Therapy That Works...

How To Talk To Kids About Deadly Oklahoma Tornadoes - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how to explain the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma to your children and how to make sure they feel safe - click here.

Anxiety - What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe what Generalized Anxiety Disorder looks like and what you can do to help - click here.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects over 6 million Americans every day.

They live with constant worry, unending concerns, and ongoing apprehension about the future. To escape their crushing anxiety, they withdraw from other people and avoid the things that make them anxious.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or G.A.D., grows over time and is built on every negative experience in a person’s life. Since it often begins in childhood, most sufferers wait 25 years before reaching out for professional help.

Here are a few important points about Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Paired Disorders:

Ninety percent (90%) of G.A.D. sufferers have some kind of co-existing mental health disorder. Around 42% of people suffering with G.A.D. also have issues with depression, and one disorder usually is more prominent than the other.

Double Trouble:

Women tend to develop generalized anxiety at twice the rates of men. The rates of depression and anxiety double for girls around puberty, so their anxious thinking habits are more likely to take root in their teens and grow over time.

Suspicious Minds:

One of the principle features of generalized anxiety disorder is the tendency to worry and ruminate. Worry is a prominent characteristic of G.A.D. and occurs in 40 to 60% of cases. The worry creates a vicious cycle - we worry to soothe our own anxiety, which only makes the fear grow. If your mind is tied up with worrying all the time, you have little energy to rest, learn, or implement more effective ways of coping.

Intolerable Uncertainty:

Anxious minds cannot tolerate uncertainty or ambiguity. They have difficulty with leaving loose ends or having a lack of closure. They lack confidence in their ability to handle adversity or the unexpected, so they worry constantly to prepare for anything.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Robert Leahy, Stephen J.F. Holland and Lata McGinn, Guilford Press, 2012.

Wittchen, H. U., Zhao, S., Kessler, R. C., and Eaton, W.W. 1994, DSM III-R Generalized Anxiety Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey, Archieves of General Psychiatiry, 51/(5), 355-364

Rubio, G. and Lopez-Ibor, J.J. 2007, Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A 40 year follow up study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinaviaca, 115 (5), 372-379

Blazer, D., George, L., and Winfield, I. 1991, Epidemiologic data and planning mental health services: A tale of two surveys. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 26, 21-27.

Breslau, N and Davis, G.C., 1985, DSM-III generalized anxiety disorder: An empirical investiagation of more stringent criteria. Psychiatry Research, 15, 231-238.

Kessler, R.C., Walters, E.E. and Witchen, H.U. 2004, Epidemiology. In R.G. Heimberg, C.L. Turk, and D.S. Mennin (Eds) Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Advances in research and practice (pp29 to 50). New York: Guildord Press.

Butler, G, Fennerll, M., Robson, P and Gelder, M. 1991, Comparison of behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of generalized anxity disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, 167-175.

Rapee, R.M. 1991, Psychological Factors involved in generalized anxiety. In R.M. Rapee and D. H. Barlow (Eds.) Chronic Anxiety: Generalized Anxiety disorder and mixed anxiety depression (pp. 76-94). New York: Guilford Press.

Intolerance of Uncertainty and Problem Orientation n Worry, Michael Dugas, Mark Freeston, Robert Ladouceur, Cognitive Threrapy and Research, Vol 21, no 6, 1997, pgs. 593-606

Anxiety - The Differences Between Normal Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders - By Chris Gearing

Friday, May 10, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how to tell whether your anxiety is normal or when it might be time to seek professional help - click here.

Anxiety is an appropriate reaction to situations that are negative and unexpected.

Normal anxiety is present during and shortly after an adversity. However, once the situation resolves, the tension should dissolve and the mind should return to a calm state of being. There should be no lingering anxious thoughts or after effects. You simply move on.

If anxiety persists for days or even weeks after an event, it may be indicative of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders differ from normal anxiety in specific and important ways including the following:

A Way Of Life:

Anxiety disorders don’t give up easily. They are tenacious and can become a way of life. Anxious thoughts can define the way we look at life, how we act, how we view other people, the way we think about ourselves, and much more.

Missing Evidence:

An anxious mind is always searching for evidence to support its anxious thoughts. Entrenched anxiety disorders cause us to discount evidence that disputes our negative thoughts and to only encode what confirms our pessimistic view.

People Problems:

Chronically anxious people seem to have a lot of trouble getting along with those around them. Anxious and distorted thoughts interfere with our ability to relate realistically and effectively to those around us. They cause us to misinterpret others and inappropriately react to their actions.

