselves? Undoubtedly psychotherapies like CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) yield solutions for any anxiety disorder, but knowing how to manage the problem ourselves ensures it. This article is about some of the simple strategies that we can do to help ourselves out of the Obsessions and Compulsions.

Examples of Obsession

There are different types of obsessions that affect people of all ages. These obsessions lead to compulsive habits and start interfering with the normal functioning of the individual. Some of them are :

Source:rd.com
  1. Hand washing – Whereby the individual has a continuous thought of touching dirt and washes hands to undo this feeling. This can become so severe and uncontrollable that he/she might stop touching things at all.
  2. Checking – Where the person keeps on checking his/her doors, cupboards, etc whether they are locked. He/she stays unreasonably preoccupied with the order of things and feels uncomfortable if things are removed from their places.
  3. Sorcerous thoughts and undoing rituals – This involves having thoughts of a loved one being harmed or some other unpleasant thought and follows neutralizing the thoughts with good ones.
  4. Recurrent thoughts of self-harm – This involves a person having violent and harmful thoughts of harming himself or others and results in following a variety of complex avoidance and reassurance rituals.

The 5 best ways of managing OCD alone

Source:emedicine.medscape.com
  1. Notice your thoughts – begin with taking a note of the situations where the symptoms occur (images or impulses that come in your mind) and understand it. Having a track of thoughts helps to gain control over them.
  2. Pay attention to your actions – Obsessive thoughts can be controlled till they manifest themselves through actions. Be vigilant to your actions. The moment you feel you are doing something to neutralize the obsessions, check yourself before it is too late.
  3. Be Mindful – Obsessions get the mind so preoccupied that people become inattentive to the other things happening around. Be mindful about yourself and the environment – that itself does a lot in reducing the intrusive thoughts.
  4. Rate your problems – This technique is more often used in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, but it can be easily applied on self. The only thing to do is making a list of all the inappropriate thoughts that are running through the mind and rating them according to their severity. Once the numbers are before you, gaining insight becomes easy.
  5. Try to resist the compulsive actsChoose one compulsion and try resisting it. For example, as soon as you wonder whether you have locked the door, try recalling instead of checking. Once you feel that you have gained success in stopping it, then go on one by one till the habits fade away.

Always keep in mind that obsessions and compulsions get stronger the more we give way to them. Mental health professionals believe that “the goal of any good treatment is to teach you to become your own therapist.”

So before you seek for professional guidance, it is worth giving the aforesaid self-management skills a try to fight OCD.

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

Is Supportive Counseling The Best Way To Fight Depression?

Supportive counseling is another name for Person Centered Therapy. A supportive counselor is one who listens to the problems of clients, supports them and makes them feel ‘understood’. It is often seen that having ‘someone to talk to’ is all one needs to get over his/her troubles; learn more about how people are turning to online therapy for professional help. Supportive counseling is comforting, advising, encouraging, reassuring and mostly listening attentively with sympathy to people suffering from depression and anxiety. Extensive research on psychotherapy has proved that supportive counseling is the only therapy that can be used in combination with all existing therapies to get a better outcome.

