Diseases & Personality Disorders Answers

Am I showing signs of Borderline personality disorder?

Hello, So of course I wouldn't be able to give you a diagnosis based on the information you provided or without meeting with you in person, but I'll give you some of my thoughts. There are a number of features often seen in Borderline Personality Disorder, and "explosive" moments can be one, as well as rapid mood shifts. However, there are several other mental health disorders that also would fit with these as well.  If I were to assess you for a mental health disorder, I would want to take a look at your life history first of all. The most common "ruleout" I would make before looking at a Borderline diagnosis is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. It is very common for those who present with "explosive" behaviors to have a history of trauma. When this trauma has not been addressed in therapy, there can be a wide range of unhealthy behaviors that result. In fact, the majority of the clients that I meet with who have previously been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder I end up giving a diagnosis to of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. There are also mood disorder, such as Bipolar Disorder, that could apply, although I find that this is often also overdiagnosed. There is also Intermittent Explosive Disorder which involves, as the name implies, occassional violent, aggressive behaviors. I woudl also want to look at any substance use history (even if it is not occurring presently).  Above all else, I'd want to look at what your life looks like in general. For example, if you are dealing with a lot of stress and a lack of self-care, that could certainly explain those feelings of detachment and some explosive episodes. If you're feeling trapped, dealing with a lot of guilt, having difficulty coping with grief, etc., these are all potential explanations for what is occurring. There can even be medical factors that could be playing a role, such as some vitamin deficiencies. Borderline Personality Disorder tends to be fairly inflexible. You can work on the symptoms, and it is possible for them to go away, but as a personality disorder it tends to be more inflexible than some other mental health disorders. From personal experience I've seen many clients who are convinced they have Borderline Personality Disorder or another personality disorder work on issues that are resulting in their maladaptive behaviors and by doing so no cope much more effectively. In other words, they probably never had Borderline Personality Disorder in the first place. So, here are the two most important points I want to make: One is that the diagnosis really doesn't matter. Even if you did receive the Borderline Personality Diagnosis (which I would perhaps ignore unless it was done very carefully and by collecting a considerable amount of information, as it is often misdiagnosed), the problem isn't the diganosis--the concern is your well-being and your behaviors. Getting a diagnosis really doesn't fix anything, and if it's an incorrect diagnosis, it can definitely do more harm than good. I secondly want to strongly encourage you to give mental health treatment a try, whether you choose to participate in therapy on this platform or reach out for help elsewhere. The symptoms you're experiencing can be addressed, but we would want to dig deeper into what is causing them. If you would like to participate in therapy, or even if you just have further questions for me, please don't hestitate to ask. No matter what the diagnosis is, it's very likely that with some help your mental health can improve. Take care. Nick 
(MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 10/12/2021

Who can I ask for help when I feel like I have borderline personality disorder?

Thank you so much for your question. Coping with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be very challenging. BPD is characterized by the difficulty in being able to regulate one's emotions. Emotions can be felt more intensely for extended periods of time for people who are diagnosed with this condition. These challenges in healthy mood regulation can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, conflict in interpersonal relationships, and intense emotional responses to stressors.  I am going to answer this question from two main perspectives of (1) a person with a confirmed diagnosis from licensed mental health professions and (2) a person without a confirmed diagnosis. I would also encourage you to contact your benefits provider to find out what kind of behavioral health care coverage you have because oftentimes if you have assistance for medical coverage, the benefits plan will account for mental health as well.  (1) If you have already received a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) from a licensed professional, the next step would be to try to get engaged with treatment services. Psychotherapy has been proven to be very effective in the treatment of BPD as it addresses the emotional dysregulation associated with the disorder. You can check to see if there are any providers that your insurance may cover that offer Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and/or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). -DBT focuses on teaching coping skills to help fight destructive urges, regulate emotions, improve relationships, and practicing mindfulness. -CBT focuses on helping to reduce negative thinking and the behaviors associated with BPD by learning effective coping strategies. Sometimes medication-assisted treatment can be effective with the combination of psychotherapy which usually requires a prescriber. Some things you can do on your own include: -Connecting with others through support groups (in-person or online) -Taking care of your physical health (eating balanced meals, getting adequate rest, stress-relieving activities like meditation or yoga) -Avoid the use of mood-altering substances like alcohol and drugs as it can exacerbate symptoms of BPD   (2) The first thing a person would benefit from doing if they suspect they have BPD is to get assessed by a licensed mental health professional, preferably one who specializes in personality disorders. It is important to not self-diagnose because these professionals are trained to look for symptomatology and potential causes of these conditions. A licensed professional with be able to help a person navigate the mouse appropriate level of care.   For more free resources please check out these sites below: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/treatment/ https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder/Overview https://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.org/consumer-recovery-resources/
(MA, NCC, LPC)
Answered on 10/09/2021

Can you help me to stop gambling?

