At Psychological Associates of Schuylkill County, we provide comprehensive treatment of anxiety disorders. Combining effective and proven interventions techniques to target your anxiety symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on thoughts in addition to behaviors. In anxiety disorder treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you identify and challenge the negative thinking patterns and irrational beliefs that fuel your anxiety. Additionally, relaxation exercises helps the client learn to identify, evaluate, and alter the thoughts that are associated with their anxiety and panic symptoms. This is often combined with exposure therapy in which the client systematically approaches situations that are being avoided. The client is encouraged to confront fears in a safe, controlled environment. Through repeated exposures to the feared object or situation, either in your imagination or in reality, the client can gain a greater sense of control and mastery to diminish anxiety gradually. We also work with your physician or psychiatrist for treated with psychiatric medications.
Trauma Related Treatment
The psychologist and counselors at Psychological Associates of Schuylkill County have the training and experience to deal with trauma and trauma related issues. We provide counselors specially trained in trauma counseling who work to resolve the negative emotions that remain from the experiences you endured. Freedom from the overwhelming emotions and feelings is possible resulting in fewer burdens and ability to reclaim your life and future.
Treatment of child sexual abuse is a complex process. Moreover, with adults, sexual abuse treatment is a type of care that requires a skilled therapist to help the client through the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain they have experienced. There are a myriad of issues to consider in treatment of past and more recent abuse. At Psychological Associates of Schuylkill County, we have skilled clinicians who have specific training and experience to deals with these matters. Service are provided within individual, family, and groups modalities.
A principle focus in the treatment of abuse treatment lies in helping the client or family break the connection between the traumatic event and who they are. Often the victim of abuse is still tied to that event and the feelings it produces. Our therapists help the client work towards separating what happened to them and to not let what happened define who they are. This process takes time, patience, and trust in your treatment provider. At Psychological Associates of Schuylkill County, we provide a confidential trusting atmosphere conducive for individual growth.
Psychological Associates of Schuylkill County - Treatment for Depression
Depression is highly treatable. Our licensed counselors and psychologists can work with depressed individuals to identify life problems that contribute to their depression, and help them understand which aspects of those problems they may be able to resolve or improve. The therapist will help the depressed client to identify options for the future and set realistic goals that enable these individuals to enhance their mental and emotional well-being. The treatment aims to identify negative or distorted thinking patterns that contribute to the depressed feelings and nurture a more positive, rational outlook. The treatment also explores previously learned thoughts and behaviors that create problems or contribute to the depression. The treatment aspires to assist the client regain a sense of control and pleasure in life, develop healthy choices and lifestyle as well as learn skills to avoid or reduce suffering in any later bouts of depression. Having one episode of depression greatly increases the risk of having another episode. Research has shown that counseling may reduce the chance of future episodes or their intensity. Through therapy, people can.
Unfortunately, personal losses are an inevitable part of live. Grief counseling aims to develop healthy adaptation for the individual when dealing with losses within a reasonable amount of time. Specialized techniques may be utilized to assist those dealing with more complicated grief reactions. At Psychological Associates of Schuylkill County, we assist those dealing with many different losses such as death of a family member or friend, empty nest, divorce, or loss of employment with the goal of developing health and adaptive coping responses.
Medication can be an important part of treatment for anxiety and depression along with other forms of therapy. At Psychological Associates, we do not have a physician or psychiatrist on staff. However, we do work closely with your physician to coordinate treatment and can provide assessment and referrals in some case. While we provide primarily psychosocial and counseling interventions, medication can be an important part of your treatment. Medications are most effective when combined with counseling and therapy.
Information on Depression and Anxiety Problems Treated at Psychological Associates
Most people feel anxious or depressed at times. Losing a loved one, being fired from a job, going through a divorce, and other difficult situations can lead a person to feel sad, lonely, scared, nervous, or anxious. These feelings may be a normal reaction to life's everyday stressors. However, when people experience these feelings daily or nearly daily for no apparent reason, it makes it difficult to carry on with normal, everyday activities and functioning. These people may have an anxiety disorder, depression, or both. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The good news is that these disorders are both treatable, separately and together. As with any illness, psychological treatment should be tailored to a specific diagnosis. A treatment plan for a diagnosis of depression and an anxiety disorder should be designed to help a person manage and reduce the symptoms of both disorders, which may often be present at the same time or co-occurring.
Adjustment disorders involve the development of depressive, anxious, or behavioral disturbances following an identifiable stressor. They may last less than 6 months, or when chronic stressors are present, they can last longer. Treatment usually requires short-term intervention to enable the individual to return to normal functioning. Problem solving approaches addressing coping responses are typically employed.
