All Posts Tagged: the center for treatment of anxiety disorders

Loneliness: A Public Health Concern?

Loneliness is an emotion that can be difficult to pin down because it often means different things to different people. It can be a perception of isolation because we feel that we aren’t being heard and valued. It can be caused by feeling that there is no one we can turn to for emotional support. Also, in many instances, a lonely person is actually physically alone through the loss of a spouse or loved one. Regardless of how we define loneliness, however, researchers have concluded that feeling so alone can affect not just our mental and emotional well being, but our physical health, as well. And, they are finding that loneliness can be as contagious as a virus.

Feeling Lonely is Becoming a Public Health Concern

It may be hard to believe, but loneliness is also becoming a public health issue in the United States. When people were asked how many close confidants they had during a poll taken back in 1984, the average answer was three. When a follow-up poll was taken again in 2004, however, the average response from people was that they had no close confidants: zero!

Not only is loneliness on the upswing, but studies are now suggesting that loneliness can be contagious and can spread through groups of people via negative social interactions. One such study asked more than 5,000 people to complete a loneliness questionnaire. Participants were also asked to supply researchers with a medical history and go through a physical examination every two years to four years over the ten year study period. The participants also listed relatives and friends and referred them to the study: many of these referrals also took part in the study. By looking at the social networks of the participants and the number of lonely days they experienced each year, scientists were able to see how loneliness spread throughout the groups.

Additionally, researchers are finding that social isolation actually changes human DNA. In 2015, a study done by UCLA School of Medicine psychologist Steve Cole and his colleagues revealed that complex immune system responses are at work in lonely people. Their investigation found that feelings of loneliness or actually being socially isolated created more activity in the genes responsible for inflammation and reduced the activity of genes that produce antibodies to fight infection. They found that monocytes, a type of white blood cell that forms the first line of the body’s infection response system, are dramatically changed in people who are socially isolated.

Even if you overlook this change in infection-fighting cells, we know that “lonely adults consume more alcohol and get less exercise than those who are not lonely,” says John Cacioppo, co-author of the book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection in an interview with U.S. News and World Report. “Their diet is higher in fat, their sleep is less efficient, and they report more day time fatigue. Loneliness also disrupts the regulation of cellular processes deep within the body, predisposing us to premature aging.” Their study showed that the cellular damage that can be caused by these genetic changes appears to be similar to that which comes from smoking, diabetes, and obesity.

Coping With Loneliness

So, how do you cope with being lonely? First, understand that loneliness is a normal part of being human, but it can make you feel like you are abnormal. Second, move forward by trying these suggestions:

  • Get a pet – they provide companionship and unconditional love and can be a way to meet other people through activities that get you up and out of the house. Dog-walking in the park is a good example of this type of activity.
  • Volunteer – helping others is often done as group. Volunteering can give you a new sense of purpose, can make you feel more positive about yourself, and will allow you to meet others who are working toward the same goal.
  • Take a class – classes also allow you to join a group of people with at least one common interest of yours. Additionally, classes give you something to look forward to and can provide you with the sense of ‘belonging’ that comes from being in a group.
  • Try to strengthen your existing connections and relationships with family and friends by calling them more or going out with them more often. Take the initiative to ask the person out, be yourself, and be a good listener.
  • Consider joining an online community because it can be easier to connect with people online than connecting with them in person if your loneliness comes from being shy or socially anxious. Do keep in mind, however, that online interaction is not a substitute for connecting face-to-face.
  • If you have tried some of the ideas above and are still having difficulty with feelings of loneliness, it might be time to try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT can give you the power to cope with your situation and can help you take action to deal with feeling lonely. Past studies have shown that changing how a person perceives and thinks about themselves and their social interactions with others was the most effective intervention for loneliness.

Learn More

It may be hard to figure out why you feel lonely and how to move past those feelings. A licensed mental health professional at The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida can help you to understand and work through your loneliness. For more information, call them at 561-496-1094 or email The Center today.

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College Students: Why Are We Seeing an Increase in Psychological Disorders?

College is supposed to be the highlight of young adult lives. It represents a time for independence, new experiences, and carefree living before the “real world” and true responsibilities kick in. So why is it that today’s college students are so susceptible to so many mental health concerns?

