How To Overcome Social Anxiety and Social Phobia

By | Anxiety | No Comments

Social anxiety is the fear of social situations and interaction with other people that automatically bring on feelings of self-consciousness, judgment, evaluation, and criticism. Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.  If a person usually becomes anxious in social situations but seems fine when they are alone, then “social anxiety” may be the problem.

Social anxiety disorder may also be related to having social phobia which is a much more common problem. Millions of people all over the world suffer from this devastating and traumatic problem every day of their lives, either from a specific social phobia or from a more generalized social phobia.

Safer At Home

Agoraphobe is a social anxiety and panic disorder. So, “safer-at-home” is what many dealings with the phobia were built for. What many were not prepared for though was just how debilitating it would feel to watch the internal, irrational fears of imagined threats become someone’s external reality in facing an actual threat to a varying extent.

While the rest of the world is struggling to believe in this terrifying post-pandemic world, people with anxiety disorders are struggling to maintain their disbelief in the seemingly impossible apocalyptic scenarios that they may been dreading.

On the other side of agoraphobia, those with separation anxiety are likely feeling nightmarishly alone because of social distancing. People with contamination-related anxiety disorders like germaphobia and certain types of OCD are obviously getting hit particularly hard.

Disordered eating may be triggered by the stressors of quarantining at home. Those with generalized anxiety and panic disorders aren’t being spared, either, especially since shortness of breath is a symptom of both COVID-19 (the disease caused by coronavirus) and panic attacks. All that compounds with hypochondria, which may be likely amplified.

A specific social phobia would be the fear of speaking in front of groups, whereas generalized social anxiety indicates that the person is anxious, nervous, and uncomfortable in almost all (or the majority of) social situations.

Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

People with social anxiety disorder usually experience significant emotional distress in the following situations:

  • Being introduced to other people
  • Being teased or criticized
  • Being the center of attention
  • Being watched while doing something
  • Meeting people in authority (“important people”)
  • Most social encounters, particularly with strangers
  • Making “small talk” at parties
  • Going around the room in a circle and having to say something

This list is certainly not a complete list of symptoms because there are other feelings that may be associated with social anxiety.

 

Physical Symptoms from Social Anxiety

The physiological manifestations that accompany social anxiety may include intense fear, racing heart, turning red or blushing, dry throat and mouth, trembling, swallowing with difficulty, muscle twitches, shaky hands, excessive sweating, and eye contact problems.

The social anxiety physical symptoms may actually be constant and an intense anxiety that does not go away.

Oftentimes, people with social anxiety disorder actually do know that their anxiety is irrational and does not make rational sense. The fear is not based on fact. Nevertheless, “knowing” something is never the same thing as “believing” and “feeling” something. Thus, in people with social anxiety, thoughts and feelings of anxiety persist and show no signs of going away. We would suggest that the anxiety being felt is now considered to be chronic in this situation.

The Right Kind of Treatment is Successful

The good news is that cognitive-behavioral therapy for social anxiety has been extremely successful. People who have had this anxiety problem for long periods of time will blossom while in therapy. After therapy, people with this problem will experience a changed life that is no longer totally controlled by fear and anxiety.

Social anxiety, as well as the other anxiety problems, can be successfully treated.There is no rational reason to continue living with social anxiety. There is no rational reason to believe you must “manage” it the rest of your life.

On the contrary, you don’t need to live with social anxiety disorder for the rest of your life. The decision to get better belongs to the person being afflicted by a social anxiety disorder.

Seeking Effective Treatment

In seeking help for this problem, we recommend working with one of our counselors who understands this problem well and knows how to treat it. Foundations Counseling helps people become informed clients and we encourage everyone to ask questions.

It is true that those people who have lived with social anxiety do realize that their mind is over-exaggerating, but it still feels like others are watching and judging. The feeling of self-consciousness is very real.

As a rule of thumb, remember that the true licensed professional will always welcome your questions. Those people who have or have had social anxiety need support, encouragement, and a relatively stress-free environment while progressing through active cognitive-behavioral therapy.  We like to remind our clients thatthis is your time to get better and heal. This is also your time to move forward in life, away from the effects of anxiety, fear, and avoidance.

 

Overcoming Social Anxiety

While you’re in the middle of this problem, it can definitely feel hopeless. As a matter of fact, it can feel like you may never get better. Life is just one gut-wrenching anxiety problem after another. But this can be stopped, managed, and reduced in a relatively short period of time. It is important to find a cognitive-behavioral therapist who understands and specializes in the treatment of social anxiety.

Remember that millions of people experience social anxiety and social phobias. It isn’t easy to overcome but many who seek professional help will be able to put their fears behind them and live a healthy life.

How to Conquer Social Anxiety

  • Possess the understanding and awareness of an existing problem.
  • Having a commitment to carry through with cognitive-behavioral therapy even when it seems difficult.
  • Practice, practice, practice to get that information deep down into your brain so that the strategies and rational beliefs you learn become automatic.
  • Participation in a social anxiety therapy group in which you can slowly and gradually work on problems that cause you anxiety in the real world.

Everything is voluntary. A person must be ready to do an activity before they do it.

Our experience also tells us that it is simply impossible to stop a motivated person who refuses to give up practicing. The role of your therapist is to know specifically what to do and how quickly to do it. This sounds easy, but it is not. You must be practicing the right material and you must proceed at the correct pace for your own anxieties. You are more in control of this than your therapist.

Today, cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to treat all forms of social anxiety. We focus on present-day problems and symptoms and use many small strategies, techniques, and methods to eradicate anxiety thinking and anxious feelings.

This is where learning, motivation, and practice come in. The more you can practice these small strategies at home, and then begin using them in real-life in conjunction with your therapist, the quicker social anxiety and social phobia can be reduced and will be overcome.

We are always here to help the people residing in McKinney, Plano, Dallas, Denton, Allen, Garland, and the surround communities found throughout Texas. If you are experiencing social anxiety or social phobias today, or you know someone who may be, please contact our specialist team at Foundation Counseling.

How to Cope with Adjustment Disorders Caused by Major Life Changing Events

By | Anxiety, Depression | No Comments

Adjusting to change can be difficult, as even positive life transitions tend to cause some stress. Over the course of a lifetime, a person can expect to experience a significant amount of change. Some of these changes, such as marriages, births, and new jobs, are generally positive, although they may be accompanied by their own unique stressors.

Other major life transitions, such as school closures or home schooling, working from home, new social distancing norms, moving to a new city, retirement, or entering the empty nest phase of life may cause a significant amount of stress.

Those who find themselves experiencing difficulty coping with life transitions may find it helpful to speak to a therapist in order to become better able to adjust to changes they cannot control.