Hello, I understand that you are having difficulty with gambling and urges to gamble that have caused negative consequences in your life.  Your question of can someone help you stop gambling, I would say yes, there is professional help, but you must ultimately be the one who is ready to make the changes necessary to combat the urges to gamble.  With proper psychoeducation, a solid support system, and learning/practicing techniques, you should be able to exercise improved self-control over these urges over time.  However, changes don't happen immediately or overnight and require dedication and some work on your end.  There is not a professional who can do the work for you, but a therapist can stand beside you and offer support and opportunities to learn.  Oftentimes, the urges to gamble have roots in a desire for instant gratification and the feeling that you get when you do win money from gambling.  The "high", the chase, or intensely pleasurable feelings you get from participating in gambling, the risk, the thrill, and sometimes the winnings are what you seek.  This is the feeling that you would potentially focus on in therapy and try to identify ways to replicate parts of it in other healthy activities.  Support is crucial.  There are Gambling Anonymous groups that focus on the 12 steps which many find helpful.  The group format with others who share your struggle can instill a feeling of belonging and help keep you accountable.  Gambling Disorder is the only addiction disorder outside of substance use disorder that has made it into the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition).  What that indicates to clinical mental health professionals, is that this disorder should be treated in a similar treatment modality as with other addictive behaviors.  Behavior modification, emotion regulation, and healthy habits that become long-term life changes can be achieved with psychotherapy and the motivation of the individual seeking help.  Better Help is a platform where individuals do not receive diagnoses but therapists provide their expertise and non-judgmental listening ears to allow people to learn about themselves and find solutions to their problems.  So, in short, yes, gambling is something that you can be helped with.  You are brave to reach out and admit that this has become a problem in your life.  I wish you the best of luck on this journey!  
(LPC, NCC, SAC-IT)
Answered on 08/10/2021

What are some tips on coping with a bipolar parent?

Bipolar Disorder is a diagnosis whose symptoms create an erratic and sometimes create gret chaos in the person's life who has the diagnosis but also in the lives of those who regularly come into contact with them.  What seemed fine two or three sentences ago can just as suddenly turn dangerous and lead to a hospitaliztion as you notice.  It can also just as quickly destroy the peaceful setting of a wedding and create forever negative memories of something that should be beautiful and wonderful.  It is, however, as you probably already realize something that is difficult to manage.  Setting boundaries is healthy but it can be difficult to navigate the emotions of another person who is hearing or receiving the boundary setting.  The timing of setting boundaries needs to be chosen with the greatest of care.  It seems that you have been managing this dilemma for a while and would like some guidance. It would be important for you to share how the person diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder has been affecting your life.   You say that this happened 3 years ago so I would ask that you prepare a time line of how she affected your life prior to the diagnosis and since the diagnosis.  No piece of information is too miniscule.  They are all very important to resoling your dilemma and determining how to begin setting boundaries.  Please be as specific as you can concerning any past interactions and attempts to work with her mental health symptoms.  What was successful and what was not successful?  Are you aware of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill a/k/a NAMI?  There are many groups throughout the United States and they provide resources at their websites and meetings that are educational and supportive.  You can reach then at www.nami.org.  You may find that their availability is limited to or heavily internet or virtually focused today.  That would be a good resource whether virtual or in person.  Bipolar Disorder is best managed through a combination of counseling and medication.  Medication is going to be generally a lifelong situation as it is a chronic disease much the same as diabetes or heart disease.  She will decompensate from time to time so finding successful responses to her symptoms that you can use on a regular and steady basis.  This is likely to reduce the chaos and change for you.  Read a good book on Bipolar Disorder. The best writer I know is Kay Jamison who wrote An Unquiet Mind and who is a medical professional diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  You will find that a search of "Bipolar Disorder" on Amazon will produce family books for those who love a family member diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
(Psy.D., LISW-CP/S, CACII)
Answered on 07/08/2021

