All Posts Tagged: the center for treatment of anxiety disorders

Job Search Anxiety

In recent years our nation’s unemployment rate has reached unforeseen heights. This means unprecedented numbers of people are out there looking for a job and hoping they’re the lucky candidate to seep through the cracks. This also means a lot of rejection for people who may not be used to it.

With that rejection comes a higher possibility of employment seekers developing anxiety related to their job search as they transition through this new chapter of life. In fact, research shows that the longer people are unemployed, the greater the worry, sadness, and stress they experience and the greater the possibility of having phase of life adjustment anxiety . The chances of being admitted into a mental health hospital increase by 4% in people who are unemployed. If that wasn’t enough, research also shows that unemployment increases mortality by 1% and cardiovascular disease by 5-6%.

But what does anxiety on the job search front look like? Usually it comes with:

  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • People with anxiety are also more prone to illness or more likely to see an increase in pre-existing conditions.

Recent college graduates may have an even harder time with phase of life adjustment anxiety concerns during their job search. The weak job market can mean facing low job possibilities combined with a complete life transition and the addition of tuition repayments.

The most important thing to remember in all of these job search cases is to speak openly and honestly about the anxiety you’re facing. Friends, family members, even old teachers or colleagues can be great resources for a support system while you’re hunting for your new job. It’s important to realize that your anxiety can work for you or against you. At times, it may add excitement to the hunt and spur you on to better performances in interviews. In other cases, it could hinder your progress. Even though you know a job is necessary, the fear of rejection can make you avoid job opportunities.

If your anxiety has begun to negatively effect your job hunt you may want to seek help. For more information on the anxiety that goes with a job search and help for phase of life adjustment anxiety, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorder. You can reach us by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Alcohol and Holiday Anxiety

Everywhere you look holiday decorations are being strung: wreaths, Christmas trees, and twinkling lights grace windows, doorways and storefronts. You can watch your favorite holiday classics on television and listen to beloved songs and music on the radio. But along with the smooth swells of Christmas tunes, holiday anxiety brings more opportunities and reasons to down alcoholic beverages, such as a cold beer or glass of wine.

To add to the holiday anxiety, it’s not unusual for the number of parties and other social events to double or triple during this time of year. This usually means an increase in the consumption of alcoholic beverages as well, especially for those people who are trying to cope with stress. In social situations like office parties or neighborhood gatherings, people may feel as if they’re being judged by others or may be anxious to others give a good impression of themselves. With these concerns heightening their nerves, it’s not surprising that many people think a quick gulp of wine will ease their social anxiety and loosen their inhibitions. And, in addition to contending with social functions, the stress of dealing with hordes of shoppers and budgeting concerns can only exacerbate holiday anxiety, making it easier to reach for alcoholic beverages.

Also, let’s not forget those of us who may be having a harder-than-normal holiday season. Although Christmas is known for being one of the happiest times of the year, it is also one of the most stress-filled and saddest times of the year. For some people, it can be overwhelming to try to fulfill gift expectations after having been laid off from a job earlier in the year. Others may be facing the emotional pain of the first holiday season since the passing of a loved one or as a newly divorced or newly single person. As a result, many people turn to alcohol as a way to numb their pain and depression. For someone experiencing holiday anxiety in addition to this turmoil, alcoholic beverages, stress and fear can be a wicked combination.

The problem with turning to alcohol in these situations is that alcohol is not a long-term solution. In fact, when holiday anxiety is combined with alcohol use, the risks of developing a dependency on alcohol are even greater than normal. Research shows that alcohol reduces the brain’s ability to cope with anxiety, which, in turn, makes people want more alcohol to dull their anxiety symptoms. Then, when the person decides to stop drinking, alcohol withdrawal symptoms may increase their stress levels, making it harder to break that habit of reaching for alcoholic beverages.

This is why it’s so important to seek treatment if you’re experiencing holiday anxiety. Pursuing the correct form of treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can make all the difference in getting you back to experiencing the joys of a normal holiday season. For more information on coping with holiday anxiety, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida. They can be reached by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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PTSD Symptoms Rise After Hurricane Sandy – Even in South Florida

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Northeast is struggling to return to normal. As of November 1, 2012, it was reported that nearly 650,000 people were still without power, looters were ravaging the streets, the U.N. Headquarters in New York was severely damaged, and the subway systems had been shut down, among other things.

Fortunately, most damage will be repaired. It may take time, but eventually all power will be restored, the U.N. building will be repaired, crime will be taken under control, and the subway systems will be operating at normal capacity. But what about the lingering psychological effects a storm of this power can have?

