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Category Archives: Psychological Well Being

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Do I Have Social Anxiety?

The pounding heart when asked to make a work presentation, feeling sick when you need to eat in front of others, blushing when everyone is focussing on you, being terrified of saying something stupid or even having a panic attack at the thought of being in a crowd.

These thoughts and feelings are surprisingly common when faced with social situations, but for people who suffer with social anxiety disorder, they can become totally debilitating and lead to avoidance of any and all social situations.

 

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder (or social phobia) is best described as an extreme fear of doing something that may be embarrassing or humiliating and being judged or negatively evaluated by other people. This fear can be restricted to specific situations, or generalised to most situations. Where the fear is specific, the result tends to be avoidance of that particular situation, but when the fear is general, it can sometimes result in almost complete social isolation.

Some common social phobias include:

  • Eating or drinking in public
  • Being in crowds
  • Speaking in public
  • Writing in the presence of others
  • Participating in meetings or group settings
  • Using public toilets

 

How can I tell if I have Social Anxiety?

Most people who struggle with social anxiety disorder are totally aware that their feelings of anxiety are out of proportion to the event itself, but still, suffer distress when exposed to the feared situation.

Some common symptoms of social anxiety include:

  • Blushing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks

 

How common is Social Anxiety?

psychologist counselling anxietySocial Anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders, and affects approximately 8% of the population across their lifetime. Equally common among women and men, social anxiety typically starts in late childhood or early adolescence and is ongoing without treatment, although the levels of severity and impairment can fluctuate over time.

A sad twist with social anxiety disorder is that symptoms of the disorder itself, such as embarrassment, often stop people seeking help, with the average delay between onset and treatment estimated to be 14 years. The good news, however, is that social anxiety tends to respond very well to treatment, and quite often in a relatively short amount of time.

 

What are the Treatment Options?

If you suffer anxiety or panic symptoms, it is important that you see a Doctor to rule out a medical condition. Some drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, so it’s best that you let them know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies or recreational drugs that you might be taking. If a medical cause is ruled out, the next step is to see a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety and panic disorders.

The specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of the social anxiety, whether it is general or specific, and whether it is occurring in tandem with any other depressive or anxiety disorders. It is very common for social anxiety to be partnered with other anxiety disorders, depression and even substance abuse, so it is important to have an understanding of exactly what is going on. In general though, social anxiety is usually treated with relaxation therapy, cognitive-behavioural techniques, exposure therapy, social skills training, assertiveness training and occasionally, medication.

As with any anxiety disorder, social anxiety have been found to respond very well to treatment, but the best results are found when people are motivated and willing to make a change to their lifestyle.

  • Some changes that have been found to reduce the intensity of social anxiety include:
  • Utilising deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle relaxation
  • Regular Exercise
  • Cutting back on stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol
  • Learning to acknowledge and express your feelings, rather than ignoring them
  • Using positive self-talk to create a calmer and more accepting attitude

 

How can we help with Social Anxiety?

At the core of social anxiety is the fear of being negatively judged by other people. The key to treatment, then, is to learn to control the anxiety and accept that, even if mistakes are made because of the anxiety, you will not be judged adversely by friends or colleagues.

When you come in, your Psychologist will try to gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and what is happening in your life. You will most likely be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess the severity of your social anxiety and whether you are suffering any other symptoms of anxiety or depression.

You will also be asked questions to uncover what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.

After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

 

If you would like to book an appointment with one of our experienced, caring Anxiety psychologists, please contact us. We have clinics nationally across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, plus many more; so it's likely we'll have one handy to you.

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Do I Have Agoraphobia?

Do you struggle to leave the house without a friend? Are you frightened of what might happen if you get stuck on a busy train or in an elevator on your own? Do you feel a sense of panic at the thought of being left alone or in a large crowd of people? Do you do everything in your power to avoid these situations?  If so, it is possible you may be suffering from Agoraphobia.

