Monthly Archives: January 2014

anger management

 

 

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Getting a handle on your anger!

 

Like all emotions, we have experienced anger. People across all ages, across all situations or cultures experience it. It is a complex emotion and receives maximum attention because not only it affects the person who is experiencing it, but also the people who are related to him. As a result it is often termed as a negative emotion. It is a feeling that can range from annoyance to rage. It is a feeling that when suppressed can continue to build up until it is released. Release can be in a healthy manner or in a harmful manner. People have different styles of expressing anger. It may be expressed as rage, verbal abuse, or striking out at others and things. It can be quick, like a viper’s bite or it can be like a boom of a cannon, or it can be slow and seething. It can zoom from “ 0” to “10” in a split second, and spin out of control! Other people shove it down and let it smoulder like hot coals. Some people feel resentment and shame. Some people feel anger day in and day out. Anger can pierce deep into the heart. Anger may lead to problems when it happens too often, lasts a long time, gets out-of-control and is destructive. It hurts you and other people. The aftermath of fury or isolation can be a painful time.

 

Most of us, especially the adolescents and young adults are much more prone to anger than rest of the population. As students and growing adults; most of you are faced with daily life challenges that include making choices about family and professional lives, handling various stressors and add to it one’s quest for identity. More often than not you might find yourself in a situation in which you experience extreme mental pressure and feel easily agitated. Some of these situations might see you “getting off the handle”. On the other hand you could be silently sulking and further mentally tormenting yourself. After such incidents get over, most of us  promise ourselves and to significant others, “I won’t get angry now”. However what we should actually promise is that “I wouldmanage my anger effectively now onwards”. How can we prevent ourselves from experiencing an emotion that in so human in nature!

Here some practical tips in which anger can be managed effectively are being presented. If practiced regularly and sincerely these methods or tips can go a long way in ensuring easy management. If you do not succeed in the first attempt, don’t give up, keep trying in a systematic manner. Maintaining a diary or log of the methods you use is often helpful.

  • Talking directly to the source of the anger without using blame or shame. You own your anger. No one else is responsible for how you feel. A good way to start the conversation is to say, “I feel angry when…..” Sometimes, it isn’t feasible to talk to the person about your feelings. They may not be in an emotionally good place to hear your truth. Some people may use what you’ve shared to hurt you further or fuel more anger/upset. Be mindful of your emotional and physical safety in sharing your feelings.
  • Talking about anger with a friend or counsellor is another healthy way to release anger.
  • Engaging in a physical activity, such as walking, cycling, working out at the gym or sports helps to release anger and benefits your health.
  • Relaxation or meditation help to ease and calm your mind.
  • Writing in a journal is a good way to express feelings.

Harmful ways of releasing anger:

  • Yelling, screaming, belittling or hitting the people close to you not only hurts those around you but hurts you also. It can cause you to feel ashamed and regret the pain you’ve caused. You can feel out of control or feel like a monster and end up driving away the people who love you the most.
  • Driving can be a deadly combination with unreleased angercausing road rage.
  • Bullying and sarcasm
  • Drinking and substance abuse
  • This is not a comprehensive list. You may have other harmful ways of releasing anger that aren’t listed here.

How do you know when anger is becoming a problem?

  • When it interferes with relationships, work or school.
  • When you hurt those around you.
  • When you hurt yourself due to anger.
  • When you have had involvement with the courts and law due to your anger.
  • When you decide that anger is preventing you from having the life you want.

Anger is a human experience. It serves a purpose. Anger gets in the way of living life when it’s too much, too often and severe in expression. It can be made a smaller part of life and used appropriately, so that living is filled with freedom, laughter and love!

 

 

If you feel that you cannot manage your anger, get help today by visiting mental health professionals who not only help you cope withanger, but help you in dealing with other issues that might be causinganger. 

 

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy based on modifying everyday thoughts and behaviors, with the aim of positively influencing emotions. The general approach developed out of behavior modification and cognitive therapy, and has become widely used to treat mental disorders. CBT is widely accepted as an evidence-based, cost-effective psychotherapy for many disorders. In CBT, the therapist identifies faulty patterns of thought process, interpretations, emotional reactions and dysfunctional behavior. Then the therapist clarifies implications of such thought patterns, emotional reactions and interpretations and suggests ways and means for overcoming the problem.

