Therapy That Works...

The Epidemic of Addicted Women - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 22, 2010

Knowing When To Call A Marriage Quits - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here's a link to Dr Sylvia's appearance on CBS 11 yesterday!

Watch It Here

Why Sex Isn't So Important To Women - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Addicted Moms - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Addicted Moms

CBS 11 News

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

The number of women ages 30 to 44 who report abusing alcohol has doubled over the past decade, while prescription drug abuse has sky rocked 400%, according to a federal study. But most addicted women hide their secret well – often, with disastrous results. Here to tell us more is psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Why would young successful women begin down the long road of addiction?

No one who becomes addicted intends to end up addicted. But substance abuse among young mothers is becoming an ugly reality since the stress on this generation of women has never been greater. Most importantly, no one ever considers that a busy, engaged mom in the prime of life may actually have a serious addiction. Here’s why:

More Stress, Less Time: More women with young kids hold down full time jobs and they are the most sleep-deprived part of our society. A sleepy brain is a stressed brain. Addictions begin when we use something to bridge the gap or take the edge off of your daily stress.

Escape Hatch: Substance abuse gives you an escape. Most abused drugs and alcohol create intense feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Self-confidence soars, energy expands and the worries and challenges of a busy life are gone.

Depression and Anxiety Epidemics: Depression is ten times more prevalent than it was fifty years ago and it strikes a decade earlier than it did a generation ago. Women have twice the rates of depression as men and addictions give them a temporary reprieve from their misery.

Women Drinking in Groups: “Girls Night Out” has become a national, normalized ritual in our society. But a whole lot of drinking also goes on during these female-bonding events.

Long Standing Problem: Most substance abuse begins in adolescence or in college when there is rampant binge drinking and the young woman carries the problem forward into her social life as a young mother.

Is alcohol addiction more dangerous for a woman than for a man?

Alcohol More Harmful for Women: Women get drunker faster than men, become addicted quicker and develop health problems related to abuse such as liver cirrhosis, hypertension, anemia and malnutrition.

Violence Tied to Substance Abuse: The link between sexual assaults such as rape and alcohol is well established. Seventy five percent of rapes and seventy percent of domestic violence involves alcohol.

Pregnancy Always an Issue: One out of five pregnant women uses drugs, drinks or smokes with irreversible damage to her unborn child.

Drinking Correlated with Eating Disorders: Many women are obsessed with their weight and prefer to drink rather than eat a healthy diet. Since 40% of American women are on a diet at any given moment, many women substitute alcohol for regular meals and good nutrition, and they end up harming their bodies.

Alcohol Poisons the Woman: The effects of alcohol on a woman’s body linger months after she stops drinking. In fact, studies find that alcohol damages a woman’s brain structure and function in lasting and measurable ways. Although women drink less than men, death rates among alcoholic women are almost 100% higher than among their male counterparts.

Are there stages to addiction?

Absolutely there are and the addiction progresses through very predictable steps as the woman surrenders her life to the addiction.

Internal Shift: The woman begins to turn toward behavior that is relieving her stress. Getting high is fun and it changes her mood for the better in the beginning. She denies how dangerous her usage is as she begins to betray others and herself with repeated use.

Lifestyle Change: A behavioral dependency on the alcohol or drug now emerges. Her life is altered to accommodate the addiction even if she becomes reckless and self-destructive. She moves deeper into the sabotaging behavior as she builds her life around getting high.

Her Life Destructs: The addiction has now taken over. The woman relies on getting high and ignores or rationalizes the destructive aspects of her behavior. At this point, nothing matters to the addict but the acquisition of the substance. The obsession with the addiction causes a trance state. People don’t matter, commitments don’t count, and honesty isn’t even a part of the conversation.

Cannot Stop: She believes that she cannot stop. New brain imaging technology now shows that there are significant changes in the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory and behavioral control. These changes compromise the brain architecture and cause the compulsive slide into addiction.

What can we do if we are worried about a woman in our life?

Whenever you see any kind of irrational, highly self-destructive behavior that just doesn’t add up, there is usually some kind of addictive behavior behind it. Secrecy, deceit, and the systematic betrayal of the trust of others are all hallmarks of this disorder. Addictions often manifest very differently in women than in men with addicted women reporting more depression, anxiety and low self esteem.

