Anxiety

OCD counselling in worcester

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – OCD

Obsessive compulsive disorder is when the person becomes fixated on a certain set of obsessive thoughts or worries that are often followed by a compulsive urge to do something to allay these fears. Often the person will feel the only way to relieve themselves of these constant thoughts is to repeat an action until the thoughts ease.

The 4 key behaviours that are recognised as component parts of OCD are:

1. Obsession – An intrusive, persistent and uncontrollable thought that enters your mind.
2. Anxiety – You start feeling stressed and anxious due to the obsession.
3. Compulsion – You find a compulsive need to exercise repetitive acts or behaviours because of the stress or anxiety that the obsession has caused.
4. Temporary relief – A temporary relief from the stress or anxiety is gained from the compulsive behaviour. This cycle repeats when the obsession returns, usually soon after.

There are various types of OCD, such as contamination fears, intrusive thoughts with sexual or violent themes, excessive rumination over something dark or troubling, hoarding tendencies, or constant checking. For example, a checking behaviour is intended to ‘neutralise’ a fear and might include the following:
 

  • water taps (fear of flood damage to the house and contents)
  • lights (fear of causing an electrical fire)
  • car, door and window locks (fear of car/household items getting stolen)
  • appliances (fear of the house burning down)
  • gas appliances/canisters (fear of explosions)
  • wallet, purse or handbag (fear of losing money, personal documents or bank cards)
  • re-reading emails, postcards, letters (fear of mistakes or writing something offensive)

Various life events can trigger the onset of severe OCD, such as stress, bereavement, life transitions e.g. the birth of a child. CBT is often recommended as a targeted treatment designed to tackle these behaviours head on, using techniques such as exposure and response prevention, though other therapies can also be helpful in exploring and addressing the underlying events and causes.

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ADHD counselling in Worcester

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is an emotional condition that makes people feel restless, impulsive and hyperactive. Most people with ADHD struggle to concentrate for long periods of time. While the symptoms usually improve with age, some continue to struggle with aspects of the condition well into adulthood.

 

3 types of ADHD have been identified:

  • Inattentive
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive
  • Combined (Hyperactive & Inattentive)

ADHD tends to affect adults in a different way to children, with subtler symptoms showing such as lack of attention to detail, not finishing tasks, disorganised, forgetting things, indulging in risky or careless behaviours. Sometimes a depressive element or an excessively anxious disposition can lie at the heart of ADHD, therefore psychological therapies that focus on these features can be as effective as medication in managing the condition.

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Autistic spectrum disorder

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Autism is a recognised neuro-developmental disability that affects roughly one in a hundred and shouldn’t be viewed as a mental health condition but rather a different way of being (neuro-atypical). Nowadays those with autism are categorised on a broad spectrum, with labels such as Asperger’s Syndrome being used to categorise those with milder forms. While autism can be a subtle disability, autistic traits tend to show themselves more markedly in social situations, especially when interacting with others.

Since autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental disability it cannot be ‘treated’ and should not be seen as something that needs changing. Autistic people often say being autistic is a key part of who they are, and therefore the focus in any kind of intervention should be on helping the individual adapt themselves more effectively to challenging situations.

Common life challenges might be:

  • Communication or interacting with others. Autistic individuals tend to take things rather too literally and struggle to understand the subtleties of non-verbal communication, tone of voice and sarcasm. However, language itself isn’t the problem but knowing what is expected from someone in a conversation is.
  • Sensory sensitivity. Those on the spectrum may be under or over-sensitive to light, colour, sound, touch or taste, which can make some parts of everyday life difficult, causing the person to feel overwhelmed.
  • Routines and repetitive behaviours. Set routines are often very comforting to autistic individuals. Dealing with an unpredictable world is extremely challenging, predictability makes it feel much safer and more manageable. However, this can make it extremely difficult to embrace change or adapt to new routines, therefore preparations for change need to be made well in advance.
  • Specific interests. These often start in childhood but can change as they grow older. Successful individuals manage to channel their interests into meaningful hobbies, paid employment or even a specialist career. Finding their niche is often fundamental for person’s sense of well-being.

Research has shown that those diagnosed on the spectrum are more likely to suffer from mental health problems than those who are not. According to the National Autistic Society anxiety is the most common complaint with around 40% are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder compared to 15% of the general population; depression also features as a common presentation to GPs for help. More specific ASD based disorders can also feature, such as PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance), which is the drive to avoid everyday demands to an extreme extent and is rooted in a need for control over an anxiety provoking situation.

At WTG we have a number of counsellors trained specifically to support people diagnosed with Autism, or those with Asperger's syndrome, to help cope with the kinds of difficulties outlined above.

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Bipolar Disorder Worcester

Bipolar Disorder

While everyone has variations in their emotional state Bipolar disorder is a specific mood disorder that drastically affects how you feel about life and those around you from day to day, or even within a day. Typically, the sufferer might swing between being in a manic state (feeling exuberant or high) and then plunge quite rapidly into a depressive episode, to the point where they feel extremely low and listless. Some people report that in extreme moments they might suffer some ‘psychotic’ symptoms, for example become quite paranoid, convinced that malevolent things are going on around them, or by contrast feel that good things are destined to happen irrespective of the circumstances, and then proceed to make drastic decisions on this basis.

While there are now various medications available to help control the condition and help level out the most extreme effects, psychological therapies are often prescribed as a means of addressing the underlying causes as well as manage the effects over the longer term. Treatments such as CBT can help identify how thoughts and behaviours interact with each other, with the view to changing particularly destructive cycles. Other longer-term, more interpersonally based interventions, such as psychoanalytic psychotherapy, can help highlight the roots of these feelings in past events or childhood even, with the view to addressing the underlying dispositions that fuel the condition.

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Body Dysmorphia

Body Dysmorphia

Most of us feel unhappy or insecure about the way we look at some point in our life, however these feelings usually come and go. While body dysmorphia is an increasingly common condition (around 1% of the population) it is very different because it affects the individual the majority of the time and leads them to have a permanently distorted view of their appearance, to the extent they are convinced that the way they look is abnormal or ugly, even when it isn't. They will spend a great deal of time looking in the mirror critically, or avoiding mirrors completely, and often leads to a strong desire to have cosmetic surgery.

Fuelling these feelings is the constant thought they are unattractive, which is hugely distressing, and depressing, for the person. Even when friends, partners and family members try to convince the person that they look great, the negative thoughts remain overwhelming. In an effort to combat these negative feelings the person tends to obsess over the way they look, spending hours trying to cover up or hide the perceived flaw, which is why more serious manifestations of Body Dysmorphia are categorised as an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and for this reason CBT is often recommended as the treatment of choice. Sometimes deeper issues with their roots in the past can be the cause of the problem, hence longer-term therapies might be more appropriate.

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