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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Help For Chronic Worry Disorder

By the time most of us reach adulthood we understand that worrying is simply a part of life. We all go through stressful times at one point or another and it is natural to be concerned about the outcome of those events. However, for many people, worrying becomes a chronic condition that affects their life on multiple levels. For these people, it is important to understand the characteristics of Chronic Worry Disorder and how they can seek relief from their concerns.

Chronic Worry Disorder is a symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This high level of concern develops in individuals who feel the need to be hyper-vigilant with regard to their lives and those of their friends and family. They often feel that if they worry enough about important issues or fears they can prevent those concerns from coming to fruition. The problem is that most of their worries revolve around issues that they have no control over; in other words, unproductive concerns.

The amount of worrying involved and that lack of control can lead to other psychiatric disorders, such as:

  • Panic Disorder
  • Depression

Chronic Worry Disorder can also lead to physical concerns, such as:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Aches
  • Pains

But how can you tell if your worry has become disproportionate and unreasonable? You should be concerned if you:

  • Consistently worry about future failures, dangers, or other types of negative outcomes
  • Repeatedly run through the same concerns over and over again in your mind
  • Attempt to stop worrying by anxiously avoiding certain situations
  • Become paralyzed with worry and are unable to focus on constructive solutions to your problems.

The good news is there are many effective treatments to help rid you of your chronic worrying. Some suggested treatments include psychotherapy and relaxation techniques. Oftentimes, your doctor may suggest specialized coping techniques and cognitive behavior therapy to help you learn ways to train your brain away from unproductive concern. In some cases, medication is used in conjunction with psychotherapy. With so many ways to treat this condition, there’s no reason to not seek help and take a step toward gaining your life back.

For more information about Chronic Worry Disorder and therapy for the condition in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Expectations of Beauty – Body Image Disorder

It is natural for most people to feel some level of self-consciousness regarding their appearance in the presence of others. But for some, this concern rises past an unhealthy level and develops into a chronic mental condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Body Image Disorder. People who suffer from this disorder can’t stop thinking about a flaw in their appearance that may be either minor or imagined. For victims of this disorder, this minor or imagined flaw seems so shameful they don’t want to be seen by anyone.

Signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder may include:

  • Preoccupation with physical appearance
  • Frequent examination in the mirror or, conversely, avoidance of mirrors
  • Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way
  • Extreme self-consciousness
  • Constantly seeking cosmetic procedures to “fix” perceived flaws without satisfaction
  • The need to seek reassurance about your appearance from others
  • Excessive grooming, such as hair plucking
  • Skin picking
  • Refusal to appear in pictures
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • The need to wear excessive makeup or clothing to hide perceived flaws

This condition, often referred to as “imagined ugliness,” can arise as a result of childhood teasing or societal expectations of beauty. For most people with Body Image Disorder, the majority of their attention focuses on one particular part of their body. This could be any bodily attribute, but some of the more commonly seen features include:

  • Nose
  • Hair
  • Skin
  • Complexion
  • Wrinkles
  • Acne and blemishes
  • Baldness
  • Breast size
  • Muscle size
  • Genitalia

Treatment for this condition often includes medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. However, left untreated, this condition can lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior, repeated hospitalizations, difficulty attending work or school, lack of self-esteem, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression or mood disorders, social phobia, substance abuse, or a lack of close relationships. Because of these traumatic consequences, it is important to seek help if you or a loved one is impacted by the symptoms listed above.

For more information on Body Image Disorder and cognitive behavior therapy and/or medication in the Boca Raton, Florida area, contact South Florida anxiety disorder specialist Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Therapy For Dealing With Life Changes

Illness, marriage, divorce, work problems, and having children are all life phases that many of us will undergo at some point in our lives. These phases, along with numerous other possibilities, can affect our normal routine and create a new environment that requires us to adapt. For some, dealing with life changes comes naturally but for others life changes may trigger an extreme emotional jolt that leads to Phase of Life Adjustment Anxiety; a condition that can heavily impact their daily lives.

Understandably so, many people experience this anxiety disorder during the typical transitional life periods: adolescence, middle age, and late life. The anxiety they develop can lead to feelings of:

  • Insecurity
  • Concern
  • Helplessness
  • Recklessness
  • Fear

Luckily therapy has been known to reduce or alleviate the affects of this disorder on most patients. In many cases, group therapy is suggested because this disorder has a high possibility of affecting those closest to the victim. Therapy can help the person’s loved ones understand the concerns they are experiencing while dealing with life changes as well as coping techniques that everyone can participate in. Treatment may also include techniques for tension reduction, increased social interaction, or family therapy.

