Welcome to the Dissociative Experiences Scale, A Screening Test for Dissociative Identity Disorder

http://counsellingresource.com/quizzes/misc-tests/des/

Advertisements
Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment

Gratitude is Good for You — Really!

Doing so may not always be easy, but empirical research suggests that being grateful can help foster an overall sense of well-being and happiness. Taking note of the many things we have to feel thankful about can play a highly constructive role in the development of our world view and our character.

In the United States, the holiday season kicks off with the celebration of Thanksgiving, a tradition that dates back to the early European settlers on the North American continent, grateful for the harvest and for the hospitality of the native inhabitants. This festive time has now become synonymous with giving thanks and counting one’s blessings. But I wonder how many know how good it is for one’s psychological health to recognize and express the things for which we can all be grateful.

In The Psychology of Gratitude [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK], Robert Emmons from the University of California at Davis points to the empirical research that demonstrates not only how positive an emotion gratitude is, but how instrumental it can be in promoting an overall sense of well-being and happiness. He also argues that taking note of the many things we have to feel thankful about can play a highly constructive role in the development of our world view and character. But getting to this positive frame of mind is often not very easy. We have to train ourselves, it seems, to recognize the good things that come our way and to be thankful for them. Nonetheless, it’s a most worthwhile undertaking, as he argues in another book, Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].

In my own book Character Disturbance [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK], I suggest that modern culture promotes a sense of entitlement, which makes it particularly challenging to develop a healthy sense of gratitude. I also make the case for the view that feelings of entitlement are necessarily toxic not only to personal development but also to interpersonal relations. I must confess that I was not very familiar with Professor Emmons’ work when I first developed “the ten commandments of character development” featured in it. But based on abundant case history research with individuals trying to solidify a positive and healthy sense of self, I was already convinced about how crucial it is to find a spot in one’s heart for this positive emotion when I exhorted:

Remember that you are not entitled to anything. Your very life is an unearned gift. Strive to be grateful for the many gifts you’ve received. Regard your life and the miracle of creation with appropriate awe and appreciation. Gratitude will enable you to develop a sense of obligation to value, preserve, and promote life and to respect all aspects of creation. Knowing how indebted you really are will keep you from feeling entitled.

Try Online Counseling: 7-Day FREE Trial

Whereas feelings of entitlement inevitably lead to irresponsible actions and bitter feelings when feeling “denied” satisfaction of one’s wants, gratitude begets a sense of reverence for life and a sense of well-being when we do our part to help sustain it. It’s hard to imagine a person with genuine awe and respect for the wonders of creation callously polluting and destructively consuming. Similarly, within the realm of human relations, it’s hard to imagine a person who really values life and the well-being of all treating another human being (or even an animal, for that matter) with callous or cruel indifference. So you see, gratitude is not just a nice thing to have. It’s something we really need to have to be genuinely healthy and whole.

Whether or not you live in a part of the world that incorporates “thanksgiving” into a ritual celebration, it’s helpful at this time of the year to pause and reflect on the many good things you have. Having struggled with some significant health issues in the past few months, I know intimately just how important this is. And although it was a formidable struggle at times, all I really had to do to feel better was to think for a few moments on the many blessings I enjoy. I have my family and friends. I have the love and support of many. And I’ve been given the experience of another day on this incredible planet. In truth, I have it all, even though I didn’t earn a single minute of it. Knowing that, and savoring it on the deepest level, I am truly well.

Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment

Gratitude: A Matter of Attitude

Dr George Simon, PhD

Being a more grateful person is a good way to become a happier person. In fact, gratitude can positively impact any number of our emotions. Unlike some other things in life that have the power to pick up our spirits for a time (like trying new and exciting things, getting a raise, receiving an unexpected gift, etc.), cultivating a thankful heart produces results that can last a lifetime. Being grateful is good for our social life, too. When we carry a grateful attitude, we tend to be nicer, more receptive and accommodating, and more appreciative of our friends, relatives, and associates. In turn, doing such things generally translates into people liking us more, wanting to be around us and do more things with us, and being more generally inclined to show kindness to us — a really positive, energizing cycle of relationship enhancement. Gratitude is also good for our physical health, helping us be less worried or anxious and helping us keep a positive emotional balance and a positive mood. Being grateful has benefits to our overall personality and character development. The more grateful we are, the less self-conscious and materialistic, and the more self affirming and optimistic we’re likely to be, all of which helps us to be a better person. (I speak to this very issue in the section of my book Character Disturbance [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK] devoted to character development.)

