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Our blog features personal thoughts, insights and analysis written by our own therapists and counselors on diverse topics of interest and current events related to issues of life, relationships, and emotional wellness.

Meditation, The Number One Mistake Beginners Make

Meditation and Mindfulness in Pittbsurgh

                  Meditation and Mindfulness

Want to Become a Meditation Master? This is the Most Common Mistake that New Meditators Make and How to Fix It!

So maybe you have read the abundant data that meditation is one of the most fantastic tools that there is to enhancing mental clarity, reducing individual response to stress, and enjoyment of the great benefit of greater calm. According to the National Institute of Complimentary Health and Medicine which is a branch of the National Institute of Health (NIH), symptoms and consequences associated with anxiety, anger, depression, and stress disorders are all distinguished and well managed with a self-care plan which incorporates meditation. In knowing all of these benefits, with abundant enthusiasm, you have decided to get started on utilizing this most fantastic tool to wellness.

The fact is many people struggle in their meditation and may even feel so defeated that they quit altogether, and this is due to one common misconception about meditation and how to do it. When starting out with a meditation practice, we summon our inner oracle and alight with the goal of embodying our inner Buddah. Fantasies turn to reality and we stuff and mold our shape into some oddly contorted seated position and with our full lotus blooming, we close our eyes and turn our wellness aspirations inward toward the journey of the self. We imagine that the goal in mind with all of this blood, sweat and ‘OM’ is to turn off our mind.

Here we have it, this is the number one mistake that we make that prevents us from developing a meditation practice, you see “We are not able to turn off our thoughts.” I promise that for any meditator who has climbed the precipice to ascend mindless nirvana, you have faceplanted while careening down the jagged cliff face and end up irritated and hopeless with yourself and the whole concept of mediation. The fact is, it is the nature of our thoughts to keep producing other considerations, a typical inner monologue during meditation might be thinking;

how uncomfortable the cross legged position, belly is hungry, need breakfast, am I done yet, hope my hair isn’t close to getting singed by that candle, why was my boss so upset yesterday?”

All of this thinking is just fine, in meditation, we anticipate that the endless churning of our thinking will ramble on as it always does. In a mindfulness meditation, we breathe deeply and acknowledge the existence of all of the thoughts that our mind produces and then we take a step back and we become conscious of the kind and quality of the thoughts that we are having. We practice an ever present non-judgmental position with ourselves. For example, for the above thoughts, I would label the overall thinking state as anxious and fearful. I was desiring breakfast, fearing my hair could get burned, wanting to complete the meditation. Those are all anxious and desirous thoughts. As we become more skilled at meditation, we add in a thought or question to assess how we are thinking and we keeping breathing deeply through it. For example, as we are having our inner monologue during the above meditation, we would have the same thoughts and every so many moments we pause to think about how we are thinking.

how uncomfortable the cross-legged position, belly is hungry, need breakfast, am I done yet? Oh yes, I am thinking of the future, I always am thinking about what is next. I hope my hair isn’t close to getting singed by that candle? I am fearful sometimes.  Why was my boss so upset yesterday? I am often very concerned with what others are feeling.”

When we are mindful, and aware of our thoughts and consciousness, we become able to know that we are sentient beings, with vivid imaginings, with endlessly burning thoughts. Yet we are not these thoughts, we are some where afar and above all of the background and inward noise of being, we are the observer, conscious of our selves and the world around us, free and responsible to choose our actions and to develop ourselves, to become a more aware, and well version of our most mindful and well self.

Be Well,

The Therapists of-Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh

830 Western Avenue Pittsburgh Pa 15233

4108 Monroeville Blvd Monroeville Pa 15146

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

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  Relationship Wellness Checklist, A Mindful Marriage Moment

                                  Relationship Wellness Checklist, A Mindful Marriage Moment

Mindful Marriage Counseling

Mindful Marriage Counseling

 

Our marriage, relationship, couple-dom, is something that works based upon often unstated rules, we peacefully and automatically operate with a lifetime of typical exchanges peppered with glimmers of joy, one part emotional support, heaps of memories made, dutifully maintaining our promises for commitment. Maintaining contented connections with our loved ones isn’t usually a goal that we think about.  We know that to keep our minds, bodies, and spirits healthy, mindfulness holds the keys to happiness and longevity. The wellness model has useful applications to marriage counseling and couples therapy, we have compiled a 5-part relationship wellness checklist – lets take a moment to see how well your relationship makes the grade.

