All Posts Tagged: south florida anxiety disorder treatment

Separation Anxiety and School Refusal

The summer is waning – it’s almost time for autumn to roll around again, which means school will be starting soon. While most children look forward to this time so they can see their friends and enjoy various school activities, this can be a period of major anxiety for some school-aged children. These kids are extremely unwilling to leave home or be away from major attachment figures such as parents, grandparents, or older siblings. The beginning of the new school year is often seen as a threat to them, resulting in elevated anxiety levels and possible school-related disorders, such as separation anxiety disorder and school refusal.

In some cases the separation anxiety and school refusal follow an infection or illness or can come after an emotional trauma such as a move to another neighborhood or the death of a loved one. The anxiety generally occurs after the child has spent an extended time with their parent or loved one, perhaps over summer break or a long vacation.

Anxiety Definition

A teen or child is said to be suffering from a separation anxiety disorder if they show excessive anxiety related to the separation from a parent or caregiver or from their home, or if they exhibit an inappropriate anxiety about this separation as related to their age or stage of development. School refusal and separation anxiety are not the same: school refusal is not an “actual” diagnosis, instead it is a result of the child or teen having a separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, or social phobia, among other diagnoses.

Separation Anxiety Physical Symptoms

Children with separation anxiety have symptoms which can include:

  • Excessive worry about potential harm befalling oneself or one’s caregiver
  • Demonstrating clingy behavior
  • Avoiding activities that may result in separation from parents
  • Fearing to be alone in a room or needing to see a parent at all times
  • Difficulty going to sleep, fear of the dark, and/or nightmares
  • Trembling
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches and/or nausea
  • Vomiting

A child who exhibits three or more of these symptoms for more than four weeks is likely to be suffering from a separation anxiety disorder.

Treatment for School Refusal and Separation Anxiety

When treating a child with separation anxiety and school refusal, therapists try to help the child learn to identify and change their anxious thoughts. They teach coping mechanisms that will help the child respond less fearfully to the situations that produce their anxiety. This can be done through role-playing or by modeling the appropriate behavior for the child to see. Medication is sometimes appropriate in severe cases of separation anxiety. Additionally, the therapist encourages child to use positive self-talk and parents help with this therapy by actively reinforcing positive behaviors and rewarding their child’s successes.

Have Questions? Need Help?

To get more information and help for child anxiety, separation anxiety and school refusal, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center 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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