The plethora of evidence is pretty clear: gratitude really is good for you, and apparently on many levels and in countless ways. So it would appear in our best interest to cultivate a greater sense of thankfulness. But how do you go about making yourself feel grateful, especially when things aren’t going the way you’d like? Can you really nurture grateful feelings? Is gratitude really a matter of attitude?

One of the principal tenets of cognitive-behavioral psychology is that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are inextricably interconnected. While many professionals have come to appreciate how much what we think and feel influences how we act, I’ve been one of the few long emphasizing how much what we do can influence our emotions and our beliefs (see “Putting the “B” Back into Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy”). If we really want to change our attitude, one place to start is with our behavior. So, if we want to have a more grateful heart, it’s incumbent upon us to act more grateful — even when it isn’t all that easy to do so. To better accomplish that, there are some concrete steps we can take:

Make a list.
There’s wisdom in the adage that advises to “count your blessings.” Journaling all the things you have to be thankful for is a great way to keep yourself aware of why you should be grateful. You can take your “gratitude inventory” mentally as well. Just remember to take the time to do it and to do so often.
Frame things in the positive.
Put a positive “spin” on things, even those things that it’s hard to see the good in. Looking on the “bright side” can keep you from becoming down on life and down on yourself as well.
Say and give thanks at every opportunity.
The small things count here. Let the waiter at the restaurant know how much you appreciated their service. Tell the store clerk how happy you are they had just what you needed. Let the kids know how much you appreciated their efforts to tidy up their rooms. Expressing thankfulness is a good way to engender grateful feelings.
Dare not to compare.
Resist the temptation to compare yourself or your situation to others. Despite how things might appear on the surface, no one’s life is perfect and everyone has unique gifts and blessings. Thinking how much more fortunate someone else is can make you feel cheated and deprived. Focus on the unique person you are and the special things you’ve been given and you’ll find yourself feeling more grateful.

Try Online Counseling: 7-Day FREE Trial

This is the time of the year when many folks reflect on their lives and all that they have. It can be a lonely and depressing time for those who’ve been struggling or have suffered tragic losses or other misfortunes. It’s understandable that such folks might have a hard time finding things for which to feel grateful. But because gratitude is mostly about attitude, and because our attitude can be shaped by our behavior, it’s important that we do our best to act gratefully, even when we’re not feeling too inclined to do so. Behaving gratefully can help us feel more thankful. As we know from abundant research, the benefits of being grateful are many.

Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment

Success Mindset Positive Affirmations

Present Tense Affirmations
I am successful
I am motivated at all times to work hard
I am possessed with the success mindset
I am a natural positive thinker
I am a highly focused individual
I always succeed
I find it easy to work hard
I can set goals and make sure I reach them
I just naturally find it easy to put together a step by step plan to reaching my goals
I naturally attract success

 

Future Tense Affirmations
I am becoming more hungry for success by the day
I will become successful
I am finding myself more focused
I am turning into someone who is highly motivated
I am becoming someone who always takes action
I will set goals and reach them
I will develop strong self-discipline
I am turning into someone who goes after what they want
I am transforming into someone who naturally attracts success
I will always do what I need to do

 

Natural Affirmations
Taking action comes naturally to me
I have an unshakable self-belief in myself
I am succesful at everything I do
Being succesful is my natural rite
Achieving my goals is the greatest thing ever
I love hard work
Being an action taker has gotten me far in life
People see me as someone who is successful
People look up to me as someone who goes for what they want
I find it easy to take action
Posted in Affirmations | Leave a comment

OCD: A Case History A Young Man’s Story

At the time of writing, I am fourteen years of age, and can confidently say that I�ve been through the dissatisfaction (to say the least) of a form of Obsessive Compulsive Behavioral Disorder (OCBD). The reason I say this with relief is that I am getting over it – something I could never have thought of just a fortnight ago. OCBD is a psychological annoyance which combines a number of dis-benefits. I speak from my personal experience in the following pages, and the knowledge I have gathered along the way.