Methods of Supportive Counseling – The answer to depression

  1. Emotional Ventilation – Supportive counseling lets the person vent out his/her anger , rage or grief. This process is good to be used in the early phases for most people have been observed to feel better after allowing all the rapid emotions to clear out. It is very important to make the patient ventilate emotions in the right talking the client clarify and seek out the thoughts so that he/she gains a better concept of the ‘why and how’ of his/her feelings and reactions.
Source:mskcc.org
  1. Elucidation – This is making the client clarify and seek out the thoughts so that he/she gains a better concept of the ‘why and how’ of his/her feelings and reactions.
  2. Active ListeningCarl Rogers believed “We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change.” One of the essential requisites of supportive counseling is actively listening to the client. The feeling of being heard itself begins the healing process. Many problems seem to be unbearable until it is shared with someone. The supportive counselor becomes a friend to the client and listens with empathy without judging.
  3. Client Awareness – Discussing the problems and educating the client about his/her situation helps in gaining insight and acceptance. Supportive counseling ensure the client stays calm and accept with positivity.
Source:netdoctor.co.uk
  1. Suggestion with helpful guidance – For clients with low self-esteem and confidence, the counselor constantly reminds them of their positive sides and achievements. Counselors need to be very alert in providing their guidance in a correct manner so that it may prove valuable.
  2. Exteriorization of Interests – People who are overwhelmed with their problems should be helped out by the counselors by diverting their attention from the depressive and negative thoughts running in their minds to the pursuit of some activity or interest. In short, encouraging them with some mind refreshing hobbies.
  3. Making use of Social Support – Often being in a depressive situation people start losing on all social ties and embrace self-isolation resulting to more serious anxiety and depression. Thus counselors encourage their clients to renew intimate bonds which provide for social and emotional support.
Source:emedicine.medscape.com
  1. Doing more pleasurable activities – Depressed people often become so engrossed in grief that they fail to explore the happiness around. Supportive counselors provide aid in letting them do so. They advise (or sometimes insist) the clients to do things they love to do. That may be going out with friends, playing or listening to music, any pleasurable activity can work.

Supportive counseling does not make the client dependent on the counselor. Therefore the termination of the sessions does not relapse depression unlike many other forms of therapy which is why it is known as one of the best ways to challenge depression and issued as an adjunct to all other forms of anti-depression treatments.

One thing that we all should remember is – getting support is easy, but being our own support can shield us from many adversities. Supportive therapy is one way of making us able to do so.

Depression doesn’t mean you are weak, so never step back from seeking help and healing yourself. You are in charge of your happiness.

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

Anxiety Attacks and Dealing With Them

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength”- Charles Spurgeon.

Source:blogs.psychcentral.com

Anxiety is a condition of intense fear and discomfort that is often accompanied by unexpected panic attacks. Anxiety Attack help is widely available now. The attacks are a lot like being drunk in some ways, you lose self-control and cry for seemingly no reason. Anxiety attacks develop due to some sudden unexpected fearsome incident over a short span of 10-15 minutes. If you know someone who suffers from anxiety attack, this Betterhelp anxiety guide will help you in handling a situation with a person undergoing anxiety attack.

Symptoms of the attacks

  • Shivering of hands and legs followed by excessive sweating, palpitation.
  • Feeling shortness of breath along with a slight chest pain(might even result in a heart attack).
  • Nausea along with dizziness.
  • Feeling a total lack of sensation in the entire body along with a tingling effect.
  • Too much anxiety might also result in hypoglycemia and hyperthyroidism. Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition which develops over a certain period of time due to some shocking and violent incident. This also has certain symptoms like
Source:blogs.cardiff.ac.uk
  • The inability to concentrate; a feeling of restlessness and temporary loss of energy and strength.
  • Violent and uncontrollable anger with frequent peevishness.
  • Inability to sleep along with a problem in the metabolic system.

Controlling Anxiety Attacks                                                          

Source:changefromwithin.co.uk

 

  1. Make a way out plan – Often, people are stuck in situations that might trigger anxiety, but having an exit plan in order to get out of the situation can help the mind keep its control.
  2. Have someone you can always talk to – Patients suffering from anxiety should always get in-touch with a person on whom they can rely and can vent out their feelings. Sometimes talking with a person who guides you towards the positive side of everything can help lower anxiety levels.
  3. Cry (if needed) – Sometimes, crying and throwing out the pent up heavy emotions relieve us a quite a bit. Just go to your room and simply let out your emotions, this helps lighten your heart.
  4. Keep a handy ataractic drug – If one feels that even after practicing certain natural ways to reduce anxiety, it may accidentally hit them and they might lose control of the situation, they can keep an ataractic drug or a tranquilizer with them. But make sure to resist it as much possible.
  5. Go for a walk and exercise – A 10-15 minutes walk in some natural environment along with an hour of some free hand exercises can act as a stress reliever. Exercising regularly (or for at least 3-4 times a week) can help a person become less prone to anxiety attacks.
  6. Tratak meditation – This type of meditation includes a person (suffering from anxiety) to stare at oneself in the mirror for some time. It is proven to return the person his self-belief and confidence. This should be done when one is patient enough to help himself resist anxiety.
  7. Laughing – Having a good hearty laugh can calm your nerves and make your mood light (try watching funny videos or reading comics ).
  8. Get plenty of sleep and restrain from alcoholic drinks – getting a good amount of sleep releases the tension; resistance from alcoholic drinks, smoking, etc helps reduce anxiety.

