All Posts Tagged: south florida

Emetophobia: The Fear of Vomiting

There are a number of mental health anxieties out there that most people are familiar with: panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are great examples. In general, many people have at least heard of these conditions and most could somewhat understand them if they came up as a topic of conversation. That being said, however, there are a number of fears or anxieties that you’ve probably never heard of before. And, because you don’t know they exist, you may believe you’re struggling alone through concerns no one else will understand.

If you’re one of these people and you suffer with a fear of vomiting, first know that you are not alone. In fact, the fear of vomiting, officially known as emetophobia, is a phobia that affects millions of people. And, the good news is that help is available.

Understanding Emetophobia

It might be helpful to understand a little of what emetophobia entails. The fear of vomiting can present itself in a number of different ways:

  • Fear that you will throw up.
  • Fear that you will see someone else vomit.
  • Fear of the loss of control that can come with getting sick.
  • Fear that if you begin to vomit you won’t be able to stop.
  • Fear of death from throwing up.

It is interesting that most people who struggle with emetophobia do not actively worry about throwing up. Instead, the phobia rears up when they are put in a position where they feel like vomiting may occur. Here are a few examples of triggers that can exacerbate this fear:

  • Someone else vomiting: seeing this in person, watching it in a movie, or even hearing about it can have a negative effect and trigger their fears.
  • Hearing that a coworker is home with the flu.
  • Thinking of food or seeing or smelling a food item that has made them vomit before.
  • Seeing or hearing things that can be associated with throwing up, like a toilet or the sound of someone gagging.

Life Impact

The truth about vomiting is that none of us are very happy to talk about it or think about it. In fact, most of us will also do whatever it takes to avoid throwing up, just the same as someone who struggles with emetophobia. The difference between these types of people comes in two important areas: the level of worry involved and the impact that worry has on one’s life. When faced with the triggers noted above, the average person might flinch or groan, unhappy to be hearing about them. On the other hand, someone who struggles with emetophobia may have the following reactions:

  • They may do an analysis of themselves and how they’re feeling: Is my stomach hurting? Could that gas lead to something worse.
  • They may begin digging into the details of someone else’s illness to determine their own risk of getting sick.
  • They may search for signs of impending trouble: Did that coworker cough or gag? Did they (or I) eat the same thing as someone else who just got sick?

When a person has convinced themselves that their risk of throwing up is high, there are a number of ways it can impact their life. They may find themselves avoiding:

  • People they know are sick or who look sick.
  • Food they think could lead to vomiting
  • Eating in restaurants.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Friend’s babies or even their own baby, based on a concern that the baby is bound to throw up at some point.

Seeking Help

Though a fear of vomiting would seem to be a part of Health anxiety disorder (hypochondria), emetophobia is not the same thing. Treatment for emetophobia can even be a little more challenging at times, mostly because everyone who struggles with this type of anxiety has thrown up before or has been around their triggers without having their worst fears confirmed. Despite this, their anxieties continue and often strengthen over time.

That being said, there are plenty of ways that a psychotherapist can help sufferers learn to cope with this fear and reduce its impact on their life. As an example, Cognitive Behavior Therapy can help them recognize and understand the false beliefs that are triggering their phobia and anxiety. Exposure Therapy can also be useful to reduce the fears associated with their triggers.

Could you or someone you know benefit from professional assistance with emetophobia? Take action today to overcome your fears! For more information on treatment for emetophobia, Contact Dr. 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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Online Therapy and Internet Counseling

In today’s stressful world, approximately 20% of Americans suffer from mental health concerns. While many of us have experienced occasional periods of anxiety or a feeling of being overwhelmed, most of us have just come to accept the tension and demands in our life. But for the 1 in 5 Americans who have true depressive or anxiety disorders, everyday stresses represent something more intense. These burdens begin affecting their home life and relationships and start impacting their work; all clear signs of an anxiety disorder.