 

I live in the UK, and have for some years had an �obsessive behavior� continuously going backwards and forwards. For example, I might be walking down the street, and I felt as if I had to got back. I would type on the keyboard and delete it and retype it. People noticed this, particularly my Mum, who offered to help, she tried to help, she �threatened� to take me to the doctors. But would I listen? No. I felt as if I could overcome the problem on my own. So why did I do it? Well, at the time of me getting this problem, it was because I felt that bad would happen if I didn�t go back. Silly looking back on it now. I can laugh it off. But the evolving problem was, to my ignorance, to get intolerably worse. I didn�t want to see a doctor, as you wouldn�t think there was particularly much wrong yourself, would you? It seemed just like a bad habit.

 

About a year ago, the problem, after dying down a little, worsened and worsened to the extent that, about a month ago, I felt so fed up, depressed and bad with the problem that I couldn�t go into town, I couldn�t go out, and even getting out of bed was a hassle. At this point, the problem had evolved to me having bad, and unwanted thoughts (not like schizophrenia, or however it is spelled. I had them obsessively, but they were �mine�). At one time, I felt as if I had to tell my Mum these thoughts to be truthful to her, but as I realized that I could cope with this, the problem worsened. I now felt as if I had to go through the numerical combinations of these thoughts to my mother, and as though I was making other people go through them by doing things, and so I felt I had to tell her them. So the problem got to the peak where I felt as though when I though the word �everything� (which might have implemented going through the combinations) I had to go back to the physical position I was in when I said this, and adjoin the words �to do with nothing� to this. Stupid. Until you�re experiencing the problem yourself.

 

So, at about a month ago, you�re saying, �what did I do?�? Well, I agreed to see the G.P., who referred me onto a specialist. Long wait, but I got to see her. Funny looking lady – big glasses, sat in weird positions – but not half as weird as the students sat by her, I tell you! The good that came out of that one session was a recommendation for the prescription of Prozac. To tell you the truth, I was scared of taking the syrup. A long list of side affects – basically including aches, pains, tiredness, sickness, heart failure, etc.. – were warned of, but none arrived particularly. A fortnight on, I can agree that Prozac is something of a wonder drug. Others say it, too; it�s partially designed to stop OCD – which came to my surprise. Prozac stops or encourages the dispersion of chemicals in the brain, something which gives me the idea that adolescence has something to do with my case. I�m 14, you see.

 

Now I can look back at the problem and say that it could have made me a stronger, more understanding personality, but I�m new to taking the drug and all I can say so far is that it�s worked. I can cycle to town, type freely; they all sound easy, but when you have this problem, you understand it�s an achievement of recovery – the road to which I am now on.

 

A Mother’s Story – One Year On

 

x was off Prozac a month later, but miraculously the problem still seemed much under control. Looking back I can say that x’s OCD was probably one of the worst periods of his and his family’s life. It affected every one of us in one way or another and I can sincerely sympathize with anyone trying to cope with this problem.

I’ve added this bit on to offer encouragement and hope for anyone else with OCD. At the time it seems as though it will go on forever, and the light at the end of the tunnel is not even visible. But it CAN improve. I wouldn’t say x doesn’t have problems even now, but he seems to be coping with them the best way he can. We have long periods of ‘normal’ behavior and at the moment his social life has never been better, it has improved a thousand-fold. He still does odd things (for want of a better word), but they don’t seem to bother him as much. I think his breakthrough came, not with Prozac but the counseling that he was given and the important step he took of writing his story (above).

