Archives for General
Do you know someone who struggles with delusional beliefs? What about your own experiences? Do you find some of your thoughts and beliefs odd and potentially delusional? If so, you are not alone. Many people have delusional thoughts and beliefs. For example, there are multiple theories on how the World Trade Center fell on September 11th. Conspiracy theories are all around us. So you may be asking: "what makes delusional beliefs any different from conspiracy theories or firmly held beliefs that have no proof?" Severity and duration. If the delusional beliefs are so firmly held that it becomes difficult to tease apart reality from fiction, this is a problem. If the duration of the delusional beliefs are long-term or "chronic," this is a problem. This article will explore delusional beliefs. In next week's article I will provide tips on how to challenge inaccurate or delusional beliefs. I will also mention a few common delusions that some of my former clients, in hospital settings, experienced.
Do you or someone you know struggle with symptoms of anxiety (i.e., increased heart-rate, feeling shaky or panicky, dizziness, nausea, sweating, irritability, etc)? If so, you are certainly not alone. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 40 million adults (18+) in the U.S. struggle with some form of anxiety. Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects about 6.8 million adults. Social anxiety is also challenging for adults in the U.S. as about 15 million suffer from it. This article will discuss anxiety as being secondary to traumatic experience. Anxiety, in the case of people who suffer from trauma, is a "symptom" of a bigger problem which makes treatment more complex. It is easier to treat an individual suffering from anxiety alone, but much more difficult to treat someone suffering from anxiety that is triggered by a traumatic past.
Last week I discussed 7 challenges of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) such as: dysphoria, attention-seeking, manipulating, controlling, emotional chaos and storms, internal emptiness and loneliness, relational chaos, denial, anger, rage, and progress in some ways and deterioration in other ways. BPD is a complex disorder that requires a supportive family, active treatment, and competent treatment providers. Without these things, recovering from BPD can seem almost impossible. This article will discuss 7 ways to cope with and deal with the above symptoms of BPD. It is important for me to note that not everyone with BPD exhibits the following behavioral, relational, or emotional characteristics.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the most complicating disorders for mental health professionals and researchers. Why? BPD is complicated based on many factors such as the environment (i.e, upbringing, influences, etc.), temperament, genetic predisposition, age at which BPD was identified and treated, treatment recommendations, etc. So much goes into identifying, understanding, and coping with BPD. What makes matters more complicated is the unraveling of convoluted symptoms by family, caregivers, friends, and mental health professionals. For example, some individuals with BPD struggle a great deal with being told about their diagnosis by a mental health professional. This may cause the individual, who once idealized their therapist, to devalue, dislike, and disregard them. Another example may include an adolescent with BPD traits expressing suicidal thoughts to his mother while simultaneously appearing to enjoy the attention of the "sick role." Treating and helping a loved one with BPD symptoms requires internal strength, patience, and knowledge. This article will highlight 7 challenging characteristics of individuals with BPD. Next week's article will focus on ways to cope with these 7 characteristics as a friend or family member.
How would you know a person is "toxic?" What about them or their behaviors would signal to you that they are toxic? For me, a toxic person is someone who makes you feel a way that you are not, who undermines and mistreats you, and who may come across as kind to others and truly is very unkind to you. A toxic person is someone who "infects" (like a disease) your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behaviors in ways that are not good. They may be envious of you, they may try to limit or undermine you, or they may simply ignore any kind of progress you make. A toxic person can be anyone, even a person with a mental health challenge, a close friend, a confidant, and/or a family member. If you are like most people in society, you will find it almost impossible to spot and detach from a toxic person because they can come across as charming, kind, and trustworthy. It is necessary that I make it clear we are not talking about a narcissistic person per se, but rather a person (generally healthy), who cannot maintain a positive relationship with another person. This article will discuss characteristics of a toxic person and how to say goodbye.
