Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disorder with biological, psychological, social and environmental factors influencing its development and maintenance. About half the risk for addiction is genetic. Genes affect the degree of reward that individuals experience when firstly using a substance such as drugs or engaging in certain behaviours for instance gambling, as well as the way the body processes alcohol or other drugs. Intensified desire to re-experience the use of the substance or behaviour, potentially influenced by stress, history of trauma, social events like family or friends’ use of a substance and accessibility of a substance, low cost that can lead to regular use or exposure, with chronic use or exposure leading to brain changes. These brain changes can lead to dramatic increases in cravings for a drug or activity, as well as impairments in the ability to successfully regulate this impulse, despite the knowledge and experience of many consequences related to the addictive behaviour.

Anxiety

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People living with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. Anxiety is also present in a wide range of disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias. Although each of these disorders is different, they all feature distress and dysfunction specifically related to anxiety and fear. Anxiety is a normal response to a threat or to psychologic stress. Normal anxiety has its root in fear and serves an important survival function. When someone is faced with a dangerous situation, anxiety triggers the fight-or-flight response. With this response, a variety of physical changes, such as increased blood flow to the heart and muscles, provide the body with the necessary energy and strength to deal with life-threatening situations, such as running from an aggressive animal or fighting off an attacker.

  • In addition to anxiety, people often also have physical symptoms, including shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and/or tremor.
  • Anxiety disorders often substantially change people’s daily behavior, including leading them to avoid certain things and situations.
  • These disorders are diagnosed using specific established criteria.

However, anxiety is considered a disorder when it

  • Occurs at inappropriate times
  • Occurs frequently
  • Is so intense and long-lasting that it interferes with a person’s normal activities

Drugs, psychotherapy, or both can substantially help most people

Anxiety disorders are more common than any other category of mental health disorder. Significant anxiety can persist for years and begin to feel normal to the person with the anxiety. For this and other reasons, anxiety disorders are often not diagnosed or treated.

Anger

Anger is an emotion characterised by feelings of bitterness or resentment toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems.But excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health. Contact us if anger has become a problem, a psychologist can help. Learn more about the three basic strategies psychologists use to help patients bring anger under control.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology.

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic brain disease that gradually erodes an individual’s memory, intellectual abilities and personality.During the early stages, the most obvious symptom is an inability to learn and remember new information. In advanced stages, the ability to think, speak or perform such basic tasks as getting dressed or eating is severely impaired. The time between diagnosis and death typically ranges from seven to 10 years.

If you have mild memory loss, there are strategies you can use to adapt and overcome the challenge.Adults dealing with ageing parents face many challenges. Find answers to your frequently asked questions.Because early intervention can help prevent damage, psychologists are searching for tests to detect Alzheimer’s even before symptoms appear

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD, or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a behavioral condition that makes focusing on everyday activities and routines challenging. People with ADHD typically have trouble getting organized and staying focused. They may be fidgety, noisy and unable to adapt to changing situations.Children with ADHD can be defiant, socially inept or aggressive. Families considering treatment options should consult a qualified mental health professional for a complete review of their child’s behavioral issues and a treatment plan.The stereotype of someone with ADHD is a little boy who’s hyperactive. But ADHD affects girls and even adult women, too—just differently.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a neurodevelopment disorder that is characterised by difficulties with social communication and social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns in behaviors, interests, and activities. By definition, the symptoms are present early on in development and affect daily functioning. The term ‘spectrum’ is used because of the mixed display and severity of ASD symptoms, as well as in the skills and level of functioning of individuals who have ASD.

BIPOLAR

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness in which common emotions become intensely and often unpredictably exaggerated. Individuals with bipolar disorder can quickly swing from extremes of happiness, energy and clarity to sadness, fatigue and confusion. These shifts can be so devastating that individuals may choose suicide.All people with bipolar disorder have manic episodes — abnormally elevated or irritable moods that last at least a week and impair functioning. But not all become depressed.Regular sleep patterns and daily routines can help ease the symptoms of bipolar disorder

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

Learning and memory are closely related concepts. Learning is the acquisition of skill or knowledge, while memory is the expression of what you’ve acquired. Another difference is the speed with which the two things happen. If you acquire the new skill or knowledge slowly and laboriously, that’s learning. If acquisition occurs instantly, that’s making a memory. If you have mild memory loss, there are strategies you can use to adapt and overcome the challenge this can be depressing to start to cope with a new lifestyle in that condition.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

 

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

Marriage and divorce are both common experiences.Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home and that protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems.The divorce rate for some marriages is also higher. Separation and divorce are emotionally difficult events, but it is possible to have a healthy breakup.Having a romantic relationship in order by openly, finding interesting things to do, and getting advice and help if needed. is helpful. Parents must encourage good and easy communication to help children grow in a healthy environment.Psychologists who work as parenting coordinators help moms and dads keep the peace.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

MILITARY

Many war veterans suffer serious mental health disorders such as Post- Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) which in most cases may lead to substance abuse, domestic violence, murder and suicide. War can have a powerful psychological impact on participants and civilians alike. Combat can lead to distress or even post-traumatic stress disorder, which is marked by extreme worry, re-experiencing of the event and avoidance of things reminiscent of the trauma. Prolonged separation from family and friends can also cause problems.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

Learn how to manage stress and uncertainty related to war. Tips for resilience during war homecoming for military personnel and families. Reduce stress, anxiety and culture shock and learn warning signs of PTSD

PTSD (POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER)

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is an anxiety problem that develops in some people after extremely traumatic events, such as combat, crime, an accident or natural disaster.People with PTSD may relive the event via intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares; avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma; and have anxious feelings they didn’t have before that are so intense their lives are disrupted.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

