All Posts in Category: General Mental Health

Video Gaming Addiction – Could It Be Affecting You?

For years, the effect of video games on children has been a source of concern for parents. Some parents worry that violent games will incite violence in their children. Some worry about their children missing out on the joy of sports in lieu of their game playing. Some even worry their children will become addicted to playing video games.

While there may be grounds for concern in any of these areas, one aspect that has proven to be valid is that it is possible for both children and adults to become addicted to video games and that social anxiety disorder and depression can become a direct result of gaming addiction.

To be considered a pathological gamer, a person has to experience impairment to several areas of their lives as a result of the time spent playing. The affected areas could include experiencing problems with:

  • school
  • social relationships
  • family relationships
  • occupational functioning (work issues)
  • psychological functioning

Mental health professionals know that approximately 7-11% of gamers can be considered pathological gamers. People who average 31 hours or more a week of video game play are categorized as obsessed or addicted.

In studying this phenomenon, researchers have discovered key facts regarding the relationship between addictive game playing and social anxiety. To begin with, people with lower social competence and impulsivity are more likely to become addicted to video games. Video games, especially online games, offer them a way to interact with others socially without having to make themselves vulnerable through face-to-face relations. In addition, video games are designed with attainable rewards. For someone who feels uncomfortable in a social setting, video games may provide a sense of success and belonging that they don’t find in the real world.

For people with online gaming addiction, depression, anxiety, and social phobias seem to be predictable outcomes. Research has shown that as people become more addicted to games, their anxiety and depression worsens. Conversely, when they stop playing video games, as their video gaming addiction improves, their depression also significantly improves. Like any addiction, withdrawal symptoms from gaming addiction can include anger, verbal abuse of others, sleep disturbances, fear and anxiety, crying, mood swings, and a desire to go back to gaming and try to control the time played.

If you or someone you know is has developed an addiction to video games, it’s important to seek help. Treatment is available and with help it’s possible to alleviate both the addiction and its accompanying anxiety. For more information, and gaming addiction treatment, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him 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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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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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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Holiday Stress And Anxiety – Tips to Help You Cope

As the holiday season approaches, the stress level increases for everyone. There is so much pressure associated with this time of joy: pressure to get the right gifts, to shop among the harried crowds, to attend the vast variety of festivities. Nearly everyone goes through some form of holiday stress and anxiety, but for people who already suffer from anxiety disorders, the festive season can be nearly unbearable.

If you find yourself becoming sick at the idea of attending the first holiday party, it would be wise to seek the aid of a mental health professional to address your anxiety concerns. They can help you find appropriate relief from your fears through specialized therapy. In the meantime, however, the following tips will help you work through this joyous, but stress-filled time:

  • Get specific about your concerns and work toward solutions. If you’re worried about money, suggest a gift exchange instead of traditional gift-giving. If the holiday shopping crowds stress you out, complete your shopping online.
  • Ask for help. If you’re worried about hosting dinner for your entire family, ask each member to bring a dish. If you’re concerned you won’t get the correct gifts, ask for suggestions.
  • Let go of that perfect holiday image. Things never go exactly as planned. If you expect everything to be perfect you are bound to be disappointed and your anxiety will shoot off the charts. Set realistic expectations and you’ll enjoy the holidays much more.
  • Treat yourself well. Pamper yourself and allow yourself to indulge. Work up a sweat through ice skating or other exercise. Physical exertion is a great aid in reducing stress at any time.
  • Be choosy about the social engagements you attend. It’s not necessary to participate in all of them and it’s perfectly all right to attend only the parties with the people you’re most comfortable with.
  • If you have lost a loved one – find a way to remember them. It may as simple as playing the person’s favorite music or visiting his or her grave (make sure to bring along family or friends who can help you cope).

Often, the holiday season brings joy but also holiday stress and anxiety. But with a little planning you can enjoy the season along with everyone else. For more information or for help in dealing with holiday stress and anxiety, call Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida. They specialize in helping those who fear the holidays. Take the first step by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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