Individual Counseling

Personal therapy is a time to meet one-on-one with your therapist for support,
guidance and tools to help you better manage your life.

 

Conquer Depression

Depression can feel daunting and overwhelming. Talk through your problems, learn some skills and gain hope that you can conquer depression.

 

Marital Counseling

Couples meet together with their therapist to learn how to better listen, understand and
communicate with their partner.

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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

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

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

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

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.

Depression Therapy TX

Depression Therapy for Residents in Texas

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What is Depression Therapy & How to Get Help if You Live in Texas?

Depression therapy is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Specifically, our team works with people who live in McKinney, and the surrounding communities such as Allen, Plano, Melissa, and Princeton. Since Texas is the second-largest state, our team has been specializing in working with depressed patients for over one decade.

Overall, more than 17 million adults in the United States live with depression, according to the latest statistics. According to the 2018 SAMHSA Uniform Reporting System, Texas ranks in the top 20 for a number of mental health disorders and in the top 15 for those patients in need of treatment for depression.

Depression affects all ages, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. From the boardroom to the classroom, no one is immune to the effects of this disease. Everyone feels down or sad sometimes, but depression is more than just a case of the blues. Depression is characterized by a relentless sense of despair and sadness.

With depression, these feelings persist. Depression is a chronic condition that requires treatment and finding a licensed therapist in McKinney, Allen, Plano, Melissa, and Princeton can be a challenge. A person with depression cannot “just snap out of it” on their own, no matter where they reside. The good news is that there are many effective treatments for depression therapy and our team of therapists based in McKinney, Texas are in constant training and updating ourselves with new certificates.

The Best Therapists for Depression Based in McKinney, Texas

In spite of the fact that depression is so prevalent amongst residents in Texas, and there are so many effective treatments for the disorder, many people today still do not reach out for help. We surmise that less than 30% of people diagnosed with depression actually get treatment. However, we are unable to say, with certainty, that the treatment being provided to patients in McKinney and communities like Allen or Plano, Texas are with certified licensed professionals.

There are many reasons why people don’t seek treatment for depression. Although we have come a long way in terms of changing the public perception of depression, there is still a stigma associated with the disorder.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), many people with depression in Texas are still discriminated against when it comes to housing, employment, and more. Another reason why people don’t seek treatment is that they may not recognize their own symptoms. Sadness isn’t the only sign that you could be struggling with depression. Some of the signs of this illness are quite surprising or subtle.

Typical Types of Depression We Work with in Texas

There are different types of depression, each with unique causes, effects, and symptoms. Since treatment differs depending on the type of depression, knowing what type of depression you have can go a long way in helping to manage symptoms.

One of our expert therapists will determine what kind of depression you have and develop a treatment plan based on that. The first step is to make an appointment with one of our therapists at the Foundations Counseling offices in McKinney, Texas.

Major Depressive Disorder is Urgent

When people use the term depression, they are typically referring to major depressive disorder. To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you would need to have five or more of the above symptoms for a period of at least two weeks. There are several different subtypes of major depression.

Below are a few of the most common ones we often see with clients living in Texas.

With seasonal pattern.

This subtype of major depression is often referred to as (SAD) seasonal affective disorder. People in Texas with this type of depression only experience symptoms during one part of the year, typically during fall or winter. The symptoms go away during the rest of the year when it’s sunny and we have great weather in McKinney, Allen, Plano, Melissa, and Princeton, Texas.

With peripartum onset.

Depression with peripartum onset refers to depression that begins sometime during pregnancy to four weeks after delivery. This type of depression is also known as “postpartum depression.”

With psychotic features.

Depression with psychotic features is a type of depression that also includes symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions or false beliefs and hallucinations, which refers to seeing or hearing things that are not real. If you, a friend, or a family member in the surrounding communities living in Texas are experiencing something similar, we recommend to contact Foundations Counseling, immediately.

With anxious distress.

This type of depression also features symptoms of anxiety. The person must have at least two of the following symptoms of anxiety to be diagnosed with this type of depression: feeling on edge or keyed up, difficulty concentrating because of worry, feelings of restlessness, and fear of losing control.

With atypical features.

Sometimes called atypical depression, this subtype includes the following specific symptoms: increased appetite or weight gain, sleeping too much, feeling weighed down, and being really sensitive to criticism or rejection.

If you, a loved one, or a friend are experiencing depression and located in McKinney, Allen, Plano, Melissa, Princeton, or even Dallas Fort-Worth, Texas and able to visit to our offices, please contact Foundations Counseling today.

How Therapy Can Help With Overeating and Food Addiction

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Many struggling dieters actually suffer from binge eating disorder, and could manage their condition—and lose weight—with the help of a licensed counselor. Eating disorders and overeating are one of the subtler addictions that very few people tend to talk about.

The Numbers Are Overwhelming.

One out of every 35 adults suffer from binge eating disorder, almost twice the combined rate for anorexia and bulimia. It is characterized by repeated episodes of eating large quantities of food quickly and to the point of discomfort; a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; and guilt following the binge, but without any consistent purging behavior. Up to 40 percent of people trying to lose weight suffer from Binge Eating Disorder, and up to 70 percent of patients with Binge Eating Disorder are medically obese.

The good news is that Binge Eating Disorder is highly treatable, particularly with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy: Nearly 80 percent of patients abstain from bingeing after 20 sessions. And, unlike most calorie-restricting diets, the success of cognitive behavioral therapy holds for many patients over time.

However, a 2013 study in Biological Psychiatry found that less than half of lifetime bingers receive treatment. There are millions of overweight Americans who could find actual sustainable help with their eating issues – and not berate themselves for a lack of “willpower” – if more people could simply identify the disorder and find the correct counselor for treatment.

Binge Eating Addiction Does Not Discriminate.

