Woman's hands with blue finger nail polish, holding a cell phone with chains around her wrists.

Do you have a technology addiction?

By | Addiction, Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Depression, Social Media, Stress | No Comments

It’s 2018, and the digital age is exploding. We are a society that is obsessed with technology, cell phones, laptops, social media, and video games. The more advanced we become in this area, the more we are glued to our screens.

There are people who spend 24/7 sitting in front of their computer playing video games. And making a very substantial living from it we might add. Many individuals in this day and age are making an income from their social media sights as well. Whether it is a blog, an Instagram influencer, or a content writer, not only our social lives are focused on social media but so are our job markets.

But can you really be addicted to social media?

Mentally, there are studies out there that have shown the negative side effects of spending too much time on social media. Psychologically speaking, people have shown to have more anxiety, depression, loneliness, low self-esteem and body image issues from spending so much time on social sites.

If you ask most people if they are addicted to their social media they will likely tell you no. And for the most part this can be true. People love to constantly check Instagram, or Facebook, and genuinely love sharing their lives. But if they go on a vacation, out of the country, or need to have their phone off for a certain period of time, are usually able to do so with ease.

It is now seen as something that has become a habit rather than an addiction. And we know that habits are not always positive, and can have several negative side effects on our health. An addiction is usually something that needs to be diagnosed by a professional. If you suspect that you or a loved one is becoming more and more addicted to technology, we urge you to seek out a professional like a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.

How do you know if you’re developing an addiction?

There are a couple of signs that you could be headed in this direction. According to Mark D Griffiths from Psychology Today, if you answer ‘Yes’ to the following questions you might be starting to develop an addiction.

1. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
2. Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
3. Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
4. Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
5. Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
6. Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?

What to do about it?

Seeing a therapist or a counselor is always a great idea. They can help understand the reasons behind your uses of social media, and work through why it’s making you feel the way it does. Another great suggestion is to do a “technology detox” of sorts. Try putting your phone down for a certain amount of time each day, or limiting your hours that you are on your phone. Little by little try to work out a schedule so that you have a good amount of time without your devices.

Taking many breaks is always a good idea through out the day. Especially if your job requires you to be on your phone or computer all day long. Every hour or so stand up, take a walk outside or around your office. This will help clear your mind, ease your neck muscles, and give you some fresh air.

What are your suggestions for spending less time on our technological devices? 

Suicide Prevention

5 Simple Steps to Help Prevent Suicide

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Communication, Coping, Depression, Grief & Loss, Mental Health, PTSD, Stress, Suicide | No Comments

Earlier in the week we shared a TED Talk about how to start a conversation about suicide. In the last few months we have had a number of big name celebrities die from suicide. Our media once again has become saturated with those who many of us look up to and their decision to take their own lives.

Whether you think that posting about it, talking about it, or sharing about it glorifies suicide or supports prevention, there are a few basic steps we all need to be reminded of to help someone close to use who might be struggling.

According to Elana Premack Sandler L.C.S.W, M.P.H and her article on Psychology Today, there are 5 simple steps for suicide prevention.

  1. Ask
  2. Keep Them Safe
  3. Be There
  4. Help Them Connect
  5. Follow Up

It is hard to know what to do when someone we love has started to talk about suicide. Do we talk to them about it? Do we call for help? Do we ignore it and hope it goes away? Do we force them to get help?

These days there are a number of suicide prevention numbers and hotlines to call. 1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Hotline, and here in Arizona there is a local number called Empact 1-480-784-1514

But when you are close to someone and see them struggling, it’s easy to be unsure of what to do. These 5 simple steps are easy to remember, and can help someone you love get the help they need. Sometimes we are afraid of asking if someone is thinking about taking their own life, but we need to ask these tough questions. It opens the door for our loved ones to know that we care about them, and are concerned. When we take action to keep them safe, we can keep a situation from escalating. We can keep them on the phone, go over to their house if possible, send a neighbor or a friend over while we are connecting them with phone numbers or other resources for help.

It is important to follow up with our loved one and ask them how they are doing. By following up we are letting that person know we care about their long term health and happiness, and are willing to step in to keep them safe.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please give them the Empact Crisis Line phone number 1-480-784-1514 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

We are here to help as well. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, call our office at 1-480-999-7070.

 

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Types of Treatment for PTSD

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, CBT, Coping, Counseling, Depression, Mental Health, PTSD, Stress | No Comments

When you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic event, what can you expect when you seek treatment? There are a lot of different types of treatments out there, and the success always depends on the individual. But according to The American Psychological Association, there are four main types of treatments that they recommend during therapy for those suffering from PTSD.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  2. Cognitive Processing Therapy
  3. Cognitive Therapy
  4. Prolonged Exposure

CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a very common and well know treatment for clients who are seeking psychological help for their PTSD. It generally has the client focus on the behaviors, thoughts and/or feelings that they are associating with the trauma they experienced. When these behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are identified, they are then worked to change them from a negative pattern to a more positive one. When changing a behavior, it can then change the thoughts or feelings that go along with that behavior. And vice versa, changing the thoughts and feelings associated with a certain type of behavior can then in turn change the behavior.

CPT or Cognitive Processing Therapy is the specific type of CBT that allows clients to learn how to change the negative thoughts/feelings and behaviors associated with the trauma. It will give clients the tools to change and replace behaviors and thoughts in order to eliminate the negativity in their lives.

CT or Cognitive Therapy involves focusing on the thoughts a person is having that keeps bringing them back to the trauma and negative experience. CT will change or “interrupt” the thought process, in order to redirect the thoughts so that they are not having such an impact on the persons every day life.

