We all feel stressed, low, worried or frightened from time to time. However feelings that don’t seem to improve can be waring and damaging to our personal and professional lives.
We all face stressful events at one time or another in our lives. Sometimes such stressors can lead to a period of intense upset, anxiety and/or low mood. Where this occurs during a period of adjustment, such symptoms are usually short term. Distinguishing an adjustment reaction from another condition like depression is therefore important.
It’s natural to feel angry in certain situations, but for some people anger can destroy their lives. It can lead to aggression and violence towards those we love the most. Learning to control anger is important.
Asking for help with feeling angry takes courage but can be the first step towards a better life. An expert assessment of the cause of the anger will be needed – often feelings of anger are due to symptoms of depression or are linked to very difficult experiences in early life, including during childhood. Establishing the cause of the anger allows the correct treatment to be started.
Anxiety can affect anyone and in most cases will ease or pass off once the situation causing worry has changed or diminished. Ongoing and persistent anxiety is very unpleasant, but can improve with professional treatment. The same is true for anxiety occuring in specific situations; situations which are then avoided wherever possible to prevent feeling uncomfortable. Why not call and find out if we can help you to overcome your anxiety, or at least learn to better manage such feelings.
Losing a loved one, whether a parent, a spouse, a friend or a child, can be overwhelming. Experiencing strong emotions is normal, particularly feelings of anger, numbness, despair and loneliness.
While for many people, time and the natural process of grief allows losses to be overcome, for others feelings of loss can persist for many months, if not years. In the most severe cases symptoms of depression and anxiety can develop, making the burden even harder to bear.
Talking about your loss, especially with a trained therapist, can help with such great changes in life.
Bipolar disorder used to be called ‘manic depression’. This condition has received a lot of attention in the media over recent years with a number of high profile people talking openly about their experiences of living with the condition. Typically, someone with bipolar disorder will have severe mood swings. These can last weeks or months and are more extreme than usual fluctuations in mood that we all experience. The low periods are often intense depression and the high or ‘manic’ episodes associated with extreme happiness and elation. Often there are also feelings of invincibility or ‘special’ abilities. Bipolar disorder can be extremely disruptive, but with the appropriate treatment and lifestyle advice, regaining control and stability is possible.
Compulsions are repetitive behaviours performed in response to an obsession. The person recognise these behaviours as irrational and attempts to resist them, but usually can’t break the cycle. Commonly the involve checking, cleaning or counting. Compulsions can be associated with a sense of relief but this is short lived, so the act is repeated over. Mental (covert) compulsions usually involve silent counting, use of numbers/calculations, imagining a certain situation or repeating a particular thought a certain amount of times. Psychological therapy and sometimes medicine is recommended to help with these behaviours.
Depression is common. Typical symptoms can include feeling tired, not sleeping well, having poor appetite, not being able to concentrate, losing interest in life, feeling sad and tearful and feeling hopeless about the future. Sometimes people also feel suicidal.
Anyone can suffer with depression, whatever your age and background. Depression can be triggered by unpleasant life events; but for others it just happens with no obvious cause.
Prompt treatment is important. Mild cases of depression often respond to psychological therapy. A few weeks of therapy can improve symptoms or depression greatly. Sometimes depression is also treated with antidepressant medication.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes exhaustion that affects everyday life and persists despite rest and sleep. CFS is a serious condition that can cause long-term illness and disability, but many people improve over time. Treatment aims for CFS are to reduce the symptoms. As individuals respond differently to treatment plans are tailored to the individual. The mainstay of treatment includes psychological therapy (cognitive behavioural therapy), graded exercise therapy and sometimes medication.
Grief is a normal reaction to a loss and usually involves feeling tired, finding it difficult to concentrate, becoming withdrawn and even experiencing some of the symptoms of depression. This can be associated with a loss or separation from someone or something special. Grief often follows someone dying, a divorce or losing a job. It usually passes and the support of family and friends will help. Where grieving continues beyond 6 months or it continues to infere with your daily life, seeking professional advice is advisable.
Unusual experiences affecting our senses; most commonly hearing or seeing, can sometimes be part of a mental illness. This can be distressing for the person affected and for those close to them. It is important to have such symptoms fully investigated to exclude a possible physical cause and where they are part of a mental disorder that they are appropriately treated, reducing any negative impact on the individual.
