anxiety

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Anxious Depression

From Psychcentral:

Experiencing Anxious Depression

By LaRae LaBouff 
 

Depression is a part of bipolar disorder. It is, in fact, one of the poles. The question of experiencing depression is not “if” but “when.” Depression on its own is a horrible experience, but sometimes other problems pile on. More than half of people with bipolar disorder also have some form of anxiety disorder. These can include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety. When anxiety occurs during a depressive episode of bipolar disorder it is called depression “with anxious distress.” Distress is exactly the term to describe how it feels.

When I experience anxiety, I communicate how I am feeling by comparing my mood to a pot of water. When I am feeling fine, the water is ambient temperature. The more anxiety I feel, the hotter the water becomes. Lately I’ve been sitting at a simmer with occasional panic attacks that put me into a rolling boil. This is in addition to the depressive symptoms I feel like depressed mood, loss of interest, weight gain, fatigue and feelings of hopelessness. It’s a debilitating combination.

In order to be qualified as an episode with anxious distress, you have to experience at least two of the following: 

  • Feeling keyed up or tense.
  • Feeling unusually restless. 
  • Difficulty concentrating because of worry. 
  • Fear that something awful may happen. 
  • Feeling that you might lose control yourself.

If you experience two of these symptoms, the anxious distress is considered mild. Three symptoms is moderate and four or more is moderate to severe. If physical restlessness is involved, it’s considered severe.

Having bipolar disorder with anxiety can lead to extra complications with the disorder. People who have episodes with anxious distress typically have longer episodes, don’t respond to treatment as well and have a higher suicide risk. 

Experiencing severe anxiety mingled with depression is incredibly distressing.  On the one hand my brain is telling me that all I can do is to go to bed and not do anything. On the other hand my anxiety is telling me how horrible I am for ignoring other responsibilities. The two sensations fight each other and leave me frozen, not knowing what part of my brain I should listen to. The anxiety is usually louder than the depression, but that doesn’t mean I succeed at getting out of bed. It just means I end up having a panic attack while I’m there.

I’m continuing to talk to my therapist and psychiatrist about my situation. My therapist gave me a list of ways to combat distress and my psychiatrist gave me additional medication to manage the anxiety acutely. In the meantime, I hope this is a short phase and that I will reach a level of normality soon.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Panic Attack Help

Tips for Coping with Panic Attacks

Always begin with a visit to your doctor or health care provider to ensure that there is not an underlying medical cause to your symptoms. Don’t self-diagnose.  Panic symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Inability to relax*

*(NOTE): since these can be symptoms of other medical emergencies, DON’T self-diagnose. Seek emergency medical care if this is the first time you’ve experienced this)

What Can I Do To Cope?

  • RATE the panic on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 meaning not bad at all, up to 10 meaning, call an ambulance! Anything we can MEASURE we can start to control.
  • ACCEPT, don’t fight. Fighting increases the bodily symptoms.
  • ASK yourself: what’s the worst that could happen here? How would I handle it?
  • BREATHE normally and naturally. Pay attention to your breath.
  • FOCUS on an object in the room. See it, describe it to yourself. This helps orient you in the present moment reality.
  • TIME the attack (measuring again). Note how little time it actually lasts.
  • NOTICE if the attacks are happening in a certain location or at a certain time (“cued” attacks.) When it passes, get out a piece of paper and write about that place or time. BE A SCIENTIST about your panic—objective, measuring, curious.
  • TAKE your writings to your counselor to further explore the causes of the panic.
  • REMEMBER that overcoming panic is not a matter of willpower. It is a malfunction of brain chemistry which can be helped by cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or medication.  Medication takes away the SYMPTOM but not the CAUSE. Therapy helps get to the root of the problem.

Remember that a panic attack won’t hurt your physically. Although it’s very uncomfortable, your body will continue to breathe and function through it.   And we are here to help - don’t hesitate to contact us.  

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - The Benefits of Psychotherapy

One person helping the other in time of need is an age-old tradition. People have been needing the helpers in a myriad of situations. From repair work to curing illness, helpers have been helping mankind since long ago. The mental health helper was like an individual particularly blessed or gifted in his or her ability to assist others through trying times. People with mental illness also need someone that can help them to get back to a healthy and fulfilling life. This is where psychotherapy comes in. 

Psychotherapy is used for treating many different issues and problems like emotional crises, depression, anxiety, family disputes, marital problems etc. The types of psychotherapy include cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, family therapy, interpersonal therapy, expressive therapy, hypnotherapy and others.

Psychotherapy is performed either in a group or for individuals. In both the cases, it is usually of tremendous benefit. Here are some benefits of psychotherapy:

  • Psychotherapy enables you to tackle your issues either at work or home to maintain a healthy connection with the people around you. 
  • When a person suffers depression, the family suffers too and psychotherapy helps them to be strong in these times and support the patient.
  • Psychotherapy enables you to cope with depression more effectively and face the world looking in their eyes without any hesitation. 
  • It enables you to identify your weak points and unhealthy behaviors and change them with time. 
  • You can regain confidence in your personality and quite possibly you will not suffer depression and anxiety again.
  • Psychotherapy helps to develop skills to improve relationships.
  • It helps improve interpersonal skills.
  • It helps you to overcome certain problems, like eating disorder, depression, compulsive habits.
  • Psychotherapy enables you to manage personal emotions effectively.

