All posts by Dr. Andrew Rosen

The Effects of School Bullying

It seems like we hear of another bullying-related suicide almost weekly and with the unfortunate increase in suicides, people are becoming more aware of how big of a problem bullying has become. Fortunately, this means programs are being put into place to decrease occurrences, however, this type of harassment still happens quite often so it’s important to understand the effects of school bullying on your child.

Bullying is:

  • The use of power to control or harm someone who either can’t defend themselves or who may have a hard time doing so
  • The goal of causing harm
  • The same person or same group of people harassing the same person repeatedly

Those children who are most at risk of being bullied are those who are less popular than others, who have low self-esteem, have few friends, and are depressed or anxious. The children who tend to be bullies are those with social power who like to dominate others and are concerned about their popularity. In addition, bullies often also have low self-esteem, are aggressive, and tend to be impulsive and easily pressured by their peers.

There are several types of bullying, but the most prominent in-school bullying is social bullying, which includes:

  • Targeting a person’s social status to tear it down
  • Shunning a person
  • Damaging a person’s reputation by spreading rumors
  • Excluding a person from social activities

With the rise of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and texting, the problems of school bullying have also risen to high-tech levels. When a bully is no longer forced to face their victim and has the protection of anonymity it’s much easier to shed any sense of empathy they have and to post embarrassing or humiliating videos, pictures, or comments about the person they’re targeting.

The effects of school bullying can lead to childhood anxiety disorders and depression that often continues into adulthood. A person who was bullied in school is more likely to allow themselves to be harassed in the workplace when they get older. Over time they begin to believe what bullies say about them and they start to avoid interactions and situations that could actually be positive. Oftentimes the anxiety they feel will manifest itself physically, by means of:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Aches or pains throughout the body
  • Weight loss
  • Sleeplessness

Fortunately, there is help for the victims of bullying. A psychologist can help examine the situation and develop coping methods that suit the victim’s personality. These coping behaviors will compartmentalize how the child should react in particular situations. Psychologists can help victims rebuild their self-esteem and confidence so that future bullying can be avoided.

If you or someone you know has experienced the effects of school bullying, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem often makes things worse and can lead to greater issues down the line. For more information, call Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen today.

 

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Help For Insomnia/Anxiety Sleep Disorder – Relief in South Florida

Insomnia is the result of those agonizing nights when we restlessly toss and turn because something weighs heavily on our minds. Because we have all “been there”, it should come as no surprise that there is a well-known connection between anxiety and insomnia. The two conditions are often linked together in a catch-22 style that can make life more than difficult for the person who is affected.

To fully appreciate how insomnia and anxiety can result in a sleep anxiety disorder, one needs to understand the different levels of insomnia. Insomnia is the inability to sleep adequately for extended periods of time when one desires to do so. It is characterized by three different levels: early, middle, and late insomnia.

Early insomnia exists when someone consistently has trouble falling asleep. This often occurs because of anxious thoughts that cause the person’s mind to continuously work over their concerns. Early insomnia is what you experience when you stress over upcoming tests or family disputes.

Middle insomnia causes a person to frequently wake throughout the night. Middle insomnia is the culprit when you awaken to a nagging thought, and then stare at the ceiling, seemingly forever, while trying to fall back to sleep. The resulting rise in your stress level keeps you wide awake.

Late insomnia, on the other hand, occurs when a person often wakes up earlier than they intended. No matter how tired they are, they awaken long before the alarm goes off. As in middle insomnia, stress keeps you from falling back to sleep.

Both of these last two levels happen when a person is flooded with anxious thoughts the moment they open their eyes. This anxiety produces other physiological responses, such as a quickened heart beat and a sense of restlessness, thereby increasing the insomnia at the same time and setting a vicious cycle in motion.

By now it should be a little more obvious how insomnia and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. In fact, insomnia is one of the most common symptoms mental health professionals look for when diagnosing a generalized anxiety disorder. The more anxious a person is the more likely it is they will experience some form of insomnia. It follows then, that the more insomnia the person deals with, the more likely it is that their anxiety will rise.