 

What is Agoraphobia?

At its simplest, Agoraphobia is a fear of experiencing a panic attack. A known complication of Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia can be described as the anxiety associated with being in a particular situation or place from which escape may be difficult or help may be hard to access if a panic attack does occur. Commonly known as a fear of open spaces, Agoraphobia is actually much wider reaching, and can lead to avoidance of any feared situation, including being alone at home or away from home, being in crowded areas, including shopping centres and even buses, trains and plains, or even being in an elevator or an a bridge.

 

agoraphobiaHow can I tell if I have Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is characterised by anxiety or fear about being in places or situations where a panic attack might occur. As with panic attacks and panic disorder, no two people will experience Agoraphobia in the same way. In order to avoid the anxiety, people suffering from Agoraphobia may completely avoid the situation, only enter the situation or place with a companion, or reluctantly endure the situation under duress and with extreme anxiety.

 

How common is Agoraphobia?

Approximately 2% of the population will experience Agoraphobia in any given year. Agoraphobia tends to be more common in females, and will usually start in their mid to late twenties.

If left untreated, agoraphobia can become a chronic and disabling disorder that can significantly interfere with an individual’s work and social functioning. Like other anxiety disorders, however, agoraphobia responds very well to treatment and successful recovery is seen with a variety of treatment programmes.

 

What are the Treatment Options?

Because Agoraphobia is based on a fear of panic attacks, similar treatments to those of panic disorder and panic attacks are used.

As always, it is important to consult a Doctor to rule out a medical condition if you suffer anxiety or panic symptoms. Some drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, so it’s best that you let them know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, agoraphobiaherbal remedies or recreational drugs that you might be taking. If a medical cause is ruled out, the next step is to see a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety and panic disorders, and more specifically, Agoraphobia.

The specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of the panic attacks, and whether they are happening in tandem with any other depressive or anxiety disorders. Treatment options for Agoraphobia tend to include exposure therapy, cognitive therapy, assertiveness training, group therapy and medication. As with anxiety, panic disorders and panic attacks, Agoraphobia has been found to respond very well to treatment, but the best results are found when people are motivated and willing to make a change to their lifestyle.

Some changes that have been found to reduce the intensity of attacks include:

  • Utilising deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle relaxation
  • Regular exercise
  • Cutting back on stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol
  • Learning to acknowledge and express your feelings, rather than ignoring them
  • Using positive self-talk to create a calmer and more accepting attitude

 

How can we help with Agoraphobia?

At the core of Agoraphobia is the fear of panic attacks, which themselves are a biological fear response. The key to treatment is to develop strategies that help remove this fear so that the attacks no longer have the power to frighten you.

When you come in, your Psychologist will firstly make sure you feel comfortable and supported. They will then gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and what is happening in your life. You will most likely be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess the severity of your Agoraphobia and associated panic attacks, and whether you are suffering any other symptoms of anxiety or depression.

You will also be asked questions to uncover what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.

After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

 

If you're concerned about the possibility you may be suffering from Agoraphobia, Anxiety or Depression and would like to see one of our experienced psychologists, contact us today.

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What is a Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

You’re worried.....

Constantly and without relief, your mind just can’t stop contemplating the ‘what if’s?’

What if the kids get sick? What if your partner has an accident? Do we have enough money to pay the bills? Am I doing enough at work? Do I fit in with my friends? What am I doing with my life? It never ends, and it’s exhausting.

In our busy world, it is totally normal to experience a certain amount of anxiety and stress, and in some instances, it can actually be a positive thing! But when it persists, and that worry and stress become a constant weight on your shoulders, it’s possible that your anxiety may have moved into disordered territory.

What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is marked by constant worry and stress about life’s circumstances that persists for a majority of days over a 6 month period, but without any other anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, phobias or obsessions.