How Can Change Be Beneficial?

Certain changes, such as going back to school, starting a new job, or starting a family, can often be exciting, even when they cause some amount of stress, because they are generally considered to be positive changes. Many people look forward to obtaining a degree, rising in their chosen field, or having a home and family.

Changes, and especially difficult changes, can influence personal growth, and dealing with a change successfully may leave one stronger, more confident, and better prepared for what comes next in life. In other words, even those changes that are neither expected nor wanted might still produce some beneficial outcome.

Change can encourage the development of skills or knowledge, and might also bring about greater awareness of a condition or group. For example, the family of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia might become more aware of severe mental health conditions and their effects. Or the parents of a child who has been diagnosed with depression might become interested in learning more about the topic to increase awareness.

Change can also make clear what is important in one’s life and allow for greater self-discovery and self-awareness.

Coping with Change

Because change can cause stress, it can have an effect on one’s daily life. A person facing a big change may experience depression, anxiety, or fatigue. The individual may also have headaches and develop trouble sleeping or eating well or abuse drugs and alcohol. Persistent symptoms of stress might improve with treatment in therapy.

Planning for changes in advance, as much as possible, and in conjunction with a therapist is always the ideal scenario.

  • Researching an upcoming change.Often, stress can develop out of fear of what is unknown. When one is well-informed about a change, it may be easier to face.
  • Attending to one’s physical and mental health.Being healthy in mind and body may make it easier to cope with changes in life. Sleeping well, exercising, and eating nutritional foods regularly may all be beneficial in improving both physical and mental health.
  • Taking time to relax. Remaining calm in spite of stress may be easier when one’s life is well-adjusted and includes time for leisure as well as work.
  • Limiting changes as much as possible.It may be helpful to avoid making a large change immediately after another change. Generally, adjusting to a change takes some time, and making multiple changes at once, even smaller ones, may not allow enough time for an adequate adjustment period, which can cause stress.
  • Discussing any difficulties adapting with another person.Family members may be able to help one adjust to change, but professional help may also benefit those experiencing difficulty or stress as a result of life changes.

Adjustment Disorder

A diagnosis of adjustment disorder can occur when a major life stress or change disrupts normal coping mechanisms and makes it difficult or impossible for a person to cope with new circumstances. Symptoms of this condition tend to begin within three months of the stress or change and often include a depressed or anxious mood, changes in daily habits, feelings of overwhelming stress and panic, difficulty enjoying activities, and changes in sleeping or eating.

This condition may also lead an individual to engage in reckless or dangerous behavior, avoid family and friends, or have thoughts of suicide. A diagnosed adjustment disorder generally indicates that a person is experiencing more emotional turmoil than others facing the same situation might experience.

For example, a young woman who cries frequently after the death of her mother is likely experiencing distress typical to the major life change she has experienced, but a man who lost his job and stops speaking to his children may be experiencing a significant amount of difficulty adjusting to his changed situation.

Therapy for Change

There is no particular treatment for adjusting to change, but several different tactics may be helpful. Talking about changes in life with a therapist, such as a marriage, the death of a family member, the loss of a job, current economic situations, frustration, or the approach of major life-changing events, can be helpful to many. Varying types of therapy is likely to be well-suited to helping a person cope with dramatic changes in life.

When life changes prove difficult and lead to stress, anxiety, or depression, a therapist can also help treat those issues and help one explore coping strategies. When people know that they do not cope well with change, speaking with a therapist before any significant changes in life occur may be warranted.

In this way, one can prepare for changes and become better able to face them in the future, even without prior knowledge of potential changes.

We are always here to help the people residing in McKinney, Plano, Dallas, Denton, Allen, Garland, and the surround communities found throughout Texas. If you are struggling to cope with life-changing events, or if you know someone that is experiencing challenges, please contact Foundations Counseling today.

8 Reasons to Talk to a Licensed Therapist Before Taking Antidepressants

By | Depression | No Comments

Some people are under the misapprehension that cognitive behavioral therapy may not be as helpful in extremely stressful and challenging times. So, many are turning to antianxiety or antidepressants. Over the last month, there is a massive increase of 35% turning to medications. Rather than simply taking medications, speaking with a licensed therapist is the best course of action.

In fact, successful or afflicted people do not fear therapy, they embrace their therapy. And therapy is not just something that smart people use, it’s something that most everybody should probably try during at least some point in their lives, especially now, during challenging times of anxiety or depression.

Many of us grew up under the impression that internal stuff shouldn’t be discussed or maybe it should be swept under the rug. This is perhaps the single worst thing you can do for yourself. Stamping down your emotions and not working through your psychological issues – especially economic downturns, job loss, or with societal anxiety, and depression – can culminate in a host of problems.

If you need a numbers-based reason to convince you to speak to a therapist before turning to antidepressants, depression alone is a major player in the global burden of disease, the leading cause of disability worldwide, and responsible for billions of dollars a year in lost work.

1. Therapy’s effects persist over the long-haul

A huge benefit of talk therapy is that its effects are long-lasting. This is because you’re not only working through stuff, but you’re also developing the tools to help you deal with future stuff. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) treatment is durable over the years. The positive gains continue and grow over time as though some of the work gets further consolidated after therapy stops.

The whole talking-with-the-therapist process gets internalized so that self-therapy picks up where the actual therapy leaves off. The “getting-to-the-cause” aspect of therapy is a big reason why therapy together is believed to be extremely effective.

2. Physical symptoms get treated

Psychological trauma can trigger physical symptoms – and depression and anxiety are well known to have significant, and sometimes debilitating, physical effects. Going to therapy can help these issues fade away.

When people do not express feelings but swallow them and keep them buried and out of conscious awareness, one’s body often reacts. Physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, sleeping problems, and ulcers are just some of the ways our body reacts to stress and psychic pain.

3. Repressed emotions will come back to haunt you later on

The most serious drawback of not talking about things maybe that unexpressed feelings and traumas can pile up and explode later. Even if you don’t have a full-on breakdown later on, not fully processing events and emotions often creates negative thought patterns that can inform every area in your life – your relationships with your spouse, parents, kids, coworkers, and even yourself.

So, learning how to process them with a therapist can change how you maneuver in many different ways.

4. Therapy will give you a whole new perspective on other people

An awesome benefit of therapy is that it not only helps you understand yourself better but it helps you understand other people. When we hold negative thoughts in without processing them, they become ingrained so that we see the world through that lens – and we make lots of assumptions that may or may not be true.

Without the clutter of your own assumptions, it’s a lot easier to understand others’ intentions and motivations. Also, therapy can help an individual become more empathetic.