The best way someone with an anxiety disorder can help themselves is by seeking therapy. Licensed therapists can evaluate your concerns and determine the best treatment options available for your situation. The only problem with this, until recently, is that all types of therapy have required a visit to the therapist’s office, making it difficult for certain people to obtain the help they need. Those who may not have been able to easily seek help in the past are:

  • People who live in rural areas, where the nearest office could be hours away from their home
  • Agoraphobics – those people with a phobia of going outside
  • People with social anxiety disorder
  • People with mobility constraints

 Internet Therapy

Enter the virtual therapist. This is psychotherapy that’s done electronically via resources like Skype and FaceTime. The emergence of online therapy and phone therapy has revolutionized the way counseling is performed. In addition to making treatment more accessible to people, there are a number of positive reasons to consider internet counseling as the preferred way to seek professional help:

  • Increased comfort: imagine being able to complete your therapy from your very own couch in the safety and comfort of the familiar surroundings in your home.
  • Increased options for therapists: if the therapist you want to see or need to see isn’t conveniently located near you, you can still use their services.
  • Increased availability to continue therapy while traveling for work or while on vacation.
  • Increased privacy: there’s no concern that you’ll run into someone you know while sitting in the waiting room of your virtual therapist.
  • Time saved from having to drive to and from the psychologist’s office.

 Is Online Therapy Right For You?

Just like anything else, there are important things to consider before jumping into phone therapy or internet counseling:

  • Ask your therapist about HIPAA compliance to ensure your electronic communications will be kept confidential.
  • A physical doctor’s office guarantees solitude and quiet to discuss your concerns: can your virtual therapist ensure they will provide a similar environment when engaging in therapy at your convenience?
  • State licensure: while internet therapy does offer more convenience, you will most likely still need to use a therapist who is licensed in your state. Don’t be surprised if this becomes a topic of conversation.
  • It may not be possible for your therapy to be 100% electronic. Some concerns may require visits to local clinics for in-person assessing.

What to Expect

So how does online therapy appointment differ from a regular in-person appointment? The short answer is, it doesn’t – for the most part. Aside from the fact that you’ll be talking to your therapist through a device, your internet therapy appointment should be very similar to a typical appointment in a physical office.

Your psychotherapist will work with you to go through the same exercises and analysis as they normally would if you were sitting in their office. Additionally, some therapists may periodically assign videos to watch or “homework” assignments that can be submitted electronically, but even these won’t be much different than what an in-person therapist might ask of you.

So how do you get started? Not every therapist is equipped to administer online therapy or provide internet counseling. But Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida is ready to receive your call and make getting help easier. Contact them at 561-496-1094 or contact Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Hoarding and OCD

We all know someone who has a collection of some items that has special meaning to them. You probably have a friend who loves turtles, for example, and has a shelf full of whimsical turtle statues. Often, men will have sports-related memorabilia tucked into several corners of their home or hunting trophies hanging in their den. While these collections are generally harmless, there are people who compulsively collect “stuff” and have accumulated so much that their possessions have literally taken over their home or yard. When a person’s life begins to be so affected by their items that they can no longer safely live in their home or they aren’t able to give up even a tiny portion of their collection, they’ve crossed over into the realm of hoarding.

Hoard Definition

A hoarder is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a person who “excessively saves items that others may view as worthless and has persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.” This isn’t to say that someone is a hoarder simply because they have an assortment of specific items like model cars: collectors focus on something specific and will often display them or organize them somehow. When people hoard items, however, they generally save random, unrelated items and store them haphazardly.

In most cases, a hoarder saves things that they feel:

  • they may need in the future
  • are/will be valuable
  • have sentimental value
  • make them feel safer when they are surrounded by the things they save

The APA says those with the condition – and their families – suffer negative social, emotional and physical effects to the point where there is a disruption of normal life. People who hoard, however, often don’t see the problem: many will live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions in order to maintain and add to their collection of items.