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) incidents often flare up after a traumatic event like Hurricane Sandy, even for people living far from the affected area. South Florida is a prime area for PTSD reactions due to its frequent close encounters with hurricanes. PTSD symptoms often appear immediately but, in some cases, may take a while to manifest. No matter when they appear, though, PTSD symptoms have been known to linger for long periods of time, during which this disorder can have a dramatic effect on the daily lives of its victims.

Some PTSD stress symptoms that hurricane victims might experience include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • An acute stress reaction, such as being easily startled or frightened
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Flashbacks to the hurricane
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Unsettling dreams related to the storm
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Angry outbursts
  • Memory problems
  • Avoidance behavior, such as keeping away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the storm

If you or someone you know is experiencing PTSD symptoms like these it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible because the sooner treatment begins the easier it is to keep the disorder under control and work toward relief. Delaying treatment of PTSD symptoms can mean that the PTSD can become so severe the victims could end up harming themselves or others.

Treatment for PTSD symptoms may include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and/or medication. Psychotherapy will allow victims the opportunity to discuss the hurricane and related events, while learning ways to manage their symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy will help people recognize and adjust trauma-related thoughts and beliefs in a more positive way. In some cases, medication may be used in combination with these other therapy techniques. Above all, therapy helps the person understand that a disorder like PTSD develops because of the extraordinary stress they have experienced, not because of their own weakness.

For more information on PTSD and for help and treatment of PTSD symptoms in the Boca Raton, Florida area, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorder. You can reach us by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Is It Stress or Is It Anxiety?

Remember that major test in school you weren’t prepared for? Or the nerves that rattled you as you heard the news on that big promotion? Stress and anxiety are very common parts of people’s lives. We have all experienced them at one point or another, we all handle them differently, and most of us throw both terms about as if they are interchangeable. They’re not. Knowing the difference between stress and anxiety can be the first step towards relieving yourself of either one.
           
Is It Stress or Is It Anxiety?

Stress and anxiety symptoms can be somewhat similar: both can leave you tense and give you a pounding heart or a nervous stomach. However, identifying whether your problem is caused by stress or anxiety can be done by considering a few simple points:

  • Is there a recognizable cause? Stress is tied to a specific item, place, person, or situation whereas anxiety has no identifiable root. This is also what makes it a legitimate mental disorder.
  • How long has it affected you? Since stress is tied to something specific, the removal of that thing typically eliminates the stress. Stress could last for as short a time as a day or a week. Anxiety symptoms, on the other hand, must occur for at least six months before the condition can be diagnosed as such.
  • How has it affected your life? While stress can negatively impact someone’s life, it doesn’t have as much long-term effect as anxiety can. In fact, those who suffer from anxiety often find elements of their everyday life changing as they struggle to cope with their condition.

But when does "normal anxiety" morph into an anxiety disorder? Normal anxiety occurs in realistic situations. For example, being embarrassed in a social gathering may make you nervous about doing something embarassing at other events so when you are in another social setting, your anxiety spikes and you act more reserved.

Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, trigger unrealistic avoidance responses that alter how you conduct your everyday life. In this case, being embarrassed in a social gathering may make you totally avoid any kind of social gathering, which would dramatically impact your life. And, even though avoiding the situations that make you anxious can provide short term relief, the anxiety keeps coming back and can expand from the initial event to other situations.

The most important thing to remember about stress, anxiety, or anxiety disorders, however, is that they do have one thing in common: there is help available to resolve them.

If you are wondering "is it stress or is it anxiety?", we can help! Contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida. You can reach us by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Obsessive and Intrusive Thoughts Often Increase After Shooting Tragedies Says South Florida Mental Health Expert

In recent weeks, we have all heard about the terrible shootings happening across America; first, the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, and then the Sikh temple shooting near Milwaukee. These incidents affect everyone substantially but they can have a severe impact on people who suffer from obsessive and intrusive thoughts as a result of an anxiety disorder.
           
Obsessive intrusive thoughts are one of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorders, and they can be increased dramatically by these types of stories. They are recurring scary, invasive notions and/or images that can be paralyzing and unrelenting. The more they occur, the more the person thinks about them, which further cements them into their psyche.
           
There are three types of obsessive intrusive thoughts:

  • Blasphemous religious thoughts revolve around concepts that are considered particularly sinful to the person thinking them
  • Inappropriate sexual thoughts or images can involve intimate actions with strangers, family, friends, or any number of other people
  • Catastrophic thoughts or violent obsessions involve visions/thoughts about harming others or oneself

It is the last of these that can easily be stirred up when a violent act such as a mass shooting occurs and is widely broadcast over the news channels. With 24/7 news stations continuously relating stories about the killer’s state of mind both before and after the event, it’s easy for victims of catastrophic intrusive thoughts to wonder if they could follow that same path. Each time the thought occurs, they may believe themselves more and more likely to follow the compulsion. These thoughts can be so powerful that the person may eventually cut themselves off from friends and family out of a fear for their loved one’s safety.