5. It helps you deal with future curveballs

Since big and small problems are going to come up from time to time, knowing how to deal with them in a healthy way is an essential skill. The truth is, conflict is a part of everyday life. It’s helpful to be aware of one’s feelings around conflict. If, for example, you are angry with your boss who is piling up work for you when you are getting ready to go away, you are bound to feel resentment and conflict.

By reflecting on what’s going on outside like your boss’ demands while working from home, and inside such as your mounting anger, irritation, and fear of losing your job if you say ‘no’, you are in a better position to resolve the conflict.

Talking things through with someone and reflecting on what feelings are evoked, and why, leads to a greater understanding of oneself. Then one is freer to think of ways to respond in a more proactive way.

Learning how not to get swallowed up by events, but instead how to form a game plan to deal with them, is the key.

6. You know you’re not alone

Seeing a licensed counselor, especially now, can be a huge relief in-and-of itself since you know you’re acting against what ails you. It also comforting just knowing that you have a built-in support structure that you can go to once a week.

Not that misery loves company, but it is true that being with people who are dealing with similar issues can be very reassuring.

7. It will rewire your brain

One of the best things about therapy is that it can bring about change at the level of the brain. We think of medication as changing the depressed brain, but there’s very compelling evidence that talk therapy does the same. With brain imaging methods, psychotherapy has been shown to alter activity in the “me-centered” worry thoughts, control, emotion, and fear.

One very effective method, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), helps people identify the negative thought patterns and replace them with new and more positive mental habits or thoughts. In addition to helping people experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, it brings about positive changes in one’s outlook.

8. You won’t have to self-medicate anymore

Self-medicating to “deal” with psychological stuff is incredibly common. But it doesn’t do anything to actually address what’s going on – in reality, it just masks it. It also creates an addictive cycle, which may exacerbate the real problem.

Getting to the root of your past stuff in therapy will, with time, eliminate the need to self-medicate. When you’re no longer living by the negative things in the past or even present, the need to avoid them will disappear.

Conclusion

People are starting to open up more about their personal struggles and mental health issues. The stigma seems to be fading, if slowly. If you feel therapy would benefit you, go for it. Most likely, your friends and family will also be grateful you opened up and it may give them the green light to do the same. Chances are it will help kick off some important dialogues during challenging times.

If you, or someone you know, needs additional support to deal with anxiety and depression during challenging times, please contact Foundations Counseling today!

The Benefits of Mental Health “Telehealth Counseling” During Challenging Times

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In a given year, approximately one in five adults in Texas is diagnosed with a mental health disorder. And more than half of those affected adults with a mental health condition do not receive proper treatment or supervision by a certified, licensed counselor. While there are multiple reasons and issues keeping people from receiving proper treatment today, one variable leading to this statistic is access to quality care.

Consider, for example, the entire United States:

  • More than 35 million American adults self-reported needing treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use, and needing mental health treatment.
  • There have been nearly 10,000 designated mental health shortage areas across the country, leaving over 100 million people without adequate access to mental health services.
  • Therefore, thousands of people in McKinney, Dallas, Plano, Denton, Allen, Dallas Fort Worth, and Garland Texas or additional surrounding communities need mental health therapists to one extent or another.
  • With the recent Coronavirus, it has been reported that an astonishing 50% of people are suffering anxiety and depression.

Offering Telehealth as a Temporary Solution

Improving mental health in Texas is not a simple, one-time fix. It requires a re-thinking of how we define healthcare to include behavioral health, moving beyond the stigma so people feel comfortable seeking care, and the coming together of multiple stakeholders and experts to develop new ways to deliver that care.

While the industry works to address the issues that prevent widespread and comprehensive behavioral health services, many providers are looking to improve access to quality mental health care through telemedicine, in general terms.

However, our counseling model is absolute. We firmly believe in person-to-person therapy sessions whether they be short-term or over the longer-term. In order to adapt to the current situation and challenging times that our patients are having to endure, we are offering “Telehealth” video conferencing.

The telehealth method allows our patients to continue a face-to-face therapy session, albeit digital nonetheless, but it reassures every individual that we are only a quick-click away from a chat.

The Benefits of Virtual Mental Health Programs

Data does show virtual mental health counseling is at least as effective — and in some cases, more than — treating anxiety, depression and other disorders compared to traditional face-to-face.

A four-year Johns Hopkins study that included close to 100,000 military veterans found the number of days patients were hospitalized dropped by 25 percent if they chose online counseling. This is slightly higher than the number of hospital visits experienced by patients who used face-to-face counseling.

For Foundations Counseling and patients alike, in addition to the positive health effects, there are numerous benefits to our temporary virtual mental health programs.

  1. Ease and convenience: patientssimply need a computer, webcam, and broadband internet access.
  2. Increased access: patients who live in remote areas, who are housebound, who have trouble lining up childcare, or just have too much going on in their lives to make room for regular therapy sessions, now have a connection to mental healthcare.
  3. Fewer missed appointments: patients are less likely to run into problems when they can meet from wherever they are located in Texas.
  4. Reach new clients: counselors who offer services virtually can expand their reach to new clients across Texas and reach into some new communities in the surrounding areas.
  5. Customize care: leveraging a virtual platform, Foundations Counseling is able to turn our focus to how care is delivered through appropriately-timed assessments and tracking trends and progress over time.

Benefits From The Patient Perspective

For patients in Texas, access to a mental health services provider can be life-changing especially given the challenging times. While benefits of virtual mental health services differ from patient to patient, they can include: ease, convenience, privacy, access and increased choice and options.

Our temporary Telehealth services allow patients the ability to fit sessions into their current lifestyle, rather than the other way around.

For example, a patient who needs continued therapy and is seeing a Foundations Counseling therapist using the Telehealth methodology is now able to get the support needed, from an individual who is understanding, non-judgmental and knows how to talk to the patient — since the patient is basically homebound. Having consistent access to this kind of professional support has reduced a patient’s stress and anxiety levels, and given them a sense of calm.

While Telehealth alone cannot fix all the challenges that exist today when it comes to comprehensive access to quality mental health services, it does give us a temporary solution in getting to one step closer. By bridging the gap between a Foundations Counseling therapists and patients — and removing barriers to things like location, transportation and convenience — we can focus on addressing the obstacles that continue to stand in the way of achieving treatment during challenging times related to the Coronavirus.

Foundations Counseling Telehealth Services Saves Times and Increases Access

Our temporary solution using Telehealth puts the Foundations Counseling teams mental health services within reach of men, women, and children who live in rural or remote areas. We continue to serve all patients located in McKinney, Dallas, Plano, Denton, Allen, Dallas Fort Worth, and Garland Texas.