Hoarding Symptoms

Hoarding symptoms may include some or all of the following:

  • A persistent inability to part with any possession, regardless of its value or ability to be used
  • Feeling excessive discomfort if others touch or borrow items or distress at the idea of losing an item or getting rid of it
  • Inability to use an area of the home for its intended purpose (for example, being unable to cook in the kitchen or use the bathroom to bathe)
  • Keeping stacks of newspapers, magazines or junk mail
  • Allowing trash or food to build up to unusually excessive, unsanitary levels
  • Limited or no social interaction
  • Difficulty organizing items, sometimes losing important items in the clutter
  • Difficulty managing daily activities because of procrastination and trouble making decisions
  • Moving items from one pile to another, without discarding anything
  • Shame or embarrassment

Are Hoarding and OCD Related?

Hoarding has long been thought to be a form of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder because of the victim’s fixation on their items. Often, it can be traumatic for them to discard even one or two items because of their strong need to save things.

Recently, however, some researchers have come to believe that hoarding disorder isn’t the same for all people: they think hoarding may be related to ADHD and/or dementia in certain people.

Hoarding Therapy

Treatment of hoarding disorder can be challenging because many people either don’t recognize the negative impact that hoarding has on their lives or they don’t believe they need treatment. When they do seek out a therapist, hoarding therapy generally follows a similar path as treatment for OCD. Often, the most effective means is a combination of medication and therapy.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is used to help the person become aware of their thoughts, emotions, and beliefs about their hoarding and help them identify and challenge inaccurate thinking. Certain anti-depressants have been found to be effective in treating the disorder. Frequently, family or group therapy is encouraged. Over time, the need to hoard can be overcome and learning to take small steps can lead to big changes.

We Can Help!

If you or a loved one has symptoms of hoarding disorder, talk with a doctor or mental health provider as soon as possible. Additionally, some communities have agencies that help with hoarding problems. Check with your local or county government for resources in your area.

For more information or to talk to a mental health professional about hoarding, contact Dr. Rosen or call The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094.

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LGBT Anxiety

It is said that it is human nature to fear things or people who are different. For centuries, society has pointed to this as justification for judging and discriminating against people who fall into “non-traditional” categories.

Every day our society is becoming more and more accepting of the differences we see in each other. Despite this progressive acceptance, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender still face a number of social stigmas and discrimination. It’s no wonder that this can lead to stress and anxiety for those in the LGBT community.

Potential Issues

If you are a member of the LGBT community and you’ve experienced anxiety tied to your identity, you’re not alone. Thousands of people just like you experience the same concerns every day. Let’s consider the facts:

  • According to a 2007 survey, students who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender were almost ten times as likely to experience bullying and victimization at school.
  • LGBT people were also twice as likely to have considered suicide as their heterosexual, non-transgender classmates.
  • People who identify themselves as homosexual or transgender face a number of common issues:
    • Discrimination and oppression at work or school
    • Stress and anxiety based around coming out to friends and family members
    • The struggle to identify your “true” self despite social expectations
    • The anticipation of potential discrimination or harassment even in situations where it hasn’t occurred yet

 Finding the Right Therapist for LGBT Anxiety

The ethics of professions tied to mental health, such as social work, psychology, and psychiatry require that therapists provide services to all people without discrimination. That being said, some therapists may be better than others when assisting with the specific needs of the LGBT community. Because of this, there are a few factors you may want to consider when seeking therapy for anxiety about your sexuality:

  • Similar experience: A therapist who is homosexual or transgender will have real-life experience similar to yours and may be able to provide more extensive assistance.
  • Professional focus: Many therapists focus their energy on specific areas of psychiatry. Finding someone who specializes in the anxieties of the LGBT community may provide you with more options as you go through your therapy.
  • The therapist’s view on reparation or conversion therapy: Decades ago, the mental health community operated on the misguided notion that homosexuality concerns were mental health disorders. During this time period it was common to find therapists who focused on “fixing” what they considered to be “improper” romantic attractions. Obviously, this practice is highly discouraged now and, in many states, has actually been banned. However, it’s still good to be aware of this so you don’t accidentally find yourself working with a therapist who has different intentions than you do.

Remember, the LGBT anxiety you face on a regular basis is not a result of there being anything wrong with you. They arise because of the environmental factors that surround you. Appropriate therapy will aim to help you understand and cope with those factors to improve your daily interactions.