  • Do you disagree and air grievances with your partner? By disagreeing, we mean constructively having a discussion about things that are bothering you within the relationship. One very ominous behavior pattern is when a couple comes in and tells the therapist or counselor that they never argue. We know that this is not usually a sign of relationship health. In this situation, it is likely that one or both partners are withholding vital information and may even be passive aggressive and building resentment by not discussing their true feelings. This communication fallacy is a product of imagining that by not being open about annoyances that they are preserving their bond. Withholding feelings and missing chances to constructively manage disagreements is a relationship destroyer and leads to emotional disengagement in the long term.
  • Does your relationship have intimacy? The concept and behaviors associated with intimacy are multifaceted. Intimacy is a dynamic synergy of emotional trust, physical connection, and having shared meaning within the relationship. Intimacy is built over time and is facilitated through travailing joys and difficulties together for example, by exhibiting the ability to offer emotional support through a crisis.
  • Do you check in with each other through the day? Many of us have demanding jobs and schedules, even having to endure travel to maintain our work responsibilities. Yet, our cell phones and Skype provide us with a chance to tighten the chasm of disconnection by having some face-time, texting, or calls through the day. It is important to turn toward our partner to share highlights and check in, and this characteristic is something that healthy relationships do have in common. Alternately, this doesn’t mean to call every hour and lapse into conflict if our relationship is not experiencing as much face-time as we would like. We should highlight that checking in, is a natural response to feeling connected and participating in the intimacy of our friendship with our partner.
  • Is there sexual and non-sexual touching between you and your partner? Both forms of touch are very important in our relationships, while many couples go through periods of lower sexual frequency, they stay connected by touching, hand holding and having other forms of non-sexual touch. Both forms, sexual and non-sexual touch are equally vital for our sense of well-being and bonding. Keeping in mind, consensual intimate touch provides a cascade of hormonal responses, releasing Oxytocin which is dubbed the cuddle hormone and facilitates bonding.
  • Who do you turn to for support? Can you name 5 people? Is your partner one of those people? If your partner is not one of the top 5 people who you turn to for support, your relationship may be headed for trouble and this is an indication signaling that your relationship may be prey to a deeper issue worth exploring with a marriage counselor or couples therapist.

Warmly brought to you by the licensed Therapists and Professional Counselors at

The Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh and Monroeville

830 Western Avenue Pittsburgh, Pa 15233

4108 Monroeville Blvd Monroeville, Pa 15146

 

 

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Yoga for Wellness

Yoga. To many, the word conjures up images of Instagram perfection and beautiful backgrounds. Thousands of years ago, the poses (asanas) were only part of the defining point of a yoga practice. Yoga by ancient definition means “union.” A union of spiritual, emotional and physical practices of wellness. The poses are an integral part, but not comprehensive whole of the practice. Patanjali, one of the forefathers of yoga defined yoga as, the neutralization of the vortices of feeling.” An intense definition, but the meaning of yoga must encompass all that it is, in a few words.

In this modern day of technology and constant stimulation, it is essential to unplug from your phone and laptop and connect with yourself. The benefits of yoga intertwine the spiritual, emotional and physical goals of the practice. Yoga has even been shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder. The physical benefits are easier to notice, but the spiritual and emotional impacts cannot be underestimated. The first step to a yoga practice is openness for change and self-improvement. The rest of the benefits will follow:

Physical Benefits:

The beautiful Instagram pictures exemplify the increased flexibility regular yoga practice results in. However, there are many other physical benefits that are not as easily photographed. Yoga practice increases the functioning of the immune system, the digestive system, circulatory system and bone health. By toning and strengthening the muscles and ligaments, yoga can help prevent injury and increase an individual’s metabolism.

Pranayama (breathe control) increases the functioning of the respiratory system. Certain sequences can help with insomnia, but overall yoga helps to increase energy levels in an individual. The physical benefits are often noticeable with a consistent practice. Health benefits of yoga can be even further multiplied by practicing outdoors as nature has its own beneficial effects.

Emotional Benefits:

When my 3-year-old niece gets upset, my sister has taught her to belly-breathe. This has a calming effect on her and can prevent a temper tantrum. Practicing yoga is calming and can reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Participating in physical activity releases endorphins in the body, which makes people feel happy. Yoga increases concentration and ability to focus on a task at hand.  

One of the most important aspects of yoga is being present and mindful in your body. Not comparing your current state to anyone else and manifesting a non-judgmental relationship with yourself.