Prolonged Exposure is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has the client focus on the memories, thoughts and/or feelings they have been avoiding that surround the traumatic event. It helps the client get rid of the avoidance, and face the memories head on, in order to challenge the memories/thoughts/feelings. This can help the client become aware the memories do not need to be avoided, and can actually be worked through in a positive manner.

Whatever type of treatment is done, or is sought out by the client, we know this can be a very difficult time in a persons life. We encourage anyone who has suffered or is suffering from something traumatic to seek help. You deserve to feel better, and to have control over your life!

 

 

 

To read more on the treatments at APA go here.

Male Counselor with pen and pad, facing a stressed young man on a couch.

The First Signs You Might Be Suffering From PTSD

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Coping, Counseling, Depression, Mental Health, PTSD, Resolution, Sleep Deprivation, Stress, Suicide | No Comments

What are some of the signs you might be suffering with, or that you might be seeing someone close to you suffer with that could be an early indication of PTSD?

According to American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V2, in order to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you must exhibit a few different groups of behaviors. Those are intrusion symptoms, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. And these groups of symptoms are diagnosed by a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.

Before this diagnosis happens, one might start having difficulty immediately after a particularly traumatic event. These early signs of stress after trauma can be a wide range of behaviors and emotions. The thoughts and emotions can lead to reactionary behaviors that could be considered warning signs that PTSD might be on the horizon. When trying to heal from a traumatic event, understanding how the event has changed your thought process, your emotions and your entire life early following the event is the key to help from developing PTSD. It is important to get help soon after, or get your loved one help soon after the event and if they start to exhibit emotions or behaviors that are not consistent with how they were before the event.

Some signs to look out for:

1- Sleeping Difficulties

2- Anger

3-Numbness and Disconnection

4-Depression

5-Chronic Anxiety

6-Reliving the Trauma

7-Feeling Unsafe

8-Suicidal Thoughts

9-Relationships Changes (person might become more irritable, angry, and have more conflicts in their relationships)

10-Loss of Self Esteem

11-Work Performance Declines

12-Lifestyle Changes (person might stop going to their gym classes, or stop engaging in other hobbies they used to love)

13-New Use (or increased use) of Drugs and Alchohl

Experiencing a traumatic event affects the person it happened to, as well as everyone surrounding this person. It is important to be supportive and loving, and to recognize when someone might not be coping with the event in a healthy manner. It is also important to recognize as a loved one, when you yourself might not be coping with the change in the loved one. Keeping communication open, getting the help that is needed on all accounts, are great first steps before a diagnosis of full fledged Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is considered. To read more about the early signs of PTSD, check out this article at Psychology Today by Jennifer Sweeton PsyD.

 

PTSD in block letters, with other words around it describing PTSD

Our May Theme for the blog will be PTSD

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Coping, Counseling, Depression, Happiness, Mental Health, PTSD, Stress | No Comments

Happy May everyone! We hope you are all having a wonderful Spring, and getting ready for those hot temperatures for Summer! Because at the end of May we will be honoring those who served in the military on Memorial Day, we will focus this month on various topics related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We will not only be talking about the Veterans we have in our lives, but the families and friends around them. We will also talk about other things that can cause PTSD, not just those who have returned from war and might be struggling.

There are many different traumatic experiences that can cause symptoms and prolonged PTSD. We want our blog to be beneficial and full of useful information for all people who may be in a situation where they are suffering. Even if you yourself have not experienced anything like this, or think you can’t relate, there might be someone in your life who is suffering. So this month we aim to talk about a plethora of information to help uplift ourselves and those around us!

What is PTSD and how do you know if you’re suffering from it? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the after affects of someone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. These events can range anywhere from a physical/emotional attack, serious accident, natural disaster, war, and much more. People who suffer from PTSD continue to have visions, thoughts, nightmares, and reactions long after the traumatic event has ended. The person who is suffering can often feel sad, depressed, anxious, and withdraw  from friends, family, work, and social situations.

Here are a few of the topics we’ll be exploring for the month of May on our blog:

-What to do if you are struggling with PTSD?

-How to help someone who is going through symptoms of PTSD?

-Living a healthy and happy life after a traumatic event.

And much more!

outdoor

Outdoor Therapy?

By | Biltmore, Blog, Depression, Happiness, Health, Mindfulness, Stress | No Comments

Have you ever heard of therapy that is conducted in the great outdoors? We have a beautiful practice here in the Biltmore, but sometimes the temperatures here in Arizona are so scorching we are happy to be inside where it is cool.

However, there has been more and more practices and counselors who are taking their craft outdoors. There have been many studies on the affects of how getting outside and being outdoors can positively impact our lives. The mere fact of just being outdoors have shown to decrease stress levels, soothe mental illness, and increase physical activity. A lot of time spent in the outdoors is spent connecting with others, so the social interaction can be a positive thing in an individuals life as well.

There is a certain sense of calm when we are outside, especially when we are in a space that is green, clean, and quiet. This type of environment can really give us a platform to reconnect with ourselves, be in the moment, and appreciate what is around us that we often forget about when we are running through our busy lives.

There are therapy programs and groups that are held in outdoor environments, like camping in the woods, hiking groups, and even one on one counseling sessions done in a park. The results have shown that these types of activities can lower the stress hormone cortisol, which can be increasingly inflammatory and damaging to our health and our minds. Lowering cortisol can help improve symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia and anxiety. Often people feel healthier, and stronger after they’ve done something outside. So it’s no wonder taking the calming feeling of just being outdoors, coupled with am individual counseling session or in a group can be successful.

There is an article over at American Psychological Association about how psychologists are using wilderness as a therapeutic tool. Check out that article here. There is also a wonderful article written by Frederick Reimers on Outside Online that explores the topic. We would love to know what you think?

Would you sign up for a therapy session done outside?

Does being outdoors make you happier?

What are your favorite outdoor activities?