Are you or someone you know facing severe anxiety as a result of your sexual or gender identity? Dr. Andrew Rosen knows the best techniques for helping you work through this anxiety and cope with difficult situations that arise. For more information, contact Dr. Rosen or call The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094.

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Compassion Focused Therapy for Social Anxiety

It’s not unusual for people to get nervous in certain social situations. Preparing to give a speech and meeting a group of people you don’t know are both great examples of situations where it’s perfectly understandable to experience a little anxiety. However, there is a big difference between small amounts of anxiety and social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder develops when those little fears become so intense that you go out of your way to avoid any situations that will trigger them. And, when that avoidance begins to negatively impact your daily life or family it may be time to seek some professional help.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the most common treatments for social phobia is cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of systematic desensitization addresses negative patterns and distortions in the way we look at ourselves and the world. There are two main components to this approach:

  • Cognitive therapy examines how your negative thoughts can contribute to your social anxiety.
  • Behavior therapy analyzes the way you behave and react in those situations that trigger your anxiety.

There are three main steps involved in this form of therapy:

  • Identifying your negative thoughts: this can include recognizing what those thoughts include, the specific situations they occur in conjunction with, and recognizing them for the harmful thoughts they are.
  • Challenging your negative thoughts: during this step you’ll question the evidence for your frightening thoughts, weigh the pros and cons associated with them, and conduct experiments to test the validity of these thoughts.
  • Replacing negative thoughts with realistic ones: as you become more adept at recognizing your anxiety-provoking thoughts, you can begin to practice converting those thoughts into positive imaging.

The Compassionate Approach

While cognitive behavioral therapy has become widely recognized as an effective treatment for social anxiety disorder, there are aspects of it that can be difficult for many people. It can be a great challenge to identify positive thoughts or to replace them with realistic ones. Oftentimes people can recognize the benefit of this systematic desensitization approach but understanding the logic doesn’t necessarily make the treatment easier to complete.

This is where compassion focused therapy comes in. People who experience social phobia are apt to be self-critical and filled with thoughts of shame and anger because of how the anxiety affects them. Compassionate-focused therapy helps individuals reverse those thoughts through compassionate engagement. The theory behind this therapy states that we are “at our most flourishing” when we:

  • See evidence that we are cared about and valued
  • Are caring, helping, and valuing others
  • Are mindful and sympathetic of our own feelings

By demonstrating the skills and attributes of compassion, the therapist instils these values in the patient. As a consequence, the patient is aided to develop an internal compassionate relationship with themselves – one that will replace the blaming, condemning and self-critical person they may feel they are.

In other words, by learning to be empathetic and non-judgmental of others it can become easier to give yourself a break, as well. While many might view compassion as a personality trait, the reality is that it is a skill you can be trained in. This therapy helps to foster the attributes of that skill.

 Need More Assistance?

It can be difficult to convert your negative thoughts into a positive mindset when you’re in the midst of social anxiety disorder. If you or someone you know is suffering from social anxiety, seeking professional help can be the most direct path to reclaiming your life.

For more information about compassion-based cognitive behavioral therapy, 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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Obsessive-Compulsiveness in New Mothers

With new motherhood comes a variety of changes. Of course, most parents are told to expect the sleepless nights and the constant feedings. What you may not be told, however, is how much you’ll worry about the health of your little one. This seems to be especially true of new mothers.

It makes sense. Here’s this brand new, tiny, baby that seems so helpless and so susceptible to danger from even the most insignificant things. They can get sick at the drop of the hat and everything is a guessing game because they can’t tell you what’s wrong. It’s no wonder that studies report that around 11% of new mothers exhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviors after the birth of their child.

When Should You Be Concerned?

What is OCD? Simply put, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears that lead to repetitive behaviors. As an example, there is nothing wrong with double checking to make sure you strapped the baby into the car seat. However, there may be a concern if you must check to see that the baby is in the car seat two or three times before leaving, every time you drive somewhere.