Spiritual Benefits:

Yoga encompasses all religions, spiritually the practice seeks to remind its followers that they are part of a bigger picture. We are connected to other beings and the environment. Contrary to some beliefs, the practice of yoga does not aim to convert anyone to a religion. Yoga is not a religion. The practice aims to seek a higher consciousness or meaning behind everything we think and do.

Everyone comes to the mat for a myriad of reasons, relieving stress, moving on your mat after a hard day at the office, or to try a new pose seen in passing….The pull towards stepping on the your yoga mat may even vary day to day. However, whether the practice is home-based or in a studio, it will help improve your moods, increase energy levels and bring a new level of self-awareness, among other power benefits. The versatility of a yoga practice can alter depending on your schedule or how you feel. It can vary from a 5 minute mindful child’s pose to a vigorous 90 minute vinyasa flow.  Any practice can make a positive impact in your life and begin a ripple effect towards those around you. Yoga can be incorporated into a wellness plan including nutrition counseling, meditation, and mindfulness.

By Lauren Shaffer, Certifed Yoga Instructor and Wellness Guru of Pittsburgh

Posted in counseling for depression, counseling for PTSD, meditation, mindfulness, nature therapy, Nutrition Counseling, outdoor yoga, stress managment, wellness counseling pittsburgh, wellness pittsburgh, yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss, Beware The Traps of Grief, Finding Healthy Coping.

Grief is an emotional reaction characterized by sadness, hurt, hopelessness and intense longing for someone or something that is no longer a part of our lives. While there are many forms of grief, and we can even at times go through the grief cycle when are making significant changes in our lives and looking back imagining how much we would do differently if only we were equipped with what we know now. While depression may share symptoms with grief, they are different disorders. In other forms, we may experience a life transition, loss of a job, or lose a chance that we had hoped to gain. For the purposes and scope of this article, we will focus on the kind of grief which is experienced due to the loss of a loved one due to death or break up.

There is no time line on the normal or appropriate amount of time to grieve the loss of someone we love. Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual recommends that grief should become more manageable after one year for a first degree relative. Yet we also know that life will likely never be the same after, loosing a loved one, spouse, a child, a parent or friend. The agony of loss will be something that is remembered for many, many, years to come. Grief and loss are a process which can be worked through in an emotionally supportive therapy or grief counseling, but there are also pitfalls which accompany grief;

  • Some traps of grief are that we imagine that we could have done something to change the ending of the story, this is true for all losses. Both a breakup or the death of a loved one can cause us to replay the events over and again in our imaginations, and even magnifying portions of the events, embellishing upon what we could have done differently.
  • Grief can at times lead to many forms of guilt, when we magnify what we could have done differently, we then invariably feel guilty that we didn’t achieve those things, that we couldn’t save our person from dying or leaving a relationship. At other times, we may feel relieved for the loss and then experience intense guilt for the relief or for not feeling as much sadness as we imagine we should feel.
  • Grief at other times can become complicated, our bereavement can take on unhealthy forms and even lead to complications such as depression, or lead us to reach for unhealthy attempts to bury our pain such as addiction, we may socially isolate, men in particular may be vulnerable to not activating their support network after a loss. This leads to greater distress and complications.
  • Repressing our feelings or pretending that loss didn’t impact us, we as humans can be very clever in the production of all sorts of diversions which assist us in not managing our emotions, it is important to practice and enhance self-awareness during grievous times.
  • Not knowing how to label emotions or losing hope that the sadness and grief can be managed and processed in a way that is constructive. Grief is something that we innately feel at some point in our lives but that we don’t often know how to manage.

Grief is a universal and human experience that may even be related to the depth of ones affection. We must allow ourselves to love, to hurt, and to heal, and it is the price that we pay for having ever loved at all.