Do you or someone you know struggle with memories, flashbacks, depressed mood, anxiousness, fear, regret, guilt, or other negative emotions stemming from a history of trauma? If so, this article is for you. As I have stated multiple times in previous articles on trauma, most people not only struggle with understanding what trauma is and how to treat it, but also how to relate to those struggling with a history of trauma (mild, moderate, or severe). Having worked in the field of behavioral health and healthcare as a trauma therapist for almost 10 years, I have come to realize that a lot of people struggle with being compassionate to those with trauma histories. Why? Perhaps because the human mind perceives a "historical experience" to be just that, history. If the person appears to be surviving now and coping well in society, then nothing else could possibly be wrong. Sadly, this is not true and those with a history of trauma are often disregarded, intentionally or unintentionally, by family, friends, co-workers, and sometimes even mental health professionals. This article will discuss 13 statements that should never be made to someone with a history of trauma. I will offer suggestions on better ways to get a point across.
What comes to your mind when you hear the term trauma? Do you think of physical or psychological trauma? Do you have preconceived notions about how trauma may affect human development? Sadly, many people struggle to understand the emotional, psychological, and/or physical toll trauma can have on overall health. Trauma is not well understood by society which leads to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and sometimes further trauma. My experience has been that many people struggle to identify what trauma actually is and how it affects the brain and overall development. Many of these same people believe that trauma does not have to define or continue to affect you. While this is a positive and sometimes balanced view, trauma is something that leaves many fingerprints that cannot be so easily erased. This article will highlight some of the things I have seen, in my profession and life, that is difficult for others to understand about trauma. I have narrowed these things down to 9 for the purpose of keeping things structured and succinct.
Have you (or someone you know) struggled with thoughts of suicide? Do you (or the person you know) experience guilt, embarrassment, or withdrawal from others after disclosing suicidal thoughts? As a therapist working with children, teens, and even adults at times who are suicidal and thinking of killing themselves, I am hardly ever prepared for the emotional roller coaster ride a session discussing suicidal ideation creates. With years of training in mental health, trauma, and self-injurious behaviors (i.e., cutting, burning, etc), I know all of the right questions to ask, all the right skills to provide, and all the right crisis supports to offer but am hardly ever prepared for the tears, the hopelessness, and the unanswerable questions that come my way. I often experience a feeling of helplessness as I watch the individual scramble to find some ounce of hope to live for. This article will highlight important questions to ask yourself or someone you know when suicidal thoughts occur. This article will also list diagnoses that make suicidal ideations more likely to occur.
Do you know people who engage in telling multiple lies, even when you or someone else has caught them? Do you know someone who seems to manipulate others with his or her lies? If so, this article is for you. As a therapist working with children and adolescents, I have seen my fair share of lies and juvenile-delinquent behaviors, which include pathological lies. Although we have all told a "while lie" or two, or minimized a situation to keep the peace, pathological liars lie for the simple fact of pleasure, manipulation, or to get what they want. To make matters worse, some pathologically lie for no apparent reason. Sadly, mental health professionals are largely uninformed about this insidious and evil behavior. We lack research and knowledge about pathological lying and have been unable, for centuries, to explain why it happens and how it develops. As a result, society remains very uninformed about pathological lying and is often shocked when someone close (a family member, friend, co-worker, etc.) begins sharing their lies and untruths. This article will highlight some of the common behaviors of pathological liars. I will also explain triangulation.
Trauma is a powerful word. Although trauma can include psychological, emotional, sexual, or physiological trauma, many people almost stagger when I mention the term.When clients hear me label some of their most disturbing and unhealthy experiences as "trauma" they look puzzled. Some come into my office already labeling their experiences as traumatic. But a select few shy away from the term. Why? Because most people understand trauma to be something horrific such as a murder or a terrible and untimely death, a violent rape, or something similar. But trauma is defined as a terrifying or disturbing event that overwhelms our ability to cope. In other words, we experience a disturbing event in which we lack the appropriate skills to cope and therefore overcome the negative affects of the trauma. This article will focus on 7 ways trauma negatively affects us and offer tips on how to cope by supplementing your therapy by changing thoughts and behaviors.