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Why am I so Anxious?

Feelings of anxiety are normal.

People who are not normally anxious may be experiencing some changes in their lives that can contribute to anxiety. A move, a job change, concern for the future, a change in family obligations, or a change of family members are all examples of normal life changes that can evoke feelings of anxiety and distress.

If you are experiencing any (but not limited to) the following symptoms, perhaps it is time to assess whether anxiety is beginning to play a bigger role in your life than you realize.

Examples of how anxiety is beginning to wear out its welcome in you can look like:

  • Crying and depressive symptoms
  • Physical pain/symptoms (headaches, racing heart, upset stomach, tics)
  • Inability to complete tasks and concentrate

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is especially helpful when a person encounters excessive anxiety. This type of therapy enables the client to collaborate with the therapist about what
thoughts and dysfunctional methods of thinking contribute to feelings of anxiety. These reasons can be anything from long-standing family of origin issues, trauma, or can be related to contextual situations the person is currently experiencing. For more information about anxiety-related disorders, visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. If you would like to begin therapy for excessive anxiety, call us at our Northshore (Mandeville) or Southshore (Metairie) locations to make an appointment.

Micah P. Hatchett, Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC
Clinical Director, Northshore & Southshore Counseling & Wellness

Am I Bipolar?

Dr Andre, How do I know if I am Bipolar?

 

Do you experience days without sleep yet you don’t feel tired? Do you experience days, weeks, months of depression and irritability so severe that it affects your ability to relate to others? If so, you may need to be evaluated for Bipolar Disorder.

As more people become informed about mental illness, Bipolar Disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness) seems to be gaining more visibility. Bipolar Disorder is characterized by a number of symptoms, primarily severe highs (mania) and lows (depression) in mood, energy, and a severe deficit in judgment.

It is important to understand that Bipolar Disorder is not like “regular” ups and downs everyone goes through due to various stressors in life. This disorder causes major problems in a person’s ability to function in relationships as well as on the job. They can exercise poor judgment in dangerous situations, and when the illness is exacerbated, can potentially become psychotic or suicidal. When depressed, people will often exhibit a severely depressed mood, in stark contrast to their manic phases.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call a mental health professional right away for assessment. With the right help, this is usually a very manageable illness that responds well to treatment. For more information about this disorder, see the National Institutes of Mental Health website at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/what-is-bipolar-disorder.shtml.

If you would like an assessment of your mental health please call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942

-Dr. Andre Sagrera Judice, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, DCEP

Overcoming Depression

Of all mental health problems, depression is the most common, so much so that it has been referred to as the “common cold” of mental disorders. As common as it is, depression can have a devastating effect on individuals and their families, as well as having a major impact on society.  It is estimated that about 5 percent of the population are clinically depressed but it is estimated that as many as one person in three may experience an episode of depression during the course of their lifetime.

Of all mental health problems, depression is the most common 

Depressed mood is usually the central feature although a number of other symptoms are common in depression.  These include a loss of enjoyment, interest and energy; disturbed appetite, sleep and libido; agitation or slowing of movement; poor concentration and mental slowing; negative thinking and hopelessness; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; and thoughts of death or suicide. Depressive disorders are categorized in terms of severity and duration of symptoms, and the psychological causes of depression are far from straightforward.  Stress that will trigger depression in one individual may have barely any impact on another.

The biological aspects regarding depression can range from physical illnesses to genetic predispositions, as well as a strong genetic component associated with the more severe mood disorders. Theories also exist concerning the involvement the neurotransmitters of the brain itself, so it is therefore imperative to consult with a physician.  It is the role of the mental health professional to identify and restructure maladaptive behavior patterns.  By client’s identifying and alleviating negative beliefs and perceptions they can develop new abilities to increase self-efficacy when faced with difficult life situations.

Contributed by Kristen UnKauf, PhD

If you would like more specific information regarding your happiness and healthy relationships, please call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942

The Many benefits of Mindfulness

The term Mindfulness comes from Eastern spiritual and religious traditions like Zen Buddhism.

It refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-judgmental approach to your inner experience.

Simply put, being mindful means knowing what you are doing (and thinking and feeling) in the present moment.  “Sounds simple” you say?  Think of the last conversation that you had with your child or loved one.  How many times did you check your phone or drift off thinking of what you had to accomplish next?  Or the last time you went to a party in hopes of enjoying yourself but instead were distracted by negative thoughts such as “what do they think of me” or “I’m not good enough to be here”.  This inner dialogue distracted you from enjoying your moment.

Mindfulness practice helps us know clearly what is happening, and how we are reacting to what is happening, as it is happening, so that we might choose a skillful response instead of reacting mindlessly and ruining our moments. Many people are lost in worries about the future and regrets about the past. They are caught up in their projects and their fantasies, and their minds are not connected to their bodies. If the body is not united with the mind, we are not really alive.  Many of the therapists at Northshore Counseling and Wellness incorporate mindfulness into their treatment plans.  We use this practice not only to teach general health and happiness but to heal a host of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, PTSD, eating disorders and many others.

Life is short so learn how to get back into your life and enjoy your moments with the many benefits of mindfulness.

Dana Duet-Champagne, M.Ed, NCC, LPC