The good news is that insomnia and sleep anxiety disorder can very often be treated successfully. For more information, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen today.

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Overcome Holiday Anxiety – Tips For a Happy South Florida Holiday Season

The holidays are coming up and this time of year can be one of the most joyous, but also the most stressful. The demands that arise around the holidays can be overwhelming to say the least. There’s pressure to make unexpected guests feel welcome, to throw perfect parties, and to buy the ideal gifts for friends and loved ones. Then there is the baking, cleaning, and entertaining that happens during the holiday season more than at any other time of the year. But the holidays don’t have to be all work and stress and don’t have to be depressing.

There are a few simple tricks you can use to overcome holiday anxiety:

  • Allow yourself some “me” time. It’s easy to feel like this time of year is all about everyone else. But, taking a night to relax and do the things that you want to do or taking even just a few minutes for yourself can rejuvenate your entire outlook.
  • Keep your healthy habits. Many people sacrifice their workouts and healthy recipes during the holidays because there are so many parties and other demands on their time. Overindulgence adds to your stress and guilt. In addition, the familiarity of old habits can help lower your stress level and help you better deal with holiday anxiety.
  • Stick to a budget. When the bill comes after you’ve bought all your gifts and it’s higher than you realized, holiday stress can shoot through the roof. Maintaining a realistic budget gives you one less thing to worry about.
  • Plan ahead. With all the gifts to buy and parties to attend or throw, your to-do list at this time of year will be higher than usual. There’s nothing more stressful than having guests over and realizing at the last minute that you forgot something you need. Planning ahead will help you stay on track and will help combat holiday anxiety.
  • Be realistic. A party you give doesn’t have to be perfect. People will still have a good time even if a few things go wrong. Remind yourself of this when your anxiety level rises.

When in doubt, it never hurts to seek professional help. If you find yourself persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, becoming restless, irritable, or hopeless, these could be signs that there is something heavier weighing on you than the typical anxiety one feels during the holidays.

For more information and tips to help you overcome holiday anxiety, call Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Sexual Performance Anxiety Treatment in South Florida

Even though sex is supposed to be enjoyable, it is natural to worry occasionally about sexual intimacy. We wonder if we are desirable, if our appearance might be an issue, or if we will be able to “perform”. Usually people who experience these worries are able to process them and and then move past them. However, for some people, anxiety about sex is a major concern that affects every aspect of their sexual life whether they’ve been happily married for 30 years or are just beginning their journey into the world of sex.

Sexual performance anxiety is the constant worry over your appearance or your ability to perform in bed. This worry takes the pleasure out of sex, making it stressful and nerve-wracking. Ultimately, untreated sex anxiety can even lead to aversion and the avoidance of sexual activity. We often don’t consider the fact that sex is just as much about emotion as it is physical touch. If you stress too much about the various aspects of sex, it becomes harder to become aroused.

Some of the sexual worries that can arise over time include:

  • Fears that you may not be able to satisfy your partner
  • Having a poor body image and feeling undesirable
  • Difficulties in your relationship
  • Feelings of guilt
  • For men there can be a fear that his penis won’t measure up or that he may ejaculate too early
  • For women there can be a concern about not being able to orgasm or enjoy the sexual experience

Anxiety clearly can affect the sexual act:

  • In men, the secretion of stress hormones constricts blood vessels, making it difficult to get or maintain an erection.
  • In women, anxiety prevents lubrication and takes away their physical desire entirely.
  • Anxiety becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: you worry about having sex which makes you so anxious that you can’t perform sexually, which in turn increases your anxiety, which continues the vicious cycle.

There are a number of reasons these worries may develop. For example, abuse of any kind, whether from childhood or adulthood, can lead to sexual anxiety. Some health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and hormonal imbalances can result in physical conditions that lead to sexual performance anxiety. For men, impotence or premature ejaculation can lead to sex anxiety, and in women, fear of pain or failure to orgasm can contribute to the development of the disorder.