Depression is very serious and if left untreated can lead to deteriorating health and even suicide. Millions of Americans suffer from depression. The Centers for Disease Control report 1 in 10 adults, 18 and over, are depressed at any given time. Individuals age 45-64, women, minorities, those unemployed, and people who were previously married are most at risk for major depressive episodes. However, the symptoms of depression can be experienced at any stage of life, by anyone. There is hope, however. Depression is treatable.
Types of Depression
Three main types of depressive disorders: major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of depression
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
- Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure (called anhedonia)
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
- Significant weight loss or gain
Symptoms of the manic or hypomanic - bipolar disorder
- Inflated self-esteem.
- Poor judgment.
- Rapid speech.
- Racing thoughts.
- Aggressive behavior.
- Agitation or irritation.
- Increased physical activity
- Risky behavior
- Spending sprees or unwise financial choices
- Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
- Increased sex drive
- Decreased need for sleep
- Easily distracted
- Careless or dangerous use of drugs or alcohol
- Frequent absences from work or school
- Delusions or a break from reality (psychosis)
- Poor performance at work or school
Major depression involves at least five of these symptoms for a two-week period. Such an episode is disabling and will interfere with the ability to work, study, eat, and sleep. Major depressive episodes may occur once or twice in a lifetime, or they may re-occur frequently. They may also take place spontaneously, during or after the death of a loved one, a romantic breakup, a medical illness, or other life event. Some individuals with major depression may feel that life is not worth living and some of these will attempt to end their lives.
Persistent depressive disorder, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years. Although it is less severe than major depression, it involves the same symptoms as major depression, mainly low energy, poor appetite or overeating, and insomnia or oversleeping. It can manifest as stress, irritability, and mild anhedonia, which is the inability to derive pleasure from most activities.
Bipolar disorder, once called manic-depression, is characterized by a mood cycle that shifts from highs (mania) or mild highs (hypomania) to severe lows (depression). During a manic phase, an individual may experience abnormal or excessive elation, irritability, a decreased need for sleep, grandiose notions, increased talking, racing thoughts, increased sexual desire, markedly increased energy, poor judgment, and inappropriate social behavior while during the depressive phase, a person experiences the same symptoms as would a sufferer of major depression. The swings from manic to depressive may be gradual or occasionally occur abruptly.
It is normal to feel anxious when facing challenging situations. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are facing a stressful situation.
In moderation, anxiety is not always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and focused, spur you to action, and motivate you to solve problems. However, if your worries and fears seem overwhelming and interfere with your daily life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. When anxiety is constant or overwhelming, when it interferes with your relationships, activities, and general functioning, that is when it crosses the line from normal, productive anxiety into an anxiety disorder.
Types of anxiety disorders
There are six major types of anxiety disorders, each with their own distinct symptom profile: generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder (anxiety attacks), phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
When constant worries and fears distract you from your day-to-day activities or you are troubled by a persistent feeling that something terrible will happen, you may be suffering from GAD. Individuals with GAD are chronic worrywarts who feel anxious nearly all of the time, although they may not even know why. Anxiety related to GAD can also develop into physical symptoms like insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, fatigue, and cardiovascular problems.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is characterized by unwanted thoughts or behaviors that seem impossible to stop or control. If you have OCD, you may be troubled by obsessions, such as a recurring worry that you forgot to turn off something or thought that you might hurt someone. Others suffer from uncontrollable compulsions, such as washing your hands over and over or may develop rituals that interfere with daily activities.
Panic Disorders occur when one experience a panic attack followed by an ongoing concern and worry about having another panic attack and/or worry about the possible consequences of a panic attack. There may also be avoidant behaviors associated with disorder. Panic attacks may include the following symptoms:
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath or a smothering sensation
- Feeling of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or like fainting
- Feelings of unreality or being detached
- A fear of losing control or going crazy
- A fear that one is going to die
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Chills or hot flushes (DSM 5)
One to two percent of the population is likely to have a Panic Disorder at some point in their life. Often associated with a panic attack is a catastrophic misinterpretation of a physical sensation. For example, in response to a rapid heartbeat, a person with panic disorder may think that they are having a heart attack. Or in response to a feeling of dizziness, a person with Panic Disorder may believe that they are having a stroke or will lose control of their bodily functions. This catastrophic misinterpretation creates additional anxiety, which often increase symptom, and in turn, strengthens the misinterpretation.
A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals such as snakes and spiders, fear of flying, and fear of heights. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the thing you fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an extreme anxiety disorder that can occur in the aftermath of a traumatic or life-threatening event. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks or nightmares about what happened, hypervigilance, exaggerated startling, withdrawing from others, emotional numbing, and avoiding situations that remind you of the event.