Kleptomania is a rare condition where one has the constant urge to take something that is not his. It doesn’t have to be of any value, or he doesn’t even need it. Kleptomaniacs feel satisfaction after a successful theft. This condition has been very controversial and mysterious as people who have kleptomania are living with shame and keep their situation a secret.
Empty Nest Syndrome is the depression aged people go through after their children leave home. Feeling empty, lonely and left out, the ‘second childhood’ (old age) brings in a surge of pain and grief. BetterHelp’s post talks more about this, and how a professional psychologist can help for those that really struggle with this.
Empty Nest Syndrome is not diagnosed as a depressive disorder, it is rather a phenomenon that old people undergo. There is still less awareness about how we can help parents cope with this.
The challenges of Empty Nest Syndrome
After the child moves out, parents face crucial challenges that become a harsh reality for them to handle.
Adjusting themselves with the changing parent-child relationship.
Reverting back to normal life without kids and finding new ways to fill the emptiness they are left with.
Taking care of the household and other work which they often find difficult to do.
Trying to accept the normality of the phenomena is the biggest challenge. All parents know that it is completely normal for the child to move out, yet the pain seems unbearable to them.
For single parents, the situation is even more difficult as they are left to live all alone.
The symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome include
Unbearable sadness and grief when the child leaves home.
Difficulty in carrying out the usual daily life functions.
Reduced appetite and sleep.
Frequent spells of crying and holding back to old memories.
Difficulty maintaining a good relationship with the child after he/she moves out. Parents might blame the child out of distress.
The Coping Strategies for the sufferers
Coping with the distress of Empty Nest Syndrome is not an easy task after all. The main reason for this is the age group of the sufferers. It cannot be denied that people in old age have less adjustment and acceptance capacities than young people. Hence the sadness seems unbearable for them.
Engage in activities that you like – Doing things that make you happy is always a good way to uplift the mood. Resort to work like gardening, nature walking or cooking to keep yourselves engaged with the things you like to do.
Meet up with old friends – Consider old age as a permanent break from all the duties and responsibilities you have been doing for years. Meet up with old friends, hang out with them and rejuvenate the old memories of life. It brings happiness and fills in the void.
Spend quality time with yourself – Though it seems very difficult to look beyond the grief, try to pamper yourself as much you can. Cook your favorite dish, go out for shopping and redefine your self-worth that got burdened with the years.
Set up frequent meetings with children and their family – Meet up with your kids, go to their homes or invite them to yours. This can create some beautiful memories that would improve the parent-child relation.
Expect less, accept more – Try not to expect anything which can hurt you. People are often less sympathetic towards parents whose children move out as they consider it to be a normal phenomenon that every other parent faces. Expecting to be understood and heard often results in disappointment. Be your own best friend. That is the best way to get over the grief.
Reminiscence therapy – This is advised by therapists and is considered an effective way of coping with Empty Nest Syndrome. Parents who live alone can take out some time, maybe once or twice a week, or as frequently as they like, to go through old pictures and remember the happy moments of the past. Recalling the happy times replenishes the pains even if it is for a short while.
To help parents cope with Empty Nest Syndrome, children should accompany them in sailing through the storm without feeling lonely. The solution for this lies as much in the hands of the sufferer as the ones causing it. Not that anybody is to be held responsible, but the more empathetic children would be, the less painful Empty Nest Syndrome would be for parents.
I remember my own childhood every time I see my kids happy. My kids would laugh together and make jokes to one another. As for me, it wasn’t like that. My brother and I would hide in the closet scared to the bones as we wait until our stepfather would pass out and sleep. If we’d go out before he dozed off, we’d be whipped. At times, Lance and I slept inside that closet overnight, afraid to get out. We’d hold each other and recite the song “You are my sunshine”. That was our way of releasing tension and fear.
Selective Mutism and Stuttering are two of the socially disabling disorders that children can experience in their childhood years. Learning everything about these conditions can prepare you on how to deal with it especially if your child is exhibiting symptoms.
