These are commonly asked questions about mental wellness. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, drop me a line.
Q. As an adult, I am constantly on edge and my temper is sometimes out of control even to the point of rage. My relationships suck because I keep getting involved with men who seem really nice at first, but once I’m hooked, they all turn out to be abusive, just like it was with my parents when I was growing up.
A. I would want to know if when you were growing up, was one or both of your parents abusing alcohol or another drug? Was there any inappropriate sexual contact perpetrated by someone at least 5 years older than you? Or, were there times when you feared for your safety or that of someone else in your home?
If yes to these questions, you might be experiencing the effects of what we call “Complex” Trauma, or as it is more appropriately called, “Developmental Trauma”. I found a great article in Psychology Today that will give you a huge understanding of what you might be experiencing. Check it out here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201207/recognizing-complex-trauma
In my practice, I see many patients who were affected by Developmental Trauma to the point that the constant intrusive noise in their heads was interfering with their ability to function at work, in relationships, and at home. Most respond well to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapy coupled with learning mindfulness skills. I hope this helps!
Q. What is Depression?
A. Part of understanding what depression is, is knowing what it isn’t.
Depression is not weakness. It is not a personality flaw. It is not laziness. It is not a bad mood that will soon pass on its own. Depression is not your fault. It is not moodiness. It is a mood disorder.
Depression commonly affects your thoughts, your emotions, your behaviors and your overall physical health. Here are some of the most common symptoms that point to the presence of depression:
- Angry outbursts
- Loss of interest in friends, family and favorite activities, including sex
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble making decisions
- Trouble remembering
- Thoughts of harming yourself
- Delusions and/or hallucinations can also occur in cases of severe depression
- Withdrawing from people
- Substance abuse
- Missing work, school or other commitments
- Attempts to harm yourself
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
- Changes in sleep – sleeping too little or too much (Note: if you are concerned about your sleep, Click here to take a simple quiz that can help you determine whether your current sleep patterns may be causing you problems.)
- Sexual problems
Q. What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:
- Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling the worry
- Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
Q . What is a Panic Attack?
A. A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:
- Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- Feelings of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
- Chills or heat sensations
- Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
- Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
- Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
- Fear of dying
Q. I suspect my daughter is developing an eating disorder. I admit, I am clueless.
Here is information I got from the National Eating Disorders website:
Types & Symptoms of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders — such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.
The following information is a brief summary of the Feeding and Eating Disorders described in the American Psychiatric Association’s Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published in 2013. Click on the links below to learn more about the different types of eating disorders and their symptoms.
- Inadequate food intake leading to a weight that is clearly too low.
- Intense fear of weight gain, obsession with weight and persistent behavior to prevent weight gain.
- Self-esteem overly related to body image.
- Inability to appreciate the severity of the situation.
- Binge-Eating/Purging Type involves binge eating and/or purging behaviors during the last three months.
- Restricting Type does not involve binge eating or purging.
Binge Eating Disorder
- Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
- A feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes.
- Feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating.
- Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior.
- Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
- A feeling of being out of control during the binge-eating episodes.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder
(Described as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) DSM-IV)
- A feeding or eating disorder that causes significant distress or impairment, but does not meet the criteria for another feeding or eating disorder.
- Examples include:
- Atypical anorexia nervosa (weight is not below normal)
- Bulimia nervosa (with less frequent behaviors)
- Binge-eating disorder (with less frequent occurrences)
- Purging disorder (purging without binge eating)
- Night eating syndrome (excessive nighttime food consumption)