Quick Triggers:

Anxious minds can go from calm to a full-blown anxiety attack within minutes. The symptoms can be brief or progressive waves of tension that are overwhelming.

Brain Freeze:

High levels of anxiety can disrupt your ability to think clearly and accurately. While small amounts of normal anxiety may mildly compromise the person’s effectiveness, severe and chronic anxiety may render the person unable to function. They literally freeze and fail to react at all when an immediate response is important. The mind is locked up in wave after wave of debilitating anxiety.

Impulsive Distractions:

Anxiety disorders can provoke a wide variety of impulsive self-destructive behaviors. These behaviors often represent their desperate efforts to escape their overwhelming anxiety and to be calm even if it is for a little while.

Anxiety can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

"The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne Ph.D.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, www.adaa.org

Anxiety - Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders and when it may be time to seek out professional help - click here.

Most people experience some amount of anxiety every single day.

They feel tense and overwhelmed by racing to pick up a child from school, meeting a business deadline, or resolving an argument with their spouse. However, anxiety can redefine our thinking and can change how we view the world and one another.

When we cross the line from normal anxiety to an anxiety disorder, we anticipate the worst in every situation and live in a world of catastrophic thinking and dread.

Anxiety disorders can be highly persistent and difficult to overcome. They often take root in childhood and grow in size and intensity as the mind develops. Research indicates that most sufferers wait an average of 25 years before they seek out clinical treatment.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have an anxiety disorder, here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Pronounced and Overwhelming Fears
  • Rapid or Out of Control Heart Beat
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Trembling and Dizziness
  • Chest Pain
  • Sweating
  • Fear of Choking or Drowning
  • Feelings of Unreality or Being In A Dream

Anxiety can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

"The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne Ph.D.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, www.adaa.org

Anxiety - What Is Anxiety? - By Chris Gearing

Monday, May 06, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe what clinical anxiety is and how it can happen to you - click here.

Anxiety disorders are the number one diagnosed mental health disorder in America.

Forty million Americans regularly experience high levels of anxiety but only one third of sufferers ever receive treatment. Anxiety is extremely expensive for our country’s healthcare system and it accounts for close to one third of all mental health costs in the United States.

Anxiety causes us to feel high amounts of tension, uncertainty, and fear often without any specific threat or problem.

Anxious individuals feel like their mind cycles in a continuous loop of speculation, worry, and confusion about what is going to happen next. Despite their best efforts, they just cannot seem to give their mind a break. The endless nervous thoughts are disruptive to sleep, work, and their sense of wellbeing.

Anxiety disorders can develop for many reasons, but here are some of the most common:

In Your Genes:

Anxious thinking and anxiety disorders may run in the family. If you have an anxiety disorder, then one out of ten people in your family may also have anxiety issues.

Trauma Sequence:

Trauma is often deregulating and interrupts our ability to effectively manage our emotions, especially anxiety. Before trauma, we may have handled adversities with ease. However once our minds have been deregulated by the traumatic event, we may be waging constant battle against our anxious thoughts.

Begins In Childhood:

When there is child abuse, excessive uncertainty, change and struggle with difficult parents, or unpreventable trauma in childhood, anxiety may gain a foothold. Although most of us develop higher rates of anxiety in our twenties, many anxious adults began dealing with their anxious thoughts in childhood.

Loss of Relationships:

Traumatic breakups that leave us feeling confused, lost, and helpless can start the cycle of anxiety. Our positive beliefs about other people can be shattered and we may develop serious trust and anxiety issues.

Anxiety can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

"The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne Ph.D.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, www.adaa.org

Trauma - Long Lasting Effects of Childhood Trauma - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how an early childhood trauma could derail your own child's future - click here.

Traumatic events can be devastating especially if they occur in childhood.

Many children who experience trauma early in life develop what psychologists call implicit memories—memories that are nonverbal or difficult to put into words. They exist in the mind more as a feeling than as a series of descriptive words. Trauma is encoded at a deep level that is especially destabilizing emotionally. Children lack the more sophisticated coping skills of adults and cannot defend themselves psychologically against traumatic events beyond their control.

A trauma condition can shape the entire character of a child’s personality.

He may view the world as a frightening place where danger is inevitable. Vital psychological energy that is needed for normal developmental tasks is drained by their efforts to deal with the trauma. The child’s mind is de-regulated at an early age. When a child’s developing mind is deregulated, they may be more prone to anxiety, depression, and continued trauma throughout their lives.

Left untreated, childhood trauma can become a defining event.

Traumatized children regularly experience anxiety and panic and the attacks can come out of nowhere and reduce their self-confidence. They lose confidence in their ability to control themselves and their emotions.