Three Years On

 

(Touch wood) I’m happy to report that we survived what can only be described as a living nightmare and three years on x is a well-adjusted 17 year old who is studying A levels and learning to drive. He has found his niche in life and I have every confidence that he will be extremely successful in the future. If anyone reading this account is living with someone with OCD then please be assured, it CAN be overcome. Maybe not completely but certainly to the point where life seems more bearable. I still think that the counseling helped far more than any drugs could have ever done but I know from experience that this condition affects the whole family in one way or another and that at the time you think things will never improve. Well, they do.

Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder A Self-Test

Over 3 million Americans suffer from OCD in any given year, so Obsessive-Compulsive disorders are far from uncommon. Read the symptoms below; and if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the issues mentioned, you may have some form of OCD:

 

  • Do you feel trapped in a pattern of unwanted and upsetting thoughts?
  • Do you feel you have to do the same things over again for no good reason?
  • I have upsetting thoughts or images enter my mind again and again.
  • I feel like I can�t stop these thoughts or images, even though I want to.
  • I have a hard time stopping myself from doing things again and again, like: counting, checking on things, washing my hands, re-arranging objects, doing things until it feels right, collecting useless objects.
  • I worry a lot about terrible things that could happen if I�m not careful.
  • I have unwanted urges to hurt someone but know I never would.
Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment

OCD: A Case History A Young Man’s Story

At the time of writing, I am fourteen years of age, and can confidently say that I�ve been through the dissatisfaction (to say the least) of a form of Obsessive Compulsive Behavioral Disorder (OCBD). The reason I say this with relief is that I am getting over it – something I could never have thought of just a fortnight ago. OCBD is a psychological annoyance which combines a number of dis-benefits. I speak from my personal experience in the following pages, and the knowledge I have gathered along the way.

 

I live in the UK, and have for some years had an �obsessive behavior� continuously going backwards and forwards. For example, I might be walking down the street, and I felt as if I had to got back. I would type on the keyboard and delete it and retype it. People noticed this, particularly my Mum, who offered to help, she tried to help, she �threatened� to take me to the doctors. But would I listen? No. I felt as if I could overcome the problem on my own. So why did I do it? Well, at the time of me getting this problem, it was because I felt that bad would happen if I didn�t go back. Silly looking back on it now. I can laugh it off. But the evolving problem was, to my ignorance, to get intolerably worse. I didn�t want to see a doctor, as you wouldn�t think there was particularly much wrong yourself, would you? It seemed just like a bad habit.

 

About a year ago, the problem, after dying down a little, worsened and worsened to the extent that, about a month ago, I felt so fed up, depressed and bad with the problem that I couldn�t go into town, I couldn�t go out, and even getting out of bed was a hassle. At this point, the problem had evolved to me having bad, and unwanted thoughts (not like schizophrenia, or however it is spelled. I had them obsessively, but they were �mine�). At one time, I felt as if I had to tell my Mum these thoughts to be truthful to her, but as I realized that I could cope with this, the problem worsened. I now felt as if I had to go through the numerical combinations of these thoughts to my mother, and as though I was making other people go through them by doing things, and so I felt I had to tell her them. So the problem got to the peak where I felt as though when I though the word �everything� (which might have implemented going through the combinations) I had to go back to the physical position I was in when I said this, and adjoin the words �to do with nothing� to this. Stupid. Until you�re experiencing the problem yourself.

 

So, at about a month ago, you�re saying, �what did I do?�? Well, I agreed to see the G.P., who referred me onto a specialist. Long wait, but I got to see her. Funny looking lady – big glasses, sat in weird positions – but not half as weird as the students sat by her, I tell you! The good that came out of that one session was a recommendation for the prescription of Prozac. To tell you the truth, I was scared of taking the syrup. A long list of side affects – basically including aches, pains, tiredness, sickness, heart failure, etc.. – were warned of, but none arrived particularly. A fortnight on, I can agree that Prozac is something of a wonder drug. Others say it, too; it�s partially designed to stop OCD – which came to my surprise. Prozac stops or encourages the dispersion of chemicals in the brain, something which gives me the idea that adolescence has something to do with my case. I�m 14, you see.