SEXUAL ABUSE

Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators by force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder. While efforts to treat sex offenders remain unpromising, psychological interventions for survivors — especially group therapy — appears effective.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

SHYNESS

Shyness is the tendency to feel awkward, worried or tense during social encounters, especially with unfamiliar people. Severely shy people may have physical symptoms like blushing, sweating, a pounding heart or upset stomach; negative feelings about themselves; worries about how others view them; and a tendency to withdraw from social interactions. Most people feel shy at least occasionally. Some people’s shyness is so intense, however, that it can keep them from interacting with others even when they want or need to— leading to problems in relationships and at work.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

STRESS

As high-levels of stress affect people all over the world families are susceptible to mounting pressures from finances and work. Raising a family can be rewarding and demanding even in healthy social and economic climates, so stressful times can make things much more challenging. People who deal with stress in unhealthy ways risk passing those behaviors on to their children. Alternatively, parents who cope with stress help better foster happiness for themselves and assist to develop coping skills in their children. By taking small, manageable steps to a healthier lifestyle, families can work toward achieving goals that are healthy psychologically and physically. Socioeconomic status often reveals imbalances in access to resources, plus issues related to privilege, power and control and may affect stress levels. Exercise is also good for your mind. Regular activity can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. promoting psychological health.

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology

SUICIDE

Suicide is the act of killing yourself, most often as a result of depression or other mental illness. Teen suicide is a growing health concern. It is the third-leading cause of death for young people.

SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS

Learn how to recognize the danger signals.

Be concerned if someone you know:

  • Talks about committing suicide
  • Has trouble eating or sleeping
  • Exhibits drastic changes in behavior
  • Withdraws from friends or social activities
  • Loses interest in school, work or hobbies
  • Prepares for death by writing a will and making final arrangements
  • Gives away prized possessions
  • Has attempted suicide before
  • Takes unnecessary risks
  • Has recently experienced serious losses
  • Seems preoccupied with death and dying
  • Loses interest in his or her personal appearance
  • Increases alcohol or drug use.

Contact us in case of emergency.

TEEN STRESS & SUICIDE PREVENTION

Teens are undergoing dramatic changes. In addition to the biological changes of puberty, they experience several changes that allow them to think more. They become increasingly focused on friends and seek greater independence. As a result, the teen may feel angry, alone and confused while facing complicated issues about identity, peers, sexual behavior, drinking and drugs. Some, however, experience problems that lead to dropping out of school, drug use or crime conflicts with others. Most get through adolescence with few problems, establishing identities and preparing for adulthood.Teens experience stress at unhealthy levels and may be unsure of how to manage stress. The ability to manage well in the face of hard times is an important skill for young adults.Teen suicide is a growing health concern. It is the second-leading cause of death for young people The risk for suicide frequently occurs in combination with external factors or situations that seem to overwhelm at-risk teens who are unable to cope with the challenges of adolescence because of predispositions such as mental disorders. Examples of stressors are disciplinary problems, interpersonal losses, family violence, sexual orientation confusion, physical and sexual abuse and being the victim of bullying.Teen suicide is a serious problem. But there are signs to watch for, and sources for help. Suicide is a relatively rare event and it is difficult to accurately predict which persons with these risk factors will ultimately commit suicide. However, there are some possible warning signs such as:

  • Talking about dying: Any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself or other types of self-harm.
  • Recent loss: Through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of interest in friends, hobbies or activities previously enjoyed.
  • Change in personality: Sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic.
  • Change in behavior: Can’t concentrate on school, work or routine tasks.
  • Change in sleep patterns: Insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, or nightmares.
  • Change in eating habits: Loss of appetite and weight, or overeating.    
  • Fear of losing control: Acting erratically, harming self or others.
  • Low self-esteem: Feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me.”
  • No hope for the future: Believing things will never get better, or that nothing will ever change.

Referrals can be made for treatment, and treatment can be effective when signs are observed in time. Intervention efforts for at-risk youth can put them in contact with mental health services that can save their lives.

TRAUMA

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Help for individuals can be found through constructive ways of managing their emotions.Each person responds to trauma differently. Some will have no bad effects; others may suffer an immediate and acute effect. Still others may not show signs of stress until sometime after the event.Understanding the emotions and normal responses that follow a disaster or other traumatic event can help one manage feelings, thoughts and behaviors – and can help one on the path to recovery. Talking or writing about difficult, even traumatic, experiences helps good health and improves life functioning.

Disasters, from natural events such as hurricanes or earthquakes, to human-caused incidents such as mass shootings or terrorist attacks, are typically unexpected and overwhelming. Even when one is not hurt physically, disasters can take an emotional toll. Normal reactions may include intense, unpredictable feelings; trouble concentrating or making decisions; disrupted eating and sleeping patterns; emotional upsets on anniversaries or other reminders; strained personal relationships; and physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea or chest pain. Psychological research shows that many people are able to successfully recover from disaster. Taking active steps to cope is important.

SCHIZOPHRENIA

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness characterized by incoherent or illogical thoughts, bizarre behavior and speech, and delusions or hallucinations, such as hearing voices. Schizophrenia typically begins in early adulthood.Schizophrenia can cause hallucinations, delusions and unusual behaviors, as well as cognitive challenges, such as problems with memory, attention and concentration.

WORKPLACE ISSUES

Most people spend a third of their adult lives at work. Work defines majority of people in the most basic ways. Key issues include matching people and jobs, finding ways to reduce workplace stress and studying people’s motivation and job satisfaction.