Make a plan, enlist a team of loving friends and family and intervene directly and quickly. Happily, addiction treatment is highly effective and lasting so be encouraged that you are saving her life. She’ll thank you for it once she is sober and safe again.

Sources:

The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University: Report on Substance Abuse and the American Woman, June 1996

Women Under the influence, by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University omen under the Influence

Alcoholism Hurts Women Neuropsychologically Almost the Same as it Hurts Men: Deficits Linger Months into Abstinence, APA, January 20, 2002

Addicted Moms: Everybody Knows Somebody, WorkingMother.com

The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Drugs, Brains, and Behavior - The Science of Addiction"

What To Do About Post-Partum Depression - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 08, 2010

How To Spot Post-Partum Depression - By Chris Gearing

Friday, November 05, 2010

Why Women Shrug Off Lousy Sex - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Naked Truth: Why Women Shrug Off Lousy Sex

Does sexual satisfaction really matter to women? A new study from the University Texas says not so much—especially if you’re in a happy marriage!

So, are women just putting up with less desirable sex than they used to?

Accepting Apathy: I think there is an epidemic of low sex and no sex marriages in America and this study illustrates that a lot of women are just accepting unsatisfying sex or even no sex in their marriage.

Sexually Inhibited: According to research, inhibited sexual desire is the biggest sex problem facing couples and the number one reason they seek sexual therapy. One in three women and one in seven men report inhibited sexual desire and the lack of interest can be devastating for a marriage.

Critical For Marriage: Twenty percent of American marriages fall into the category of no sex marriages with another fifteen percent in the low sex category. The lack of sex can rob a marriage of up to 70% of its vitality and can shatter an otherwise good relationship.

Now, interest in sex is often difficult for women to sustain when they’re carting kids around and working a full time job. Women are commonly shown in films and on television as not enjoying or even outright avoiding sex. But do women really not care that much about sex anymore?

Sex Is Not Just For Men: I think women are much more sexually interested than anyone gives them credit for, but women define their interest in sex very differently than men. In my experience, men are much more regularly aroused and interested in sex, but women have a much higher capability for desire and euphoric pleasure! Both genders enjoy and want sex, but just in different ways.

Many Factors Motivate Women: This new study reminds us that sex is very contextual for a woman. Factors such as connection to her partner, body image, emotional openness, and even just how her day was, all contribute to her desire. This new study very strongly reinforces how much a woman cares about sex depends centrally on the state of her relationship.

Happy Relationships, Less Sex: If she’s happy, she’s not so concerned about sex since she’s still connecting to her partner in other, non sexual ways. So in relationships that have more trust and openness, sex doesn’t assume such a central place. However, as a longtime psychologist, I think sexually starved relationships, for whatever reason, are in danger. Sex is an essential part of both physical, emotional, and romantic intimacy – there’s no getting around it.

High Anxiety: For women who are very stressed out about the relationship—insecure, jealous, or just “not feeling the love”--sex is much more important. Sex is soothing to the woman since it allows her to achieve a connection and soothe her anxiety. However, this pattern isn’t entirely healthy either since sex is substituted for emotional intimacy and connection. You can have a hollow marriage but great sex.

Sex is a central part of any romantic relationship and is essential for both emotional and physical intimacy. However, many couples fall into a pattern of going without or even avoiding sex!

Once this pattern gets going, it is much harder to overcome. Couples begin to redefine the relationship as asexual and relegate their partner to a companion instead of a lover and a partner.

There are two obstacles that stand in the way:

Motivation: The first one is motivation. Research shows that if the sexual disconnect does not clear up in six months, it is much less likely to ever resolve. Rediscover your partner and why you love them - reconnect emotionally to reconnect physically.

Anger: The next biggest factor is anger, especially for women. We have twice the emotional memory and we are renowned for holding onto grudges. Withholding sex or avoiding sex can be vengeful in a marriage and it is usually a female reaction. However, men have been known to avoid the bedroom if they are angry.

Sound familiar? Guys, here’s what you can do to physically reconnect with your partner today:

Take The Time: Sex is very emotionally based for women. She must connect to become vulnerable. Take the time to make her feel special and connected to you.

Conversation is Foreplay: Women love words and they love to talk so conversation is foreplay. I know it’s tough guys but even light conversation is good – ask her about her day or how her presentation went!