Depression is a serious problem that a lot of us have to deal with every day, and it is undeniable that it can be a cause of some severe health problems. Most of us think that depression is not to be treated because some of us believe it is more like loneliness, but it is much more than that. Much more than people with severe depression who could not handle it any longer commit suicide. People with severe depression feel alone and think that no one can help them.
“OCD is like having a bully stuck inside your head and nobody else can see it” – Krissy Mc Dermott.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition where the person experiences frequent, intrusive and unwelcome thoughts, images and impulses along with repetitive acts aimed at getting rid of them.
Confronting obsessions is not an easy task for all. The immediate thoughts that would come up in most people’s mind are ‘ I should consult a psychiatrist or ‘ I must go to a Therapist near me’. If you want tips to find one, read more about it here.
But have we ever thought how we can deal with the problem ourselves? Undoubtedly psychotherapies like CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) yield solutions for any anxiety disorder, but knowing how to manage the problem ourselves ensures it. This article is about some of the simple strategies that we can do to help ourselves out of the Obsessions and Compulsions.
Examples of Obsession
There are different types of obsessions that affect people of all ages. These obsessions lead to compulsive habits and start interfering with the normal functioning of the individual. Some of them are :
Hand washing – Whereby the individual has a continuous thought of touching dirt and washes hands to undo this feeling. This can become so severe and uncontrollable that he/she might stop touching things at all.
Checking – Where the person keeps on checking his/her doors, cupboards, etc whether they are locked. He/she stays unreasonably preoccupied with the order of things and feels uncomfortable if things are removed from their places.
Sorcerous thoughts and undoing rituals – This involves having thoughts of a loved one being harmed or some other unpleasant thought and follows neutralizing the thoughts with good ones.
Recurrent thoughts of self-harm – This involves a person having violent and harmful thoughts of harming himself or others and results in following a variety of complex avoidance and reassurance rituals.
The 5 best ways of managing OCD alone
Notice your thoughts – begin with taking a note of the situations where the symptoms occur (images or impulses that come in your mind) and understand it. Having a track of thoughts helps to gain control over them.
Pay attention to your actions – Obsessive thoughts can be controlled till they manifest themselves through actions. Be vigilant to your actions. The moment you feel you are doing something to neutralize the obsessions, check yourself before it is too late.
Be Mindful – Obsessions get the mind so preoccupied that people become inattentive to the other things happening around. Be mindful about yourself and the environment – that itself does a lot in reducing the intrusive thoughts.
Rate your problems – This technique is more often used in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, but it can be easily applied on self. The only thing to do is making a list of all the inappropriate thoughts that are running through the mind and rating them according to their severity. Once the numbers are before you, gaining insight becomes easy.
Try to resist the compulsive acts – Choose one compulsion and try resisting it. For example, as soon as you wonder whether you have locked the door, try recalling instead of checking. Once you feel that you have gained success in stopping it, then go on one by one till the habits fade away.
Always keep in mind that obsessions and compulsions get stronger the more we give way to them. Mental health professionals believe that “the goal of any good treatment is to teach you to become your own therapist.”
So before you seek for professional guidance, it is worth giving the aforesaid self-management skills a try to fight OCD.
Supportive counseling is another name for Person Centered Therapy. A supportive counselor is one who listens to the problems of clients, supports them and makes them feel ‘understood’. It is often seen that having ‘someone to talk to’ is all one needs to get over his/her troubles; learn more about how people are turning to online therapy for professional help. Supportive counseling is comforting, advising, encouraging, reassuring and mostly listening attentively with sympathy to people suffering from depression and anxiety. Extensive research on psychotherapy has proved that supportive counseling is the only therapy that can be used in combination with all existing therapies to get a better outcome.
Methods of Supportive Counseling – The answer to depression
Emotional Ventilation – Supportive counseling lets the person vent out his/her anger , rage or grief. This process is good to be used in the early phases for most people have been observed to feel better after allowing all the rapid emotions to clear out. It is very important to make the patient ventilate emotions in the right talking the client clarify and seek out the thoughts so that he/she gains a better concept of the ‘why and how’ of his/her feelings and reactions.
Elucidation – This is making the client clarify and seek out the thoughts so that he/she gains a better concept of the ‘why and how’ of his/her feelings and reactions.