The statistics related to psychological disorders and mental health concerns among college students have become so alarming that many are referring to it as a mental health crisis. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 1 in 4 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental condition.
  • More than 64% of young adults who are no longer in college are no longer attending because of a mental health related reason.
  • Over 30% of students meet the criteria for an alcohol abuse diagnosis.
  • A 2006 survey showed nearly 20% of students had eating disorders whereas a study in the 1980s revealed only 4-5% of students with this concern.
  • The suicide rate for young adults ages 15-24 has tripled since the 1950s.
  • A 2013 survey found that 57% of college women and 40% of college men reported “overwhelming anxiety” in the year leading up to the study.
  • Students are facing college depression. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that, in 2011, the American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment (ACHA–NCHA—a nationwide survey of college students at 2- and 4-year institutions—found that about 30 % of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time in the past year.
  • 95% of college counseling center directors state that there are growing concerns on their campus with the number of students who demonstrate significant psychological problems.

What’s Different for Today’s College Student?

There has always been a certain amount of phase of life adjustment anxiety that goes along with leaving a familiar setting and going off to college. But, what could explain why the numbers associated with psychological concerns among college students have risen so greatly over recent years? Surely colleges have always had the same high standards with regard to homework and reports? While that may be true there are, in fact, quite a few factors that could be contributing to these statistical increases:

  • Technology – while one could argue that technology makes college student’s lives easier, it also provides high potential for chaos, information overload, and hyper-connectivity, which can all combine to create additional stress.
  • Lack of family structure – in today’s fast-paced, divorce-heavy world it can be challenging to find young adults who have a stable, reliable family system. When they’re thrust into the new realm of college living this lack of guidance and support can lead to increased mental health concerns.
  • Early education concerns – many studies show that students entering college today are not as prepared for it academically as they should be. Bridging that gap between their lack of knowledge and increased expectations of college versus high school can play a huge role in the psychological issues we see today.
  • Overprotective parents – in today’s world of participation trophies and overindulgent, parents, children are often not prepared to cope with disappointment or negative feedback. This can lead to them entering the college world completely unprepared for higher education’s normal challenges and the resiliency to adjust to them.
  • Economic pressures – high unemployment and a tough economic climate mean parents are less able to help their children with the financial responsibilities of college. Along with this comes an increase in students working in addition to school, and additional issues for them to worry about.

How Can You Help?

Today’s college student needs to understand that it’s okay to talk about the difficulties they’re facing. Even as society becomes more open to discussing mental health concerns there is still a lot of stigma attached to the subject and it can be scary for students to admit there’s a problem. As many of the above factors show, lack of structure and guidance also plays a big role in the psychological troubles of our students. Knowing they have support and understanding can give students a way to plant their feet in and work toward resolving their issues. Take time to help them learn how to prioritize and structure their new responsibilities so they can reduce the chaos that surrounds them.

In some situations, the best resolution will be to seek professional help. A therapist or other mental health professional can help students get to the root of their problems and provide coping techniques that will allow them to move confidently through the rest of their college years.

If you know a college student who is struggling with college phase of life adjustment anxiety or if you need help yourself, 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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Eating Disorders: The Hidden Problem of College Students

Dieting and the body image concerns that lead to it are nothing new in our society. But what happens when innocent dieting becomes something worse? The effects of eating disorders, when left untreated, can result in damage to almost all organ systems, as well as leading to osteoporosis, delayed growth, hearth failure, and even death. The scary part is that the numbers associated with eating disorders are probably higher than you would expect, especially among college students:
• Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, as well as a suicide rate that is 50 times higher than that of the general population
• 91% of college women have attempted weight control through dieting
• 35% of those “normal” dieters will progress into pathological dieting
• 20-25% of those who progress to pathological dieting will develop partial or full-syndrome eating disorders

Why College Students?

We see people dieting at all ages but college students are especially susceptible to having innocent dieting morph into a problem. This is easy to understand once you look at the factors that can contribute to eating disorders among college students. For many, college presents:
• A time when appearance and image become more important because of new ventures into dating and the chance to make new friends
• The first time they’ve had the freedom and responsibility to make their own food choices
• Feelings of isolation and homesickness
• Intense peer pressure
• Pressure to achieve academically
• A new crowd of people who may not recognize mood or behavior changes
• Separation from regular family and friends, which can make denying or hiding their illness easier

For a freshman student, the start of college may cause some phase of life adjustment anxiety as the world becomes much larger and more complex and stressful in a very short amount of time. Focusing their energy on their eating and weight can often be an avenue for seeking a sense of control that they can’t find in other aspects of their lives. In fact, while it might seem like eating disorders are about food, weight, exercise, and eating, they are more often related to anxiety, depression, perfectionism, low self-esteem, trauma, or other psychological and emotional issues.