Other examples of possible OCD symptoms from new mothers could include:

  • Washing your baby after every feeding
  • Constantly sterilizing all the baby’s equipment and toys
  • Being terrified of anyone else holding your baby
  • Washing all of the bedclothes on a daily basis
  • Washing your hands at set periods of time to ensure they stay clean

Looking at these examples, it is easy to see how these “obsessions” can cross the line from being reasonable to unreasonable. Giving in to the compulsions that come from your anxieties can impact your relationships, sleeping patterns, and eating habits, just to name a few. Once they begin to negatively affect your life like this, it’s time to seek help.

What are the Causes of OCD?

Many things can cause or increase your risk of developing OCD, such as family history and biological changes like the ones most women experience with childbirth. However, one of the leading risk factors for developing obsessive-compulsive disorder is stressful life changes.

It makes sense, then, that having a baby can be such a huge trigger for new mothers. Many mothers experience a lot of the same worries:

  • Fear that they won’t be good parents
  • Pressure to prove themselves to others
  • A need for control in an uncertain situation
  • Fear that their child will fall ill
  • Fear of hurting their child

It’s normal to have these concerns. However, it’s important that new mothers keep these fears from taking over their lives. The best way to do this is to not keep these feelings and thoughts to yourself. However, this is where obsessive-compulsive disorder often becomes a difficult catch-22.

Many new mothers may worry about the way others will view them if they admit their anxieties. Even worse, the thought of talking to their doctor about their fears may increase the apprehension they already have. If they worry, for example, that they have to prove they are a good parent, then wouldn’t admitting this type of problem prove that they aren’t?

Seeking Help

As with most disorders, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward fixing it. Disclosing your concerns can make you more open to suggestions from loved ones who have an outsider’s view of your compulsions. It can also help you recognize when you’re falling into them. And, in the event that you’re unable to control your compulsions on your own, admitting your fears can be the first step toward seeking support from a professional who can help you learn to cope with your concerns and anxieties.

If you or someone you know has become negatively impacted by the worries and pressures of new motherhood, don’t feel like you have to go through this alone. Call us at 561-496-1094 or contact us today, and get yourself back on the path to enjoying life and your precious bundle of joy.

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Terror Threats and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

It seems like every time we turn on the news lately, we hear reports about terrorists and attacks by suicide/homicide bombers. News stories about kidnappings, beheadings, and raids by Islamic terrorism groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram are a “normal” part of the daily news now. And, even though the vast majority of these attacks take place in cities and countries on the other side of the world from us, the constant bombardment of these threatening stories can begin to make anyone feel helpless and can instill worry, stress, and fear in them. This is especially true for people who already suffer from anxiety and anxiety-related syndromes, such as generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Even though personally experiencing an ISIS terrorist attack is unlikely, sometimes fear and anxiety over a potential threat can take on a life of its own. When you are anxious in general, you may begin having headaches, stomach problems, trouble sleeping or eating, or can even have a panic attack. And, if you have generalized anxiety disorder, your worries and fears become overwhelming. What was “normal” anxiety crosses over the line to the point that you worry:

  • About the worst-case scenario in most situations
  • Almost daily for six months or more
  • Uncontrollably, or your fears significantly disrupt your work or social life, or your daily activities

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • Persistent worrying or obsessing about your concerns
  • Feeling like you are always “on edge” or keyed up, being easily startled
  • Trouble concentrating, feeling irritable
  • Fearing rejection or worrying that you are losing control

Some of the psychological symptoms of anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder can include:

  • Difficulty sleeping and its accompanying fatigue
  • Nausea, sweating, muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath and/or rapid heartbeat

What Can You Do To Help Calm Your Terror-Related Anxiety?