 

Now I can look back at the problem and say that it could have made me a stronger, more understanding personality, but I�m new to taking the drug and all I can say so far is that it�s worked. I can cycle to town, type freely; they all sound easy, but when you have this problem, you understand it�s an achievement of recovery – the road to which I am now on.

 

A Mother’s Story – One Year On

 

x was off Prozac a month later, but miraculously the problem still seemed much under control. Looking back I can say that x’s OCD was probably one of the worst periods of his and his family’s life. It affected every one of us in one way or another and I can sincerely sympathize with anyone trying to cope with this problem.

I’ve added this bit on to offer encouragement and hope for anyone else with OCD. At the time it seems as though it will go on forever, and the light at the end of the tunnel is not even visible. But it CAN improve. I wouldn’t say x doesn’t have problems even now, but he seems to be coping with them the best way he can. We have long periods of ‘normal’ behavior and at the moment his social life has never been better, it has improved a thousand-fold. He still does odd things (for want of a better word), but they don’t seem to bother him as much. I think his breakthrough came, not with Prozac but the counseling that he was given and the important step he took of writing his story (above).

Three Years On

 

(Touch wood) I’m happy to report that we survived what can only be described as a living nightmare and three years on x is a well-adjusted 17 year old who is studying A levels and learning to drive. He has found his niche in life and I have every confidence that he will be extremely successful in the future. If anyone reading this account is living with someone with OCD then please be assured, it CAN be overcome. Maybe not completely but certainly to the point where life seems more bearable. I still think that the counseling helped far more than any drugs could have ever done but I know from experience that this condition affects the whole family in one way or another and that at the time you think things will never improve. Well, they do.

Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (or OCD), as categorized by the DSM-IV, is an anxiety disorder. It is characterised by the obsessive need to perform some task. These tasks are often known as rituals. Note that the DSM-IV Axis II Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is considerably different from Obsessive-compulsive disorder, and is often what people mean when they refer to somebody as “obsessive-compulsive”.
Today it is well-accepted that OCD is much more common than was thought previously. Typically 2�3 % of the general population is believed to have OCD or OCD-like symptoms.

 

In many cases the task that an OCD sufferer does may seem simple to the layperson, but the sufferer feels that they must perform it in some particular way for fear of dire consequences. Examples might include checking that one has locked one’s car many times over before leaving it parked, or turning the lights on and off a set number of times every time one leaves a room. Such a person, when addicted to cigarettes, may argue that they can only quit smoking on the 13th or 27th of each month, and only when they possess four cigarettes at noon. Some people who have OCD may be completely aware that such obsessions are not rational, but feel bound to comply with them because otherwise they suffer from panic or irrational dread.

 

Obsessions are ideas that the person cannot stop thinking about. These are often fears about getting a disease, getting hurt, or causing harm to someone. The main features of obsessions are that they are automatic, frequent, upsetting or distressing, and difficult to control or get rid of. Compulsions refer to actions that the person performs, usually repeatedly, in an attempt to make the obsession go away. These are often cleansing or avoidance actions. Common compulsions include excessive washing and cleaning, checking, repetitive actions such as touching, counting, arranging and ordering, hoarding, ritualistic behaviours that lessen the chances of provoking an obsession. Compulsions can be observable actions, for example washing, but they can also be mental rituals such as, repeating words or phrases, counting, or saying a prayer.

 

Causes and related disorders

Recent research has revealed a possible genetic mutation that could be the cause of OCD. Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found a mutation in the human serotonin transporter gene, hSERT, in unrelated families with OCD.

 

Violence is rare among OCD sufferers, but the disorder is often debilitating to the quality of life. Also, the psychological self-awareness of the irrationality of the disorder can be painful. For people with severe OCD, it may take several hours a day to carry out the compulsive acts. More often, they avoid certain situations or places altogether.