The good news is that there is help available to stop these intrusive thoughts, and for all anxiety disorders, in general. Your mental health professional may suggest exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or in some cases, medication. If you or someone you know is suffering from catastrophic intrusive thoughts, please seek help and get on the path of returning to a normal life.

For more information about obsessive and intrusive thoughts, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or about anxiety disorders, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida. They can be reached by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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HOCD – Homosexual OCD or the Fear of Being Gay

Homosexual Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (HOCD) is categorized by intrusive thoughts revolving around one’s sexual orientation. People with HOCD suffer through uncontrollable and unwanted intrusive thoughts and images that leave them in a state of fear and anxiety about whether they are truly straight.

A person suffering from this sub-type of OCD constantly doubts their sexual orientation:

  • A straight person worries whether they might actually be gay even though they haven’t doubted their sexual orientation in the past
  • They might worry that homosexuality is “catching”
  • They may think that talking with a gay person will make them act out by triggering their own latent homosexual tendencies

People with HOCD can be affected enough by their intrusive thoughts that they quit jobs, make dramatic life changes, or end relationships in order to avoid triggering their symptoms. Sometimes, HOCD sufferers are so sure they are gay that they actually “out” themselves and begin homosexual relationships. Where a truly gay person obtains happiness and relief in the act of revealing their homosexual orientation, HOCD people who “come out” continue to doubt their sexuality.

As with traditional OCD, people who are affected by this internalized homophobia engage in rituals to help them alleviate their anxiety and prove to themselves that they are truly straight. When around lesbians or gay men, they might check their bodies for arousal or question if they are attracted to the person. People with HOCD may also keep up a running mental dialogue or obsess over past sexual encounters in an effort to convince themselves that they are straight. They might also perform washing rituals if they are around a gay person, may act overtly to assure themselves of their sexual orientation, or may even blatantly act out against gay people in order to prove they are straight. Additionally, HOCD sufferers might avoid physical contact or being alone with gay people and may even carry this behavior into shunning same-sex public restrooms or not eating in public in case the food was prepared by a gay person.

Treatment for HOCD Symptoms

As with other Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (which asks the patient to face the situations that trigger their obsessions) can help with HOCD.  During therapy sessions the patient faces the situations that trigger their obsessions in order to learn how to deal with their internalized homophobia and reduce their fixation. In addition, certain medications are helpful in reducing the symptoms of OCD and HOCD.

Additionally, since HOCD is rather new, there is little research literature that specifically applies to this sub-disorder of OCD. Therefore, it is imperative that the mental health professional an HOCD sufferer consults with recognizes HOCD as a true anxiety disorder. If they don’t, they may counsel the person to help them accept their homosexuality which will only aggravate the person’s HOCD symptoms.

For more information and help with HOCD and HOCD symptoms in the Delray Beach, FL area, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Getting Divorced? Coping With Divorce Anxiety

Sadly, divorce has become a common aspect of American culture. With more couples divorcing on a regular basis, there are plenty of test studies to support the U.S. Surgeon General’s claim that 30-40% of those undergoing divorce experience a significant increase in the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
           
It makes sense if you think about it. Any kind of life change has the potential to create anxiety, but getting divorced has its own special mix of problems. For many, the circumstances leading to divorce create low self-esteem and intense insecurity. Either party might question if they’ll ever find another relationship. If one party stayed home instead of working during the marriage, the divorce can lead to anxiety over how they’ll support themselves. If there are children involved, separation anxiety could become a factor, as well.
           
These divorce anxiety issues often lead to strong symptoms of panic:

  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Chest pain
  • Shaking
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy

One of the best ways you can help yourself get through divorce anxiety is to seek professional help. A mental health professional will help guide you through recognizing your fears and anxieties and rebuilding your self-esteem. Other ways you can help yourself through this transition include:

  • Allowing yourself to mourn. It’s perfectly normal to feel sad and upset through a change like this. Hiding from it never helps. Instead, embrace your feelings and allow yourself to express them.
  • Developing a strong support team. Talking about your emotions is a crucial part of working through your divorce. You need people around you who are willing to listen.
  • Expanding your social network. The sooner you embrace a social life, the sooner you’ll be able to imagine your life without that other person.
  • Being patient. Moving on will not happen overnight, but it will happen.
  • Practicing stress management. What works for you? Is it keeping a diary? Running? Meditation or yoga? Find your niche and use it.