Binge eating addiction is an equal opportunity disorder, affecting men, women, young, old, and all races. However, the Netflix eating disorder film To the Bone is a microcosm of the short shrift binge eating is given in popular culture. The movie focuses on a waifish, big-eyed anorexic staying in a residential treatment home, zooming in to focus on one patient with a feeding tube and a bulimic.

The presence of binge eating is hardly acknowledged in the film; one overweight character, Kendra, suffers from it, but she has an unexplained jar of peanut butter throughout, as her main companion. At one point, Kendra tries to join a conversation with fellow patients but a rude housemate shuts her down with “Sorry: This conversation is for rexies only.”

Even though in real life the bingers far outnumber anorexics, popular culture seems far more fascinated by the idea of wasting away.

 

The Mental Disorder Was Only Recently Established in 2013.

Part of the issue is binge eating addiction’s relative newness on the mental-health scene: It was only recognized as a formal diagnosis by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) in 2013.

Somebody who really should be in therapy goes to an individual therapist and gets frustrated, similar to drug addiction. Oftentimes, patients will give up and go back to dieting. It’s almost like trying to treat cancer with vitamins. By having a commitment to cognitive therapy is of paramount importance to an individual’s successful treatment.

Successful treatment of overeating addiction is not always synonymous with dramatic weight loss, but eliminating the habit of consuming thousands of calories at a time on a regular basis typically results in modest weight loss. And even if it doesn’t, it’s still a major health improvement to cut back on the types of foods people typically binge on (like pizza or meaty breakfast sandwiches or ice cream), the sodium, fat, and sugar of which are hard on the body.

When you eat big volumes of food, particularly foods that are highly processed, which is what most people binge on, it causes a lot of stress on your body. The inflammation in your body affects everything from your cardiac status to your brain to your bones and your joints. It eventually compounds any health risk.

How Therapists Can Help.

If you have difficulty with overeating, you may wonder whether Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you stop your problem behaviors and food addiction. This example puts you in the place of a fictitious person who has characteristics and circumstances often seen in people who come for treatment for food addiction. This can show you what happens in CBT and how it can help people stop overeating.

Overeating and Binge Eating Behaviors.

You are a binge eater who binges on candy, cookies, and chocolate several times a day. Your overeating started in childhood when you would eat candy in secret at night. You describe your binges as emotional eating because you eat when you felt upset.

You do everything you can to prevent weight gain, including skipping regular meals, exercising for hours, using laxatives to “clear yourself out,” and occasionally, making yourself vomit. Your family doctor became concerned that you were developing problems with incontinence from laxative overuse, and referred you to CBT to help you stop overeating.

Overeating Due to Emotional Reasoning.

Your cognitive-behavioral therapist guides you in recording the thoughts and feelings you experience before, during and after bingeing on sweet food. By analyzing the thoughts and feelings you have around food, you and your therapist come to understand that you have become addicted to food because of a type of faulty thinking called emotional reasoning.

As your weight has increased, your self-esteem has worsened. Many timesper day, you would interpret small chance occurrences as reasons to feel bad about yourself. Once you start keeping track of your thought processes, you realize how often this is happening.

For example, if someone pushed in front of you in line, you would feel that this must mean you are a worthless person, and you would immediately buy a bar to chocolate to eat and make yourself feel better. One day, a colleague didn’t respond when you said “Good morning,” and you reasoned this was because your colleague disliked you. At your first opportunity, you made an excuse to slip out and buy a pack of cookies and ate the whole pack. Your performance review at work was rated “good,” and you thought that anything less than “excellent” meant you were terrible at your job, so you spent the evening eating cake and ice cream.

Each time a minor disappointment of this sort occurred, which was almost daily, you would go to your secret stash of chocolate or head to the grocery store for a binge. In spite of this well-established pattern of behavior, although you wanted to stop overeating, you just did not know another way to handle your uncomfortable feelings of worthlessness.

Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Treat Food Addiction.

The CBT therapist explains to you that your binge eating is based on emotional reasoning and, although eating might make you feel temporarily comforted, would not help you feel better about yourself. In fact, overeating was having the opposite effect and was actually making you feel worse about yourself, which would then worsen your overeating.

Together, you plan a different approach to handling disappointment. With practice, you are able to interpret people’s responses more realistically, so you are not constantly feeling inadequate. You also practice methods for improving your self-esteem. As your self-esteem improves, you became more able to refrain from snacking and bingeing and began to eat more nutritious food.

If you believe that you are addicted to food and an overeating disorder, or you know someone who may need help, please contact Foundations Counseling today.

Urgency Matters When It Comes to Marriage Counseling

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When it comes to marriage counseling or couples counseling, timing is everything if you want to save your relationship. We often hear, “Can my marriage be saved?” or “Can you help us decide if we should stay together?”

While these are always complicated questions, our answers are usually something like: “Marriage counseling is hard work and there are no guarantees. But you are wise to invest the time to find out if your marriage can be improved.”

Truth be told, the effectiveness of marriage counseling is directly related to the motivation level of both partners and timing. For some couples, marriage counseling is really divorce counseling because they’ve already thrown in the towel. For instance, one or both partners may have already decided to end the marriage and he/she uses the counseling as a way to announce this to their partner.

Sometimes, the problems in a marriage can be too ingrained and longstanding for the counseling to be effective. For others, they don’t honestly share their concerns with the therapist.Further, it’s important to choose a therapist who has experience working with couples and who is a good fit for both you and your partner. If both partners don’t feel comfortable with the therapist, this can negatively impact progress; or one person may prematurely drop out.

Timing is an essential element in whether marriage counseling works. Unfortunately, most couples wait much too long to reach out for help repairing their marriage.

According to many relationship and marriage counselors, couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy before getting help. Think about this statistic for a few minutes. Couples have six years to build up resentment before they begin the important work of learning to resolve differences in effective ways.