 

Some people with OCD also suffer from other conditions such as Tourette syndrome, attention deficit disorder, trichotillomania, hypochondria or Pure Obsessional OCD (rumination).

Treatment

OCD can be treated with a variety of anti-depressants, such as Anafranil, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Luvox, and Anafranil. Some medications like Gabapentin have also been found to be useful in the treatement of OCD. Symptoms tend to return, however, once the drugs are discontinued. There are claims that long-term remission of symptoms has been achieved without medications through cognitive-behavioral therapy making use of the principles of extinction and habituation.

 

Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment

A Guide to Overcoming Phobias: Treating

Treatments for Phobias and Panic

There are many different approaches to treating phobias and the resulting panic that follows and some will be more effective than others depending on the individual.

If you are suffering from a phobia then you could try any of the methods outlined to see which one works for you. Because there are so many different types of phobia, we’ll give you one specific example, followed by another one to see how you can adapt this method to suit yourself.

 

Desensitization

 

Let’s take an easy one first – a fear of spiders. To desensitize yourself you could begin by finding a photograph or a picture of a spider and focusing on it for a few seconds, gradually building up to looking a the picture for five or more minutes.

 

When you feel comfortable with this, the next stage is to watch a film or a video (perhaps a nature program) with spiders in.

You could, perhaps arrange a trip to a natural history museum where stationery spiders are on display and progress to a wildlife centre where you can watch spiders (under glass), as they move about.

 

The next stage has to be the imaginary scene where you relax and think about a spider harmlessly scuttling around. When you are comfortable about this you can imagine picking one up or placing a glass over the spider and sliding a piece of card underneath it to rescue it and place it in a safe place outdoors.

 

As you progress you will finally expose yourself to a spider (by expose, I don’t mean that you’ll strip off, of course) – and will be able to pick one up, using either of the imagined methods you’ve previously visualized.

 

Adapting the Method

 

The same principle would apply to someone suffering from, for example, a fear of flying or a fear of heights.

 

You could begin by looking at photographs or pictures of airplanes or a view from a very high building and gradually progress to watching a film of the same object or situation to imagining flying on an airplane or being in a tall building or on a long flight of steps or an escalator (whatever the worst scenario was).

 

Note: Desensitization when used in conjunction with psychological treatment doesn’t usually involve exposing oneself to the phobic stimuli in one session – it can take place over a number of weeks or even months.

Flooding

 

As the name suggests, flooding means being subjected the maximum exposure of the phobic stimuli in order to produce the conditioned response and dissipate any fear. This could be carried out with someone who had a fear of crowds, for example. They may be accompanied by a ‘helper’ who would stay at a comfortable to reassure the sufferer if need be.

 

Once it was realized that nothing awful was going to happen the fear should subside and the sufferer realizes that the fear is groundless. Likewise, our fear of spiders subject could be given maximum exposure to a roomful of jour eight legged friends until she realizes that she is safe and in control of the situation.

 

NLP

 

Practitioners of NLP use specific language patterns that communicate unconsciously to the subject. One of their main tenets of thought is that no-one is broken – we all have the internal resources to help ourselves.

 

A Fast Phobic Release program might involve the subject being asked to imagine the spider as looking quite ridiculous, for example, wearing a big hat and sunglasses, hobbling around on one leg and holding onto the rest, or carrying crutches. This method brings humour into the situation and helps to release the fear.

Another method might be to have the victim imagine the spider on a screen and turn down the brightness, size and intensity of the image, have it float up into the corner of the screen and project a more positive image into the centre. They would then use a ‘swish’ technique to replace any further images of spiders to the more desired one.

 

 

Hypnosis

 

Hypnotherapists use different approaches to eliminating phobic responses. One method, known as Suggestion Therapy would be similar to the NLP method, by hypnotizing the subject into a relaxed state and offering suggestions to the subconscious mind that they are totally comfortable in whatever the phobic situation is.