Conquering anxiety takes time indeed, but if the right therapy is applied in dealing with these cases, it can be cured. It all depends on the resiliency of the person. As said by Shelley “life is not how it’s supposed to be. It is the way it is. The way you cope up with it is what makes the difference.”

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

Phobia – The Know-How And Remedies

Almost all of us are afraid of something. It may be a person, a situation, an object or anything else. Fear and phobia are two terms that we link with the feeling of being scared. But are they the same?

Source:123rf.com

Scientifically, phobia starts where fear ends. Phobia is the clinical manifestation of fear that is categorized as a separate Anxiety Disorder and requires to be treated with different Types of Counseling; even if it’ starts out as free online counseling as mentioned in this article: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/get-free-online-therapy-should-you-use-free-counseling/.

For example, you are afraid of social gatherings. This is fear. But when this fear starts making you avoid important social functions and you feel an uncontrollable urge not to face people, this will surely be regarded as ‘phobia’.

Symptoms of Phobia

Phobia is way more severe than fear and requires professional guidance in order to recover. The symptoms of phobia are both physiological and psychological.

Physiological symptoms

  1. Sweating
  2. Rapid heartbeat and pulse
  3. Nausea
  4. Numbness of muscles
  5. Dry mouth

Psychological Symptoms

  1. Feeling anxious
  2. Wanting to run away from the situation/person/object that you fear
  3. The fear is beyond control
  4. The fear interferes with normal functioning, making the person preoccupied with thoughts about the object of fear.
  5. Feeling helpless when confronted with the object of fear.
Source:huffingtonpost.com

Types of Phobia

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) 5 has given 3 subtypes of phobia.

  1. Specific Phobia – It involves intense fear of specific things like dogs (cynophobia), heights (acrophobia), closed spaces (claustrophobia), etc.
  2. Social phobia – This involves intense fear of social situations and gatherings. The fear is unbearable and the sufferer deliberately becomes aloof from any social situation that would aggravate the fear.
  3. Agoraphobia – This is the fear for being in situations which are perceived hard to escape from.

 What causes Phobia

Source:healthtopia.net

There are several views about what causes phobia. While some researches emphasize on the role of upbringing and observational learning, some psychologists focus on the genetics and brain functions associated with developing phobia. No single cause is enough to make a person phobic – a combination of different factors are responsible, some of which are discussed below.

  1. Genetic studies suggest that anxiety runs in families. Those who have a family history of anxiety disorders are more likely to develop phobia than those who don’t.
  2. Phobia is often the result of observational learning. For example, a child who has always seen her mother scream at the sight of a cockroach, will grow up believing that cockroach is a thing to be scared of.
  3. There are also studies that indicate certain neurotransmitters like GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine to be associated with causing anxiety disorders like phobia or OCD.
  4. Unresolved conflicts at the subconscious levels can also manifest themselves as a phobia.

 Healing phobia

Source:bourgeon.co.uk

It is easy to criticize and make fun of the apparently illogical phobias. But for the sufferers, it brings huge distress and they feel helpless at the face of confronting their fear. Psychotherapy and medicine helps in a good prognosis and early diagnosis of phobia may result in complete cure. Some useful ways in treating phobia are discussed below.

  1. Medicinal treatment – Group of drugs called Benzodiazepines (anxiolytic drugs) are helpful in treating phobia. They balance the neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain and diminishes the effects of phobia on the person’s physical and mental health.
  2. Systematic Desensitization or Exposure Therapy –  This is the most popular technique of treating phobia. Here the person is slowly exposed to the object of fear and is trained to control his response. The therapist starts by making the person imagine the feared situation and progressively makes the client confront his fear under the therapist’s guidance. It is the most effective way of dealing with any phobia.
  3. Hypnotherapy – This is not a very conventional way for treating phobia nowadays. It is mainly used to help the person know his subconscious conflicts and help him fight with them to get rid of the phobia. Performed under the supervision of a hypnotherapist,  hypnosis uproots the cause permanently.