Posted in bereavement, complicated bereavement, complicated bereavment, coping with loss, death of child, death of husband, death of parent, death of wife, divorce counseling, grief, grief counseling, grief counseling monroeville, grief counseling pittsburgh, grief therapy, grief therapy monroeville, grief therapy pittsburgh, healthy mourning, loss counseling, seperation Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Depression

Depression

The cornerstones of a healthy and balanced life are creating personal meaning, savoring happiness, relishing success, the ability to think and produce ideas, to connect with others and feel good about ourselves. Depression is a major mental health disorder, as well as a national epidemic and disease. According to the National Institute of health, as many as 16.2 million people have experienced at least one episode of depression in their lifetime.  Depression has significant ramifications and is debilitating, impacting a person’s ability to work, experience hope, and even rob their fervor for hope and in extreme cases it can rob a person’s will to live. Seeking treatment, including therapy for depression, is essential for recovering the ability to experience peace, happiness and to again respond to life. Depression also exists with significant co-morbidity, meaning that those who suffer the effects of depression are also more likely to suffer from other mental health disorders such as anxiety, or even substance abuse. While it is true that a person of any age can experience their first major depressive episode, according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the average age for first episode is in the mid 20’s. Biology seems to also play a role in the development of depression and there is a statically significant chance of developing depression for those who have a first degree relative who has the diagnosis. At other times, depression can set in while dealing with other physical health diseases or diagnoses. Keeping in mind, depression is far different from a slump, the blues, seasonal affective disorder, or grief although there is overlap in the expression of  symptoms for each of these.

Symptoms of a major depressive episode are to experience simultaneously and for at least two weeks the following:

1) Marked and Depressed mood for the majority of the day.

2) A loss of interest in many or most favored activities of interest.

3) Loss of appetite or heightened desire to eat which results in significant and

unintentional weight loss or gain.

4.) Hypersomnia or Hyposomnia meaning that one is sleeping too much or too little.

5) Impaired and slowed physical motion that is noticeable to others.

6) Feeling tired and exhausted.

7) Struggling with feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness

8) A newfound and diminished ability to hold concentration concentrate, or a marked indecisiveness.

9) Thinking of death.

The causes of depression are still being study, it has been concluded that Major Depression is a psychiatric disease that has an organic etiology stemming from structural and chemical variants in the brains imagery of those who are suffering from this disorder. Simultaneously, the onset of a depressive episode can sometimes follow a traumatic event or loss which strains an individual’s ability to cope. To meet the criterion for a major depressive episode the onset of the depression can not be related to use of a substance such as drugs or alcohol.

If you have had a recent shift in emotion, thought, and physical energy, there are treatments  options for depression, keeping in mind that for all forms of mental, emotional, and physical health, early intervention is the key to full and recovery. There are many forms of depression, including melancholia and depressive personality disorder.

The wellness model and integrative counseling have many options to support healing from depression. The most common form of therapy for someone who is experiencing a depressive episode is to combine both counseling and medication. To recover happiness, health and well-being it is essential that one use a treatment team that has experience in treating chronic mental health disorders.

 

 

 

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Nature Therapy Reduces Stress

Green & Serene; Nature Therapy Reduces Stress

reduce stress and enhance wellness with nature therapy

Nature offers therapeutic benefits and reduces stress according to a recent study from the National Institute of Health.

Mindfulness, mantras, fitness and new age therapy are all devoted to finding ways to enhance wellbeing, joy, and alternately to decrease stress levels. Combating the effects of stress are increasingly important for all of us as we manage demanding lives. One of the best ways natural ways to enhance feelings of wellbeing is by practicing fitness or some form of exercise therapy. In many studies, cardio vascular exercise is explored and compared with placebos and even pharmacology and it is verified to significantly impact and reduce the symptoms associate with anxiety and depression. Yet, there seems to be new evidence that we can even further enhance the benefits of exercise.

Increasingly, we learn that the great outdoors may have many secrets to enhancing our wellness potential. In fact in a 2013 study published by the National Institute of Health, cortisol levels were measured in people who had taken a long walk indoors and others who had done the same walk outdoors in a green serene setting. Those who had gotten their cardio amidst the trees had significantly less cortisol in their saliva than those who were indoors. Peaceful outdoorsy people have long felt the call of the wild and reported the great benefit of getting their fitness fix by hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. We know that we can boost endorphins and decrease cortisol levels from the experience of being outdoors. Keep in mind the Cortisol is a hormone produced in the body by the adrenal glands, its activating presence leads to the physical responses involved in “fight or flight.” When cortisol is contained in overabundance in our bodies it can lead to many forms of disease, weight gain, and chronic stress to name a few. So in short, discovering ways to reduce cortisol’s overabundance in our bodies is vital, the mental health community is ready to explore many ways to expound upon the health benefits of spending more time outdoors.

Here are a few of our therapists top 12 to be well, ways to enjoy the outdoors:

Learn to forage for wild edible plants and berries with an expert guide.

Take your lunch break outdoors, even a ten minute walk helps.

Learn how to do a walking meditation.