Lastly, with clinical mental health counselors now serving clients over long distances through videoconferencing, travel time can involve just the seconds it takes to walk to one’s laptop. Our innovative counseling model eliminates a client’s need for transportation, and any travel-related costs.

If you are a current patient or know someone who is having a challenging time during the current situation, please contact our highly skilled and professional team of therapists at Foundations Counseling today!

Depression and the Economy

By | Depression | No Comments

Depression and the economy; not knowing is an uncomfortable experience. As human beings, we are naturally curious. We seek to understand, predict and control as much as we possibly can. The feeling of having some sort of control in our lives helps us learn and it keeps us safe. Uncertainty can feel dangerous because we cannot predict with complete confidence what will happen. As a result, both our hearts and minds may race.

While it is quite natural to experience uncertainty as uncomfortable, for many people it is seemingly unbearable. Seasoned professional therapists and counselors will suggest that finding it difficult to cope with the experience of not knowing could seriously affect our mental health – occurring alongside a number of conditions.

But does uncertainty, or economic uncertainty, play any part in causing depression? Depression and the economy can go hand-in-hand with mental health problems while learning how to cope.

It’s easy to see how the concept of uncertainty is linked to mental health. If uncertainty can feel dangerous, then it might feed our worry and anxiety. What’s more, if getting rid of that feeling of uncertainty feels essential, then the compulsion to wash our hands again and again to make sure they are clean and safe might also feel essential. If this condition of controlling things around you, it can trigger Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, for example.

And if we ultimately feel unable to cope with the change and unpredictability life throws at us, then it’s understandable that we are at risk of feeling defeated and depressed.

The Struggle with Uncertainty

The struggle with uncertainty does help us to understand depression. Some evidence suggests that we may find that our mood is more negative when we feel less able to cope with the unknown. But low mood is only part of the experience of depression, so fuller sessions are needed with a counselor to determine a variety of factors.

Understanding what underpins mental health difficulties is important because it can help us understand how to provide better support for the many of us who have these experiences. Mental health difficulties are more common in times of economic uncertainty, or uncertainty in one’s life in general. In fact, they often occur together including depression and the economy.

For example, the human process of thinking repeatedly and unhelpfully about our economic concerns or other worrisome aspects of our lives may lead to both anxiety and depression.

Another example of economic uncertainty is falling below the line of poverty. Poverty increases the risk of mental health problems and can be both a causal factor and a consequence of mental ill health. Mental health is shaped by the wide-ranging characteristics (including inequalities) of the social, economic and physical environments

in which people live. Successfully supporting the mental health and wellbeing of people living in poverty, or in times of economic uncertainty, and by reducing the number of people with mental health problems experiencing poverty, typically require engagement with a therapist.

Coping with Job Loss

Losing your job can be one of the most painful and traumatic events that you will ever have to endure. Depression and the economy, or economic situation, can affect every aspect of your life, from your interpersonal relationships to your sleep patterns. It can cause feelings of anger, inadequacy, fear, shame, failure, isolation, and embarrassment, to name just a few.

In fact, if you remain unemployed for an extended period, a situational depression may ensue. Job loss is one of the most life-changing experiences one ever faces. Its negative impact on individuals is exceeded only by the loss of a loved one or a family breakup.

Many professionals feel that other than the death of a child or going through a divorce, job loss is probably the single most terrible event of a lifetime.

What makes job loss so traumatic is the shattering blow that it delivers to the self-esteem. When you are let go from a position, for whatever reason, the underlying or subliminal message you may receive is, “I’m a failure. I am just not good enough. No matter what the economic times, if I were any good they would have kept me.”

Isolation and Counterproductive Behavior

Sudden job loss and economic uncertainty tends to have an isolating effect. When people undergo divorce or other painful experiences, they tend to share with those whom they trust. They talk it out with business associates, friends, and family.Consequently, there will always be people to comfort them and offer them advice.

Conversely, when people lose a job or feel like the economy may have a negative impact on their own lives, the last thing in the world that most people want to do is tell others what has happened, fearing that others will perceive them as failures or “exaggerating.”

In uncertain times or when dealing with job loss, many people will withdraw into a self-induced “code of silence” and wind up isolating themselves from the very people who are highly motivated to help. Unfortunately, this tendency to retreat behind self-created walls and limit social interaction is counterproductive to a job search or positive outlook that things will pass over time.

Minimize Stress When You’re Angry

Once reality sinks in that there is uncertainty, it’s natural to feel angry about losing your job or the economic situation. You might be mad at your employer, your former coworkers, the economy, or yourself. You might be mad at anyone and everyone around you.

It is always best to surround yourself with family and friends who understand your challenge. Perhaps seeking out professional counseling or guidance from your minister. There are also many community support groups available. Seek them out and participate in therapy if your anger turns to depression. In fact, you may not recognize the signs at first. As your outward anger subsides, you can start to move into the next stage.

Financial strain can make things worse, so avoid any rash money decisions that might stress you out later. For example, you probably don’t want to borrow from a retirement account or ignore your creditors during unemployment or a financial crisis, and you definitely want to avoid debt traps. These all have consequences that can add to your stress and fuel your anger or trigger depression.

If you or a loved one are having challenges confronting economic uncertainty, we highly encourage you to please reach out to Foundations Counseling today.

Learning to Structure Your Children’s Time During School Closures

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It is known that professional therapists and counselors express considerable worry over risks with families locked up 24/7 together for an indefinite period. Parents may be joking on social media about their childcare experiences as more and more states go into lockdown with the Coronavirus. Learning to structure your children’s time is essential during school closures.

Being locked down gives us the chance to spend lots and lots of time with our children which can be a wonderful thing. But when we have to work from home and we are all stuck together in a small space, tensions can escalate.

Your child’s school has canceled in-person classes due to the Coronavirus outbreak, and you are worried about an academic freefall or a home-schooling free-for-all where you end up playing the homework police all day, every day — while also working from home?

Regardless of the situation, this is a great opportunity for parents to learn how to structure their children’s time when school is out. For example, wearing pajamas signals to children that their day hasn’t started or that they are on vacation.

Structuring a Routine While at Home

Kids of all ages, and adults too for that matter, perform best with structure. When they know what to expect, they can adjust better and more successfully moderate their mood and behavior.

Maintain a consistent bedtime.

When kids say, “But there’s no school tomorrow!” reply with “Yes, but your brain and body are still growing, and tomorrow you will learn something new.”

Maintain a consistent wake-up time.

While you may not need to drag your teen out of bed to look bleary-eyed at a geometry workbook at 6am, and studies have shown that teenagers do not perform best early in the morning, continue to create and maintain a daily routine. Have your child get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, and do any typical “before school” chores or activities.

