We offer individual therapy and treatment for a wide range of difficulties and disorders including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, anger management and interpersonal difficulties.
Patients experiencing anxiety often start looking for help from the general practitioners, cardiologists, neurologists or even A&E departments. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be so intense and disturbing that it is often hard to believe that they are not caused by a stroke or a heart attack. Often after number of medical investigations and test come back clear doctors identify anxiety as a cause of symptoms and suggest a consultation with a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. Sadly there is still stigma attached to “mental health problems” and too often patients feel ashamed and unable to talk about their problems even with family or close friends. Very often patients try to deny the anxiety they are experiencing and make attempts to hide or control them which are likely to make the problem worse. Therefore it might be a relief to find out that approximately 15% of the population will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. And nearly all of us will experience a panic attack. Patients suffering from anxiety are often well functioning and high achieving individuals while anxiety and fear are natural and experienced by all. However if they become excessive and interfere with our daily life and functioning it is worth accessing professional help and learn how to manage it.
Anxiety disorders is an umbrella term covering a wide range of difficulties characterised by experience of anxiety and fear which a person tries to cope with often by using avoidance or problematic management and safety strategies. Anxiety disorders are difficult to control with medication but can be treated effectively with evidence based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is widely recommended as a first line of treatment.
Most common anxiety disorders are described below.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is characterised by an excessive anxiety and worry experienced for more days than not over the period of at least 6 months. People suffering from GAD often describe failed attempts to stop or control the worrisome thoughts and they often complain about symptoms including restlessness, persistent fatigue, poor concentration, muscle tension and sleep problems. It is not uncommon for people to suffer from GAD for a very long time before seeking help, as tendency towards chronic worry has historically been viewed as a personality trait and sufferers were often dismissed as ”just worriers”. As the understanding of GAD grew over the years so did the research regarding effective treatment. Currently Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is able to offer effective, evidence based treatment strategies for GAD
Panic Attacks are probably most common phenomena associated with anxiety. They are described as episodes of intense fear usually lasting several minutes and often accompanied by increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, choking sensations, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, feelings of detachment from reality and fears of losing control or dying. When panic attacks start recurring and you start worrying about them happening again and the impact they might have on you it might be time to consider seeking professional help. However to be identified as a Panic Disorder the panic attacks need to create anxious apprehension of the attacks and trigger changes in person’s behaviour. Therefore if you find you are worrying about further panic attacks and start avoiding situations you link with the attacks you might be on the way to developing Panic Disorder. What is more, the avoidance in Panic Disorder can over time contribute to the development of Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a fear and avoidance of situations from which escape might be difficult and includes use of public transport, being in open or enclosed spaces (e.g. marketplaces, bridges, shops, cinemas), being in a crowd, queuing or even just being outside of the home alone. So if you find your fear in those situations is out of proportion and it is interfering with your daily life consulting a therapist, specifically cognitive behavioural therapist is a right step towards recovery.
Social Anxiety, often dismissed as “shyness” is a fear of social situations during which we are exposed to possible scrutiny of others. Those situation are likely to be anxiety provoking to large proportion of population however if the fear of negative evaluations, humiliation or embarrassment are out of proportion, cause significant distress and interfere with daily functioning it is likely we are dealing with a clinical problem requiring professional help.
Low mood, Lack of energy, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, bleak view of self and the future. Should you be looking for help?
If low mood persists over two weeks it might be worth consulting a doctor and discussing the treatment options. They might be medication or psychotherapy or both. Psychotherapy, and specifically Cognitive Behavioural Therapy should be considered especially for persistent low mood or recurrent depressive episodes as it limits the likelihood of further episodes. Patients who learn to understand themselves, their needs and triggers, learn to think in more realistic ways and are more flexible in responses to stressors are less likely to suffer from depression in the future.
People suffering from personality disorders are rarely aware that is the reason of their difficulties and are not likely to seek help for it. They might report difficulties regulating their emotions, difficulties maintaining relationships or might be using substances or other problematic strategies to manage their intense emotions, Current diagnostic manuals suggest assessments for the personality disorder traits in patients reporting depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and substance abuse. Personality disorders can be defined as stable characteristic of none adaptive emotional processing and behaviour as well as differences in terms of:
Cognitive processes - including interpretations of events and view of self and others.
Emotions – often very intense and changeable
Relating to others
In real life terms people suffering from personality disorders might have difficult relationships with other people. It can mean difficulties forming and maintaining close, intimate relationships with others. Those difficulties tend to have a repetitive pattern. For example patients with borderline personality have no problems forming relationships and their relationships are often initially very intense however they find it impossible to maintain them as they tend to end in conflict and equally intense break ups. Additionally those patterns can show themselves in professional relationships or friendships. Other frequently reported difficulties relate to emotional regulation – lack of insight, difficulties naming their emotions and needs, regulating emotions with substances, food or internet use. Even patients which show traits of personality disorders, rather than fit full DSM or ICD criteria can really struggle in their daily functioning. Therefore it is worth to explore those difficulties and learn new ways of interpreting the reality and reacting to it in more flexible, adaptive way. It can also be life changing to learn to experience, name and regulate ones emotions in safe therapeutic relationship.
Eating disorders are a serious if often ignored mental health problem. They pose serious risk to patient’s physical health and can be life threatening. They are accompanied by acute anxiety and tension, irritability, low self esteem, and difficulties relating to others. The common factor in eating disorders is excessive focus on body shape and weight which are the main way of assessing own value. The mechanism of the disorders can be compared to the mechanism of addiction and is revolving around the sense of control gained by the restrictive diet, binges allowing for the sense of relief in let6tibng the control go and purging and use of laxatives as an attempt to regain the control. What is more it can be similarly damaging to patients life. Eating disorders are especially difficult to manage on own and therapy is necessary in most cases. In therapy we explore mechanisms of the disorder, challenge the beliefs that drive them, and learn to think and behave in more adaptive, realistic and flexible way. We also work on improving self esteem so it is based on more than just a body shape and introduce healthy eating habits and self care strategies.
tel. 504 833 317
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