If you or someone you know is suffering from sex anxiety, the first step to take is to see a doctor. They will perform tests to determine whether the performance issues are the result of a health condition or a medication. If a medical issue isn’t to blame a mental-health therapist may be suggested. In many aspects, any type of performance anxiety, including sexual performance anxiety, can be closely related to social anxiety disorder: both disorders share concerns about being judged or embarassed, both can result in lowered self-esteem, and both can lead to avoidance of the situation. Because they are closely related, the therapies that help with social anxiety disorders can also help with overcoming sexual performance anxiety:

  • Counseling can lead to understanding intimacy anxiety.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy can help change negative or inaccurate thinking and behaviors.
  • Relaxation and stress relief techniques can help reduce the physical response.

For more information about sexual performance anxiety and its treatments, including cognitive behavior therapy, in the Boca Raton area, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Exposure Therapy Treatment – South Florida Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety is a normal reaction to many things that most of us experience on a regular basis. For example, the mid-term exam that you know is coming up, the presentation you have to give for your boss, or having to make a move to a new city  – all of these things could bring out a certain measure of anxiety in many people. However, when anxiety becomes so overwhelming that it affects a person’s day-to-day living, it becomes an anxiety disorder.

The wonderful thing is that most anxiety disorders can be treated with the help of a therapist and many patients can get back to living their normal lives with the appropriate kind of therapy. One of the most popular treatments available is in-vivo exposure therapy treatment, or desensitization. This form of treatment works especially well for people suffering from phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In-vivo exposure therapy treatment is a specific type of cognitive behavior therapy that can help a patient face and gain control of the fears or distress that created their anxiety. With the typical anxiety disorder, the patient suffers from disquieting signals in their brain that tell them something bad will happen as a result of a certain action or situation. The intention of exposure therapy is to train the patient’s brain into a more accurate train of thought, so their anxiety system ceases to give misinformation. Several types of sensory items may be used in this process, including:

  • Pictures
  • Film
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Sounds

For example, under exposure therapy treatment, a person who has a fear of snakes might start out viewing a picture of a snake, then progress to seeing a snake in a cage from a distance, then finally move on to actually holding a snake. Throughout the desensitization process, the patient is taught multiple relaxation and coping techniques that help them complete each step and that also teach them how to handle fearful situations in their everyday lives. Over time, the patient becomes conditioned to the situation they have feared and it no longer provokes their anxiety.

The most important thing to remember with this type of therapy is that it should always be conducted by a well-trained, qualified professional. If handled improperly, the steps involved in exposure therapy have the potential for traumatizing the patient instead of helping them. However, in most cases where the therapy was handled by a professional, the majority of patients are able to resume daily activities that were previously avoided. Most people also experienced symptom reduction.

For more information on exposure therapy treatment or in vivo exposure therapy, in the Boca Raton area, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

 

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School Phobia and First-Day Jitters – Get Help in South Florida

It’s hard to believe it but it’s that time again: schools are welcoming back students all across the country. The summer weeks have passed and parents everywhere are stocking up on school supplies while their children pick out their favorite lunch boxes.

For many kids, the start of school is exciting. They get to see the friends they’ve missed all summer and there’s a sense of being that much closer to being “all grown up” or becoming an adult. However, some children have a school phobia that can give them the first-day jitters. These children will likely experience increased anxiety with the beginning of school.

School phobia is a complex and extreme form of anxiety. It is also known as school depression or school refusal and can occur for many reasons, including:

  • Starting school for the first time
  • Changing schools and having to make new friends
  • Returning to school after being away for a long time due to illness or an extended holiday
  • Fear of being targeted by a bully
  • Bereavement (of a person or pet)
  • Feeling threatened by the arrival of a new baby
  • Having had a traumatic experience, such as abuse
  • Problems at home, such as a family member being ill
  • Parents’ divorce or separation
  • Violence at home
  • Not having good friends or not having any friends at all
  • Being unpopular
  • Feeling like a physical failure in school sports
  • Feeling like an academic failure

One of the most common triggers of school phobia (first-day jitters) is starting school for the first time. The child experiences separation anxiety because they find it difficult to comprehend being away from their parents for an extended period of time. In addition, if the child is not used to having an entire day organized for them, the schedule at school can add to the stress they feel.