Mania is a mood state that is characterised by significantly elevated mood. Mania usually occurs as part of bipolar disorder. People with Mania are often happy or elated, energetic and overly optimistic. They need less sleep, eat less and have many ideas, plans or projects; some of which may seem inappropriate or fantastical. Speech may be fast and difficult to interrupt. There can also be delusions, hallucinations or illogical thinking. The beliefs held during a manic episode can put people at risk through, for example, inappropriately spending large sums of money or making illogical decisions. They can also be emotionally disinhibited and more irritable. A professional assessment will allow accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations.
Marital or Relationship difficulties
Many marriages and relationships go through very difficult patches. This can be due to a variety of reasons including poor communication, a sense of falling out of love, arguing, wanting different things and boredom. Sometimes the spark that once existed seems to have disappeared. Understanding why things have changed and whether there are ways to get the marriage or relationship back on track is often worth investing time and effort.
Forgetting things can be a minor irritation or very frightening depending upon how much interference it causes to day to day life. Where memory is impaired it can be due to poor attention and concentration, sometimes associated with anxiety or depression. For others it may be part of a brain disorder such as dementia. Knowing what is leading to memory change is essential to allow appropriate treatment and planning. We have significant expertise in assessing and treating memory disorders.
Obsessions are recurrent thoughts, impulses and/or images that are experienced as uncontrollable. They are usually experienced with significant distress. They can present as repetitive intrusive words, ideas or beliefs or internal circular debates often over simple issues. Sometimes it relates to concerns that actions have not been adequately performed e.g. closing a door or switching off the gas stove. The individual will usually consider their obsessions to be illogical. Accurate diagnosis is important so appropriate treatment can be instigated.
OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As the name suggests people with this condition experience obsessional thoughts and compulsive acts often together with features of anxiety and depression. For some people the condition is particularly disruptive and difficult to manage. Many people are secretive about their symptoms for years and sometimes decades before seeking help. The earlier one is seen and treated, the better the prognosis.
Severe anxiety (panic) can affect anyone. However, ongoing episodes of panic, often associated with fear of dying or losing control are extremely unpleasant. Often the fear of having a panic attack and not knowing when or if it will occur is the most disabling part and leads to people avoiding situations where a panic attack could occur. Psychological treatment can be highly effective in the treatment of panic.
Feeling suspicious or threatened in some way can be all consuming. Whilst for some people such beliefs are based on fact, for others such strongly held ideas have no obvious basis. The need to distinguish appropriate thinking from those due to mental illness is of paramount importance so that appropriate treatment options can be discussed to help improve ones quality of life.
Certain situations can be associated with significant anxiety. For some people this can be a very specific situation such as flying; for others it will be anxiety associated with broader themes such as being amongst people or crowds. Sometimes the anxiety is so intense it can cause intense panic and feelings of losing control. Avoiding the phobic situation is therefore common and this can interfere with everyday life. Often psychological therapies are helpful to reduce the anxiety feeling associated with the phobia.
PTSD can develop following an exceptionally stressful, threatening or catastrophic life event. Typical symptoms include re-experiencing the event through flashbacks, nightmares and distressing intrusive images. A careful and thorough assessment will allow accurate diagnosis so that appropriate treatment options can be considered.
Hearing or seeing unusual things; having thoughts or ideas that others don’t share; these can be features of a psychotic illness. Such experiences can be frightening and are often perceived as very real.
There are lots of different causes including the use of drugs such as cannabis or cocaine. Extreme depression or mania can also cause psychosis. Careful and expert assessment is needed in all cases of psychosis.
Many forms of psychosis are treatable allowing recovery. Medication is often needed and it is important to choose the right medicine for each individual. Psychological therapy is also often very helpful not only in understanding these experiences but in reducing the risk of symptoms returning.
Stress is a normal response in many situations. However when stress is unwelcome and prolonged it can have a significant effect on our physical and mental health. Of course stress affects millions of people in the UK in all sorts of different situations.
Understanding the cause of your symptoms and learning how to take control can reduce stress and worry.
Maybe it’s an unsympathetic boss, poor work relationships, an unmanagable workload or pressures to deliver; a variety of situations can lead to stress in the work place.
This can be particularly unpleasant especially when we spend so much of our time at work. Often it is a lack of control, perceived or real, that leads to occupational stress.
We see many professionals, in senior and demanding positions who suffer with stress. Expert help can improve your capacity to cope by changing the way you think about difficulties and how you respond to problems.
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