These are only some of the benefits of psychotherapy. A psychotherapist can enable you to get back to life and live in a normal way without fear. Skillful therapists are problem-solvers in the domain of emotions and relationships. This is a very powerful domain, but it is so ever present that it is often in the background of awareness, like the blue sky or dark night. The sufferer starts getting some hope and sees light required to get back to normal.

Patients with depression and anxiety feel that they are left alone in this world. With psychotherapy, they realize that someone is there to listen to them. They feel that someone is listening what they are saying with patience and supporting them. Psychotherapy helps people by helping them to understand the behavior and emotions that contribute to their issues and how to deal with them. Thus, helping them to come out of the stress and mental blocks caused by illness, death of a relative or loved one, loss of a job or marital problem. The most important aspect is to help them learn techniques to cope with problems.

From Maesk Group Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Treating Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and Couples Issues

When you look around Fort Lauderdale, have you ever wondered about all of the types of counseling or therapy providers out there? All of the issues in this title can be treated by several different kinds of licensed professionals. The key word to look for is “Licensed,” because it means a certain level of accountability to a governing body and a minimum Master’s level of education. Here’s an overview of some of the types of licensed therapists out there:

Master’s Level Therapists include:

Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)

Licensed Clinical Counselors (LCC)

Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC)

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

These are just some of the types throughout the United States, and there are Interns in each profession as well who are licensed and supervised in practice. There are also Supervisor levels for each license, which indicates more experience and training.

Mental Health Providers who can legally prescribe medication are generally a Psychiatrist or a PMHNP (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner).  Psychiatrists have an MD level degree, as they are medical doctors who have completed additional training in psychiatry. Most psychiatrists don’t do “talk” therapy, preferring to focus on medication and prescribing instead. The same is generally true for PMHNP providers. Of course, the medical profession itself can prescribe but they don’t do talk therapy.

The most important factor for you is how comfortable you feel with the licensed provider you have chosen. Personalities between client and therapist must mesh for the therapy to be effective. If there’s something your therapist can do differently, ask! Communication is key.

If you have any questions about any of this information, don’t hesitate to contact me.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Do I Need Counseling?

Every day many people in Fort Lauderdale and Broward county search online for help with their problems, wondering if it’s finally time to reach out for direction and support to handle sadness, depression, anxiety, stress, fights with their partner or spouse, and family issues, among others. Here are some of the questions and mistaken beliefs we encounter as therapists every day.

Can’t I just talk to my friends about my problems?

Talking to a friend about mental health or personal issues may bring you temporary relief, but will make the problem more deep seated in the long run because you become more identified with the issue the longer you complain without intervention. Remember, you get what you pay for, and zero-cost advice is pretty much worth zero!

Nobody can change my situation, so why pay to see a professional about it?

There is a saying that “your world changes when YOU change.”  A professional, licensed therapist is trained in ways to help you respond to your world differently. We have at least two college degrees and extensive supervised training thereafter. There are thinking patterns, usually formed in childhood, of which you are completely unaware. I can show you how you are holding yourself back and perhaps help you find insight and freedom. It’s often a cage of your own making!

I’ve felt this way so long…

If you had a persistent fever, would you just say “oh well” and live with it? Or would you go to a health care specialist who could evaluate, diagnose, and treat it? The average person doesn’t realize how common mood and relationship problems are to the human condition, and that they can be (and are) identified and studied. Whole systems of therapy are developed for common issues, much as drugs are developed for physical ailments. 

What will people think?

The people intelligent and mature enough to seek therapy realize that it doesn’t matter what people think! It matters how you live every day of your limited, precious life, and whether you can enjoy that to a higher degree and love more fully. Besides, you would be surprised how many of those “imaginary people” you think are judging you are actually patients themselves.

Is it time for YOU to feel better? It’s time!  Contact Maesk Group Counseling and  Get started NOW.

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Ten Gifts to Give Yourself This Year

Well, it's that time of year...a time for friends, holiday parties, good cheer and yes...sometimes more stress and anxiety.  It's important to remember that while it's important to give, it's also even more important to take care of ourselves.  Here are a few ways to do just that:

  1. Turn off the TV news for the holiday season.  Instead, light candles and put on music.
  2. Notice even the smallest of your daily accomplishments instead of what you DIDN’T get done. Keep a “success list!” 
  3. Remember that we get what we focus on in life. Focusing on good points in yourself and others will bring MORE of them.
  4. Take a “senses walk” for 20 minutes, 4 times a week. Notice the breath in your lungs, the smell of the air, the change of the seasons. Outdoor light and exercise both stimulate serotonin production, lifting mood.
  5. Take a few minutes daily to “hibernate.” Close your door, remove your shoes, dim the lights, and focus on what makes you happy.
  6. Breathe in to the slow count of four. Hold it four slow counts. Release in four slow counts. Repeat until you feel the muscles relax all over!
  7. Stay aware of your thoughts. 
  8. Don’t take on another person’s bad mood. Guard yourself, removing yourself from their company if necessary.
  9. Find freedom by letting go of criticizing and complaining about yourself or someone else.
  10.  If you need to make changes, act NOW. Don’t put off health or happiness! 

Maesk Group Counseling hopes you have a very happy Holiday Season!