People struggling with generalised anxiety disorder tend to focus on two or more specific worries, which commonly include money, relationships, health and work or school/work performance, and have difficulty exercising control over these worries.

The intensity and frequency of the stress and worry are almost always totally out of proportion to the actual likelihood that the feared events will even happen, and can become limiting and interfere with basic functioning when left unchecked.anxiety

How can I tell if I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

There are a variety of symptoms associated with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and no two people will experience it in exactly the same way. For generalised anxiety disorder to be occurring, symptoms of worry, physical tension and high arousal must be present for most days over a period of 6 months.

These might include:

- Nervousness or restlessness
- Trembling
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Sweating
- Poor concentration
- Heart palpitations
- Frequent urination
- Muscle tension
- Easily fatigued
- Irritable or depressed mood
- Light headed or dizziness
- Constant state of “high alert”
- Shortness of breath

The constant state of stress that occurs with anxiety can also result in other physical illness, such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and even osteoporosis.

How common is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

It is estimated that 14% of all Australians experience Anxiety in any given year, but only 6% of the population will experience Generalised Anxiety Disorder across their lifetime. This tends to be more common in women and can develop at any age.

Children and adolescents tend to worry about school or sports performance, and adults commonly worry about work, money and health.

Despite their prevalence, anxiety disorders respond very well and often quite quickly to treatment, so it’s not worth continuing to suffer (and worry!) in silence.

What are the Treatment Options?

If you suffer anxiety symptoms, it is important that you see a Doctor to rule out a medical condition. Some drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, so it’s best that you let them know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies or recreational drugs that you might be taking. If a medical cause is ruled out, the next step is to see a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety disorders.

anxiety disorderThe specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of your anxiety symptoms, and whether they are happening in tandem with any other depressive or anxiety disorders.

Generalised anxiety disorder often occurs in conjunction with depression, so it’s important that you share this in order to find the right treatment for you.

In general though, anxiety disorders are usually treated with behavioural therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

As with depression, anxiety disorders have been found to respond very well to treatment, but the best results are found when people are motivated and willing to make a change to their lifestyle.

Some changes that have been found to reduce the intensity of anxiety include:

- Utilising deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle relaxation
- Regular Exercise
- Cutting back on stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol, and sugar
- Increasing downtime
- Learning to acknowledge and express your feelings, rather than ignoring them
- Using positive self-talk to create a calmer and more accepting attitude

How can we help with Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

At the core of anxiety is worry, and the key to treatment is to make sure you have the tools you need to appropriately deal with that worry before it becomes more than it needs to be.

When you come in, your Psychologist will gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and what is happening in your life. You will most likely be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess the severity of your anxiety, and whether you are suffering any other symptoms of anxiety or depression.

You will also be asked questions to uncover what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.

After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

Our Hart Psychologists specialise in all types of Anxiety and know how to help. We have specialist Psychologists in all capital and most regional cities. Phone our friendly receptionists for more information and to help you find the right Psychologist for you. Phone 1300830552.

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Do I Have a Panic Disorder?

Many of us have experienced it.

Your heart is beating a million miles an hour, hands are shaking, you can’t catch your breath, that feeling of sickness keeps rising, the walls are closing in and the room starts to blur. It’s happening - you’re having a panic attack.

For some, these attacks occur in response to a known fear, such as spiders or speaking in public, but for others, a panic attack can occur at any time, on any day and in any situation, and these people are more likely to be struggling with Panic Disorder.

For those suffering with Panic Disorder, it’s not just the panic attacks themselves that cause distress, but the constant worry about the fall-out or consequences from the attacks.

Quite often the fear of losing control, of humiliation or simply that you might be ‘losing it’ is more distressing than the panic attacks themselves. As a result, panic disorder can quite often lead to depression and other anxiety disorders, such as agoraphobia in more severe cases.

It is so important to know that panic attacks and panic disorder respond very well to treatment, and there is no need to continue to suffer through it.