7 tips to help deal with differences between you and your partner:

  1.  Create a relaxed atmosphere and spend time with your partner on a regular basis so you can communicate about your desires and objectives.
  2.  Don’t give up personal goals and the things you love to do such as hobbies or interests. This will only breed resentment.
  3.  Support one another’s passions. Accept that you won’t always share the same interests. Respect your partner’s need for space if they want to go on a vacation without you, etc.
  4.  Learn to resolve conflicts skillfully. Don’t put aside resentments that can destroy a relationship. Couples who try to avoid conflict are at risk of developing stagnant relationships, which can put them at high risk for divorce.
  5.  Establish an open-ended dialogue. Listen to your partner’s requests and ask for clarification on points that are unclear. Avoid threats and saying things you’ll regret later.
  6.  Avoid the “blame game.”Take responsibility for your part in the problems and accept that all human beings are flawed in some way. The next time you feel upset with your partner, check out what’s going on inside yourself and pause and reflect before you place the blame on them.
  7.  Be realistic about a time-line for change.It takes more than a few sessions to shed light on the dynamics and to begin the process of change.

What are the Benefits of Therapy in a Timely Manner?

Couples come to therapy for any number of reasonsin addition to infidelity, communication, money, and major life changes such as hostility or even starting a family. Couples therapy is also a good idea if one of you is coping with an issue that might be affecting your relationshipsuch as depression, or simply if you’re feeling stuck and stagnant in your relationship.

Therapy can provide a safe space to talk about sensitive topics. Couples can get caught in a negative relational cycle. For example, communication is a big concern for the majority of couples. But simply talking with each other more isn’t the answer. There is communication, and then there’s effective communication.

You might also consider couples therapy to help support you at times of major life change and transition. Getting married, becoming parents for the first time, moving, changing jobs, losing jobs, becoming empty-nesters, coping after extramarital affairs, recovering from addiction, caring for aging parents are all transitions that can destabilize a couple’s equilibrium.

And don’t discount the value of couples’ therapy in helping you and your partner dig yourselves out of a rut. ‘Feeling stuck’ can shift if both parties are willing to compromise in a way so that individual needs are met. Professional counselors can definitely help and typically, the sooner the better is the recommendation.

How can marriage counseling help couples?

  • When toxic relationship patterns can be identified early and agreed upon, the process of real change can begin.
  • A motivated couple can begin to explore their problems from a new perspective and learn new ways to recognize and resolve conflicts as a result of the tools provided by the therapist. 
  • Partners can begin to build trust and improve communication that may have eroded the quality of their interactions.
  • A couples’ counselor can provide “neutral territory” to help couples agree upon and work through tough issues with support.
  • Couples can decide to rebuild their marriage and make a renewed commitment, or clarify the reasons why they need to separate or end the marriage.

To reiterate, we believe that seeking help from a counselor is not unlike seeking help from a mechanic. It makes little sense to take your car into the shop a month after it started making a horrific noise. By that time, too much damage may have been done and your engine may be beyond repair.

By the same token, the effectiveness of marriage counseling is directly related not only to the willingness and motivation of both parties to put in the effort, but also to the timing. The time to consider marriage counseling is not when one (or both) people have already thrown in the towel.

Based on our expert counseling experience, friendship is the glue that can hold a marriage together. Couples who know each other intimately and are well-versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes, and dreams are couples who make it.

For more information about how one of our Foundations Counselors can help improve your relationships or marriage, please do not hesitate to contact us today!

Warning Signs to Watch for When Substance Abuse Intervention is Needed

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Approaching a loved one about their addictions and substance abuse issues is an incredibly tough thing to do. However, taking the brave step of making a substance abuse intervention can be vital in changing someone’s life. Helping to set them on the right path to a healthier and happier future is paramount. The best approach is working with a licensed counselor prior to the intervention. What’s more, working with a counselor during the actual intervention and post-intervention with the afflicted individual will prove to offer a more successful outcome.

One of the biggest challenges that people face in approaching an addict is that they are very likely to deny that they have a problem in the first place. You may find that you are met with hostility or even a degree of anger, as it is very difficult for a substance abuse intervention to not come across as accusatory. As much as addressing a loved one as an “addict” is difficult to conceive, being called one is even more difficult to accept.

Given this reality, it is rare to be able to just come out and ask someone if they have a problem with alcohol or drugs and get a straight answer. Much more likely is that you will have to do some detective work in order to find out if someone you love needs an intervention and work with a licensed counselor, pre-intervention.

The big question most people will ask our staff is, “When do you know if it’s time for an intervention for alcohol or substance abuse?”

7 Tell-Tale Signs there is a Substance Abuse Problem

1. Deceptive Behavior

They will attempt to hide their behavior. They may do this by hiding bottles of alcohol, or showing up to social occasions already intoxicated. So, they may not actually appear to drink too much in public, or hiding their medications in unmarked bottles so you can’t identify them as addictive substances.

During a substance abuse intervention, you can address the deception and move the addict towards seeking substance abuse treatment.

2. Tolerance

One of the biggest signs that someone needs to see a counselor and have an intervention is if their tolerance is increasing.

If the person you’re worried about needs a lot more alcohol or substance to get the effect they are seeking, they may be addicted. When a body receives something a lot like alcohol, it develops a tolerance and the body requires more to get the feeling that the person is after.

3. Memory Fog

When someone doesn’t remember what they did or said when under the influence, they’re usually abusing substances.

This is called blacking out and during these periods of time, the person struggling with alcohol or drug addiction will not recall anything they do. This is a red flag and a licensed therapist should be called if this happens more than once or twice.

When you’re planning an intervention for abuse, these situations and memories can bring to light the struggle the addict is facing and doesn’t remember.

4.Financial Troubles

Is the person you’re worried about spending all their money on substances whether they be alcohol, drugs, or even prescription drugs? Does their money seem to disappear every week?

Addicts are good at manipulating others to feed their addiction, but in the end, the financial troubles will be noticeable.

Addicts may increasingly ask to borrow money from their family or friends, and offer varying reasons for their request. Increased levels of debt and unpaid bills can be a sign that they are spending more than they should on their habit.

