Stress reaction

Stress is a set of reactions (thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and/or behaviours) we experience towards events we encounter with in our work or personal lives. The way we respond to certain events will determine our level of stress. Prolonged stress can cause significant physical and emotional problems for individuals. Learning to recognise your stress can be extremely helpful as it can motivate you to change the situation you are in or your approach to a situation.

Anxiety

There are many types of anxiety disorders and people can experience more than one type of disorder. Anxiety can severely affect a person’s life and interfere with our ability to cope with work or school. It can hamper our ability to live a full and enjoyable life. Depression commonly occurs alongside anxiety. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in particular, has long been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for anxiety problems.

Please remember that the definitions and criteria for diagnoses are constantly evolving and changing. Therefore you will find that not all professionals will agree all the time in regards to certain diagnoses. Thus, we would like to repeat and stress again that it is most important how much YOU are bothered by certain issues, feelings, behaviours and reactions and how much YOU perceive that these interfere in your life. This is where the personal, open and honest discussion with your individual psychologist will be so important and crucial in order to help you to find a way forward in YOUR life (irrespective of diagnosis or not).

Types of anxiety we treat include:

  • Panic attacks and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia)
  • Agoraphobia
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Social phobia
  • School phobia
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Specific phobias
  • Health anxiety
  • Adjustment Disorder

Mood problems and depression

Depression often occurs alongside anxiety, but this is not always the case. Signs of depression can include:

  • feeling sad or “down”
  • feeling lonely
  • crying more than usual
  • feeling discouraged about the future
  • difficulty sleeping or wanting to sleep too much
  • feeling guilty or worthless
  • much less interest or pleasure in people and activities you normally enjoy
  • loss of sexual drive
  • feeling fatigued or having a lack of energy
  • difficult making decisions and finding it hard to concentrate
  • irritability or anger
  • an increase or decrease in weight or appetite
  • thought of suicide or death

A person feeling depressed may want to withdraw from normal activities and may increase their use of alcohol or drugs in order to feel better. The person may be increasingly irritable or angry with close friends or family members. Depression following the birth of a baby is also common.

Eating difficulties and disorders

Eating disorders commonly develop during adolescence or early adulthood and can put a person at risk of serious health consequences. People with anorexia or bulimia frequently experience social isolation, feelings of self-disgust, shame and guilt, fear of change, and feelings of inadequacy and rejection. This can mean the person becomes lonely, desperate and depressed and may withdraw from contact with friends. People with eating disorders frequently do not admit or recognise they have an illness, and may resist or delay getting treatment, particularly if they feel otherwise physically well. But sometimes family or trusted individuals may be able to encourage people with eating disorders to receive appropriate care and rehabilitation. Due to this ‘lack of insight’ into one’s own difficulties, Eating Disorders often remain undiagnosed and individuals do not receive the help they deserve. Eating Disorders are an area within mental health disturbances where treatment often is necessary, despite the individuals’ protests that “all is fine”.

Eating disorders we treat are:

  • Restricted eating and Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge-eating Disorder
  • Orthoexia

Somatoform Disorders

Disorders in this category include those where the symptoms suggest a medical condition but where no medical condition can be found by a physician. In other words, a person with a somatoform disorder might experience significant pain without a medical or biological cause, or they may constantly experience minor aches and pains without any reason for these pains to be found.

The diagnosis in these areas might be controversial. Often the interaction between physical and psychological influences is complex and it is difficult (and often fruitless) to try and address just one aspect within this interplay. Holistic psychological treatment will stand alongside thorough and responsible medical intervention/ monitoring. Most of the time it is impossible to identify the magnitude of the psychological factors, which affect the physical symptoms (or vice versa). Nevertheless, it is obvious that the knowledge and use of psychological strategies will be of huge benefit in any case. Thus again, the diagnosis is not the most important factor, rather the next step into a less stressful and painful future will be the key.

Sleep Disorders

Primary Sleep disorders are divided into two subcategories: Dyssomnias are those disorders relating to the amount, quality, and timing of sleep. Parasomnias relate to abnormal behaviour or physiological events that occur during the process of sleep or sleep-wake transitions. We use the term primary to differentiate these sleep disorders from other sleep disorders that are caused by outside factors, such as another mental disorder, medical disorder, or substance use. Sleep difficulties might not appear as mental health issues (or disorders). However, it is part of the holistic approach of CBT psychological intervention to address sleep problems and to teach relevant skills. We know that the lack of restorative sleep can aggravate and even cause other difficulties (e.g. depression, anxiety, pain) and therefore we will always include sleep improving strategies into our treatment package.

Sleeping problems however, do not need to reach the level of disorders in order to cause problems and distress. Part of the intervention is a clear description of the issues with a strict plan to follow.

Other related difficulties we treat include:

  • Grief and loss

  • Relationship difficulties

  • Chronic pain

  • Childhood disorders

  • Teen issues including life stage transitions, career planning and goal setting

  • Sexual and gender issues