While it’s understandable to worry about terror threats, keeping the following in mind can help you calm your fears and lower your anxiety levels:

  • Try to detach – obsessing and worrying about ISIS and other militant groups will not solve the problem and will only serve to make you more anxious and upset. Remember that your upset is only yours – fixating on a possible attack will not change the outcome or stop a terrorist act. Try to focus on something else – a hobby, exercise, your loved ones – so you aren’t constantly preoccupied with the news.
  • Take care of yourself: eat nutritiously, exercise regularly to help relieve stress, and try to get enough sleep. Meditation can help to calm your mind, as can yoga or something as simple as deep, rhythmic breathing.
  • Turn off the TV, stop checking newsfeeds and Twitter and make the decision to limit your exposure to distressing news. Fear is addictive and constantly watching world events will keep your mind focused on the negative.
  • Remember that news organizations thrive when people are watching and paying attention to what they are saying. In spite of everything, we actually live in a safer world than ever before. It is also one that is healthier and richer than in the past, and one in which people are living longer than ever before.
  • Maintain your normal routine and continue to do the things you enjoy so that you feel more in control of the world around you.

Keep in mind that fear pulls the enjoyment out of everything. Living in fear keeps you from taking pleasure in your life and it won’t change what happens in the world – either in another country or right down the street. Only you can choose whether you will focus on the negative or whether you will embrace the happiness that is all around you. Be kind to yourself and don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in negative news stories and worries about terrorist threats.

If, however, you use these ideas and are still finding yourself stressed and troubled about terrorist threats, it might be time to speak with a professional to discuss more specific steps. To get more information and help for worry about terror threats and your anxiety or about generalized anxiety disorder, 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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Teen Issues: Teenagers and Online Porn

There’s no doubt that the Internet and technology have made the world of parenting vastly different than it was in the past. There was a time when a parent’s biggest concern was finding their child with a Playboy magazine, which probably just piqued the child’s curiosity. Now, with sex being more prevalent in the news, movies, and even in children’s programming, it should be no surprise that more parents are discovering their teenagers taking their curiosity one step further and into the world of full-blown pornography.

Reacting Appropriately

Discoveries like this often lead to knee-jerk reactions by parents. Consider these tips for handling your reaction to finding your child watching porn:

  • Calm down before approaching your teenager. Even the best-prepared parent is bound to be emotional in this situation and talking immediately will probably not be very effective.
  • Get your thoughts straight. Most parents’ first reaction to their teen viewing porn is to think there’s something wrong. In reality, viewing porn online is not uncommon. Studies show that 42% of Internet users, ages 10 to 17, report having seen online porn at least once in the past 12 months.
  • Be open to discussion. It’s important to realize that teenagers will naturally be curious about sex. Approaching the conversation with the intention of easing that curiosity, rather than being accusatory, will make everything much more productive.

Handling the Conversation

This is “The Conversation” – the one every parent fears from the moment their child is born. It’s probably going to awkward. It may be uncomfortable for one or both of you; but in the end it can be a pivotal conversation in your child’s development. Try these tips for making it easier:

  • Help them to understand they’re not in trouble. Make the focus more about educating them correctly about sex, rather than making it about punishing them.
  • Invite them to ask questions. Since curiosity is often the biggest factor in these scenarios, it’s important to be open to your child’s thoughts and feelings.
  • Consider starting the conversation in the car, where it’s easy to talk without making eye contact. Just make sure you’re close to home so your teenager doesn’t feel trapped by the confines of the car if they’re uncomfortable.
  • Accept that they may not want to talk with you. This is highly likely and forcing the issue isn’t going to help anything.
  • Consider alternative resources for educating your teenager. If they’re not open to a discussion, you might try casually leaving education materials around or even providing them with information they might be better able to relate to. There are great for-teenagers-by-teenagers resources available nowadays.
  • Explain the real concern with these teen issues, which is not that a teenager may be looking at porn…instead, the focus for this conversation should be keeping their understanding of sex grounded in real life. Some important aspects to discuss are:
    • Realistic body expectations. Help them to understand that porn actors’ bodies are often drastically modified by makeup, surgery, and by other methods, and are unrealistic portrayals of the average person.
    • The emotional side of sex which typically has no representation in pornographic materials.
    • The “every day” side of sex and how it differs from the fantastical elements they see in porn. An easy comparison might be pointing out the differences between how life is portrayed in blockbuster action movies versus what they see in their everyday lives.
    • The fact that some online porn sites show hardcore sex, sexual violence, and perversions. Help your teenagers understand that these sites do not generally reflect real life and aren’t made to be watched by teens, in any case.
  • Don’t be afraid to discuss the feelings that porn can generate. It’s important for teenagers to understand this and how those feelings can be addictive.
  • Discuss the differences between viewing sites and interactive sites, such as social media and chat rooms, where topics related to porn may come up. It’s important for them to know about sexual predators and the risks that can be involved in these types of interactions.
  • Set some guidelines. Just as there are places you would consider dangerous in the real world, your teenager needs to understand that there are dangerous places in the virtual world. Help them to understand that you will be monitoring their computer usage while still trying to protect their privacy.

