Depression is a problem when you feel sad or flat, helpless or hopeless for weeks or even months and it feels hard or even impossible to shift. Life can feel overwhelmingly difficult when you are suffering from depression and it can be hard to believe that you could ever feel happy or "normal" again. However, it is important to know that effective treatments are available and depression can be completely overcome with the right psychological and medical support. People who are depressed often feel lacking in energy and a lack of pleasure in people or pastimes that they used to enjoy. Often, when you are depressed, even normal activities can feel like a huge effort. Sleeping and appetite can also be a problem for individuals with depression. If you feel this way, it is useful to consult a psychologist to help you to understand the underlying reasons for feeling this way and in order to learn how to feel better.
Treatments for depression are very effective and include talking therapies such as CBT, Interpersonal therapy or Psychodynamic psychotherapy. There are also medications called anti-depressants which may provide some relief. These options can all be discussed with your doctor or psychologist who will help you to develop an effective plan to overcome your problem. If you are feeling suicidal, you should urgently consult a doctor or psychologist for assistance.
Although some level of anxiety is normal and helpful to help motivate us and to avoid dangerous situations, if anxiety begins to interfere with your life or your ability to engage in normal activities, it may be time to talk to a psychologist. Anxiety takes many forms and is often characterised by such things excessive worrying, avoidance of places or activities which trigger anxiety, uncomfortable physical symptoms or repetitive behaviours or thoughts. Depending on the symptoms, anxiety falls into a number of categories or diagnoses which each have particular treatment solutions. Some types of anxiety are Panic Disorder, Generalised anxiety disorder, Social Phobia, Specific Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Symptoms may include:
- constant worrying
- difficulty sleeping
- difficulty concentration
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- muscle weakness
- tingling in your extremities
- feelings of not being yourself or your surroundings not feeling real (depersonalisation and derealisation)
- repetitive thoughts or behaviours such as counting, checking or cleaning
Further information on the types of anxiety is found by following the links below:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Panic Disorder (including panic attacks)
- Social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder)
- Specific phobias (also known as simple phobias)
- Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
- Further Information
(Introduction to Anxiety Disorders By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a condition which arises during or after being a witness to or experiencing directly a very frightening or distressing event. The symptoms which are associated with this condition are intrusive or persistent thoughts or images of the traumatic event, distressing re-experiencing of the event in memory which can feel very real and stir up difficult feelings associated with the original trauma (flashbacks), emotional numbing, nightmare, extreme jumpiness, sleeping difficulties including fear of going to sleep in case of nightmares. People who suffer from PTSD experience a range of other problems as well. They usually experience depression and anxiety which may be associated with a loss of pleasure and enjoyment of life and cause them to withdraw from social and family life.
Another difficult issue which arises as a result of PTSD is a range of symptoms which cause problems to health or to others. People may try to manage their distressing symptoms by developing alcohol or drug dependencies, and these require psychological and medical assistance as well as the primary symptoms.
People who are suffering from PTSD often have great difficulty regulating irritability and violent anger and, as a result, can damage their ties to others. They are also readily triggered by cues which remind them of the original traumatic event and this can cause an overwhelming cascade of symptoms. As a result of experiencing this and the other distressing symptoms, PTSD is a problem which often has a very negative impact on the whole family and close circle of the sufferer of the condition. Some of these individuals may also require psychological support or treatment as a result.
Children and adults can experience PTSD as a result of trauma and they usually require specialist treatment to overcome their symptoms unless their experience is mild.
Treatment usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication (particularly early in treatment to help alleviate the experience of distressing symptoms). Trauma treatment is a specialist area of training for mental health providers and so individuals should seek out specialist psychologists in this area.
Personality disorders are characterised by long-term patterns of thought and behaviour which cause the person significant difficulty in regulating their feelings and relationships with others in an adequately satisfying way. As a result, individuals with personality disorders often have a pattern of serious long term disruptions in their lives in either their work or social functioning which causes a great deal of difficulty to themselves and those close to them.
Individuals who suffer from a personality disorder often seem not to "fit in" as their behaviours and expectations of themselves and others are not the same as those of their community or society. The inflexible pattern of maladaptive expectations and behaviours and expectations is usually evident across a number of situations or relationships and usually can be traced back at least to early adulthood or adolescence.
Personality disorders are difficult to treat and require special skills and knowledge so individuals who believe they need help for such a problem should seek out the assistance of a psychologist or doctor who specialises in this area. Treatment for personality disorders consists of a medium to long-term psychotherapy using such modalities as Dialectical Behavioural Therapy or Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Individuals usually feel most motivated to ask for assistance when they are experiencing a particularly stressful or upsetting experience in their lives.
Symptoms and Treatments of Personality Disorders
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Multiple Personality Disorder, see Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
- Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Schizoid Personality Disorder
- Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Other Mental Health Issues
These are just a few common mental health conditions which people suffer from but help is also available at The Centennial Practice for most psychological disorders or life issues with our team of highly qualified Clinical Psychologists. Psychological Assessments are also available at this practice.