For example, someone with a fear of flying could be directed to find a ‘safe place’ before embarking on a flight. Knowing they can return to this safe place at any time, they would be taken on an imaginary journey, commencing with purchasing the tickets for a holiday abroad, imagining themselves at home preparing for the journey, arriving at the airport, embarking the plane and eventually flying and feeling comfortable about it.

 

If at any time, an signs of anxiety were apparent, the subject can be taken back to the safe place.

Regression

This method aims to remove the original cause of the anxiety by taking the subject back to when the anxiety was initially felt.

One method is to use an ‘Affect Bridge’ whereby the subject is instructed to remember the last time she experienced such fear and trace it back the initial event. Another method would involve setting up signals with subject’s subconscious mind and asking questions about when the fear was first experienced, taking them back to that original event and reframing it or reassuring the subject.

 

Example

 

An elderly lady had been afraid of flying for most of her life. Questioning her subconscious mind during hypnosis, revealed that this was not entirely her own fear, but had begun when she saw a photograph of her father, who himself suffered from a fear of flying, having a panic attack on an airplane. This had affected her so much that she ‘inherited’ her father’s fear and made it her own. It was not until, many years later, when this lady was able to see cause of her fear, she was able to release it.

 

Self Hypnosis and Affirmations

 

The easiest way to learn self hypnosis is to be hypnotized and receive a post hypnotic suggestion that you will be able to enter the hypnotic state at a given signal. This involves going into a trance state and giving yourself affirmations in the present tense, for example – I feel comfortable in the presence of strangers, I remain calm and relaxed whenever I see a spider, and so on.

 

The Affirmation can itself be turned into a symbol which the subject focuses on whilst inducing self hypnosis. This method involves creating a nonsense symbol (something he or she will not consciously recognize), perhaps made through writing a sentence on the desired outcome and eliminating all repeated letters and vowels, then combining them into an image of sorts. Because the symbol is illogical the subconscious mind can accept the meaning behind it without interference from the conscious, thinking mind.

 

Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment

Depression Causes of Depression

Some types of depression run in families, suggesting that a biological vulnerability can be inherited. This seems to be the case with bipolar disorder. Studies of families in which members of each generation develop bipolar disorder found that those with the illness have a somewhat different genetic makeup than those who do not get ill. However, the reverse is not true: Not everybody with the genetic makeup that causes vulnerability to bipolar disorder will have the illness. Apparently additional factors, possibly stresses at home, work, or school, are involved in its onset.

 

In some families, major depression also seems to occur generation after generation. However, it can also occur in people who have no family history of depression. Whether inherited or not, major depressive disorder is often associated with changes in brain structures or brain function.

 

People who have low self-esteem, who consistently view themselves and the world with pessimism or who are readily overwhelmed by stress, are prone to depression. Whether this represents a psychological predisposition or an early form of the illness is not clear.

 

In recent years, researchers have shown that physical changes in the body can be accompanied by mental changes as well. Medical illnesses such as stroke, a heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and hormonal disorders can cause depressive illness, making the sick person apathetic and unwilling to care for his or her physical needs, thus prolonging the recovery period. Also, a serious loss, difficult relationship, financial problem, or any stressful (unwelcome or even desired) change in life patterns can trigger a depressive episode. Very often, a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors is involved in the onset of a depressive disorder. Later episodes of illness typically are precipitated by only mild stresses, or none at all.

 

 

Depression in Women

Women experience depression about twice as often as men.1 Many hormonal factors may contribute to the increased rate of depression in women�particularly such factors as menstrual cycle changes, pregnancy, miscarriage, postpartum period, pre-menopause, and menopause. Many women also face additional stresses such as responsibilities both at work and home, single parenthood, and caring for children and for aging parents.

 

A recent NIMH study showed that in the case of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), women with a preexisting vulnerability to PMS experienced relief from mood and physical symptoms when their sex hormones were suppressed. Shortly after the hormones were re-introduced, they again developed symptoms of PMS. Women without a history of PMS reported no effects of the hormonal manipulation.