For older children who have been in school for a while, most back-to-school anxiety is directly related to their fears about how they will perform in school. They wonder if they will do well in games, be asked to answer questions, or be asked to read aloud. In addition, some children have been targeted by bullies or have been made fun of in past school years, so they feel anxious about possibly repeating this abuse in the new school year.

When school depression and anxiety starts to creeps into your child’s mind, the symptoms will be fairly obvious. The child will usually suffer from the following school anxiety symptoms:

  • Stomachaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Shaking
  • A racing heart
  • Needing frequent trips to the toilet

You can do some things at home to help with school anxiety in your children, including:

  • Reassuring your child that everything will be fine once they get past the thing they fear.
  • Telling them you love them and letting them know they are brave for going to school despite their fears.
  • Telling them you’re proud of them.
  • Keeping them to a familiar routine to make them less anxious.
  • Finding things, both within and outside of school, that they can look forward to.

If you suspect that your child is developing a school phobia, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible: the longer the anxiety continues the harder it can be to treat.

For more help with anxiety treatment for school phobia or the first-day jitters in the Boca Raton area, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Death Anxiety Disorder – Help in South Florida for Fear of Dying

The fear of dying, also known as death anxiety or thanatophobia, is much more prevalent than many of us may think. The concept of death – when it will occur and what happens afterward – is an unknown and we often fear what we don’t know.

It is important to understand the difference between everyday worrying and a full-blown death anxiety disorder. Throughout our lives, most of us will think of death at one time or another. For example, it may dwell in our minds as we age or when the death of a loved one occurs. However, this concern becomes classified as thanatophobia only when a person worries so often that it begins to affect their everyday lives. With this syndrome, every pain or unusual feeling becomes a warning sign for impending death.

For example:

  • A simple headache may lead to thoughts of brain tumors.
  • Chest pains may be considered signs of heart attack or heart failure.
  • The mildest sickness can suggest that death is right around the corner.

People who experience a fear of dying feel that each passing minute is reducing their life span bit by bit. To make things worse, this condition has the tendency to be communicable. Many people are too discouraged to spend time with someone who suffers from death anxiety but those who do may find themselves falling into the same line of thinking. It is easy for groups of thanatophobics to form and exacerbate the anxiety.

How do you know if you may be suffering from a fear of death? When a victim of death anxiety disorder considers their own mortality they may experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling faint
  • Intense sweating
  • Queasiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking limbs
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • An inability to speak or think clearly
  • Constant panic attacks
  • Uncontrollable nerves

The fear of death is a debilitating condition that can seriously deplete the joy in one’s life. People with this condition spend so much time worrying about their impending death that they rarely enjoy themselves in anything they do. If you or someone you know suffers from death anxiety disorder, seeking help is very important and will be extremely beneficial.

For more information to help you cope with a death anxiety disorder in the Boca Raton area, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Summer Camp Separation Anxiety – Tips for Reducing Child Anxiety

For many people, memories of going away to summer camp are some of the fondest they will ever have. Camp provides the opportunity to make new friends and share new adventures. When your child is going off to camp for the first time, however, fear of separation can make the experience seem dreadful for both parent and child, especially in the case of sleep-away camps.
           