 

Cognitive behavior therapy postulates that feelings and behaviors are caused by a person’s thoughts, not on outside stimuli like people, situations and events. People may not be able to change their circumstances, but they can change how they think about them and therefore change how they feel and behave, according to cognitive-behavior therapists.

 

The Basics

CBT is based on the idea that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion) and how we act (behavior) all interact together. Specifically, our thoughtsdetermine our feelings and our behavior. Therefore, negative – and unrealistic – thoughts can cause us distress and result in problems. CBT can help break this vicious circle of altered thinking, feelings and behavior. When one sees the parts of the sequence clearly, one can change them – and so change the way he/she feels.

 

The Cognitive Side

Cognition is defined as the psychological result of perception, learning, and reasoning. Simply put, thoughts have an enormous impact on our mental health. Cognitive Therapy is not as simple as thinking positive. Human thought is complex, and changing the way we think can mean attempting to undo years of thought patterns. Some of these thought patterns may be negative and automatic.

We are all inherently imaginative beings with an endless amount of thoughts zipping in and out of our minds throughout the day. When these thoughts are negative in nature, they begin to disrupt our lives and slowly change our perspective from one that creatively visualizes to one that only has the capacity for negative visualization. Thoughts like, “We are all going to die anyway, so what’s the point in doing anything at all?” often carry great emotional weight without any real solution. A major part of eliminating damaging automatic thoughts is to determine the core beliefs that these thoughts are rooted in.

Core beliefs can be divided into two categories: those of helplessness, and those ofunlovability. For example, a person may have the automatic thought, “I can’t get along with anyone,” which stems from the unlovable core beliefs. The automatic thought “I can’t control my feelings anymore” is rooted in a helpless core belief structure.

By changing our core beliefs and the resulting automatic thoughts, we can change overall perceptions, feelings, and actions.

The Behavior Side

The way we think and feel usually determines the actions that we take. If a person believes that he or she is unlovable, he or she may take actions to avoid being in relationships, something that could further validate their core belief. If someone thinks they are worthless, he or she may participate in dangerous, impulsive activity. Thoughts, feelings, and actions are completely linked together. By changing thought processes, actions can be changed as well.

The first step to addressing an emotional disturbance is to become aware of the thoughts and feelings that drive it. Actively investigating the thought processes from both a cognitive and a behavioral point of view can dramatically affect our ability to resolve any emotional disturbance permanently.

 

 

How does CBT work?

One of the objectives of CBT typically is to identify and monitor thoughts, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors that are related and accompanied to debilitating negative emotions and to identify those which are dysfunctional, inaccurate, or simply unhelpful. This is done in an effort to in a wide array of different methodologies replace or transcend them with more realistic and self-helping ways.

It helps you challenge your negative beliefs and to think about times when you have been successful or to consider what happens to other people in similar situations. Once you are thinking more realistically, you are encouraged to imagine how you would go about confronting a feared situation. You will then be gradually exposed to real life situations.

The aim of CBT is to provide you with a timescale for overcoming a problem and to give you the insight and skills to improve your quality of life. You will then be able to cope and progress on your own once therapy is finished.

 

What problems can CBT help?

CBT can help people who have: anger issues, anxiety and panic attacks, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, drug or alcohol problems, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, persistent pain, phobias, post-traumatic stress, schizophrenia, sexual or relationship issues or sleep problems. Daily life problems, such as difficulty establishing or staying in relationships, problems with marriage or other relationships you’re already in, job, career or school difficulties, feelings of being “stressed out”, insufficient self-esteem (accepting or respecting yourself), inadequate coping skills, or ill-chosen methods of coping can also be benefited by CBT.

How Long Does Cognitive Behavior Therapy Take?

Cognitive behavioral therapy generally is not an overnight process. Even after patients have learned to recognize when and where their mental processes go awry, it can take months of effort to replace a dysfunctional cognitive-affective-behavioral process or habit with a more reasonable and adaptive one. Because cognitive behavior therapy is a structured, goal-oriented educational process focused on the immediate problems of the alcohol or drug-dependent patient, the process is usually short-term. Although other forms of therapy and psychoanalysis can take years, cognitive behavior therapy is usually completed in 12 to 16 sessions with the therapist.

 

 

Dementia

Dementia is not a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms effecting thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Many causes of dementia symptoms exist. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms gradually get worse over time. The pace of worsening of symptoms may differ from one individual to another.