Still having a hard time coping with this change in your teenager’s life? For more tips about teen issues and approaching your teenager about online porn, 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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Cell Phone Addiction

In today’s world of technology and social media, smartphones have become the technological equivalent of heroin. And just like heroin or any other drug, smartphones can become addicting. Most of us turn to our phones when we’re happy, sad, bored, or angry. Our phones are always there for us when we need them. And, as with any other “drug,” that can be a cause for concern. A cell phone addiction can separate us from our loved ones, stress us out, negatively impact our careers, and damage our relationships.

Addiction vs. Overuse

According to recent studies, 90% of Americans would fall into the category of overusing or abusing their smartphones, while between 10 – 12% can be diagnosed with an actual addiction. Other shocking cell phone related statistics include:

  • 70% of people say they check their phone within 1 hour of getting out of bed.
  • 56% check their phone within 1 hour of going to sleep.
  • 51% check their phone continuously while on vacation.
  • 44% said they’d experience a great deal of anxiety if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week.

Sound familiar? As always, the first step to solving a problem is realizing you have one. A good cell phone addiction test is to read through the following list to see how it relates to you and your daily life. If you find that more than just one or two items apply, you may be addicted to using your smart phone.

The signs of possible cell phone addiction or abuse include:

  • Spending more time on your smartphone than you realized or mindlessly passing time staring at it even when there are more productive things you could be doing.
  • Spending more time texting, emailing, or tweeting others as opposed to talking to real people.
  • Sleeping with your phone under your pillow or beside your bed.
  • Answering texts, emails, etc. at all hours of the day and night, even when it means interrupting something else you were doing or diverting your attention from something that requires focus and concentration.
  • Secretly wishing you could be less wired or connected to your phone.
  • Feeling ill-at-ease or anxious if you accidentally leave your phone behind somewhere or if it’s broken or lost.
  • Giving your phone a permanent place-setting at the table during dinner time.
  • Feeling an intense urge to check your phone any time it beeps or buzzes.

Managing Your Phone Usage

If you are concerned about overuse or addiction to your cell phone it may be wise to take a few steps toward managing the problem:

  • Try to resist answering your phone every time you get a notification. Avoid temptation by putting your phone on silent (with no vibrate) for a while.
  • Be disciplined about not using your phone in certain situations, such as meetings, family dinners, driving, or during certain hours (for example, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.).
  • Try removing apps that are not a priority. Accept that you don’t need to have access to everything all the time. Some applications might be more appropriate for your computer or laptop than your phone.
  • Take advantage of Airplane Mode. This is a quick, simple way of turning off notifications on your phone, while still having the ability to take pictures and access local files.
  • Add an app that can help. As ironic as it may sound, there are apps you can use – such as BreakFree or StayOnTask – which will help you limit your smartphone usage.

The important thing to focus on when facing smartphone addiction or overuse is the impact this issue may be having on your life. To a degree, this issue has become an accepted part of society. So many of us deal with smartphones on a day-to-day basis it’s easy to disregard this as being no big deal. If you suspect otherwise, open yourself up to loved ones to ask their true opinions on the subject. Conversely, if you have a loved one who has fallen victim to smartphone abuse or addiction, voice your concerns to help make them aware that a problem may exist.