Active Listening – Carl Rogers believed “We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change.” One of the essential requisites of supportive counseling is actively listening to the client. The feeling of being heard itself begins the healing process. Many problems seem to be unbearable until it is shared with someone. The supportive counselor becomes a friend to the client and listens with empathy without judging.
Client Awareness – Discussing the problems and educating the client about his/her situation helps in gaining insight and acceptance. Supportive counseling ensure the client stays calm and accept with positivity.
Suggestion with helpful guidance – For clients with low self-esteem and confidence, the counselor constantly reminds them of their positive sides and achievements. Counselors need to be very alert in providing their guidance in a correct manner so that it may prove valuable.
Exteriorization of Interests – People who are overwhelmed with their problems should be helped out by the counselors by diverting their attention from the depressive and negative thoughts running in their minds to the pursuit of some activity or interest. In short, encouraging them with some mind refreshing hobbies.
Making use of Social Support – Often being in a depressive situation people start losing on all social ties and embrace self-isolation resulting to more serious anxiety and depression. Thus counselors encourage their clients to renew intimate bonds which provide for social and emotional support.
Doing more pleasurable activities – Depressed people often become so engrossed in grief that they fail to explore the happiness around. Supportive counselors provide aid in letting them do so. They advise (or sometimes insist) the clients to do things they love to do. That may be going out with friends, playing or listening to music, any pleasurable activity can work.
Supportive counseling does not make the client dependent on the counselor. Therefore the termination of the sessions does not relapse depression unlike many other forms of therapy which is why it is known as one of the best ways to challenge depression and issued as an adjunct to all other forms of anti-depression treatments.
One thing that we all should remember is – getting support is easy, but being our own support can shield us from many adversities. Supportive therapy is one way of making us able to do so.
Depression doesn’t mean you are weak, so never step back from seeking help and healing yourself. You are in charge of your happiness.
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength”- Charles Spurgeon.
Anxiety is a condition of intense fear and discomfort that is often accompanied by unexpected panic attacks. Anxiety Attack help is widely available now. The attacks are a lot like being drunk in some ways, you lose self-control and cry for seemingly no reason. Anxiety attacks develop due to some sudden unexpected fearsome incident over a short span of 10-15 minutes. If you know someone who suffers from anxiety attack, this Betterhelp anxiety guide will help you in handling a situation with a person undergoing anxiety attack.
Symptoms of the attacks
Shivering of hands and legs followed by excessive sweating, palpitation.
Feeling a total lack of sensation in the entire body along with a tingling effect.
Too much anxiety might also result in hypoglycemia and hyperthyroidism. Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition which develops over a certain period of time due to some shocking and violent incident. This also has certain symptoms like
The inability to concentrate; a feeling of restlessness and temporary loss of energy and strength.
Violent and uncontrollable anger with frequent peevishness.
Inability to sleep along with a problem in the metabolic system.
Controlling Anxiety Attacks
Make a way out plan – Often, people are stuck in situations that might trigger anxiety, but having an exit plan in order to get out of the situation can help the mind keep its control.
Have someone you can always talk to – Patients suffering from anxiety should always get in-touch with a person on whom they can rely and can vent out their feelings. Sometimes talking with a person who guides you towards the positive side of everything can help lower anxiety levels.
Cry (if needed) – Sometimes, crying and throwing out the pent up heavy emotions relieve us a quite a bit. Just go to your room and simply let out your emotions, this helps lighten your heart.
Keep a handy ataractic drug – If one feels that even after practicing certain natural ways to reduce anxiety, it may accidentally hit them and they might lose control of the situation, they can keep an ataractic drug or a tranquilizer with them. But make sure to resist it as much possible.
Go for a walk and exercise – A 10-15 minutes walk in some natural environment along with an hour of some free hand exercises can act as a stress reliever. Exercising regularly (or for at least 3-4 times a week) can help a person become less prone to anxiety attacks.
Tratak meditation – This type of meditation includes a person (suffering from anxiety) to stare at oneself in the mirror for some time. It is proven to return the person his self-belief and confidence. This should be done when one is patient enough to help himself resist anxiety.