Emotional Intelligence Is Critical: Women want to be understood, engage in validation of their feelings, and create narratives about their lives. Most importantly, trust, safety, and understanding are central aphrodisiacs for a woman.

Try A Little Tenderness: When all else fails, try a little tenderness—in touch, words, and deeds. Life is hard and she wants you to be her “port in the storm.” Try holding her close and telling her that it’s all going to be OK.

Do Women Care About Lousy Sex Lives? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Watch my live appearance on CBS today discussing why many happily married women don't really care if they have a lousy sex life.

Watch It Here

Here's the link

http://video.dallas.cbslocal.com/global/video/popup/pop_playerLaunch.asp?vt1=v&clipFormat=flv&clipId1=5254336&at1=Health&h1=Is

What To Do About Post-Partum Depression - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 01, 2010

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that pediatricians routinely screen all new mothers for depression. Every year more than 400,000 babies are born to depressed women and that's not just bad for moms, but can also harm their babies. Research shows babies with depressed mothers show developmental and social delays.

But how widespread is post partum depression in women?

Post-partum depression is much more common than psychologists once thought. Now we know that up to 80% of women are affected by post-partum. Around 30% of fathers also develop depression during the first year of the baby's birth. If left untreated, post partum can become worse over time and can eventually become life threatening. The results can be absolutely disastrous.

So, why is post-partum depression so often overlooked?

The baby blues, common tearfulness, and sadness are often overlooked because everyone is focusing on the baby. It is common to think that a joyous birth will bring only contentment and happiness. The biggest problem is that everyone usually underestimates what is happening. They may sense something is wrong but not guess what it is. Unfortunately, families, spouses and even doctors often mistake post-partum depression for normal baby blues that will pass.

The majority of women with post-partum suffer from this illness for more than 6 months and, if untreated, 25% of patients are still depressed a year later. This condition can get worse, and even lethal, over time if it is not treated with anti-depressants and therapy.

But how does a parent with post-partum affect the baby?

Unfortunately, the effects on the infant can be devastating. By age 9 months, the baby may either cry a lot or become listless and may perform below average on developmental tests--a pattern that can persist for years.

There are two broad patterns that we see in clinical practice:

Outright Neglect: The effects on the child are often much more lethal and traumatic. The child is virtually abandoned by the chronically depressed mother. Other people may not recognize the lonely toddler or elementary school child as being symptomatic or traumatized. But they cannot develop normally if their mother is incompetent and in the grip of depression.

Engulfed by Mom: The other pattern is the over involved mother who soothes her ongoing depression by fusing with the child. There are no appropriate boundaries and the child becomes a kind of “safety blanket” for a mother who is lost in depression. The child often begins to see the world as a fearful place and develops only a partial sense of self.

Now, why is post-partum so rampant?

Because no one is sleeping! The most important issue in clinical depression among new parents is the sleep problem, bar none. Fatigue breeds depression, and these young parents fail to realize that they can be so deeply affected by sleep loss. We know that discernable mood disturbances begin to emerge when someone has shortened their sleep by two hours over a five-day span. Sleepless people have 35 times the rates of depression!

Together, the couple spirals down into the downward depression cycle, and they fail to realize what is happening until the depression has severely compromised their relationship and their lives. Every one loses.

So first things first – get some sleep.

Here’s what I would recommend as a first step for coping with post-partum depression:

First, Having Direction: Getting the right diagnosis is the first step in overcoming this dreadful problem. Talk to your doctor about what you are feeling and ask for a referral to a psychologist for an evaluation.

Consider Medication: Anti-depressants are quite helpful in alleviating symptoms quickly. When combined with psychotherapy, the treatment outcomes are quite positive. But always talk to your doctor before starting any medication.

Get Dad Involved: We need the fathers to get involved. We need them to get involved in supporting both the baby AND mom. So often, they are the secret to alleviating the stress, helping mom sleep and taking turns with baby. Most importantly, fathers play a central role in helping the child unfold socially and cognitively—they are the preferred and best playmates to young, developing babies.

Post-partum depression is a very serious disorder. Please seek the help of a professional if you are concerned about yourself or someone you know.

Why Women Hold On To Trauma - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 01, 2010

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