Our counselor team suggests that if you’ve been enabling someone with their addiction and providing them with money or drinks, let them know that is ending. Tell them that if they’re looking for money, the only money you will put towards them is money for an abuse intervention or counseling.

5. Moody

Do they exhibit irrational behavior and mood swings? Are they deceptive and increasingly involved in risky behavior?

People with any substance problem often switch from being angry, depressed, manically happy, miserable, hostile and the list continues. You will never know what type of person they will be when you next see them.

6. Anti-Social

We often see that people struggling with alcohol or drugs end up isolating themselves and prefer to be at home alone. One reason they do this is that they may be aware they’re addicted and don’t want others to see them intoxicated. Another reason they want to be alone is so that others can’t tell them to stop drinking.

An Intervention for abuse may be the first time in awhile that the addict is in the room with their loved ones at the same time. It may be their first-time ever with a counselor. Knowing that they aren’t alone and people are willing to help them break through this addiction is an important step in the abuse intervention process.

7. Mental Health Problems

Some issues that perhaps were once mild and infrequent begin to get much worse. It is normal to feel a little down sometimes, but as the addiction progresses, mental health issues often get magnified and are easier to pick up on.

Dependency on their vices often takes a toll on a person’s self-esteem, causing depression and social anxiety.

Don’t Wait, Take Action

If your loved one is displaying any of these signs in addition to others, then it could be time for you to take action and seek out the right setting for an intervention with a licensed counselor. Of course, it is always a good idea to talk to family members and other friends, in order to gather further information and share each other’s views. You’ll definitely have a clearer indication about whether to intervene if you all share the same concerns. There is no need for you to confront the person alone – whether they are your friend, parent, partner, or child.

Interventions are often thought of as last resorts, and it may be a challenge to present them in a way that is confrontational or accusatory. However, a degree of hostility is often to be expected. Nobody enjoys having someone point out their failings or shortcomings, and this is especially true of an addict who may be in denial about their situation.

Despite the difficulties in approaching this delicate subject, making the simple suggestion of seeking professional help may be the light in the dark that your loved one needs. You really never know how they may react until you try.

For more information about working with our licensed counseling staff at Foundations Counseling related to substance abuse, therapies, and interventions, please contact us as soon as possible.

Seeking Professional Support when Raising Your Grandchildren

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Did you know that 1 in 10 American children (75 million kids) are living in a household with at least one grandparent when it comes to raising grandchildren? 10 percent of all grandparents in the nation are raising their grandkids. Almost 3 million grandparents aren’t just helping. Instead, they are literally stepping in to be surrogate parents, doing the primary job of taking care of their grandchildren.

Today, there are numerous reasons why grandparents take over the responsibility of caring for their own grandchildren. If you are now raising your children’s children, you are not at all alone. In fact, you are now one of the millions of grandparents raising or helping raise grandchildren in the U.S. The situation has become common enough that there is even a name for it: Grandfamilies.

Raising Grandchildren

An important element of self-preservation is the building and maintenance of a strong support system. In addition to being demanding and exhausting, the task of caring for children can have an isolating effect on Grandma and Grandpa. Don’t allow yourself to be cut off from friends, neighbors or family members who understand what you’re up against. Nurture solid friendships. Admit that there are limits to what one person can do, and then seek some outside help.

One way to do this is to join a support group or speak to a professionally licensed counselor. In addition, depending on the situation and how you ended up caring for your grandchildren, it may be helpful for the children also. The situation may be difficult all around and a professional support network such as a therapist is the best route. A therapist will help you talk through the experience, help with the daily ups and downs, and be the best you can be for the children.

You should also make an intentional effort to get the regular relief you need in order to renew your energies. Never feel guilty about getting away for a break – an evening out with friends, dinner for the two of you at a nice restaurant, or a relaxing drive to a different environment. Refresh yourself with hobbies, outings and activities that you enjoy – a symphony, a game of golf, or an exercise class at the gym. Taking some time off for yourself is not a sign of weakness, and it will help you more than you may realize.

In addition to these strategies, we’d strongly recommend that you touch base with a professional counselor on a semi-regular or regular basis. Ideally this should be an individual who understands attachment issues. You didn’t tell us exactly how you ended up taking care of your grandkids. In most cases, it probably had something to do with events of a relatively tragic or traumatic nature such as death, divorce, mental illness, bi physical illness, incarceration, neglect or some type of abuse or addiction.

Children from troubled or unsettled backgroundsgenerally experience difficulty forming new attachments even though you may be there biological grandparents. They also are dealing with a sense of grief or loss. Since attachment and trust go hand in hand, you can expect this issue to have a significant impact on your attempts to forge a new family unit and build a safe and loving environment for the children in your home.

Whatever the reason, grandparents who return to parenting find it isn’t easy. Energy and income may be lower. Health may be more fragile. Adjusting to the schedules and the needs of children and teens can be overwhelming. How do people do it?

5 Ways to Succeed as a Grandfamily

Grandparents who manage the return to parenting are grandparents who don’t just let life happen to them. They actively work on making their Grandfamily work.

1. Embrace your new reality

Parenting again may not have been on the top of your list for how to spend your senior years. But life often has a way of taking unexpected turns. There is usually much joy to be found in raising your grandchildren once you’re able to accept and embrace the situation. Kids can keep us young. Sharing their interests and their current passions can keep us in the know about popular culture. Just when some seniors are wondering “Is this all there is”, Grandfamily adults find new meaning in raising their grandkids.

2. Acknowledge the losses.

Losses are often multiple. Whether providing full or part time care, you are giving up many of your plans and your flexibility to do the things you wanted to do. If you have assumed the parenting role because your adult child has significant problems or has abandoned the children, you are also confronting the loss of your idea of the child you thought you had or hoped they would become.

The children are also grieving. Regardless of their age and no matter how they were treated, children whose parents have dropped out of their lives often long for their parents to come back to take care of them.