Phobia can have long-lasting effects in our lives. So never feed your fears ; face them, challenge them and never let your fear be bigger than your faith.

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

The ABCD of Managing Depression And The Benefits of Group Therapy

 

Source:theodysseyonline.com

Psychotherapeutic methods like Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, or Supportive Counseling are sometimes the best answers for depression management.

Depression is a condition that can be fully managed by a combination of psychotherapies, group therapy being an important one among them. People who suffer from depression often rely on ‘depression chat rooms’ where they have conversations with people who are in similar situation. This might not be the perfect replacement to speaking with a therapist, but it has proven helpful to an increasing number of people.

Continue reading “The ABCD of Managing Depression And The Benefits of Group Therapy” »

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

Social Media Anxiety And Ways To Recover From It

 

Source: static1.squarespace.com

 

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” – Erik Qualman.

Social media is the perfect way to communicate and keep in touch with friends. But the increasing need of being noticed and liked has created a vicious cycle whereby people are falling prey to. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) or The Fear of Being Online (FOBO) are common concerns that social media creates.

Different sites facilitating Strangers’ Chat are in trend now which have some obvious adverse effects. https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/chat/theres-no-harm-in-an-online-chat-with-strangers-or-is-there/. People have become so comfortable with virtual conversations that they feel anxious to get into real conversations. But this only generates from the fact that social media makes a person cut off from all real life communications and one tends to feel lonely. “There are a lot of patients that need to talk to somebody, “ says Dr. Barnett.

Continue reading “Social Media Anxiety And Ways To Recover From It” »

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

Avoiding Depression While Supporting A Depressed Person

Source: aarp.org

We all want to be a support person to others especially for people who are very dear to us like our family and friends. But when times get rough and we want to provide support or take care of them, how do we avoid falling into the trap of developing depression as well? How do we keep our sanity despite the day to day challenge of handling and interacting with them? Here are some of the helpful reminders which can ease up the burden of taking care of people with depression. Continue reading “Avoiding Depression While Supporting A Depressed Person” »

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

The Stigmas Surrounding Mental Health Disorders

Statistics and information made available by The World Health Organization show that mental health disorders are not uncommon and are widespread, yet, there are a large portion of individuals across the globe with mental health disorders who still fail to seek assistance and support due to the stigmas attached to these disorders. Mental health stigmas impose feelings of disgrace, shame on the individuals with these disorders and with the fear of being isolated or disgraced. Having to face judgment by others as well as being isolated by communities result in people not seeking professional assistance or support. In addition to the challenges of mental health disorders, having to endure the pressure and challenges resulting from these stigmas, while not having access to support will mean the individual will not find the balance needed to maintain good mental health, manage their disease and continue to live a happy, productive life. Continue reading “The Stigmas Surrounding Mental Health Disorders” »

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

Confessions Of A Panicked Mind

 

source: oprah.com

A typical Sunday for me in my twenties was to take a shower, hear mass and spend the rest of the day with my family and friends. I always look forward to Sundays when my mom would cook special meals for us and when surprise visits from relatives or friends take place. But there was one Sunday that I can never forget. A surprise visit that I wish never came.

It was the most cruel Sunday visitor.

I woke up one Sunday morning in October with a headache. Not the throbbing kind that I would usually get when I’m at work or when I would have to beat so many deadlines in one day. It was a dull, steady pain that I couldn’t tell where it’s coming from. The day went by and the headache didn’t go away.  When it was time to call it a night, as soon as I laid down the bed, it happened.

Continue reading “Confessions Of A Panicked Mind” »

therapy-is-not-just-for-the-mentally-unstable-2

Mental Health In The Workplace

 

Source: forbes.com

The workplace is one of the most diverse environments you will ever find and is one that encompasses a variety of races, gender, ethnic groups, age, personality and more. Finding balance starts with respect and the appreciation for these differences. But how does management deal with differences that are not physically or obviously visible like in the case of mental illness, one that already has such negative stigma attached to it? Continue reading “Mental Health In The Workplace” »