Because this Phase of Life Adjustment Anxiety often leads to negative behavior, it can be tempting for loved ones to want to rescue the victim from their actions. However, most professionals suggest practicing tough love where this is concerned. Sometimes forcing someone to start dealing with life changes and with the consequences of their behavior can get them on the right track toward relief. Some examples of this unusual behavior can include:

  • Skipping school or work
  • Acting out
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Physical illness
  • Having difficulties in personal relationships
  • Performing poorly at work or school
  • Driving fast or acting recklessly
  • Spending money erratically

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these kinds of behaviors it is important to seek help before the anxiety leads to broken relationships, loss of employment, or something worse. For more information about dealing with life changes in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact South Florida anxiety therapist Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Mindfulness Therapy Can Help With Anxiety Disorders

In today’s stress-ridden world, more than 19 million Americans are affected by anxiety disorders. The tension they feel at work, during tests, or in social situations has become irrational and excessive to the point that anxiety disables them in their everyday lives. For most, anxiety disorder introduces an overwhelming loss of control over their thoughts and emotions.

There are several possible treatments for anxiety disorder, but one that is gaining popularity is the concept of mindfulness therapy. Mindfulness, with its roots in Buddhist philosophy, encourages a complete commitment to the present moment.

In the majority of cases, anxiety disorder develops as a result of a past incident. For example, if a person was bitten by a dog as a child, they may become anxious around dogs or animals of all kinds. Through mindfulness therapy, however, that person learns to stop using that past experience to inform their present.

There are seven important elements of the mindfulness attitude:

  • Non-judging – Becoming an impartial observer without making a positive or negative evaluation of what is happening.
  • Patience – Cultivating the understanding that everything must develop in its own time.
  • Beginner’s Mind –The willingness to observe the world with an open mind – as if it were your first time doing so.
  • Trust – Having trust in yourself, your intuition, and your abilities.
  • Non-Striving – The state of not doing anything toward a particular purpose. This can be especially difficult for people in Western cultures, as it requires accepting that things happen in the moment just as they are supposed to.
  • Acceptance – Acknowledging the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and beliefs you have and understanding that they are those things only; they can’t affect your immediate experience without your permission.
  • Non-Attachment – Refusing to attach meaning to thoughts and emotions. Instead, let feelings or thoughts come and go without connecting them to anything.

It can take time to develop a true mindfulness attitude but the reward is that you will have more control over your own life. For the people who suffer from anxiety disorder, this can mean a dramatic change in their everyday lives.

For more information about mindfulness therapy in Boca Raton, Florida, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and the anxiety disorder specialists at the Center For Treatment of Anxiety Disorders at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen today.

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Performance Anxiety and Its Treatment

At one point or another all people have experienced fear or anxiety. Fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears in America. However, for people suffering from true performance anxiety, public speaking is only one of the fears they may encounter. Many people who experience this disorder are convinced that they must seek perfection in all situations. As a result, performance anxiety can occur at any time they are expecting to be judged. The truth of the matter is performance anxiety is a multi-dimensional dynamic that has the potential to affect many aspects of life, including:

  • Academics
  • Career
  • Money making
  • Public speaking
  • Relationship building
  • Sex
  • Sports
  • Performing arts and more

It becomes multi-dimensional because it affects thinking, attitude, and emotion, as well as physiology and behavior. Symptoms can include:

  • Shaking body
  • Sweaty palms
  • Trembling voice
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Dizziness
  • Mind blanks, blocks, or freezes
  • Confusion
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy
  • Memory lapses

It is important to understand, however, that the simple presence of these symptoms is not an indication of performance anxiety. As stated before, many of us fear specific social or performance-based situations. In fact, a little anxiety here and there is perfectly normal. It’s when a person’s performance anxiety becomes a constant and abnormal concern that the person should seek performance anxiety treatment. People who experience true performance anxiety may adjust important aspects of their life in order to avoid the situations they fear. They may avoid certain places entirely or sever ties with family, friends, or co-workers.