Grandfamilies succeed when the adults are compassionate with themselves and the children. They allow space for talking about feelings and know how to gently guide conversations to the love children do have while acknowledging their reality. When kids act up, they see the hurt inside and help the children find more appropriate ways to express their grief.

 

3. Take care of yourself physically.

Even if you are as healthy as someone 10 years younger, you are still older than the average parent. Do what you can to take care of your health. Eat well. Get enough sleep. Get what exercise you can. You will feel better and you will be better able to keep up with the young ones.

4. Take care of your mental health too.

Grandparents raising kids often experience anxiety and depression due to the added stress. 40% of the grandmothers studied in one study had signs of psychological distress. To stay mentally healthy, reach out for information and support. Many social service agencies are now offering Grandparent Support Groups. If you find that you are feeling more anxious or down than you used to, do consider seeing a therapist.

5. Accept that times have changed.

Accepted and acceptable methods of disciplining kids also may have changed since the first time you were parenting. If in doubt, talk to a professional counselor or ask the young parents of your grandkids’ friends for more information and support.

For more information or to speak with someone at Foundations Counseling to help with a very complex situation such as raising your own grandchildren, please schedule an appointment with one of our licensed counselors today.

Coping with Grief, Loss, and Anxiety During the Holidays

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For anyone dealing with an illness, grief, loss, and subsequent anxiety it causes or the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a time of sadness, pain, anger, or dread. It can be difficult to cope, especially when you see the sights and sounds of holiday happiness all around you.

The ebb and flow of grief can become overwhelming with waves of memories, particularly during Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Grief can also magnify the stress and anxiety that is often already a part of the holidays.

How can you begin to fill the emptiness you feel when it seems that everyone else is overflowing with joy? There are a few strategies that you can employ to help you get through this time.

Offer Yourself Some Grace 

One of the best things you can do is give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Try not to fall prey to the belief that you have to feel a certain way or do certain things in order to make the holiday “normal.” If you feel sad, allow the tears to come; if you feel angry, allow yourself to vent some steam.

Be Kind to Yourself 

It’s important that you get the rest and nourishment you need and try not to take on more than you can handle. If you need to be alone, then honor that. If you crave the company and affection of others, seek it out. Do whatever feels right to you during this difficult time.

Ask For and Accept Help 

The holiday season is no time to feign strength and independence when you’re grieving a death. You will need the help and support of others to get through, so don’t feel as if you are a burden. People generally receive satisfaction and even joy from helping those they care about.

After a death, people often desire to help but simply don’t know how. If you need someone to help you prepare meals, shop, or decorate, this is the time to speak up and make your needs known. Quite often, they will be delighted to feel like they are helping you in some way.

The same holds true for your emotional needs. Friends and family members might feel uncomfortable talking about your grief. They might think that you don’t want to talk about it and don’t want to be reminded of your pain.

The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that not talking about someone’s death lead to isolation and discourage those who are there to support you. Again, you will have to tell your loved ones the best way that they can help you. If you want to talk about what you’re going through, or you just need a shoulder to cry on, let them know.

Find Support

Sharing your feelings is often the best way to get through them and finding people you can talk to will help. Friendsand relativescan be a great support during times of grief. However, they might be coping with their own feelings or so immersed in the holidays that they cannot offer the support you need.

Another good option is to look for a licensed therapist for individual or group therapies. Support group members often make friends that end up being a source of comfort and care for many years to come.

A loss, whether it be a parent, sibling, child, or friend is a very personal matter. Your loss seems like the worst possible thing that could have happened to youand it can be exponential during the holiday season.

When you lose a significant person from your life, whatever the relationship, it hurts and nothing takes away from your right to feel the loss and grieve the absence of that person from your life.

Make a Difference

Many people like to help others in large or small ways during the holiday season. We may drop our change in a charity basket, purchase a gift for a needy child, or donate to a favorite organization. This can help us feel like we are contributing to the greater good.

Likewise, helping improve the lives of others can help take the focus off your loss.Many studies demonstratethat volunteering can be beneficial to our mental health, particularly as we ageand also during the holidays.

Consider volunteering at a nursing home, hospital, hospice, children’s shelter, or soup kitchen. You can also find a way to help another family member or friend who may need it. Any of these things can prove cathartic and help in the healing process.

Don’t Make Comparisons

It’s easy to see other people or families enjoying holiday festivities and compare their experience to what you feel during this difficult time. This may make you feel worse or that you’re lacking in some fashion.

Keep in mind that the holidays are stressful for most people and they are rarely the “magical” gatherings depicted in greeting cards, movies, or on television. Try to embrace what you have rather than compare it to what you think others have.

A Word From Foundations Counseling

As difficult as it seems, you will survive the holidays in one piece. Because of your grief, this holiday might prove to be a very difficult experience. However, you will get through it and come out on the other side stronger than before. You don’t necessarily have to enjoy the holidays or even go through the motions of pretending to enjoy the festivities.

That said, it’s also fine to have a good time in spite of your grief. If happiness slips through your window of grief, allow it to happen and enjoy it. You won’t be doing your loved one an injustice by feeling joyous. The best gift you can give anyone you love is that of being true to yourself and living your life to the fullest, even as you adjust to the loss and remember your loved one.

If you may be experiencing symptoms caused by grief and loss during the holiday season or for more information about the positive effects of counseling for grief and loss, please contact Foundations Counseling today.

Managing Typical Stressors During the Holiday Season

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Welcome to the holiday season and holiday stress! This is the time of year when the whirlwind of gift-giving holidays, marketing blitzes, holiday parties, and activities galore begins right after Halloween, builds to Thanksgiving and continues gaining momentum through the end of the year.

While this season is meant to bring feelings of love and cheer, it’s also the harbinger of holiday stress for many. In fact, according to most health data surveys, more than 80% of us find the holiday season to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful.