Is it possible to have BPD and bipolar disorder at the same time

Hi there. I'm sorry that you are struggling with the symptoms that you are experiencing. I can imagine that it is overwhelming and distressing for you. What I would like to do for your question is to give you a better sense of what BPD is in contrast with Bipolar Disorder. From what you described, it is highly likely that you have just BPD. BPD often mimics or appears like Bipolar Disorder. The difference between the two is with respect to the length of time and severity of the symptoms. For Bipolar Disorder, people often experience grandiose ideas, impulsivity secondary to those ideas, high levels of energy, and a decreased need for sleep. These symptoms occur together and are for a specific period of time therefore considered a "mood episode." With BPD, the symptoms are more pervasive and difficult to control in your day-to-day. The symptoms do include: difficulty with maintaining relationships because you go back and forth between "idealizing" to "hating" them; fears of abandonment; self-harming behaviors to help with alleviating emotional pain; frequent and intense experiences of suicidal ideation and/or gestures; impulsive behaviors (the goal being to alleviate emotional pain or to "fill the emptiness"); difficulty with managing your temper/anger outbursts; frequent and intense moodiness/mood lability; fleeting paranoia when you are under a lot of stress; lack of an identity/poor self-esteem (you often build your relationships with others by being a chamelion/blending in so that you are not rejected and feel like you belong but don't have a strong sense of self); and, chronic feelings of emptiness (which fuels impulsivity, self-harming and clinging to relationships even if they are unhealthy). Self-harming is one of the more "classic" or telling symptoms of BPD. When a person is experiencing bipolar disorder, they may become impulsive and also, during that episode, struggling with insight whereas when you are experiencing symptoms of BPD, you are aware of what is occurring but you have difficulty managing how you feel because it is so overwhelming. Can people have both? Absolutely, but there is generally a period of time when if Bipolar symptoms are under control that you are better able to see if BPD symptoms are still occurring or if they have stopped. I hope that this is helpful.
(PhD, MPhil, LMHC)
Answered on 06/03/2021

What Alzheimer’s does to your body?

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that has multiple negative symptoms throughout its progression, most of which affect the brain and subsequently affect other areas of your body.  The most commonly known symptom associated with Alzheimer’s is memory loss.  Due to the degenerative nature of this disease, the effects on the brain are more subtle in the beginning.  You may notice a slight increase in forgetfulness; usually, small items are easily forgotten.  But the frequency will be increased.  As the severity increases, more important things may be forgotten, like where you live, who your family is, or even what year you are in.  Oftentimes this process can have a major impact on our emotional health; those facing this disease may become easily overwhelmed, confused, and agitated, leading to increased symptoms of depression. In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, when the progression has become more severe, individuals will begin to lose the functioning of their physical body.  They become incontinent, resulting in the person soiling themselves.  Their muscles become weaker, making it more challenging to do simple tasks like cleaning up after themselves or lifting/carrying items that normally would not have been challenging for them.  At this point, they may require an aide or other person to assist in caring for their daily activities.  Unfortunately, their brain functioning continues to deteriorate, so they may forget who they are trying to help them and become combative with their helpers.  Also, their mood will be more labile; you may see these individuals become easily tearful, which is usually related to the negative feelings associated with losing their ability to function at a “normal” capacity.  They may also lose their appetite or even forget if they ate, which would only worsen the symptoms listed above.  At this point, there is no “cure” for Alzheimer’s.  Some medications help slow the progression so that someone with this diagnosis can live out their lives with normal functioning for as long as possible.  Research also supports that exercise and good nutrition helps to prolong the inevitable progression of Alzheimer’s.  So if this is something that has genetic influence, then it is best to take good care of your body. 
Answered on 05/12/2021

Can Bullying Cause OCD?