What is a Panic Attack?

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder are part of the Anxiety family, which tends to be characterised by constant worry and stress about the ‘what if’s?’ in life. Some anxiety can be positive, both as a survival mechanism and a motivator, but at its extreme, high levels of anxiety can be hugely limiting and even interfere with basic functioning.panic attack

A panic attack is a reaction to fear, which is a normal biological response to threat. When we are presented with a threatening stimulus, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in and starts pumping adrenaline around our body to trigger a fight, flight or freeze response in order to protect ourselves.

The problem with a panic attack though is that the fear response is triggered without a life threatening danger actually being present, and consequently, there is nowhere for that built up energy to go.

This results in an extremely uncomfortable and distressing experience that can come on suddenly and last anywhere between a few minutes and up to half an hour.

How can I tell if I’m having a Panic Attack?

No two panic attacks are the same, but they always include a combination of physiological and psychological symptoms.

These can include:

- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness / light-headedness
- Tightness in the chest
- Faintness
- Trembling / shaking
- Dry mouth
- Tight muscles
- Racing heart
- Pins & Needles in fingers or feet
- A choking or smothering feeling
- Sweating
- Hot or cold flushes
- Nausea
- Blurred vision
- Feelings of unreality, or separation from yourself
- Difficulty gathering thoughts or speaking
- Powerful urge to flee or run away
- Fear of dying, losing control or going mad

How common is a Panic Disorder?

Approximately 20% of the population will experience a Panic Attack in their lifetime, but only 2% will deal with Panic Disorder. Panic Disorder is more frequent in females, and will usually start in their mid-twenties.

The good news is that anxiety disorders, including panic, respond very well to treatment, and quite often in a relatively short amount of time.

Treatment Options:

panicIf you suffer anxiety or panic symptoms, it is important that you see a Doctor to rule out a medical condition. Some drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, so it’s best that you let them know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies or recreational drugs that you might be taking. If a medical cause is ruled out, the next step is to see a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety and panic disorders.

The specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of the panic attacks, and whether they are happening in tandem with any other depressive or anxiety disorders.

In general though, anxiety disorders are usually treated with cognitive behavioural therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

As with anxiety, panic disorders and panic attacks have been found to respond very well to treatment, but the best results are found when people are motivated and willing to make a change to your lifestyle. Some changes that have been found to reduce the intensity of attacks include:

- Utilising deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle relaxation
- Regular Exercise
- Learning to acknowledge and express your feelings, rather than ignoring them
- Using positive self-talk to create a calmer and more accepting attitude
- Cutting back on stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol

How can a Psychologist help with your Panic Disorder?

The core of any panic attack is that biological fear response, so the key to treatment is to develop strategies that help remove the fear so that the attacks no longer have the power to frighten you.
When you come in, your Psychologist will gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and what is happening in your life. You will usually be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess the severity of your panic attacks, and whether you are suffering any other symptoms of anxiety or depression.

You will also be asked what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.
After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

We have experienced and caring Psychologists in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and regional cities across Australia. Phone our friendly receptionists on 1300830552  for more information and to help you choose which Psychologist might be best for you.

Do I Have Post Natal Depression?


Post Natal Depression is more than the “Baby Blues”.

Bringing a new baby into the world can be the most amazing and most terrifying thing that any of us will do. Through the roller-coaster ride of childbirth and caring for a new baby, many of us have experienced moments of sadness, anxiety, fear and shock in amongst the pure joy, elation and love that a newborn brings.

These feelings are entirely normal, and in fact, the ‘baby blues’ are a well-documented experience for many new mums in the hours and days following the birth of a baby. The baby blues will normally recede without intervention, but some mums continue to struggle to adapt to the new life they have very suddenly found themselves in.

It is when these negative feelings start to settle in and feature in day to day life that Post Natal Depression might be occurring.