Doing Too Much

“All things should be done in moderation”, as the saying goes. The problem with the holiday season is that we often experience too much of a good thing. While stress itself is necessary for our survival and zest for life (some may call this a positive type of stress) too much stress definitely has a negative impact on us, both mental and physical. Too many activities, even if they are fun activities, can culminate in too much holiday stress and leave us feeling frazzled, rather than fulfilled.

Eating, Drinking, and Spending Too Much

An overabundance of parties and gift-giving occasions lead many people to eat, drink and be merry, often to excess. The temptation to overindulge in spending, rich desserts or alcohol can cause many people the lasting stress of dealing with consequences (debt, weight gain, memories of embarrassing behavior) that can linger long after the season is over. Also, in these more difficult financial times, finding affordable gifts can be stressful in itself, and carrying holiday debt is a tradition that too many people unwittingly bring on themselves, and the stress that comes with it can last for months.

Too Much Togetherness

The holidays are a time when extended families tend to gather. While this can be a wonderful thing, even the most close-knit families can overdose on togetherness, making it hard for family members to maintain a healthy balance between bonding and alone time. Many families also have roles that each member falls into that have more to do with who individuals used to be rather than who they are today, which can sometimes bring more dread than love to these gatherings.

Not Enough Togetherness

For those who don’t have these family issues, loneliness can be just as much of a problem. As the world seems to be gathering with family, those who rely more on friends for support can feel deserted and alone.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

An often-unrecognized problem that comes with the holiday season is actually a by-product of the seasons changing from fall to winter. As daylight diminishes and the weather causes many of us to spend more time indoors, many people are affected to some degree by a type of depression known as the “seasonal affect disorder.” It’s a subtle but very real condition that can cast a pall over the whole season and be a source of stress and unhappiness during a time that people expect to feel just the opposite.

Minimizing Holiday Stress

The great thing about holiday stress is that it’s predictable. Unlike many other types of negative stress that we encounter in life, we know when holiday stress will begin and end, and we can make plans to reduce the amount of stress we experience and the negative impact it has on us.

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

The following are some tips you can try to help reduce holiday stress before it begins so that it remains at a positive level, rather than an overwhelming one.

1. Set Your Priorities

Before you get overwhelmed by too many activities, it’s important to decide what traditions offer the most positive impact and eliminate superfluous activities. For example, if you usually become overwhelmed by a flurry of baking, caroling, shopping, sending cards, visiting relatives and other activities that leave you exhausted by January, you may want to examine your priorities, pick a few favorite activities and really enjoy them, while skipping the rest.

2. Scale It Down

If you can’t fathom the idea of skipping out on sending cards, baking, seeing people, and doing all of the stuff that usually runs you ragged, you may do better including all of these activities in your schedule, but on a smaller scale.

Send cards, for example, but only to those with whom you maintain regular communication. Or, don’t include a personal note or letter in each one. Find a way to simplify. The same goes for the baking—will anyone be enraged if you buy baked goods from the bakery instead? If you find ways to cut corners or tone down the activities that are important to you and your family, you may enjoy them much more.

3. Be Smart With Holiday Eating

During the holidays, we may want to look and feel great (especially if we’re around people we don’t see often—we know that this is how we’ll be remembered), but there is so much temptation in the form of delicious food and decadent desserts, and a break from our regular routines—plus the addition of emotional stress—can all add up to overeating, emotional eating, and other forms of unhealthy eating. This year, plan ahead by being aware of your triggers, do what you can to have some healthy food at hand for each meal, be aware of your intake, and practice mindful eating.

4. Change Your Expectations for Togetherness

With family and friends, it’s important to be aware of your limitations. Think back to previous years and try to pinpoint how much togetherness you and your family can take before feeling negative stress. Can you limit the number of parties you attend or throw or the time you spend at each? Can you limit your time with family to a smaller timeframe that will still feel special and joyous, without draining you?

Also, when many of us are dealing with so-called difficult relatives, it’s okay to set limits on what you are and are not willing to do, including forgoing your visits or limiting them to every other year.

For those who may experience loneliness during the holiday season, consider inviting a group of friends to your home. If virtually everyone you know is with family during the holidays, you might consider volunteering to help those less fortunate than yourself. Many people report these experiences to be extremely fulfilling, and your focus will be on what you have rather than what you lack.

5. Set a Schedule

Putting your plans on paper can show you, in black and white, how realistic they are. If you find a time management planner and fill in the hours with your scheduled activities, being realistic and including driving time and downtime, you will be able to see if you’re trying to pack in too much.

Start with your highest priorities, so you will be able to eliminate the less important activities. Be sure to schedule in some time to take a nature walk each day if at all possible, as exercise and exposure to daylight can drastically reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of “SAD.” If climate or other factors prohibit this, try to find some time to sit by a window and look out; several minutes of exposure to natural light, even if through a windowpane, can help.

6. Breathe

This sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes we forget to take deep breaths and really give our bodies the oxygen we need. It’s great if you can take ten minutes by yourself to do a breathing meditation but merely stopping to take a few deep, cleansing breaths can reduce your level of negative stress in a matter of minutes, too. If you visualize that you are breathing in serenity and breathing out stress, you will find the positive effects of this exercise to be even more pronounced.

For more information about Managing Typical Stressors During the Holiday Season, or to speak with someone at Foundations Counseling, please schedule an appointment with one of our licensed counselors today.

Top Benefits of the EMDR Therapy Process

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a psychotherapy technique used to treat anxiety, PTSD, and more. This technique is known as EMDR therapy.

In 1987 psychologist Francine Shapiro developed a new type of psychotherapy known as EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR therapy has become a more common treatment in recent years as a treatment option for people suffering from anxiety, panic, PTSD, or trauma 

According to the EMDR Research Foundation, “EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy includes a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from several different treatment approaches.

To date, EMDR has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.

What is EMDR?

EMDR therapy is a phased, focused approach to treating traumatic and other symptoms by reconnecting the client in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution.