Maintain consistent meal times.

Your school-aged child can likely tell you exactly when lunch is, and their body and brain will function best if they’re kept on that schedule.

Set a reasonable schedule that mimics the school day.

Many schools are providing materials or Internet resources for children. Structure your child’s day to include focused time on subjects, such as scheduling math from 9–9:40am. Model good behavior by focusing on your own quiet tasks at the same time. Separate work times depending on their age, as if they were at school such as a “recess.”

Each day does not have to be identical.

Learning to structure your children’s time usually requires remembering that your child is used to special days like gym, art or music. Gym can mean playing leap frog. Art can mean building a fort for action figures out of a cereal box. Music can be playing a favorite song with a soup pot and spoon for“accompaniment.”

Sample Schedule:

  • By 9 am: Out of bed, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth/hair, make bed, complete other routine “before school” chores
  • 9–9:45am: Set out expectations for day. Morning physical activity such as walk outside, stretching or dance party inside.
  • 9:45–10:45am: Focused academic time
  • 10:45–11am: Transition break: Quick game of tag, Simon Says, Frisbee, walk the dog
  • 11am–12pm: Creative time: Build, draw, paint, create
  • 12–12:30pm: Lunch time
  • 12:30–1:30pm: Quiet fun time (no electronics). Look at books, color, build with Legos, dress up dolls, paint toenails.
  • 1:30–2:30pm: Focused academic time
  • 2:30–2:45pm: Break
  • 2:45–3:45pm: Focused academic time
  • 3:45–4:15pm: Clean up all activities
  • 4:15–5:15pm: Outdoor play time: Bike ride, climb a tree, walk around the block.
  • 5:15–6:15pm: Dinner preparation, eating, and clean up
  • 6:15–9pm: TV time, baths or showers, plan for next day
  • 9pm: Bedtime

Alternative Activities Should be Fun!

The best breaks involve movement and exercise! Get up, move around, go outside, have a snack, toss a ball, make a paper airplane, fold the laundry, have a pillow fight. Remember that your child is used to structured activity at school with social interaction.

Learning to structure your children’s time may not be the time to tell your child “go play outside” without providing some suggested activity. Plant seeds (indoors or out) and mark the progress daily in a journal. Take the break with your child; you will find that your focused work time is more productive, too. Make sure “break” isn’t your child trading one screen on a tablet, computer, or iPad for another.

Be sure to limit “screen time” and technology to reasonable sessions. If you are unsure about age vs. screen time, make sure to discuss this theme with a counselor.

Create celebrations or events to look forward to!

All of us are disappointed by the cancellation of fun upcoming events, from school band concerts to birthday parties to major vacations. Yes, many children love to attend school and would “opt in” to weekend classes.

So, create excitement and anticipation by planning fun events at home. The planning of and preparation for an event is often more fun than the actual event. These events need not be elaborate or cost a lot of money.

For example, have a costume party.Get out old Halloween costumes or other dress-up supplies and have a fashion show. You can even invite another family over FaceTime or similar platforms.

Another fun example may be to declare next Friday “polite night” and get out your best entertaining supplies, wear your fanciest clothes and use excellent manners. The next week, have Pirate Night or ‘80s Night and dress accordingly.

When you have a good idea, share with other friends and family so they can try it at their own home.

Parents! Remind yourself to take a time out.

If you feel overwhelmed, stressed, tired, hungry, or are reaching your limit in some way, remove yourself from the situation. Assure that your child is safe, then take a few moments to yourself to calm down. Take a shower. Walk outside. Vacuum. Lie on your bed in the dark. Call a friend. Watch a silly video. Recharge, forgive yourself, wash your hands and start again.

The sense of complete chaos is more anxiety-provoking for kids than having a schedule.

Support tips and suggestions from a counselor will be enlightening.

Learning to structure your children’s time requires a plan and a schedule that can help reduce conflict for school-age kids who might have academic work to do during school closures. It’s easier to get buy-in from kids to do a worksheet or reading or writing time if they know what to expect, rather than surprising them with a request to do homework when they were settling in with a video game or TV.

If you are a parent and need additional support, someone to speak with for suggestions, or feel overwhelmed, please contact Foundations Counseling today! We are here to help parents throughout a myriad of communities in Texas!

How Isolation Can Affect Mental Health

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How Isolation Can Affect Mental Health

As countries across the globe hunker down, long-term isolation can have profound physical and psychological effects. In Texas alone, as with the United States in whole, isolation will affect about half of the population with cases of anxiety and even depression, or both.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, millions of people are coming to terms with being increasingly cut off from society. Loneliness is a feeling of sadness or distress about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you. It may be felt moreover a long period of time. It is also possible to feel lonely, even when surrounded by people.

Isolation is being separated from other people and your environment. Sometimes this occurs through decisions we make ourselves, or because of circumstance like doing a job that requires travel, relocation, or currently, it may be due to the Coronavirus.

Beyond the inconvenience of working from home, or not being able to go to bars, restaurants or movie theaters, however, therapists have found that social isolation can have a profound effect on people’s physical, as well as mental health.

Long-term, isolation even increases the risk of premature death. By some, we can also label this phenomenon as a social recession to match any economic downturn also caused by the growing pandemic and it can have profound physical and psychological effects.

People who are more socially connected show less inflammation, conversely people who are more isolated and lonely show increased chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been implicated in a variety of chronic diseases such as prolonged anxiety and depression.

What do Statistics Tell Us about Isolation?

Loneliness increases earlier death by 26%, social isolation by 29% and living alone by 32%. With that being said, a period of a few weeks in isolation should not lead to the inflammation of severe mental health issues. Yet, many people will still see an impact on their health, however.

One of the reasons people can suffer in social isolation is because personal relationships can help us cope with stress.

The ongoing uncertainty of what’s going on right now in the world, your body’s response to that may differ. Depending on the extent to which you feel like you have the resources you need to cope with that. And that in large part may be dependent on whether or not you feel like you have others in your life you can rely on; that you’ve got someone who has your back or you can count on, or you can get through it together.

The fact is that short periods of isolation can cause increase anxiety or depression within only days.

Traditional Reasons that You may Feel Lonely or Isolated include:

  • Losing a loved one or friend through death or relocation
  • Lack of close family ties
  • Living alone
  • Difficulties in meeting new people due to access issues, having an introverted personality, or feeling like you don’t belong
  • Feelings of loss or grief
  • Poor physical health, frailty, mobility issues
  • A mental health condition such as depression or anxiety
  • Fear of rejection from others or feelings of being “different” or stigmatized by society
  • Inability to participate in activities due to access issues, mobility, illness, transport
  • Retirement from work, home relocation, starting out in a new role or community
  • Lack of purpose or meaning in life
  • Language or cultural barriers, or reduced connection with your culture of origin
  • Geographic isolation
  • Feeling lost in the crowd

Texas is a Community-Driven State

We have evolved to be social creatures. For all the history of humanity, people have been in family structures, people have been in groups, we’re evolved to kind of crave and rely on that interaction with other human beings. Most therapists realize and understand the importance of socializing.