Why do you feel depressed after giving birth?

post natal depressionThe idea that this tiny little person is entirely dependent on you can be overwhelming, not to mention the total upheaval to your life and identity, and some mums start to question whether they are up for the job. You may find yourself constantly questioning whether you’re doing the right thing, or simply thinking that they would be better off without you.

Some mums may struggle to bond with their baby for a variety of reasons, and in some cases, find it too overwhelming to even hold him / her.

It can be difficult to see anything outside the groundhog day that is life with a young baby, and you may be unable to enjoy the happy moments that pop up, even though you know they are there.
You might not be feeling what you think you ‘should’ be feeling, and find it easier to simply not talk to people rather than sharing the fact that you are not loving parenthood.

Sometimes you might just feel angry about where life has taken you, with an overwhelming feeling of “what have I done?”

What is Post Natal Depression (PND)?

Post Natal Depression is a depressive mood disorder that starts within 3 months (sometimes up to 6 months) of giving birth and can last a few weeks or even up to a year or more. In some cases, usually without treatment, Post Natal Depression can become an ongoing depressive mood disorder.

How can I tell if I have it?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to Post Natal Depression, but research has suggested that there is a greater likelihood of occurrence for women who have experienced severe PMS pre-pregnancy, have difficult relationships and limited support, experience depression throughout the pregnancy or experience delivery complications and difficulties during the birth process.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of Post Natal Depression are very similar to those experienced in a major depressive episode, and can include:

- Constant feelings of anxiety or depressed mood
- Continuous exhaustion and lack of energy
- Too much or too little sleep
- Appetite changes, including significant weight loss or weight gain
- Feelings of guilt / shame / anger / incompetence / hopelessness
- Loss of libido
- Obsessional thoughts or activities
- Inability to leave the house
- Intense and exaggerated fears about yourself, the baby or your partner
- Suicidal thoughts, plans or actionspost natal depression

How common is Post Natal Depression?

Post Natal Depression occurs in approximately 10% of women, compared to 70% who experience the ‘baby blues’.

It is important to note that 80% of all depression can be treated, but only 1 in 3 seriously depressed people ever seeks treatment. There is no need to suffer this pain in silence, as there is help available.

There is often such a focus on the physical health of both mum and baby after birth that sometimes psychological health can fall by the wayside.
It is important that your mental health is a priority and is maintained, after all, happy mum equals happy baby.

How can a psychologist help with Post Natal Depression?

When you come in, your Psychologist will gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and the circumstances of your life. You will often be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess whether you do have Post Natal Depression, or any other issue, and give an idea as to the severity.
You will also be asked questions to uncover what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.

After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

As with all forms of depression, exercise has also consistently been shown to be very effective in managing and overcoming PND. You don’t need to take out a gym membership or become a yoga guru (it can be as simple as a quick walk with bub in the fresh air!), but your psychologist will encourage you to explore some options to start (or continue) exercising as part of your treatment plan. Some ideas might include finding a friend to walk with (you’d be surprised how quickly 30 minutes can disappear!), signing up to a mum and bub fitness class or even a baby friendly yoga class, and if you are a fan of the gym, perhaps find a gym that offers a crèche service.

If you feel like you'd like help managing and taking back control of your Post Natal Depression, our psychologists across Australia specialise in this field.

We have psychologists that can help in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Canberra, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Perth and Adelaide. Phone our friendly receptionists on 1300 830 552 and they can help you find the right Psychologist for you.

What is Male Depression and how does it differ from normal depression?

Male depression has been a very well kept secret until Terry Real published his book "I don't want to talk about it; Overcoming the Secret legacy of Male Depression" in 1977.

Since then a number of prominent Psychologists have written and educated our profession of Psychology about this condition, the most recent one being David Wexler.

In his book "Is he depressed or what?" David describes how male depression shows itself differently from normal depression.