Common Types of Eating Disorders

There are 3 different types of eating disorders:
• Anorexia nervosa occurs when someone goes to extreme measures to avoid eating. People suffering from this disorder are often abnormally thin but still talk about feeling fat on a regular basis
• Bulimia occurs when someone practices a “binge and purge” cycle. A person suffering from bulimia will eat a lot of food at one time (bingeing) but then vomit it up in an attempt to prevent weight gain (purging). Excessive use of laxatives or dieting pills could also be an indicator of bulimia
• Binge-eating involves uncontrollable, excessive eating that is often followed by feelings of guilt or shame

Are you still doubt about eating disorders being truly prevalent among the college crowd? Outside of the typical eating disorders some particularly scary trends have been known to pop up on college campuses over the years, including:
• “Drunkorexia,” which involves starving oneself throughout the day in order to drink and party all night without gaining weight from the alcohol
• “Binge and purge parties,” which are focused around talking about and eating massive amounts of food followed by a bathroom rotation to vomit everything back up
• “Nap dieting,” where you “sleep off” hunger by taking a nap to avoid eating every time you feel hungry

How to Help

One of the best ways to prevent or assist with eating disorders is to become knowledgeable about the subject and help educate others. If you know someone who might be suffering from an eating disorder, pay attention and watch for the following:
• Mood changes
• Weight fluctuations
• Preoccupation with food and weight
• Changes in eating behavior
• Changes in exercise behavior

Discussing these changes with someone who might have a problem can be difficult and should be handled with care. Watch the language you use and try to avoid words like “heavy,” “fat,” or “thin.” Any discussion could easily lead to anger or denial so be prepared to tread lightly. It’s important to remember that eating disorders can often develop from a feeling of being out of control so the more you can let your loved one lead the process to recovery, the better off they’ll be.

When in doubt, it’s always best to seek professional help. If you are suffering from the symptoms of an eating disorder or think a loved one may be, 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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Infidelity: Has it Increased Since the Internet?

Affairs are nothing new in the world of relationships but since the invention of the internet, do you think the ability to be online from anywhere and at any time has increased the chances of you, your spouse, or your significant other having an affair? In other words, has cyber-space made it easier than ever to cheat within a marriage or a relationship? Overwhelmingly, the answer is “yes”.

In 1998, prior to the Internet, the University of California conducted a study on infidelity and found that 14 percent of women and 24 percent of men had been unfaithful to their spouse. In 2014, the Associated Press’ Journal of Marital and Family Therapy reported that in 41% of marriages, one or both spouses have admitted to infidelity (either physical or emotional). So, what is it about the internet that has raised those statistics?

What Has Changed Since the Internet?

  • Many people don’t feel that an online affair is a “real” affair
  • Social media sites make it easy for people to contact each other and engage in flirting through online chatting, emailing, and messaging
  • Social media sites give people a way to get back in touch with exes, prior flings, and The One The Got Away
  • There are thousands of online dating sites, including those that are set up specifically for people who are looking to cheat
  • The Internet offers both anonymity and a way to reinvent yourself, making it easy for people to live a secret life
  • The internet offers ready access to pornography

What Counts as Cheating?

Cheating means different things to different people: some people don’t feel they are cheating if they engage in any form of sexual behavior as long as they don’t have intercourse, while others feel that something as simple as flirting is a form of cheating. Basically, cheating happens when your partner goes beyond your feelings and beliefs about what type of contact is appropriate with another person. If their behavior is unacceptable to you and you feel betrayed, then they have violated your trust.

The best thing to do is to have a frank discussion with your spouse or significant other about what each of you considers to be cheating (online or otherwise) before a problem comes up. Set rules down for each other so you both know where the boundaries are and will know if your behavior is crossing the line.

  • Your significant other spends a lot of time online and they close out the screen when you walk into the room (or consistently keep the monitor turned away from you)
  • They spend excessive amounts of time chatting with online friends or are up all night on the computer
  • They are secretive about who they are communicating with online
  • They won’t connect with you online (for example: you aren’t their Facebook friend or they won’t let you follow them on Twitter)
  • They password-protect their computers and their phones and won’t give you those passwords
  • Checking their Favorites tab or looking at their browser history shows they are visiting chat sites or dating sites. Or, if their browser history is always cleared, it could be a sign of an online affair

Have Questions? Need Help?