Performance anxiety treatment may include medication, therapy, or a combination of both. The most typically used therapy is cognitive behavior therapy, which teaches that our thoughts control our emotions and ultimately our performance. Therapists will help the person engage in positive self-talk and teach them to identify when their negative thoughts are affecting the situation they fear.

For more information about performance anxiety treatment in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today

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South Florida Anxiety Therapist Offers Anxiety and Substance Abuse Information

In today’s stress-filled world, anxiety disorders are on the rise, with over 19 million Americans affected. There are many types of anxiety disorders but when alcohol and substance abuse gets thrown into the mix, these conditions become even more complicated. Alcohol and substance abuse fuels anxiety disorders that are already present. In addition, people with anxiety disorders are two to three times more likely to have an alcohol and substance abuse disorder. In fact, the more one looks at the issue, the more obvious it is that a vicious cycle exists between anxiety and substance abuse.
           
When considering the anxiety and substance abuse cycle it can often be difficult to determine which comes first, the anxiety disorder or the alcohol and substance abuse. Some examples that are frequently seen include:

  • Social anxiety disorder leading to alcohol abuse: a person with social anxiety disorder typically feels nervous and uncomfortable in even the most common social situations. They often turn to alcohol to lessen their anxiety.
  • Post traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse occuring together: terrible dreams and hallucinations are often associated with post traumatic stress and a variety of substances. As a result, using certain substances – especially illegal ones – can increase the feelings associated with traumatic experiences, leading to the official disorder. Likewise, post traumatic stress can lead a person to drugs as a way to escape their condition.
  • Alcohol or drugs causing panic disorder: alcohol and drug-induced states can lead some people to hallucinations or experiences that cause panic attacks. As panic attacks occur more often the person develops panic disorder, or the constant anxiety or fear that they will experience a panic attack.

When alcohol and substance abuse occur with an anxiety disorder, treatment can be tricky. Treating the substance abuse will not cure the anxiety disorder or vice-versa, so it is best to treat the anxiety and substance abuse simultaneously. This is especially effective in helping to prevent a relapse. Therapy generally consists of cognitive behavior therapy, which helps the person identify, understand, and change their thinking and behavior patterns. Since medication can be a common part of anxiety disorder treatment, it must be approached carefully in order to avoid aggravating the substance abuse disorder and any chemical interactions that could occur as a result of that condition. If medicine is indicated, most doctors will prescribe medications with low abuse potential.

For more information about anxiety and substance abuse disorder and treatment in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact South Florida anxiety therapist Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Help For OCD in South Florida

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder affects more than three million people across the country. Many of us either know someone or have heard stories of acquaintances or co-workers who have unusual compulsions or behaviors: perhaps they turn the lights off and on five times before leaving any room, perhaps they wash their hands repeatedly, or maybe they feel the urge to double and triple check all work before handing it in to their boss. This type of behavior can often be classified as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive, ritualized behaviors (compulsions) that a person feels compelled to perform. The OCD sufferer typically understands that their thoughts and compulsions are irrational but they are unable to stop themselves.

To understand this disorder and get help for OCD in South Florida, it’s very important to understand the five major behavior categories associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

  • Washers – These people are afraid of contamination and often engage in cleaning or hand-washing compulsions. This can develop as a result of a fear of germs or a fear of contaminating others they come in contact with.
  • Checkers – These individuals repeatedly check things they associate with harm or danger. This could mean going over locks and windows excessively to ensure they are secure or constantly seeking updates from loved ones to be sure they haven’t fallen into harm’s way.
  • Doubters and Sinners – They are afraid that something terrible will happen if they don’t perform certain actions just right. These compulsions often revolve around religion – the fear that they will be punished if they don’t perform a religious ritual perfectly or a certainty that performing a religious ritual will prevent a negative event.
  • Counters and Arrangers – These people are obsessed with order and symmetry. They tend to be superstitious about numbers, colors, and arrangements. This can include tapping, counting, repeating certain words or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
  • Hoarders – They fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They accumulate excessive amounts of unnecessary items, such as old newspapers, magazines, or empty food containers based on the concern that they might need them in the future.

These behaviors and compulsions may not seem too serious to those who haven’t experienced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder firsthand. The truth of the matter is that this particular anxiety disorder represents a very serious condition that often grips the victim’s mind with fear and, in a very real way, controls their lives. South Florida OCD sufferers should seek treatment once their obsessions begin to rule their life.

To get more information or for help for OCD in South Florida (Delray Beach area), contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

 

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