Men who appear "successful" can often mask their depression with workaholism, substance abuse, withdrawing from their intimate relationships, and defensive and sometimes aggressive behaviour with others.male depression drinking

Depressed men are more likely to talk about physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia and stomach upset rather than emotional symptoms.

If you are one of these men, you may also be aware of feeling stressed or tired, but not be aware of  much else emotionally.

To simplify a generalisation, while women tend to think and process their emotions when they are depressed, men instead tend to act, so they turn to an activity that they enjoy or they distract themselves from their bad emotions.

While distraction can come in very handy at times, the pattern of avoiding uncomfortable emotional states often leads to avoidance, minimization and acting out. There are 4 ways a man will usually avoid feeling bad:

The 4 Characteristics of Male Depression

1. A discontent with yourself

2. Antagonism and blame towards others

3. Exaggerated behaviour

4. Avoidance and escape

These can also overlap with some of the normal depression symptoms of pessimism, despondency, sleep and appetite disturbances, but usually are features on their own as a way of fending off an underlying depression.

Click here to take the Wexler Male Depression Quiz

 

1. Discontent with yourself

One of the primary features of Male depression is a profound unhappiness with yourself.

If you have experienced a loss in your life, a demotion, a business failure, a relationship ending, a reduction in financial assets or any other kind of loss, it can be difficult not to take it personally, and feel shame and self-criticism.

It can also be a further blow to your ego for those around you to be diagnosing you with depression, which is the antithesis of being a strong male.

Although this occurrence may be temporary and/or based on circumstance, it can be difficult not to see as a personal failure.

2. Antagonism and blaming others

In these larger situations where you feel a failure, or even smaller occasions when you are feeling somewhat powerless, hurt or threatened, it can be all too easy to get tripped up with unknown vulnerable emotions that you are not really aware of, and  find yourself responding by "puffing yourself up" to go on the offensive. 

anger manOn so many occasions then, it can feel like your emotional survival depends on fending off any other experiences that make you feel worse about yourself or more hopeless of the future. The best defence it seems is a good offence.

So when you smell danger, as in situations that might make you feel bad about yourself, you proactively go on the attack.

And often the ones you attack are those closest to you, including your partner.

The movie "Good Will Hunting" is a great example of a man who goes on the offensive and attacks his girlfriend, when she has asked him to move to California with her, which brought up his insecurities and had him feeling like he had to defend himself by attacking her and telling her he didn't love her.

Another form of blaming and antagonistic behaviour can be expressed through suspiciousness and mistrust.

When you are feeling insecure and worried in a situation with a partner, it can be all too easy to blame her for being untrustworthy, even if she isn't, which over time can then become a self- fulfilling prophecy of mistrust and betrayal.

It is important to understand how this happens, as many men are capable are changing this pattern when you know how and why it is happening.

 

3. Exaggerated behaviour

When you are not aware of your underlying bad feelings about yourself and depression, your typical response may well be to prove you're a man with exaggerated hyper-masculine behaviours.

This can be by seeking out excessively stimulating experiences, or drinking to excess, or taking drugs, or going out looking for a fight (desperately looking for something to be angry about), or  wanting lots of sex.

 

4. Avoidance and Escape

When you realise that you are deliberately engineering to keep yourself away from any situations in your life that you don't want to be in, you are using avoidance patterns in your life. Some  go as far as systematically (or unconsciously) refusing to put themselves in situations where they may get hurt or suffer loss, like in relationships at all.

Others, who are already in relationships, try the "emotionally zoning out" technique, or "I don't want to talk about it" to anything their partner brings up to talk about.depression

A little bit of this is normal for men, but too much of it can signify underlying depression which can seriously destroy their relationship.

This avoidance, although a drive for emotional protection for a man makes sense in some way, but it is very corrosive to both yourself and your relationship.

To help you assess if you are suffering from male depression take our Male Depression Quiz.

The overwhelming majority of depressed men who recognise and deal with their condition do so because their partners have recognised, encouraged and at times insisted on it.