The paradox is that yes, the quarantines and isolation may help our physical exposure to the Coronavirus. While on the other hand, Texas is one of the most social states where people love to gather, watch sports, go on family outings, and places of worship.

So, when we don’t have that it’s a huge void in the way that we go about being human. This is something that has been kind of hard-wired into who we are as beings.

Texting, video calling, or even the phone could potentially help avert the sense of isolation or loneliness but it isn’t the same.

Tech isn’t a perfect substitute but it is a temporary solution, in the short-term. Physical contact, being face-to-face with people, there’s all sorts of subtle social cues that we pick up on that we rely on, that are ingrained in us over generations in Texas.

We do think you can get part of the way there by engaging with others digitally. We think the richer the format, probably the better – so a phone call is better than a text, a video conference is probably better than a phone call.

What did our team decide to do given the health crisis? We immediately integrated a “telehealth methodology” consisting of video conferencing to meet our patients, see their faces, and interact as much as humanly possible during this challenging period. As well all know, this too, will eventually pass.

How Does Loneliness and Isolation Affect Your Mental Health?

Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but long periods of loneliness or social isolation can have a negative impact on your physical, mental and social health. Some signs include:

  • Physical symptoms: aches and pains, headaches, illness or worsening of medical conditions
  • Mental health conditions: increased risk of depression, anxiety, paranoia or panic attacks
  • Low energy: tiredness or lack of motivation
  • Sleep problems: difficulty getting to sleep, waking frequently or sleeping too much
  • Diet problems: loss of appetite, sudden weight gain or loss
  • Substance abuse: Increased consumption of alcohol, smoking, medications, drugs
  • Negative feelings: feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or thoughts about suicide

The Most Vulnerable to Isolation?

Over time, almost anyone and everyone can be vulnerable to loneliness and isolation. Oftentimes, and for a variety of reasons, older people tend to be the most vulnerable in these situations.

Older people, who are more at risk of the Coronavirus, may be less technologically savvy, and may have fewer connections to begin with. They might not be able to video conference or even send a text message. Family members and friends must remain diligent by reassuring them that help is just about everywhere.

We truly want to make sure that all of us our reaching out to the older generations around Texas, the elderly, and ensure that they’re doing OK. It is important that they know there are still people looking out for them, that they’re bonded with, and that they’re connected with.

How to Seek Professional Help and Support?

If loneliness and social isolation are causing you, a loved one, a family member or a friend distress during these challenging times, please contact one of our professionally licensed counselors today, at Foundations Counseling.

Shopping Addiction TX

Tell-Tale Signs that You Have a Shopping Addiction

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It’s one thing to surrender to the occasional impulse buy a watch gleaming from behind the display case, or a pair of black shoes that will add the perfect dash of sophistication to your favorite business suit. But when your purchases shift from impulsive to compulsive, it’s the first sign that you might be grappling with a more serious condition: a shopping addiction.

Researchers estimate that up to 6 percent of Americans are so-called “shopaholics”. And with retailers ramping up their promotions on television and even more intensely online, this number is constantly on the rise over the last five years. In our society, the phrase “shop till you drop” translates as frivolous and fun, but when spending presents a real problem, the glamor fades rapidly.

Professional counselors and therapists are seeing it all-too-often and call it “Compulsive Buying Disorder”, which is characterized as an impulse-control issue, just like gambling or binge eating, and has the potential to create a whirlwind of emotional and financial distress.

Are you or a loved one a shopaholic and addicted to spending?

The following seven signs represent a potential shopping addiction problem. Of course, there are more signs to watch out for but if a few from the list below stands out, we highly encourage people to contact a professional therapist.

1. You have many unopened or tagged items in your closet.

We’re not talking about the sweater your aunt gave you last holiday season, but about items you selected on your own that sit unopened or with their tags still attached. You likely even forgot about some of these possessions. These may include boxes of shoes lining the bottom of your closet or jackets that have never seen the light of day. Any unopened item, or stacks of products stowed away in closets or around your house represent a potential problem.

2. You often purchase things you don’t need or didn’t plan to buy.

You’re easily tempted by items that you can do without. A fifth candle for your bedroom dresser, a new iPod case, even though yours is fine. You get the idea. You’re particularly vulnerable if you’ve admitted to having an “obsession,” like shoes or designer handbags. Just because your splurges tend to stick to one category doesn’t make them any more rational.

3. An argument or frustration sparks an urge to shop.

Compulsive shopping is an attempt to fill an emotional void, like loneliness, lack of control, or lack of self-confidence. Shopaholics also tend to suffer from mood disorders, eating disorders, or substance abuse problems. So, if you tend to binge on comfort food after a bad day, professional therapists will probably suggest that you may be more likely to indulge in a shopping spree too.

4. You experience a rush of excitement when you buy.

Shopaholics experience a “high” or an adrenaline rush, not from owning something, but from the act of purchasing it. Therapists say dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure, is often released in waves as shoppers see a desirable item and consider buying it. This burst of excitement can become addictive. This action is repeated in order to induce the adrenaline, over and over again.

5. Purchases are followed by feelings of remorse.

This guilt doesn’t have to be limited to big purchases, either; compulsive shoppers are just as often attracted to deals and bargain hunting. Despite any remorse that follows, though, shopaholics are adept at rationalizing just about any purchase if challenged.

6. You try to conceal your shopping habits.

If you’re hiding shopping bags in your daughter’s or son’s closet or constantly looking over your shoulder for passing co-workers as you shop online, this is a possible sign that you’re spending money at the expense of your family, your loved ones, or even your job.

7. You feel anxious on the days you don’t shop.

It’s one thing to feel anxious if you haven’t had your morning cup of coffee, but if you’re feeling on edge because you haven’t swiped your debit card all day, you should be concerned. Shopaholics have reported feeling “out of sorts” if they haven’t had their shopping fix, and will typically admit to their therapists that they go shopping online if not able to physically pull away from their day’s responsibilities.

If the characteristics above sound a lot like you or someone you know, consider speaking to a professional prior to a shopping addiction getting even more severe. And if you’re on the fence about whether you really have a problem, trying to figure out on your own why you’re always shopping and how you can change could be a big relief – for both your well-being and your budget, definitely consider contacting a licensed therapist immediately.