Laughing – Having a good hearty laugh can calm your nerves and make your mood light (try watching funny videos or reading comics ).
Get plenty of sleep and restrain from alcoholic drinks – getting a good amount of sleep releases the tension; resistance from alcoholic drinks, smoking, etc helps reduce anxiety.
Conquering anxiety takes time indeed, but if the right therapy is applied in dealing with these cases, it can be cured. It all depends on the resiliency of the person. As said by Shelley “life is not how it’s supposed to be. It is the way it is. The way you cope up with it is what makes the difference.”
Almost all of us are afraid of something. It may be a person, a situation, an object or anything else. Fear and phobia are two terms that we link with the feeling of being scared. But are they the same?
For example, you are afraid of social gatherings. This is fear. But when this fear starts making you avoid important social functions and you feel an uncontrollable urge not to face people, this will surely be regarded as ‘phobia’.
Symptoms of Phobia
Phobia is way more severe than fear and requires professional guidance in order to recover. The symptoms of phobia are both physiological and psychological.
Rapid heartbeat and pulse
Numbness of muscles
Wanting to run away from the situation/person/object that you fear
The fear is beyond control
The fear interferes with normal functioning, making the person preoccupied with thoughts about the object of fear.
Feeling helpless when confronted with the object of fear.
Types of Phobia
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) 5 has given 3 subtypes of phobia.
Specific Phobia – It involves intense fear of specific things like dogs (cynophobia), heights (acrophobia), closed spaces (claustrophobia), etc.
Social phobia – This involves intense fear of social situations and gatherings. The fear is unbearable and the sufferer deliberately becomes aloof from any social situation that would aggravate the fear.
Agoraphobia – This is the fear for being in situations which are perceived hard to escape from.
What causes Phobia
There are several views about what causes phobia. While some researches emphasize on the role of upbringing and observational learning, some psychologists focus on the genetics and brain functions associated with developing phobia. No single cause is enough to make a person phobic – a combination of different factors are responsible, some of which are discussed below.
Genetic studies suggest that anxiety runs in families. Those who have a family history of anxiety disorders are more likely to develop phobia than those who don’t.
Phobia is often the result of observational learning. For example, a child who has always seen her mother scream at the sight of a cockroach, will grow up believing that cockroach is a thing to be scared of.
There are also studies that indicate certain neurotransmitters like GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine to be associated with causing anxiety disorders like phobia or OCD.
Unresolved conflicts at the subconscious levels can also manifest themselves as a phobia.
It is easy to criticize and make fun of the apparently illogical phobias. But for the sufferers, it brings huge distress and they feel helpless at the face of confronting their fear. Psychotherapy and medicine helps in a good prognosis and early diagnosis of phobia may result in complete cure. Some useful ways in treating phobia are discussed below.
Medicinal treatment – Group of drugs called Benzodiazepines (anxiolytic drugs) are helpful in treating phobia. They balance the neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain and diminishes the effects of phobia on the person’s physical and mental health.
Systematic Desensitization or Exposure Therapy – This is the most popular technique of treating phobia. Here the person is slowly exposed to the object of fear and is trained to control his response. The therapist starts by making the person imagine the feared situation and progressively makes the client confront his fear under the therapist’s guidance. It is the most effective way of dealing with any phobia.
Hypnotherapy – This is not a very conventional way for treating phobia nowadays. It is mainly used to help the person know his subconscious conflicts and help him fight with them to get rid of the phobia. Performed under the supervision of a hypnotherapist, hypnosis uproots the cause permanently.
Phobia can have long-lasting effects in our lives. So never feed your fears ; face them, challenge them and never let your fear be bigger than your faith.
Psychotherapeutic methods like Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, or Supportive Counseling are sometimes the best answers for depression management.
Depression is a condition that can be fully managed by a combination of psychotherapies, group therapy being an important one among them. People who suffer from depression often rely on ‘depression chat rooms’ where they have conversations with people who are in similar situation. This might not be the perfect replacement to speaking with a therapist, but it has proven helpful to an increasing number of people.