First, don’t accuse them unless you have proof! Talk to them to try to get some of your questions answered. Then, if you still think your spouse or significant other is cheating, see a professional therapist to uncover the reasons behind the problem and to determine if the relationship is worth salvaging.

To get more information and help for infidelity and online affairs, 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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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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What is Religious OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted, intrusive thoughts and anxiety (obsessions) about something and the behaviors (compulsions) that people who suffer from the condition use to relieve the anxiety. 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.

OCD is a broad disorder that encompasses many subgroups: in the case of religious OCD (also known as scrupulosity), the person is fixated on obsessions that are based in religion and/or religious beliefs, or around beliefs concerning morality. People who experience this form of OCD suffer from obsessive religious doubts and fears, unwanted blasphemous thoughts and images, as well as compulsive religious rituals, reassurance seeking, and avoidance.

People with religious OCD strongly believe in and fear punishment from a divine being or deity. Experts estimate that anywhere between 5% and 33% of people with OCD may experience scrupulosity and the number likely rises to between 50% and 60% in OCD sufferers who come from within very strict religious cultures. Even people who are not particularly religious can suffer from scrupulosity because they worry about being morally compromised or unintentionally offending others. A common thread throughout the spectrum is the linking of thoughts and actions: people with scrupulosity believe their thoughts are the same as actions, so they worry not just about what they have done, but also about what they have thought.

Examples of Religious OCD

Religious OCD can take many forms. A CNN news article tells the story of a Jewish woman who was so consumed with obsessions surrounding exposure to pork that she spent a large amount of time each day washing her hands and cleaning items that could even have remotely had the potential to come into contact with pork. An ABC News report discusses the problems of one Catholic woman who was faced with saying hundreds of prayers a day to obtain forgiveness for her self-perceived wrongdoings. The same article recounts a story about a man who eventually stopped eating and speaking in an attempt to please God by making sacrifices similar to those made by certain biblical figures. Even pillars of religious faiths may have been victims of scrupulosity: it has been suggested that both Martin Luther and St. Ignatius of Loyola may have exhibited religious obsessions.

Symptoms of Religious OCD

Scrupulosity rituals can include such behaviors as:

  • Compulsively praying, which can involve restarting the prayer if you get distracted while saying it and/or repeating it if you didn’t feel you were concentrating properly on the prayer or on the meaning of the prayer
  • Asking others if you are behaving correctly or if you “did the right thing”or analyzing your behavior throughout the day to be sure you are acting “appropriately”
  • Reading or studying religious writings, books, and texts excessively
  • Questioning your motives in numerous situations
  • Excessively apologizing to a deity (God, Allah, etc) and seeking forgiveness for your behavior

Treatment for Religious OCD

As with other forms of obsessive compulsive disorder, treatment for religious OCD involves cognitive behavior therapy. In some cases, medicines are combined with this type of exposure and response therapy. A patient will not be asked to give up his religion when undergoing therapy, instead he are given ways to face his triggers and live within his faith and religious traditions. Additionally, those patients who may not be able to travel to a therapists’office may be able to receive treatment over the phone or on a computer-based application such as Skype or FaceTime.

Have Questions? Need Help?

To get more information and help for scrupulosity and religious OCD, 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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Superstitious Behavior Psychology

Let’s face it, everyone has exhibited superstitious behavior at some point: we probably can all think of someone we know who always plays a certain set of lucky lottery numbers and most of us have crossed our fingers at one time or another for luck. Believing a little superstitiously can make us feel like we have some control over various circumstances and can help us make sense of a situation. But when rituals need to be repeated over and over to avoid perceived negative outcomes and this type of behavior begins to rule someone’s life, it has spiraled out of control, causing more anxiety than it relieves. At this point, the superstitious behavior psychology can be, and often is, a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

The Difference between Superstitious Behavior Psychology and OCD

You might worry that your superstitious behavior is actually a sign that you have OCD, so here is how you can tell the difference:

  • Before running a race, do you wear a certain pair of “lucky” shorts because you won your last few races while wearing them? That is a facet of superstitious behavior. Why? Because, while wearing the shorts can help give you confidence and provide positive thoughts, you aren’t performing a ritual wherein your success in the race depends on the repetition of a certain behavior.
  • Do you attribute the outcome of a situation to the “magic” of the ritual you perform? That is a sign of superstitious OCD. As an example, if you feel that you must take a certain number of practice swings at a golf ball in order to do well on each hole, that is more in the realm of OCD. Why? Because, if you get so anxious that you can’t complete the hole if the number of swings is interrupted or if something hinders your ritual, you are obsessing about it.
  • In superstitious OCD, a “normal” superstition becomes disabling. Superstitious behavior psychology might make someone avoid booking a hotel room on the 13th floor, but a person with superstitious OCD would find they couldn’t step on a crack in the sidewalk without having to complete a certain ritual to avoid the evil that would be sure to befall them or someone they love for their perceived transgression.

What Does Religion Have To Do With It?

For people with OCD, religion can enter into their obsessions in the form of trying to pray correctly or feeling that if certain rituals aren’t followed correctly, the things that go wrong in the world around them are their fault. This type of religious OCD is called “scrupulosity”. For example, a Jewish person with this condition may feel that if they have been exposed to pork in any form and can’t get “clean enough,” and then subsequently something bad happens to a family member, it is a punishment because the OCD patient has offended God. In another example, a Catholic person may worry that if they haven’t kneeled correctly at the altar or haven’t said the rosary properly or a certain number of times, disaster will come to themselves or their loved ones.

How to Get Help

As with any type of OCD, help comes in the form of both therapy and medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy help the person in treatment learn to face the situations that trigger their obsessions. In these types of therapy, the patient is gradually encouraged to put themselves in situations that would normally trigger their rituals and then discouraged from performing them. By taking these guided risks, the OCD patient learns that their fears are unfounded. Additionally, certain medications such as antidepressants are helpful in reducing the symptoms of OCD and religious OCD.

To get more information and help for OCD and/or superstitious behavior or religious OCD, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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HOCD

HOCD or Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is defined as the questioning of one’s sexuality by a person who already suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). What this means is that someone with OCD who is happy in their straight, heterosexual orientation becomes fixated on the question of whether or not they are actually gay. Over time, these thoughts and worries about the possibility of being gay begin to consume their lives.

People with OCD experience their obsessions in different ways from each other, but the underlying premise is that they are dealing with disturbing unwanted or intrusive thoughts. An example would be that a person who suffers from OCD is physically healthy but begins to worry about whether they actually have cancer or another serious illness. In the case of HOCD, straight people with the disorder spend countless hours wondering if they could really be gay or if they could suddenly become gay (conversely, homosexuals with Straight OCD, constantly worry if they are, or could become, straight). People with HOCD expend a great deal of energy and countless hours trying to “know”, without a doubt, that they are straight and not gay.

The Differences Between Being Homosexual and Having HOCD

So, if you are questioning your sexuality, how do you know the difference between having HOCD and actually being gay?

Typical HOCD symptoms include:

  • Currently suffering from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • Recurring unwanted or intrusive thoughts about your own sexuality
  • Constantly reassuring yourself that you are straight
  • Avoiding people of your same gender due to anxiety or unwanted fears that you might be gay
  • Worrying that you might be sending out “signals” that will make others think you are gay
  • Homosexual thoughts are repulsive to you, rather than arousing
  • Feeling no attraction to your same sex
  • Repeating an action because you worry that you might have done something in a way that makes others think you are gay (example: a man repeatedly gets up and sits down on a chair because he worries that he takes a seat in a way that looks too feminine). Repeating the action relieves the anxiety, but you need to continue repeating the action to continue anxiety relief.

Typical Homosexual characteristics include:

  • Homosexual thoughts are enjoyable and/or arousing to the person, even if they hide their sexual orientation from others or are ashamed of it
  • Having had past sexual experiences with those of their same gender
  • Preferring to date or have sexual encounters with people of their same gender instead of with those of the opposite sex
  • Often, people who are gay report having felt differently than their same-sex peers at an early age. Additionally, researchers have found they preferred to engage in activities associated with the opposite sex from early childhood onward

HOCD Treatment

HOCD is treated in much the same way as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In general, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based therapy is used to help the person reduce their response to their thoughts and help them deal with their obsessions. Additionally, these behavior therapies may or may not be combined with medications such as SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, etc). By changing one’s behavior and responses towards one’s intrusive thoughts, it is possible to neutralize and eliminate the fixation.