Some recommendations to help you kick a shopping habit in conjunction with professional therapy may be:

Find a new activity.

 Jogging, exercising, listening to music, and possibly watching more TV to entice your brain with different stimulation. Any of these activities could potentially substitute for shopping and would be a much lighter burden on your wallet.

Identifying triggers. 

Take note of what’s likely to send you off to the nearest department store; whether it’s an argument with your significant other or frustration after a business meeting. When these feelings overcome you, resist shopping at all costs and find a healthier way to work it out.

Remove temptation. 

It’s no secret that you shouldn’t walk through your favorite boutique if you’re trying to curb your spending. Try to limit your shopping trips and go only when absolutely necessary. If online shopping is your weakness, resist the urge to surf your favorite stores’ sites and even consider keeping your laptop out of reach.

Carry only enough cash to buy what you went for.

Leave your debit and credit cards at home. Create a shopping list with estimated costs, and stick to it when you’re at the store.

Ask for help. 

If you’re still struggling with compulsive spending, don’t be afraid to ask a professional therapist for help. You can start with self-help books or by asking a friend or family member to help keep you in check, but it is always most cost-effective and wiser to enlist professional help. A therapist can help you nip this problem in the bud, efficiently and with positive decision-making techniques.

If you or a loved-one are experiencing patterns of a shopping-related addiction, please contact our highly experienced team of professionals today, at Foundations Counseling.

Teenager Mental Health

Your Teenager’s Tech Use in Texas Should Be Monitored for Best Mental Health Outcomes

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Teenager mental health is a must to focus on given the world we live in and society today. As the most prominent therapists counseling group in McKinney, Texas, there are things that we know and still discovering when it comes to a teenager’s use of technology. For the last few years, our expert therapists have seen a spike in situations with parents concerned about their teen’s tech use. We work with pre-teens and teenagers, including the parents, on how to monitor “too much tech.” From McKinney to Allen to Plano to Melissa to Princeton, Texas the subject comes up more often than anyone communicates, openly.

Anxiety and Mental Health Issues in Youth

With anxiety and teenager mental health issues on the rise over the last few years in McKinney, Texas and the surrounding communities within Texas at large, parents and educators have scrambled to find the culprit. A likely issue is a combination of an abundance of new technology and smartphones.

The rise in the ubiquity of smartphones or tablets has coincided with the rise in psychological distress among teens, and there are more than a few intuitive reasons to believe the two trends are connected. Smartphones and social media have given teenagers in Texas, who are in the process of developing a sense of self, an unbridled ability to compare themselves and new mediums through which to be bullied by “angsty” peers.

Throw in the ability to escape from the world and its problems anywhere they go through games, movies, and other forms of media, and it is easy to see why parents in Texas are concerned that smartphones may be destroying a generation.

Correlations Between Teenagers in Texas Using Too Much Tech

Our team of certified and licensed therapists at Foundations Counseling in McKinney, Texas, understand the validity of these concerns and related worries. With a topic such as mental health that has so many determinants, it is important to be cautious about assuming that a correlation confirms our hypotheses and look instead to what the research says about the importance of a particular variable.

Thus far, the research has been mixed: many studies have confirmed the correlation, but none have found a causal link that can confirm technology or social media are leading to an increase in teen mental health issues.

The association between increased digital technology use and psychological distress is well documented. Psychological distress in general has increased in the United States over the last 10 years.At the same time, smartphone consumerism and ownership has also increased from 35% to 81%.

This increase has been especially pronounced for Generation Z, the generation that has grown up with smartphones. Individual-level survey data show similar correlations, with data from multiple surveys across different locations in Texas and years showing that increased digital technology use is associated with increased psychological distress for individuals.

It could be that increased screen time is causing mood disorders, but it could also be that teens with mood disorders are more likely to spend time in front of screens. Published research in psychology has not yet produced a study that clarifies this relationship and confirms that it is indeed increased digital technology use that leads to mental distress, and not vice versa. Yet, we are told confidentially by teens and parents alike in Texas, that anxiety begins to develop usually with the use of social media, video games, and constant texting even during school.

Texan Teens Use the Term Digital Technology

Digital technology can take on many forms and mediums, each with different effects on the human psyche. Using technology to webcam a long-distance relative, for example, will likely alleviate feelings of loneliness, whereas spending hours scrolling through Instagram may exacerbate one’s social anxiety.

Mental health is similarly broad, with technology affecting different aspects asymmetrically. It is documented that some teens may turn to Netflix to help boost their happiness through TV shows and providing a cultural connection to others. We may never know what the effects of digital technology on mental health are, because it may be too broad of a question with different implications for different people. Whether the teenager is from Allen, Texas or Houston, Texas or even Austin, Texas, digital technology in abundance definitely takes it’s toll on the younger generation.

Negative Effect on Teens’ Sleeping Habits

One major finding is the negative effect technology has had on teens’ sleeping habits. A survey report by Common Sense Media revealed that 68% of all teens throughout the United States actually take their devices into the bedroom at night and 29% sleep with their devices in their beds.

Many studies have shown the deleterious effects of technology use before bed, as the blue light emitted by smartphones disrupts the production of sleep hormones and thus decreases sleep quality. Even more alarming for parents, 36% of teenagers wake up and check their devices at least once per night.

The survey confirms what parents may see themselves: that increased smartphone use in the bedroom, especially right before sleeping, has the potential to decrease both the quantity and quality of children’s sleep. And a lack of sleep creates a major determinant of mental stability.

Conclusion: Mental Health for Teens in Texas

Technology and mental health are complicated, and it is difficult to fully understand the relationship between the two. Some aspects of technology may have negative effects on mental health, while other aspects may have positive ones.

Part of the reason we don’t fully understand the relationship between the two is that we have not asked enough specific, targeted questions. A question about how technology is affecting sleep is one example of a good one, and there are countless others that parents can ask and observe for answers that may be unique for their child.

Whether it be wondering how technology affects their child’s ability to focus or how it affects their patience, parents should continue to closely watch for positive and negative patterns in behavior or attitude and experiment with media rules to find what fits their family’s needs.

We are here to help and specialize in working with younger generations who will usually be willing to learn how to adjust their tech habits. If you are concerned about your teenager’s use of technology, teenager mental health, and live in McKinney, Allen, Plano, Melissa, or Princeton, Texas, please contact our distinguished expert therapist team today.

Our Foundations Counseling offices are easily accessible from surrounding communities and located in McKinney, Texas.