 

Many women are also particularly vulnerable after the birth of a baby. The hormonal and physical changes, as well as the added responsibility of a new life, can be factors that lead to postpartum depression in some women. While transient “blues” are common in new mothers, a full-blown depressive episode is not a normal occurrence and requires active intervention. Treatment by a sympathetic physician and the family’s emotional support for the new mother are prime considerations in aiding her to recover her physical and mental well-being and her ability to care for and enjoy the infant.

 

Depression in Men

 

Although men are less likely to suffer from depression than women, 3 to 4 million men in the United States are affected by the illness. Men are less likely to admit to depression, and doctors are less likely to suspect it. The rate of suicide in men is four times that of women, though more women attempt it. In fact, after age 70, the rate of men’s suicide rises, reaching a peak after age 85.

Depression can also affect the physical health in men differently from women. A new study shows that, although depression is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in both men and women, only men suffer a high death rate.

 

Men’s depression is often masked by alcohol or drugs, or by the socially acceptable habit of working excessively long hours. Depression typically shows up in men not as feeling hopeless and helpless, but as being irritable, angry, and discouraged; hence, depression may be difficult to recognize as such in men. Even if a man realizes that he is depressed, he may be less willing than a woman to seek help. Encouragement and support from concerned family members can make a difference. In the workplace, employee assistance professionals or worksite mental health programs can be of assistance in helping men understand and accept depression as a real illness that needs treatment.

 

Depression in the Elderly

Some people have the mistaken idea that it is normal for the elderly to feel depressed. On the contrary, most older people feel satisfied with their lives. Sometimes, though, when depression develops, it may be dismissed as a normal part of aging. Depression in the elderly, undiagnosed and untreated, causes needless suffering for the family and for the individual who could otherwise live a fruitful life. When he or she does go to the doctor, the symptoms described are usually physical, for the older person is often reluctant to discuss feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities, or extremely prolonged grief after a loss.

 

Recognizing how depressive symptoms in older people are often missed, many health care professionals are learning to identify and treat the underlying depression. They recognize that some symptoms may be side effects of medication the older person is taking for a physical problem, or they may be caused by a co-occurring illness. If a diagnosis of depression is made, treatment with medication and/or psychotherapy will help the depressed person return to a happier, more fulfilling life. Recent research suggests that brief psychotherapy (talk therapies that help a person in day-to-day relationships or in learning to counter the distorted negative thinking that commonly accompanies depression) is effective in reducing symptoms in short-term depression in older persons who are medically ill. Psychotherapy is also useful in older patients who cannot or will not take medication. Efficacy studies show that late-life depression can be treated with psychotherapy.

 

Improved recognition and treatment of depression in late life will make those years more enjoyable and fulfilling for the depressed elderly person, the family, and caretakers.

 

Depression in Children

Only in the past two decades has depression in children been taken very seriously. The depressed child may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that the parent may die. Older children may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative, grouchy, and feel misunderstood. Because normal behaviors vary from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether a child is just going through a temporary “phase” or is suffering from depression. Sometimes the parents become worried about how the child’s behavior has changed, or a teacher mentions that “your child doesn’t seem to be himself.” In such a case, if a visit to the child’s pediatrician rules out physical symptoms, the doctor will probably suggest that the child be evaluated, preferably by a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of children. If treatment is needed, the doctor may suggest that another therapist, usually a social worker or a psychologist, provide therapy while the psychiatrist will oversee medication if it is needed. Parents should not be afraid to ask questions: What are the therapist’s qualifications? What kind of therapy will the child have? Will the family as a whole participate in therapy? Will my child’s therapy include an antidepressant? If so, what might the side effects be?

 

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has identified the use of medications for depression in children as an important area for research. The NIMH-supported Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPPs) form a network of seven research sites where clinical studies on the effects of medications for mental disorders can be conducted in children and adolescents. Among the medications being studied are antidepressants, some of which have been found to be effective in treating children with depression, if properly monitored by the child’s physician.

Posted in News & updates | Leave a comment