Many survivors of childhood trauma have difficulty regulating their emotions later in life. They have devastating emotional pain but they lack the skills to deal with the tsunami of emotions that can quickly overwhelm them. Triggers begin the downward cascade of emotions and can compromise their attention and concentration. They can make permanent negative conclusions about themselves that have nothing to do with reality.

Trauma is a very serious issue. If you think your child may be experiencing trauma, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Source:

“Principles of Trauma Therapy” by John Briere, Ph.D. and Catherine Scott, M.D.

Emotional Trauma From The Boston Marathon Bombings - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how to deal with emotional trauma from the Boston Marathon bombings - click here.

Depression or Dehydration? - By Chris Gearing

Monday, June 04, 2012

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on YouTube.com explain why you don't need to buy energy drinks, all you need is a drink of water - click here.

Millions of Americans spend countless dollars every year trying to perk themselves up. Whether it’s through a pill, a coffee at the neighborhood coffee shop, or an energy drink, most of us are looking for a silver bullet to pick us up out of our slumps and give us the energy to finish the day.

According to a recent study, you may be wasting your money on drinks and pills. If you’re dehydrated, you may show higher signs of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and loss of vigor. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your work day and you might save yourself a load of coffee money.

SOURCE:

Men’s Health, Apr 2012 digital edition

The Health Effects of Nostalgia - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on YouTube describe how nostalgia and remembering the good times can actually be good for your health - click here.

Part of the magic of family is getting together and revisiting family traditions – eating a family meal together at the holidays, watching the same movie, or singing the same songs. But did you know that those nostalgic feelings are actually good for you?

In a recent study, nostalgia was found to have a physically comforting and relaxing effect on the body. Subjects had lower blood pressure, calm heart rates, and lower levels of anxiety.

So if you’re looking to take the edge off of your stressful day, take a trip down memory lane and remember everything that you have to be thankful for.

Source:

“The Power of Nostalgia at Thanksgiving” by Jacque Wilson, CNN.com

Cowardice and Self Control - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how cowardice and survival may be related to self control - click here.

Why would someone in a position of responsibility abandon the people that he was supposed to protect?

There is a big difference between what people say they will do and what they actually do, especially when high emotion are in play. None of us want to think that we would act like this ship’s captain. We all want to think that our duty would keep us on track irrespective of our own welfare.

However, science tells us something different. In real life, when there is a potential life threatening situation and when strangers surround us, many of us would run. Our moral compass fails completely. We may surrender the responsibility for rescue to others—what psychologists call diffusion of responsibility. As in this case, we might choose to escape and call it something else (I was going for help!), but really we consider nothing but our own survival.

Do you have any idea of what went on in the captains’ mind when he jumped ship?

He was probably in the moment and totally overwhelmed by events he could barely decipher. The bottom line is that there was a total lack of self-control. In fact, it is a well-known axiom in psychology that most major problems that we create for ourselves boil down to a simple failure of self-control. We say something we shouldn’t say, we spend money we shouldn’t spend, or we take that drink we shouldn’t have. No consequences are important when emotion overrides reason.

Self Control Lapses Share These Characteristics:

Impulsive Behavior—We act before we think

Emotionally Driven Decision Making--When the events are happening quickly and unexpectedly, the emotional brain can hijack our analytical brain.

Consequences are Irrelevant

The Only Goal Is To Escape the Immediate Problem

What does a courageous person look like?

Courage Under Fire: Courageous people may look ordinary but their actions are extraordinary. Under fire, they choose to perform the extraordinary, heroic act even if their personal welfare is jeopardized. For instance, Captain Sullenberger was an unknown pilot until that fateful day on the Hudson when he heroically landed his plane.

Cognitive Self Control: Heroic people remain focused and block out distractions while they solve the problem in front of them. They remain proactive, not reactive.

Emotional Self Control: Every person has the ability to do extraordinary things, but true heroes are able to show tremendous emotional self-control in bad situations. Most of us would be overwhelmed but their emotional control allows them to move through adversity and solve the problem.

What can we do to make sure that we are stronger when adversity strikes?

Conserve Your Energy: Depleted people make poor decisions under fire. Live a deliberate life and don’t procrastinate. The mind tends to grow more negative when we chronically fail to follow through on goals.

Build Self Control Before the Crisis: People who rank high in self-control report the least amounts of stress. They practice leading orderly, disciplined lives. When adversity strikes, they are ready to make the tough decisions and to solve the issue.

Play Offense with Your Stress: Very stressed people make the worst decisions when bad things happen. Use your self-control today to not just get through a crisis but to avoid them as much as you can.


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