As Terry Real has said "Depression is one of psychology's greatest success stories. 90% of those who seek treatment report substantial relief."

So please don't hesitate to call us.

For help with either Male depression or normal depression, please contact us at HartPsychologists. We have Psychologists to help you in all capital cities and more: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

You don't need to suffer on your own.

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How Do I Know If I Have DEPRESSION?

“All will never be right; everyone is not what they seem, and I’m not what others want me to be”

“It feels heavy, slow and hard to move and do ordinary tasks”

“I feel like a non-person. It’s all hopeless and life is meaningless”

All of us have experienced periods of sadness, disappointment, loss of energy or motivation, or “the blues” on occasions, but Major Depression is a more severe and long-lasting form of these.

It is when that down, rotten feeling invades every part of your life.

Experiences that would normally feel satisfying, feel like failure and frustration to you. Eventually, you may try to avoid having any experiences at all.

Communicating with people, even those you love may seem difficult or intrusive. You may shrink from wanting to talk with people all together.

And when you envisage the future (tomorrow or in 2 months or even 2 years time) you see no light at the end of the tunnel, and you have no sense that your gloom may ever lift.

What is Depression?

Depression is a depressed mood. We often have different moods like melancholy, elation, anger and peacefulness, which are very normal, but when a mood outlives its context, then it is considered a Mood disorder.

There are 2 types of Mood disorders: Depressive mood disorders (depression) and Bipolar Mood disorders.

How can I tell if I have Depression?

The key symptoms of depression are:

  1. A feeling of depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  2. A loss of interest and pleasure in almost all things you are doing

In addition to these two symptoms, you can experience some of these others:

  1. Significant weight gain or loss,(even though you are not dieting) and a loss of appetite
  2. Either difficulty in sleeping, or can’t stop sleepingdepressed woman
  3. Fatigue, sluggishness or no energy nearly every day
  4. Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or excessive guilt nearly every day
  5. Trouble being able to make decisions or think clearly
  6. A loss of sexual libido
  7. A feeling that life is not worth living, and thinking of suicide at times

 

Check our Depression Test to gain a general idea of whether you are suffering from Depression, and how serious it might be.

How common is Depression?

Over an average lifetime between 8% and 15% of the population experience serious depressive reactions. Two-thirds of these are women.

15% of people who are diagnosed with a depressive illness end their lives by suicide. This accounts for about half the suicides in Australia.

The real tragedy, though, is that 80% of all depression can be successfully treated. It is estimated that only 1 out of every 3 seriously depressed people ever seeks treatment. The pain caused by this situation is needless.

So, if you are feeling this might be what you are experiencing, we encourage you to come and be helped out of the hole you may be feeling you are in. Within a few months, you will be experiencing yourself in a whole different, more positive way.

How can a Psychologist help you with your Depression?

When you come in to see your Psychologist, he or she will gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking and the circumstances of your life. You will probably be asked to do some tests (that aren’t difficult) to assess if you have depression or any other issue, and will also be able to give you an idea of the severity.

He or she will also ask you questions to find out what might be the causes and stressors in your life and will be able to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.

You will usually come home from the initial session with insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future and some initial strategies to get you started.

Exercise has been shown in multiple studies to be very helpful in overcoming depression, so you will be encouraged to find some avenues to start (or continue) exercising, as part of your treatment plan.

Please contact our friendly receptionists on 1300830552, or start looking at which of our Psychologists around Australia might be closest or best suited to you. We have experienced and caring psychologists in all capital cities and more: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Your new life awaits you.

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How Do I Know If I Have ANXIETY?

Who hasn't felt uncomfortable and anxious in situations such as a first date, an interview or a personal confrontation?

In these occasional situations, feeling anxious  is quite is normal.

But if your worries and fears start appearing in every-day situations, or seemingly for no reason at all, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life.