If you or someone you know is getting divorced and going through divorce anxiety, seeking help can only make the transition easier. For more information, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Sexual Performance Anxiety Treatment in South Florida

Even though sex is supposed to be enjoyable, it is natural to worry occasionally about sexual intimacy. We wonder if we are desirable, if our appearance might be an issue, or if we will be able to “perform”. Usually people who experience these worries are able to process them and and then move past them. However, for some people, anxiety about sex is a major concern that affects every aspect of their sexual life whether they’ve been happily married for 30 years or are just beginning their journey into the world of sex.

Sexual performance anxiety is the constant worry over your appearance or your ability to perform in bed. This worry takes the pleasure out of sex, making it stressful and nerve-wracking. Ultimately, untreated sex anxiety can even lead to aversion and the avoidance of sexual activity. We often don’t consider the fact that sex is just as much about emotion as it is physical touch. If you stress too much about the various aspects of sex, it becomes harder to become aroused.

Some of the sexual worries that can arise over time include:

  • Fears that you may not be able to satisfy your partner
  • Having a poor body image and feeling undesirable
  • Difficulties in your relationship
  • Feelings of guilt
  • For men there can be a fear that his penis won’t measure up or that he may ejaculate too early
  • For women there can be a concern about not being able to orgasm or enjoy the sexual experience

Anxiety clearly can affect the sexual act:

  • In men, the secretion of stress hormones constricts blood vessels, making it difficult to get or maintain an erection.
  • In women, anxiety prevents lubrication and takes away their physical desire entirely.
  • Anxiety becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: you worry about having sex which makes you so anxious that you can’t perform sexually, which in turn increases your anxiety, which continues the vicious cycle.

There are a number of reasons these worries may develop. For example, abuse of any kind, whether from childhood or adulthood, can lead to sexual anxiety. Some health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and hormonal imbalances can result in physical conditions that lead to sexual performance anxiety. For men, impotence or premature ejaculation can lead to sex anxiety, and in women, fear of pain or failure to orgasm can contribute to the development of the disorder.

If you or someone you know is suffering from sex anxiety, the first step to take is to see a doctor. They will perform tests to determine whether the performance issues are the result of a health condition or a medication. If a medical issue isn’t to blame a mental-health therapist may be suggested. In many aspects, any type of performance anxiety, including sexual performance anxiety, can be closely related to social anxiety disorder: both disorders share concerns about being judged or embarassed, both can result in lowered self-esteem, and both can lead to avoidance of the situation. Because they are closely related, the therapies that help with social anxiety disorders can also help with overcoming sexual performance anxiety:

  • Counseling can lead to understanding intimacy anxiety.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy can help change negative or inaccurate thinking and behaviors.
  • Relaxation and stress relief techniques can help reduce the physical response.

For more information about sexual performance anxiety and its treatments, including cognitive behavior therapy, in the Boca Raton area, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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Mood Disorders in Children

There is a plethora of information out there regarding mood disorders of all kinds. The public is becoming more and more educated about panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar mood disorder, and the like. But what many people still do not realize is that these disorders are not limited to adults.

A child may experience similar mood disorders, as well. In fact, 7-14% of children will experience an episode of major depression before the age of 15. Out of 100,000 adolescents, two to three thousand will have mood disorders, out of which 8-10 will commit suicide. It is for this reason that the symptoms of mood disorders in children should attract special attention.

Symptoms of mood disorders in children include:

  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Despair
  • Dejection
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of interest
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hopelessness
  • Sense of inferiority
  • Exaggerated guilt
  • Feelings of incompetence
  • Inability to function effectively

Many children might have one or two of these symptoms at one time or another but it is the presence of several symptoms for an extended period that indicates a mood disorder. There are three levels of mood disorder in children:

  • Severe depression is present when the child has nearly all the symptoms and these symptoms almost always keep them from performing day to day activities.
  • Moderate depression occurs when a person has many symptoms that often limit their regular activities.
  • Mild depression is present when a child has some of the symptoms and it requires extra effort for them to do every day things.

If you or someone you know has a child who might be suffering from a mood disorder, it is important to seek help immediately. The mood disorder will be diagnosed through extensive interviews with the child and his or her caregivers. If a mood disorder is found, it is often treated through medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

For more information about Mood Disorders in children , diagnostic steps, and therapy for the condition in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders at 561-496-1094 or email them today.

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Help For OCD in South Florida

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

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

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

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

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

 

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