Successful Alcohol Rehab TX

Quitting Alcohol Isn’t Easy but Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Plays a Huge Role in A Successful Recovery

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Alcoholism treatment combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and plays a huge role in a successful recovery. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was developed as a way to implement cognitive and behavioral changes to identify and correct problematic behaviors. Typical goals of CBT are to be able to anticipate, and identify, behavioral and cognitive problems, increasing clients’ self-control by developing effective coping strategies, and educate the client on maladaptive thinking and behaviors and promote positive change.

Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Techniques are utilized to exploring positive and negative consequences of problematic behaviors such as the negative consequences of continued alcohol use and abuse. Self-monitoring for alcoholism treatment is also utilized in CBT to recognize cravings early, and identifying trigger situations that might increase the addicts’ risk for use, and developing positive strategies for coping with urges and triggers, as well as managing high-risk behaviors.

Develop Better Habits with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy. The idea is that your thinking patterns can affect your emotions and your behavior. To treat substance use disorders, you’ll need to change the way that you think and behave. This form of therapy was created by a psychiatrist named Aaron Beck in the 1960s. However, the therapy that is practiced today incorporates other techniques practiced by certified counselors who specialize in addiction disorders.

CBT helps patients during alcoholism treatment, understanding and even deal with the emotions behind their thoughts. This treatment combines both cognitive therapy and behavioral techniques. Patients become more self-aware of their emotions and their actions. They are then able to modify their behavior. With constant practice, their behaviors and reactions to stimuli become a habit. They then use this habit to recover from an addiction.

CBT will usually incorporate both a “multimodal therapy” and a rational-emotive behavioral therapy. It’s also very client-recovery centered for those dealing with alcohol and other addiction challenges. This is one of the many therapeutic approaches that are the most hands-on. Licensed therapists work with alcohol and drug abusers to change their way of thinking. This addiction recovery process will typically take many therapy sessions and is mid to longer term.

Some Crucial CBT Techniques and Tools for Alcoholics

This type of alcoholism treatment relies on several different techniques. Each patient and therapist may prefer one technique over another. It may take some time for patients to master different alcohol recovery tools. Some of the most popular tools include:

  • Journaling. Writing down one’s emotions and thoughts can prove to very useful. Many patients use journaling to analyze their behaviors. They can then identify harmful behaviors and think of positive solutions for them.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation. One of the main reasons why most addicts struggle to get sober is because they can’t calm down their emotions. They often give in to cravings and urges. They also look for escapes when faced with stressful situations. CBT teaches patients how to relax by de-escalating situations. One of the easiest ways to relax is to relax one muscle group at a time. When drug and alcohol abusers are relaxed, they tend to make more logical decisions.
  • Interoceptive Exposure. Many alcoholics are afraid of certain situations. Fear can drive abuse. To get over their fear, CBT may expose patients to certain stimuli when they are in a safe environment. This teaches patients that there’s actually nothing to be afraid of. This CBT technique is a powerful coping strategy.

The unique tools in CBT can help those with a co-occurring disorder. Those struggling with a mental illness or a mental health disorder may benefit from this treatment as well. They learn how to modulate and regulate their own thinking to treat depression and anxiety disorders.

Use of CBT For Alcoholism Treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in recovery as an alcoholism treatment includes various interventions, which can be used individually or in group settings, especially in alcohol abuse recovery programs.

One of the interventions is Motivational Interventions. This is where the counselor will address the motivational barriers, or treatment interfering behaviors, to change and recovery. It targets client’s ambivalence toward behavior change in regards to alcohol abuse and recovery. The motivation to overcome alcohol abuse by helping the person to live in the now and focusing on how they want to live.

This therapy involves structured conversations with therapists, which help clients increase CBT skills and tools. When the addict is in engaging their addiction, unhealthy, high-risk behaviors can be all consuming. Homework assignments and constant attention to the therapy process of learning sober behaviors are integral to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

CBT Treatment for Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention is a variant of CBT alcoholism treatment. This therapy focuses on the identification and prevention of high-risk situations the alcoholics might encounter. This could be a favorite drinking establishment, or friends and acquaintances who have been long-term “drinking buddies”.

This therapy includes challenge the client’s expectation of their perceived positive effects of alcohol will have coupled with psychoeducation to help the client make an educated choice in a high-risk situation.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy includes learning and unlearning behaviors within the addiction. CBT is an all-immersive program that works on changing belief systems and behaviorally working to change responses to triggers both internally and externally.

These behavioral therapies and treatments can be particularly effective when coupled with pharmaceutical treatments to help reduce the effects of withdrawal. Pharmaceutical treatment can help the client get a few weeks of sobriety and take the ‘edge off’ of the initial recovery processes.

Effectiveness of CBT in recovery from alcoholism focuses on studying the thought patterns to help introspection of self, both negative and positive, the world, and future planning. Individuals involved in CBT will learn to identify cognitive distortions which cloud a person’s world view. Some distortions include all or nothing thinking where the person sees situation or event in either “black or white.”

Integrating CBT in Alcoholism Treatment

In CBT and alcoholism, the focus is on specific, attainable goals. Each session has a specific objective. The goal is to help the individual formulate a goal and a way to obtain that goal with healthy tools and skills. CBT also works on educating the individual on life skills to create their own toolbelt for success.

Rational thinking is also a part of this process where thoughts and actions are based on real, functional ideas, and to question what is happening in the person’s environment to make appropriate and rational decisions. This is extremely useful in triggering situations where oftentimes during the addiction, the addict was acting on highly emotional states, rather than rationality.

Overgeneralization or viewing a recent event as negative or a never-ending pattern of defeat. A “mental filter” is when a person only thinks about the negatives. Disqualifying the positive where only believing that “positives don’t count” because of another force. Jumping to conclusions where individuals tend to “mind read” or assume something will happen or has happened and it is true, whether or not it is. Within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the belief is that changing your thoughts will lead to more positive thinking and improved emotions which in turn change addictive behaviors.

Effectiveness of CBT in recovery from alcoholism includes various components which utilize cognitive and behavioral changes, incentives and rewards, motivational drives, as well as beliefs for future recovery. CBT provides a support network for the recovering alcoholic to help navigate through triggering situations.

And lastly, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provided specifically by licensed professionals helps the individual with positive thinking which can in turn foster increased levels of self-confidence and hope. CBT aids the individual in withstanding peer pressure and recognizing stressors, the therapy is also relatively cost effective, and can also aid in keeping to more normalized activities of daily living and routine.

In conclusion, CBT can benefit the recovering addict significantly as it address the emotions and thoughts of destructive alcohol addiction.

If you are an alcoholic, a recovering alcoholic, or know someone who has challenges with alcohol addictions, please do not wait. For more information and appointments, please contact the highly experienced team of professionals at Foundation Counseling today.