Create an outdoor space at your home.

Pack a picnic with your dog or your partner.

Try to go camping.

Do some star gazing.

Take a flower sniffing tour.

Plant a garden and make some farm to table meals of your own.

Pick up litter, we can even be altruistic with our wellness.

Ask your therapist to do an outdoor walking session.

Take an outdoor fitness  or yoga

class.

We love western Pennsylvania and finding ways to enhance wellness with our abundant green outdoor spaces.

This short wellness moment is brought to you by our licensed professional counselors and wellness providers at The Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh.

Be Well Pittsburgh, Monroeville, and Western Pennsylvania!

830 Western Avenue Pittsburgh PA 15233

4108 Monroeville BLVD Monroeville PA 15146

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Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that can sometimes co-occur with panic disorder. Its prevalence rate in the population is low, occurring in only about 1.1% of the population. Agoraphobia is hallmarked by a fear of leaving the house or other safe place. This often cooccurs with panic attack or panic disorder because a person has experienced a panic attack and then fears that they may have one again or that they will experience some other feared situation such as traveling on a bridge, going through a tunnel, or being stuck in a crowd of people. In some situations, the person may be able to encounter the feared situation, but they do so with such dread that the activity and many other parts of life lose their joy and peacefulness, which can even lead to depression and other psychiatric disorders. In some instances agoraphobia can be diagnosed without a history of panic disorder.

The criteria for Agoraphobia are as follows:

  1. A fear or anxiety about being in places or situations where escape may be challenging. This fear is often surrounding being unable to quickly escape if the sufferer has a panic attack and could become trapped or unable to leave.
  2. The fear of being unable to leave leads to an avoidance of said situations which can result in restriction of travel or in some instances the situations are endured but only with a certain safe person or friend.
  3. This specific phobic avoidance is not accounted for by another disorder such as social anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder.

A person who has experienced a panic disorder may state “ Before I sought treatment and recovered from agoraphobia, I rarely left my apartment for 2 years. It all started when I was walking down a crowded street in downtown Pittsburgh and suddenly I had hot flashes, I was sweating and couldn’t breathe, the pain in my chest became so bad that I ran for help and reached for the lady next to me and told her to ‘Help, call 911!’ When I was diagnosed as having a panic attack the hospital I couldn’t believe it, everything changed for me then. I wanted to avoid having another episode and the only place I felt better was at home. I avoided everyone and even did my grocery shopping online. It became so bad that I started to feel anxious when I thought about leaving home for anything.”

A person with agoraphobia suffers greatly, their ability to function in life is limited including socially, emotionally, and psychologically. Treating panic disorders can be extremely difficult because the person may not want to leave their home even to seek help, fortunately treatment using distance or online counseling is now an option. The best treatment for Agoraphobia is psychotherapy, a counseling or therapy approach which uses exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Medication or Pharmacological therapy including anxiolytic medications and SSRI’s are often used effectively to treat Agoraphobia too, medication is often used in conjunction with counseling or psychotherapy.

Posted in agoraphobia, anxiety, anxiety therapy pittsburgh, counseling for anxiety, counseling pittsburgh, help for anxiety, panic attack, therapist, therapists, therapy, Therapy and Counseling For Anxiety Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder 

Acute stress disorder is a form of anxiety disorder which develops shortly or immediately after exposure to a traumatic event in which real or threatened harm or injury was experienced or threatened to the self or other. Acute Stress Disorder differs from Post-Traumatic Stress disorder in the time from in which the associated symptoms are exhibited. To reach the diagnosis of Acute Stress disorder symptoms should be exhibited less than one month after exposure to a traumatic event. Similarly to PTSD, symptoms involve flash backs, re-imagining, dreams, distress or anxiety at exposure to visual stimuli related to the traumatic situation or event, including hyper-vigilance, and anxiety about the possibility of the event or danger happening again. The duration of the traumatic event and time of exposure or repetitiveness of the exposure effect the likelihood that the person will experience Acute Stress disorder as there are certain internal risk factors which may affect resilience to the development of the trauma. Treatment for Acute Stress Disorder often involves trauma focused therapy, EMDR, short term psychotherapy, mindfulness based therapy approaches even including meditation, acupuncture, all therapy and counseling services should be performed with a licensed professional counselor or mental health specialist.