The term Anxiety has become more used lately in the general public, with more people than ever acknowledging they are feeling these feelings.

But what is anxiety?  How much anxiety is considered normal? And how do you know when it gets to a stage you need to seek help?

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety in its natural form is a natural human response to danger or fear. It helps us get out of the way of harm and prepare us for important events, and it also warns us when we need to take action in a particular situation.

However, some people can experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming for them.

If you’re experiencing an excessive, irrational fear of everyday situations, it can be debilitating.

When your anxiety interferes with your everyday activities and life, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Do you have any symptoms of Anxiety?

To better look at if you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, here is a list of symptoms to be on the look-out for.

In your general life:

  • Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
  • Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are always there?
  • Are you constantly tense, worried, or on-edge?
  • Do you find yourself experiencing sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
  • Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
  • Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but you can’t seem to do anything about?
  • Do you avoid some situations or activities because you feel too anxious?

Emotional symptoms:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Trouble concentrating on something at hand
  • Feeling tense and jumpy
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling restless
  • Often watching for signs of danger
  • Feeling like your mind’s gone blankanxiety problem

 Physical symptoms:

  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Stomach upset or dizziness
  • Frequent urinating or diarrhoea
  • Shortness of breath, without exercise
  • Tremors and twitches
  • Noticeable muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

Please check our Anxiety Quiz for a better guide about whether and how you might be suffering Anxiety, and our Anxiety counselling page.

The link with Depression

 Unfortunately, two of the most common disorders in the world are anxiety and depression.

It's very common to suffer from both anxiety and depression at the same time, especially if you have severe anxiety or panic disorder. However, it is important to note that Anxiety and depression are different, although quite often linked.

Click here for more information on combinations of anxiety and depression.

Anxiety has a lot of energy and is characterised by fear. It creates a feeling of discomfort and concern about what could happen in future.

Depression, on the other hand, doesn't have that fear. Depression centres around the idea that life is already bad, with less hope about getting better. It's less worried about the future because it involves less hope.

Both involve a considerable amount of negative thinking. While those with anxiety tend to fear the future and those with depression see the future as more hopeless, both believe that the worst is likely to happen.

The Types of Anxiety:

  •  Generalised Anxiety Disorders:
    People with Generalised Anxiety Disorders feel constantly on edge, like something bad is always about to happen.
     
  • Panic Attacks:
    A panic attack is a sudden rush of stress and emotion around a certain situation, as well as fear that it will happen again. Panic attacks can be debilitating and are often accompanied by an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, trembling and muscle tension. 
  • Phobias:
    A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger.  
  • Social Anxiety:
    Often referred to as extreme shyness, social anxiety is the debilitating fear of being seen negatively, judged or humiliated by others in public.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
    PTSD is an extreme anxiety disorder that often occurs after a traumatic situation or life-threatening circumstance. It is often experienced as a panic attack that never goes away.

 problem with anxiety

When to see a Psychologist

One of the great things about both anxiety and depression, however, is that they're both very treatable

If you’re experiencing a lot of physical anxiety symptoms, check with your Doctor. He is she will ascertain if your anxiety is caused by a medical condition. Since certain drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, your doctor will also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs you’re taking.

If your doctor rules out a medical cause, the next step is to consult with a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety attacks and anxiety disorders. The psychologist will work with you to determine the cause and type of your anxiety disorder and devise a course of treatment.

Anxiety disorders do respond very well to psychological treatment—and often in a relatively short amount of time.

The specific treatment approach depends on the type of anxiety disorder and its severity. But in general, most anxiety disorders are treated with behavioural therapy, medication, or some combination of the two.

At Hart Psychologists, we have Psychologists around Australia who can help you overcome your Anxiety. Call our friendly receptionists on 1300830552 or check our Search bar on the header to find the closest and right one for you. We have Psychologists to help you in all capital cities and more: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

We look forward to helping you become healthier and happier in yourself.

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