Memory loss generally occurs in dementia. However, memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia. Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and impaired judgment or language, and the inability to perform some daily activities such as paying bills or becoming lost driving. Dementia can make the sufferer confused and unable to remember people and names. Changes in personality and social behavior are also common. 

 

Dementia symptoms vary depending on the cause, but common signs and symptoms include:

  • Orientation: losing track of time, day or date, or confusion about where the person is.  
  • Memory loss: difficulty in recalling everyday events, or recent activities.
  • Complex activities:  problems in concentrating, planning or organizing make it difficult to take decisions, solve everyday problems or remember a sequence of tasks.
  • Communication: difficulties in language occur with inability to name objects or finding the right word, at times irrelevant talking might also be present.
  • Visuo-spatial skills – problems judging distances (example on stairs) and seeing objects in three dimensions

 

Early signs of Dementia

Changes in mood, short-term memory loss, difficulty in finding the right words, loss of interest in hobbies or interests, spending time alone, difficulty doing normal, everyday tasks, confusion, and repetition of same questions are potential warning signs of dementia.

 

If you notice any of the above signs of dementia in someone elderly you know; get consultation from a Neuropsychiatrist as soon as you can. Timely intervention can slow down the degenerative process and avoid many further complications. 

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe and disabling psychiatric disorder. People with this disorder might behave in unusual manner. They may hear voices other people don’t hear. They may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. This can terrify people with the illness and make them withdrawn or aggressive. They might be seen talking to themselves and may not be able to carry out their normal, routine activities. Sometimes people with schizophrenia seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking. Families and society are affected by schizophrenia too. Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty holding a job or caring for themselves, so they rely on others for help.

Signs & Symptoms

 

 

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The fall into three broad categories: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms.

Positive symptoms

Positive symptoms are psychotic behaviors not seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms often “lose touch” with reality. These symptoms can come and go. Sometimes they are severe and at other times hardly noticeable, depending on whether the individual is receiving treatment. They include the following:

§  Hallucinations are things a person sees, hears, smells, or feels that no one else can see, hear, smell, or feel. “Voices” are the most common type of hallucination in schizophrenia. Many people with the disorder hear voices. The voices may talk to the person about his or her behavior, order the person to do things, or warn the person of danger. Sometimes the voices talk to each other. People with schizophrenia may hear voices for a long time before family and friends notice the problem.

§  Delusions are false beliefs that are not part of the person’s culture and do not change. The person believes delusions even after other people prove that the beliefs are not true or logical. People with schizophrenia can have delusions that seem bizarre, such as believing that someone can control their behavior with magnetic waves. They may have paranoid delusions and believe that others are trying to harm them, such as by cheating, harassing, poisoning, spying on, or plotting against them or the people they care about. These beliefs are called “delusions of persecution.”

§  Thought disorders are unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking. One form of thought disorder is called “disorganized thinking.” This is when a person has trouble organizing his or her thoughts or connecting them logically. They may talk in a garbled way that is hard to understand. Another form is called “thought blocking.” This is when a person stops speaking abruptly in the middle of a thought. When asked why he or she stopped talking, the person may say that it felt as if the thought had been taken out of his or her head. Finally, a person with a thought disorder might make up meaningless words, or “neologisms.”

§  Movement disorders may appear as agitated body movements. A person with a movement disorder may repeat certain motions over and over. In the other extreme, a person may become catatonic. Catatonia is a state in which a person does not move and does not respond to others. Catatonia is rare today, but it was more common when treatment for schizophrenia was not available.

Negative symptoms

Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for depression or other conditions. These symptoms include the following:

§  a person’s face does not move or he or she talks in a dull or monotonous voice

§  person may feel lack of lack of pleasure in everyday life

§  lack of ability to begin and sustain planned activities

§  speaking little, even when forced to interact.

The prevalence of schizophrenia in India is about three per 1,000 individuals. It is most often diagnosed between the ages of 15-35 and men and women are equally affected. Treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia, but most people who have the disorder cope with symptoms throughout their lives. However, many people with schizophrenia can lead rewarding and meaningful lives in their communities. Treatment of this disorder includes medication as well as other psycho-social treatments. Family counselling is also an important part of treatment. 