Paying close attention to your child’s concerns is the first step in alleviating their anxiety. A child’s summer camp separation anxiety can display itself in a number of ways, including:

  • Unrealistic fear that someone close to them will be harmed while they are away
  • Reluctance to attend the camp
  • Persistent avoidance of being left alone
  • Nightmares involving themes of separation
  • Physical complaints when separated
  • Excessive distress when separation is anticipated

Repeated physical complaints can also be a sign of summer camp separation anxiety. These symptoms could be any of the following:

  • Stomach problems
  • Headaches
  • Cold or clammy hands
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Being hot or cold

Fortunately, there are plenty of tips to help parents reduce their child’s separation anxiety. Parents are encouraged to:

  • Remind their child that everyone gets nervous when they go away to camp, especially if it’s their first time
  • Show confidence that they’ll enjoy their time away
  • Remind them about other new experiences they’ve overcome in the past
  • Find out how the camp deals with homesickness so you can be prepared
  • Provide your child with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes, pen, and paper so they can write home whenever they want
  • Provide lots of attention in the days preceding the separation
  • Make goodbyes short and to the point. Dragging them out can make both parties nervous and delay the possibility of moving past the anxiety.

In most cases, the above steps will go a long way in eliminating or reducing separation anxiety that arises before a sleep-away summer camp. In some situations, however, the anxiety may persist despite all efforts. In this instance, parents are encouraged to seek professional help, especially if the child’s symptoms have begun to interfere with their school performance or friends. For more information on summer camp separation anxiety, contact child anxiety therapist Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Bin Laden’s Death And Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

In recent days, the nation has been captivated by the shocking news that Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader responsible for planning the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, was killed by an elite team of U.S. Navy SEALS. September 11, 2001 will stand in memory as one of the most horrific events to take place on American soil. It has been responsible for one of the largest epidemics of post traumatic stress the United States has ever seen and the news of bin Laden’s death is sure to have an impact on that.

To understand the affects of this news, you must first understand the basics of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Trauma occurs when a person has experienced, witnessed, or been confronted with a terrible event or injury. The threat of a life or death situation to themselves or others can produce the same result. Of course, it is normal to experience a strong reaction after such an event but when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs, it is because the victim has experienced PTSD symptoms for at least a month with dramatic impact to their everyday life.

The symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma
  • Persistent avoidance
  • Increased state of arousal

Now, with the death of Osama bin Laden, there is a complicated array of emotions that may affect victims of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a multitude of ways. For some, it may:

  • Dredge up old feelings and the risk of a relapse
  • Heighten their PTSD out of anxiety that bin Laden’s death could provoke retaliation from radical Islamic groups
  • Bring a sense of closure similar to hearing a guilty verdict at a murder trial

No matter what side of the coin you’re on, the good news will always be that PTSD can be controlled with the proper treatment. Treatment may include individual psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, medicine, or peer group support. If you or someone you know is suffering from this disorder, seeking help can get you back on the path to a normal life.

For more information and help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the South Florida area, contact Boca Raton Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapist Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

 

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Mood Disorders in Children

There is a plethora of information out there regarding mood disorders of all kinds. The public is becoming more and more educated about panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar mood disorder, and the like. But what many people still do not realize is that these disorders are not limited to adults.

A child may experience similar mood disorders, as well. In fact, 7-14% of children will experience an episode of major depression before the age of 15. Out of 100,000 adolescents, two to three thousand will have mood disorders, out of which 8-10 will commit suicide. It is for this reason that the symptoms of mood disorders in children should attract special attention.

Symptoms of mood disorders in children include:

  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Despair
  • Dejection
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of interest
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hopelessness
  • Sense of inferiority
  • Exaggerated guilt
  • Feelings of incompetence
  • Inability to function effectively

Many children might have one or two of these symptoms at one time or another but it is the presence of several symptoms for an extended period that indicates a mood disorder. There are three levels of mood disorder in children:

  • Severe depression is present when the child has nearly all the symptoms and these symptoms almost always keep them from performing day to day activities.
  • Moderate depression occurs when a person has many symptoms that often limit their regular activities.
  • Mild depression is present when a child has some of the symptoms and it requires extra effort for them to do every day things.

If you or someone you know has a child who might be suffering from a mood disorder, it is important to seek help immediately. The mood disorder will be diagnosed through extensive interviews with the child and his or her caregivers. If a mood disorder is found, it is often treated through medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

For more information about Mood Disorders in children , diagnostic steps, and therapy for the condition in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders at 561-496-1094 or email them today.

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