It is based on the idea that symptoms occur when trauma and other negative or challenging experiences overwhelm the brain’s natural ability to heal, and that the healing process can be facilitated and completed through bilateral stimulation while the client is re-experiencing the trauma in the context of the safe environment of the therapist’s office (dual awareness).

EMDR works to disarm belief systems, also known as cognitions, and changes the negative cognition through a series of lateral eye movements, tapping or sound, while the client is asked to create the picture of pain and danger (trauma) that most disturbs them.

Typically, it identifies and addresses traumatic experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural coping capacity, and, as a result, have created traumatic symptoms, such as flashbacks or anxiety, or harmful coping strategies, such as isolating behavior and self-medication with alcohol or drugs.

How Does EMDR Work?

Through EMDR, individuals safely reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive to their lives. There are varying phases of treatment and in the initial phase, the individual focuses on a disruptive memory and identifies the negative cognition they hold about themselves associated with that memory. (for example, in dealing with abuse, the person may believe, “I deserved it”) the individual then formulates a positive cognition that they would like to have (“I am a worthwhile and good person” or “I am in control of my life.”).

All the sensations and emotions that go along the memory are identified. The individual then reviews the memory while focusing on an external stimulus that creates bilateral stimulation.

Normally, this is done by watching the therapist move two fingers. After each set of bilateral movements, the individual is asked what they focused on during the stimulation. This process continues until the memory is no longer disturbing to the individual. The individual is processing the trauma. The selected positive belief is then installed, via bilateral stimulation, to replace the negative belief.

It is theorized that EMDR works because the “bilateral stimulation” bypasses the area of the brain that processes the memories that have become stuck due to the trauma. Once memories are stuck it prevents the brain from proper processing and storage of the memory.

During EMDR, individuals process the memory safely which leads to a peaceful resolution. This can result in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing event and the negative beliefs they once held about the original traumatic event.

Who Uses EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy has been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. In addition, it is used by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense.

According to the EMDR Research Foundation there are now over 30 gold standard studies documenting the effectiveness of EMDR therapy over the past 30 years with problems such as rape and sexual abuse, combat trauma, childhood trauma and neglect, life threatening accidents, and symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Licensed therapists believe that this type of therapy has the ability to heal people who are suffering from all types of trauma. This approach shifts the way we process the presence of the physical, emotional and psychological effects related specifically to a traumatic event. The pain and sense of danger carried within the self after a traumatic event grips the soul with such purchase that it leads into a sense of being in emotional quicksand.

Does EMDR Therapy Work?

According to the EMDR Institute, Inc., some of the studies on this type of therapy show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.

Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions.

What is also different about this type of therapeutic intervention is that the therapist does not conversationally converse with the client while going through the process.

After an EMDR session, clients can experience more vivid dreams, may sleep differently, might feel more sensitive to interactions with others or to external stimuli.

Pairing EMDR Therapy with Other Therapeutic Techniques

EMDR Therapy is not the only form of therapy appropriate for people dealing with anxiety, PTSD, panic, and/or trauma, and just because someone is undergoing EMDR therapy does not mean that that person cannot undergo another form of therapy at the same time. Speak with your therapist about combinations of therapy or therapeutic techniques that might prove most effective.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most common form of therapy. If you are interested in pairing EMDR with other therapeutic techniques, we encourage you to discuss this with one of our therapists during an introductory meeting.

For more information about EMDR Therapy at Foundations Counseling, please schedule an appointment with one of our licensed counselors today.

10 Warning Signs Your Child is Suffering from Mental Illness

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Nearly 1 in 5 children has an emotional or behavioral disorder.

Most parents have an instantaneous desire to protect their children. We tend to our children’s needs if an unexplained rash appears, we see the doctor. If a fever spikes, we see the doctor. If a bone seems injured, we see the doctor.

Visible wounds are relatively easy to recognize. It’s different when a child begins having problems at school or with friends, or if he or she becomes uncooperative and has inexplicable outbursts. Such occurrences often leave parents feeling confused and unsure about what to do.

Nearly one in five children is affected with an emotional or behavioral disorder. You may recognize that something is not right, but what it is or what to do remains a mystery. Further, nearly 5 million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness (one that significantly interferes with their day-to-day life).

Warning Signs and Parent Radar

A teacher, relative, or friend may tell you it’s “a stage,” but you feel that the “stage” has lasted too long, the behavior is too disruptive, or failing grades don’t improve no matter what you or the school tries.

The following warning signs may indicate a problem needing specialized attention, typically by working with a professionally licensed counselor. What you are looking for indicates that your child may be experiencing one or more of these symptoms. The symptoms are also atypical for his or her developmental stage and not related to a move, divorce, or other stressful event:

  1. Your child is having more difficulty at school.
  2. Your child is attempting to injure him/herself.
  3. Your child is avoiding friends and family.
  4. Your child is experiencing frequent mood swings.
  5. Your child is experiencing intense emotions such as angry outbursts or extreme fear.
  6. Your child is lacking energy, motivation, and the ability to concentrate.
  7. Your child is having difficulty sleeping, or is having a lot of nightmares.
  8. Your child has a lot of physical complaints.
  9. Your child is obsessed with his or her weight, shape, or appearance.
  10. Your child is eating significantly more or less than usual.

By listening to your “parent radar,” you can voice your concerns and begin the journey of finding and fighting for the help your child may need.

LPCs Can Guide You and Your Child

Few are better able to guide parents through the agonizing uncertainty and turmoil of a child with a mental health problem than licensed professional counselors (LPCs). When raising children, all of whom may have serious mental health or behavioral challenges such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, ADD, autism, anorexia, and depression, integrating advice and therapies with child psychologists will help tremendously. Being able to find the right therapist to navigate the clinical jargon and mental health system is equally as important.

Even once you have a diagnosis, it is critical to listen to your parent radar. For example, the mother of a 12-year-old diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and a moderate developmental disability, will not necessarily have the ability to say what she really needs to. Until that communication happens, your child can help you with that part, but a parent must continue to trust your gut and be that voice in her struggle.