 

Helping children with learning disabilities

Dyslexics’ performance varies from day to day. On some days, reading may come fairly easily. However, another day, they may be barely able to write their own name. This inconsistency is extremely confusing not only to the dyslexic, but also to others in his environment.as a result, knowingly or unknowingly, parents, teachers and peers often end up making comments or behaving in a manner which can only exacerbate emotional problems in these children. However awareness about certain steps and behaviors can ensure that such behavior is kept to the minimum, so as to foster positive well-being and feelings of acceptance among the children.

 

  • Foster a good relationship with the child. (This will make the child try harder.)
  • Refrain from embarrassing the child or disciplining the child in front of his or her peers. (Since the child struggles with peer relationships this is crucial. This will distance the child from you, and increase the teasing that the child must endure)
  • Never discipline impulsive behavior, but offer those students ways of coping with their impulsive urges.
  • Always discipline non-compliant behavior! This is when the child willfully disobeys rules and limits. (Using positive reinforcement helps, but punishment on the basis of consequences is also effective.)
  • Never punish by withholding sports or other school-related activities. The child needs to stay active. A better punishment option is the restriction of TV viewing or computer time. Extra chores are another good discipline tool.
  • Attempt to restore the pupil’s confidence in himself.  Usually the child is referred to as a failure.  Now is an opportunity for him to succeed.  Let him know this.
  • Beware of the possibility of the pupil using avoidance techniques.  Frequently pupils find ways of “ by passing” certain areas in order to achieve the aim.  E.g., illegible handwriting so that their errors are not detected.
  • Be constructively critical.  It is preferable to give reasons and ways of overcoming them rather than negative reinforcement.
  • When marking work, be realistic but not demoralizing.  If the teacher marks every error it could be very depressing for the pupil.  Content is important and a comment regarding its standard is psychologically preferable to numerous crosses.
  • Red pens marking are discouraging.  All too frequently red marks means errors and are demoralizing.  Florescent markers are more suitable and they highlight the errors unobtrusively, in case it is possible to use them.
  • Encourage his talents by highlighting his strengths in classroom situations.  It helps to develop self-esteem.
  • Due to lack of self-confidence some children do not opt out for non-academic assignments. Asking them to carry out small tasks such as cleaning blackboard, collecting or distributing notebooks can help enhance their self-worth.
  • Since the child is not performing to the expected level in academics, it becomes a tendency to put in more and more time in academics. Participation in extra-curricular activities, or learning new sports, arts and crafts, is usually discouraged. On the contrary, this precisely should be encouraged. This leads to not only enhancing the child’s self-esteem, feelings of being successful in one area can lead to better performance in academics too.
  • Both teachers and parents need to offer consistent, ongoing encouragement and support. However, one rarely hears about this very important way to help youngsters. Encouragement involves at least four elements. First, listening to children’s feelings. Anxiety, anger and depression are daily companions for dyslexics. However, their language problems often make it difficult for them to express their feelings. Therefore, adults must help them learn to talk about their feelings. The effort, not just “the product”. For the child, grades should be less important than progress.
  • When confronting unacceptable behavior, adults must not inadvertently discourage the dyslexic child. Words such as “lazy” or “incorrigible” can seriously damage the child’s self–image.
  • Finally, it is important to help students set realistic goals for themselves. Most dyslexic students set perfectionistic and unattainable goals. By helping the child set an attainable goal, teachers can change the cycle of failure.
  • Even more important, the child needs to recognize and rejoice in his or her successes. To do so, he or she needs to achieve success in some area of life. In some cases, the dyslexic’s strengths are obvious, and many dyslexics’ self–esteem has been salvaged by prowess in athletics, art, or mechanics. However, the dyslexic’s strengths are often more subtle and less obvious. Parents and teachers need to find ways to relate the child’s interests to the demands of real life.
  • Providing opportunities to the child to deal witht heir own pain by reaching out to others can also be useful. These experiences help dyslexics feel more positive about themselves and deal more effectively with their pain and frustration. Many opportunities exist in our schools. One important area is peer tutoring. If dyslexic students do well in math or science, they can be asked to tutor a classmate who is struggling. Perhaps that student can reciprocate as a reader for the dyslexic student. Tutoring younger children, especially other dyslexics, can be a positive experience for everyone involved.
  • Caring adults must understand the cognitive and affective problems caused by dyslexia. Then they must design strategies that will help the dyslexic, like every other child, to find joy and success in academics and personal relationships.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

May this year comes along with a lot of happiness, joy, peace, success, prosperity for everyone.
HAPPY NEW YEAR

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