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Social Anxiety Therapy

Social Anxiety or Social Phobia

Social and anxiety or social phobia is a kind of anxiety disorder in which the person experiencing the anxiety is fearful of experiencing embarrassment in social situations. According to epidemiological statistics this disorder has a lifetime prevalence rate of as much as 3-13%. Researchers have also noticed a strong family component to this disorder meaning that social anxiety or social phobia occurs with more frequency in first degree relatives. The onset of this particular kind of anxiety disorder is often in the teen years and can sometimes result after having experienced humiliation an embarrassing social situation.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV, this fear is very marked and when a person thinks about performing, speaking, or interacting in a social situation they may notice the fear response and or anxiety onset immediately in the form of sweating, heightened heart rate, increased respiration as well as cognitive responses such as worry and fearful thoughts. The symptoms of social phobia are marked and the person experiencing them recognize that they are excessive fears. An example of social phobia or anxiety is that person is terrified that if they speak up in class that they may blush and others will then see it and laugh at them. As you can imagine this can cause impairment in academic functioning and in many instances the person will avoid the possibility of enduring such a response and could skip class or even drop out of school. Some individuals with a social anxiety may be able to face the feared situation with distress.

Treatment for Social Phobia often involves therapy with a licensed professional counselor or licensed therapist. Counseling has many clinically verified treatment methods which are scientifically validated to reduce the anxiety related to this disorder and help individuals experiencing social anxiety to live normal healthy lives. Mindfulness based stress and anxiety reduction techniques including integrative medicine, medication therapy, meditation, acupuncture, diet, and exercise may also be helpful in treating this anxiety disorder. Please talk to your medical or licensed mental health professional to see which of these would be the best option for you.

Posted in anxiety, anxiety therapy pittsburgh, cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, counseling for anxiety, counseling pittsburgh, licensed therapist monroeville, licensed therapist pittsburgh, social anxiety, social anxiety therapy, therapist Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Generalized Anxiety Therapy

Generalized Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health concern which brings many people into therapy each year. As many as 1/4th of people who seek treatment in counseling centers each year do so as a result of wanting to manage symptoms related to Generalized Anxiety Disorder or (GAD). Signs and symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder are free floating thoughts and worries that are not related to a real imminent danger. Those who experience generalized anxiety disorder may find it difficult to distinguish between thoughts and fears which are related to a real possible danger or threat and one that is not. The thoughts, fears, and worries of Generalized Anxiety Disorder co-occur with physical somatic responses such as elevated heart rate, fatigue and restlessness, and or difficulty falling and staying asleep. Individuals who are experiencing this anxiety disorder may also be prone to irritability and may too have a higher incidence rate of other mood and mental health disorders including other anxiety disorders, or depression and substance abuse disorders.

A woman suffering from GAD may say something like “I was always on edge, it was difficult to pin point when the worrying started but it felt like it was one thing after the next. I was worried about getting into college, then how I would manage student and work life after, each test and paper caused me endless worry. It wasn’t just with school either, everything from traffic, to my parent’s health, I wasn’t even able to see the way it was effecting me until things became so bad that I wasn’t sleeping well and started to really feel down. Then I found a therapist and started working on treating my anxiety and along with that I was able to identify how much it had taken over my life.”

Some of the diagnostic criteria for GAD according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, are as follows; Excessive worry for at least 6 months.

The person experiencing the anxiety is not able to control the worries or change the focus of their thoughts. Additionally these worries are accompanied by physical sensations or somatic responses including at least 3 of the following; Restlessness, Fatigue, Concentration difficulties, Irritation of Mood, Tightness in the Muscles, Sleep Cycle Disruptions including Difficulty staying or falling asleep. Remember these symptoms cause significant distress in social, family, or work life and are not caused by another disorder or use of substances. Only a licensed professional counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can help you to discern whether you are exhibiting or experiencing the full range or concerns which may mean you qualify for a diagnosis which will then help to guide the treatment for the anxiety disorder.

Treatment for generalized anxiety disorder often involves many therapy and counseling options. Many forms of psychotherapy including, cognitive behavioral therapy, psycho-dynamic therapy, brief solution focused therapy, acceptance therapy, gestalt therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, are all valid methods to treat anxiety disorders and manage the symptoms associated with it. In other instances, counseling may be used alongside medication therapy, integrative medicine, including mindfulness and meditiation, to achieve a significant and long lasting reduction in the symptoms of anxiety.

 

Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh and Monroeville

830 Western Avenue

Pittsburgh Pa 15233

4108 Monroeville Blvd

Monroeville PA 15146

 

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Emotional Wellness

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