 

When to Seek Professional Help

Meeting with a trained professional doesn’t mean your child is crazy, nor does it mean you’re an incompetent parent. Sometimes, for one reason or another, kids just need a little extra support or a different type of discipline to perform at their best. Early intervention is often the key to successful treatment.

If you’re questioning whether your child may need help, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. If there are no serious problems, talking to a child behavior specialist may put your mind at ease. If problems are detected, a child behavior specialist can address the problem before it gets worse.

How a Professional Can Help

A child behavior expert can rule out any mental health issues that may be behind the behavior problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If your child has ADHD, a professional can discuss treatment options and discipline strategies that are effective for ADHD.

At other times, depression can contribute to behavioral issues. For example, a depressed teenager is likely to be irritable and may refuse to get up in the morning for school or may want to spend the majority of his time in his room.

Anxiety disorders can also lead to behavior problems. An anxious tween may become argumentative or non-compliant if he’s worried about something. A complete evaluation will help rule out any mental health conditions and treating these underlying conditions may lead to great improvements in behavior.

A professional counselor will make recommendations. For example, a child who has been traumatized by a serious event may benefit from individual counseling. Or, a child who is struggling to adjust to a new blended family situation may benefit from individual or family therapy.

At other times, a licensed professional counselor and expert in their field may want to work with you without your child present. Providing support and training to parents can lead to the fastest results when it comes to many behavior problems.

Navigating the “Storm”

Should you find yourself and your child on the emotional roller coaster of a mental-health challenge, you will, as every professional counselor suggests, need help and hope. You must take care of yourself and stay strong for your child, and also know when to befriend others who have faced similar challenges so you don’t feel isolated and alone.

Foundations Counseling compassionately explains how to develop essential coping skills to support your child while also taking care of the rest of your family when dealing with these common challenges.

For more information about your child’s mental and behavioral challenges, or for an evaluation, please contact Foundations Counseling today.

Do You Know Someone Suffering from Bipolar Disorder?

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Whether we are aware of it or not, we all may know someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that can cause dramatic changes in mood and energy levels. Symptoms can affect daily life severely with major ups-and-downs. Importantly, spotting the signs of bipolar disorder can help a person to get the proper treatment, as real dangers do exist.

A person who has Bipolar disorder will encounter a range in mood from feelings of elation and high energy to intense depression. There can also be disruption in sleep and thinking patterns and other behavioral symptoms.

The extremes of mood are known as manic episodes and depressive episodes. Hypomania has symptoms of a manic episode that are less severe.

Typically, in most cases, people suffering from Bipolar disorder do not experience symptoms usually until the age of 25 on average. Symptoms can appear during the teenage years, and less commonly, during childhood.

The Signs and Symptoms?

Bipolar disorder is a condition with mood swings that can range from euphoria to depression.However, for a diagnosis of “bipolar I” disorder, a person only needs to have one manic episode.

What is Mania?

When someone has mania, they do not just feel very happy. They feel euphoric.

A person with mania may:

  • Possess a lot of energy
  • Feel able to do and achieve anything
  • Find sleeping to be difficult
  • Spend money excessively and impulsively
  • Use rapid speech that jumps between topics and ideas
  • Feel agitated, jumpy, or even slightly “wired”
  • Engage in risky and impulsive behaviors
  • Use unwise consumption of alcohol and other substances
  • Believe that they are more important than others or have important connections
  • Show anger or aggression if others challenge their views or behavior

Severe mania can involve psychosis, with hallucinations or delusions. Hallucinations can cause a person to see, hear, or feel things that are not there.People may have delusions and distorted thinking that cause them to believe that certain things are true when they are not.

A person in a manic state may not realize that their behavior is unusual, but others may notice a change in behavior. Some may see the person’s outlook as sociable and fun-loving, while others may find it unusual or bizarre.

The individual may not realize that they are acting inappropriately or be aware of the potential consequences of their behavior.

They may need help in getting help and staying safe, which is where family and friends should step in to seek professional therapists.

What is Hypomania?

Not everyone will have a severe manic episode. Less severe mania is known as hypomania. Symptoms are similar to those of mania, but the behaviors are less extreme, people can often function well in their daily life, and it typically only lasts 3-4 days.

If a person does not address the signs of hypomania, it can progress into a more severe form of the condition at a later time.

Bipolar Depression Symptoms

Signs of a depressive episode are the same as the symptoms of a major depressive episode.These may include:

  • eeling down or sad
  • >having very little energy
  • having trouble sleeping or sleeping a lot more than usual
  • thinking of death or suicide
  • forgetting things or feeling distracted
  • feeling tired on a constant basis
  • losing enjoyment in daily activities
  • lack of emotion or joy in facial expressions

In severe cases, a person may experience psychosis or a catatonic depression, in which they are unable to move, talk, or take any action. Although rare, bipolar disorder could occur in young children and teenagers.

What are the Causes?

Doctors do not know exactly what causes bipolar disorder. In general, there are theories that may be triggers, as follows:

  1. Genetic factors: A person with bipolar disorder may have a parent with the condition. However, having a parent or even a twin with bipolar disorder does not mean a person will have it.
  1. Stress: Someone who has a genetic predisposition may experience their first episode of depression or mania during or after a time of severe stress, for example, the loss of a job or a loved one.

When to See a Therapist?

People with symptoms of Bipolar should seek professional help as soon as possible and as a precaution, at the very least. It is always a good idea to speak with a therapist when there is concern about severe mood swings that seem to come and go or make it difficult to work.

The best person to start with may be a primary care physician or family doctor. They will likely refer someone with these symptoms to a therapist, or a specialist who cares for people with mental health disorders.

Someone who notices these symptoms in a friend or loved one can also speak with atherapist about their concerns.

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or believe that you may be suffering from bipolar disorder, please pick up the phone today and call our team at Foundations Counseling.

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