For more information about HOCD or to explore treatment options, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Anxiety and Sexual Disorders

Recently, several small studies have suggested that there may be a link between anxiety disorders and sexual disorders. While the study of this relationship is just beginning, researchers have seen connections wherein those who suffer from panic disorder, anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder also have noted an increase in impairment of sexual function, arousal and desire, and a decrease in satisfaction and enjoyment of sex.

Why Do These Disorders Coincide?

While there are many more reasons that anxiety and sexual disorders occur together, the following offer a glimpse into why they might be found in patients with anxiety:

  • Just experiencing anxiety by itself can be enough to impair sexual function in some people. If a man is concerned that he may not be able to please his partner, for instance, that fear may cause him to avoid sex, it may increase the potential for erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, or it may weaken arousal or satisfaction.
  • Certain medications can cause sexual side effects. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are commonly prescribed for panic disorders and social phobias (an example is Prozac) and these drugs are known to delay orgasm in many men.
  • Stress, worry, and fear can impede sexual function and the subsequent worry about one’s sexual function can create a vicious cycle of fear, worry, and stress.

What Can You Do About It?

  • Tell your doctor or therapist if you are being treated for an anxiety disorder and also have problems functioning sexually as these conditions can be treated simultaneously. Additionally, sexual problems often have a root physical origin and a medical exam will help identify and treat any physical condition that may be causing the dysfunction.
  • If you are on anxiety disorder medications, your doctor can adjust your medicine so it has less impact on or helps with your situation.
  • Other medications can be utilized to help your sexual function. For example, because SSRIs can have a side effect of delayed orgasm, prescribing them often can help men who suffer from premature ejaculation.
  • There are many therapies, such as psychodynamic psychotherapy to help reduce anxiety, fear, and negative emotions. Discussing your concerns with your therapist can help you find the way that works best for you.

Even though researchers have seen that anxiety disorders and sexual disorders often co-occur, these disorders do not coincide in all anxiety patients. For that reason, more studies will need to be conducted so we can better understand how to treat people who suffer from both conditions.

To get more information and help for a possible connection between your anxiety and sexual disorders, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Postpartum Depression and Anxiety – How to Overcome Them

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, postpartum depression and its accompanying anxiety can affect nearly 15% of new mothers at some point during the first year after giving birth. Postpartum depression can be a very serious mood disorder and is different than having the “baby blues” that some women experience due a change in hormone levels after childbirth. In general, postpartum depression lasts longer and is more severe than the post-birth blues.

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Symptoms

The first thing to do is recognize postpartum depression symptoms:
• Negative feelings about the baby and/or not being interested in your newborn
• Trouble sleeping
• Persistently feeling hopeless, sad, and/or despondent
Panic attacks – rapid heartbeat, feeling shaky, dizziness *(link: http://www.drandrewrosen.com/panic-disorder-therapy/)
• Decreased energy, loss of appetite
• A loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
• Anxiety that interferes with your ability to take care of your baby

Because our society thinks that new mothers should be thrilled with their baby, we often dismiss her postpartum depression and anxiety as “just hormones” when, in fact, therapy or anxiety medication is necessary. If a woman buries her feelings because she thinks she should be happy but isn’t, postpartum depression and anxiety can become much worse over time.

Help for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety:
• Before postpartum depression and anxiety is treated, physical causes should be ruled out. A medical exam will be able to exclude hypoglycemia, thyroid deficiency, or other health conditions that can mimic postpartum depression.
• Speak to a mental health professional – many specialize in treating women with anxiety and postpartum depression. These professionals can help you develop coping strategies and can work with you and your family so they can provide further support. Additionally, therapists can determine your need for antidepressants or other medication, if your depression is severe.
• If you can’t afford a therapist, each state has county mental health facilities that can get you the help you need.
• Get as much rest and sleep as possible by sleeping when your baby sleeps.
• Eat a healthy diet and get some exercise.
• Follow your treatment plan as closely as possible.
• Don’t isolate yourself – spend time interacting with friends and family.
• Seek out a “New Mom” support group – your pediatrician or obstetrician can refer you to a nearby program if you can’t locate one on your own.

Left untreated, postpartum depression and anxiety can lead to postpartum psychosis in which you consider harming your baby, yourself, or contemplate suicide. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call a medical professional without delay.

For more information about anxiety after giving birth and postpartum depression, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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