If either of these situations fit you and the tips above haven’t worked, it might be time to speak with a professional to discuss more specific steps. To get more information and help for breaking a cell phone addiction, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or contact Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Coping Mechanisms for Overcoming Holiday Stress

Once again it’s that time of year for holiday music, joyful giving, and memorable parties. Unfortunately, however, holiday cheer is not always as easy to find as one would think. In fact, the holiday season is often the time of year that anxiety, stress, and depression is highest for many people.

It makes sense when you think about some of the factors that come along with most people’s holidays. Consider these triggers, which can cause a spike in anxiety and holiday stress during this festive season:

  • Going home – Returning to your childhood home can bring up associated unhappy memories and old anxieties.
  • Relatives – Most people have at least one family member they avoid throughout the year because of the toxicity that person brings to social interactions. Family gatherings during the holidays often mean these less-than-cheerful reunions will occur.
  • Life changes – This is the time of year where people tend to reflect on the previous year and the major changes that have happened, such as divorces or deaths in the family. The seasonal cheer and happiness often opens the door to anxiety and depression when these thoughts come up.
  • Holiday parties – This is the time when we are expected to attend office parties or get-togethers with friends and neighbors. Crowded rooms and large groups of people can be difficult to face for anyone, but these types of gatherings can be especially difficult for those suffering from social anxiety disorder, even if they are not the center of attention.
  • Routine – While focusing on changes are difficult for some, focusing on routine and the sameness of family tradition can be a struggle for others. Visiting the same homes, going through the same conversations, and having the same dinners can demonstrate a monotony that makes people feel like their lives are stuck in a rut.
  • Lowered Defenses – The holidays come at a time when the weather is changing, flu is rampant, and holiday engagements leave us sleep-deprived. It’s no wonder that our body’s defenses are not up to the rigors of fighting the anxiety that can come around at this time.
  • Travel – People have to face the crowds and travel issues that make them avoid traveling the rest of the year. And, for someone who suffers from social anxiety disorder or a fear of flying, holiday travel can bring up extreme distress and worry.

Holiday Coping Mechanisms

While it’s easy to see how this time of year can provoke anxiety and stress in a number of people, there is good news. There are a number of holiday coping mechanisms you can use to ease your way through the holiday stress:

  • Accept imperfection. Oftentimes, we idealize the holiday season and envision a movie-like perfection to how it will go. Perfection is not reality and realizing this early will go a long way in preventing holiday stress.
  • Don’t look to alcohol or drugs for relief. While this may seem like an easy solution in the moment, it often makes things worse in the long run.
  • Reach out to others. When holiday depression starts to sneak in, look for relief in the company of others. The holidays are filled with religious and community events that often make it easier to seek social support.
  • Maintain healthy habits. People correlate the holidays with weight gain and unhealthy eating but it doesn’t have to be that way. Loading up on baked goods and fattening meals can lead to negative self-thoughts. Look for healthier alternatives instead.
  • Stick to a budget. Financial concerns are one of the leading stressors for this time of year. Whatever your financial situation is, set a budget and stick with it to maintain control of your situation.

Coping with Holiday Travel Fears

One of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of the holidays is the dreaded travel to family events. Traffic delays, crowded airports, and overflowing train stations can bring about an entirely different type of stress, especially if you already suffer from a fear of flying or of crowds. Just like with any other anxieties, however, there are ways to confront and overcome these fears:

  • Plan and confirm all details – Organization is the best way to ensure your travel plans will go as smoothly as possible.
  • Think ahead – Oftentimes, giving voice to your anxiety is the best way to address it. What are you stressing about? Make a list of all your concerns and pre-plan ways to overcome them so you’ll be prepared if the worst happens.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – If you’re flying and claustrophobic, don’t be afraid to ask for an aisle seat. If you have a fear of flying, let the flight attendant know when you board so they can help make your flight more comfortable. Asking for help can provide more relief than suffering alone in silence.

Ultimately, if you find holiday stress is becoming overwhelming despite the recommendations listed above, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Your holiday season does not need to be ruined because of stress, anxiety, or depression. If you or someone you know is unable to cope with the holiday burdens, it may be time to reach out to a professional.

To get more information and help for holiday stress, anxiety, or depression, 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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