Mental health professionals rarely determine that one factor causes a mental health disorder; rather, experiences can put a person at a higher risk of experiencing a mental health disorder. Therefore, rather than ask whether bullying causes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it makes more sense to think about whether bullying increases or contributes to one’s chances of developing the symptoms consistent with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. There is evidence that a person who experiences bullying may be at a higher risk of developing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This makes a lot of sense if you think about what bullying is. When a person is bullied, they are placed in a situation where they have little control over it. He may not feel safe in places where he should feel safe, such as at school, and efforts to seek help to stop the bullying may be ignored, only further contributing to the sense that he has limited control over his circumstances. There is a link between trauma (and bullying can absolutely be traumatic, even if the individual does not experience significant physical harm) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, likely in part because, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the individual obsesses about controlling their environment and/or body. Unfortunately, in trying to control so much, they often lose a sense of control over his ability to make decisions.   Bullying and trauma are also linked to several other mental health disorders, including substance use disorders. By abusing substances to control feelings, the person may temporarily feel more control over his life (although this substance often leads to much less control). A person who experiences bullying may also be more likely to obsess over control of food intake (which can result in eating disorders) or inflict pain on oneself (self-mutilation). An article by Fugen Neziroglu, Tania Borda, Sony Khemlani-Patel, and Brittany Bonasera entitled The Roles of Bullying and Victimization in OCD and BDD: An International Sample can provide additional reading for someone interested in the link between bullying and OCD (as well as Body Dysmorphic Disorder). In conclusion, recognizing that bullying can be correlated with higher rates of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and other disorders can be beneficial if we help the survivor of bullying receive the necessary treatment and take practical measures to prevent bullying. There is absolutely no debate that the experience of bullying as a child can increase a person’s risk of various mental health disorders.  
(MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 05/12/2021

Why Mindfulness Matters?

Awareness Mindfulness allows us to be aware of our present conditions. We may notice that we are holding onto tension that we did not realize we had, or we may notice maladaptive thoughts of which we had not been fully aware. Mindfulness allows us to appreciate what is in front of us. A common mindfulness exercise is to slowly eat something, such as a raison, and appreciate its texture, smell, and the transformation of flavors. Because so many of us live busy lives, we may focus too much on what is behind us or ahead of us and not enough on what we are thinking and feeling at that very moment. We may notice our concentration improves as we can focus more completely on tasks in front of us. Acceptance Another key component of mindfulness is acceptance. Because mindfulness focuses on the hear-and-now, it can be useful to reduce worry about possible future events. Additionally, if we struggle with thinking about a past event, mindfulness can reduce the guilt, grief, resentment, etc., of whatever past event occupies our mind. Many problems identified by those in therapy can involve trying to control something that cannot be controlled while failing to control something that the person does have control over. Because mindfulness can help us to become more aware of what we can control and accept what we cannot, we may feel empowered while also feeling that we can let go of the thoughts and feelings that are unhealthy for us. With acceptance, there is more opportunity for gratitude and peace. A New Way Of Living By achieving greater awareness and acceptance, we may notice several positive changes in our lives. For one, we may sleep better because we worry less about the future and focus less on the past. Mindfulness strategies can be helpful for those with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and even those with chronic pain, and you may notice that your mental health improves. Mindfulness is also linked to increased creativity (artists will often practice mindfulness techniques for inspiration). While mindfulness may be challenging for someone not used to it at first, it can quickly become an enjoyable part of your daily life.   
(MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 05/12/2021

What Therapy is Best for Bipolar Disorder?

To determine the best course of action when diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, it is necessary to speak with mental health professionals, as symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can vary widely with regards to severity. Those with Bipolar I Disorder may require hospitalization until the person is stable, which is often unnecessary with Bipolar II Disorder. An important point to make before discussing treatment options is that Bipolar Disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed. Make sure you receive a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional you trust. If it has been a long time since being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, be open to the fact that you may receive a different diagnosis now. Since those with Bipolar Disorder will experience depressive episodes and manic or hypomanic episodes, treatment may vary depending on the current episode. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is effective in treating Bipolar Disorder. The therapist will help you to recognize the cognition associated with your depressive episodes and, by using cognitive restructuring, change the way you think. Because those experiencing a manic episode may feel agitated, euphoric, or out of control, your therapist may help you learn mindfulness strategies and coping skills. Your therapist may also help you develop a routine and stick to it, as having a structured schedule can be important for those with mood shifts. Additionally, the therapist may include your family in therapy, as your communication and overall relationship with them may be affected. If you abuse substances, helping you get and stay sober will be extremely important, as drug and alcohol use can make the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder far worse. Your therapist may encourage you to participate in additional social activities to have additional support and be more active when feeling depressed.  Rather than only treating the episodes when they occur, there are preventative measures that your therapist can help you take to minimize these episodes. Many people who have Bipolar Disorder, especially those who have frequent or intense manic episodes, can benefit considerably from psychotropic medications. Mood stabilizers, including lithium and Depakote. Antipsychotic medications, such as Abilify, are also sometimes used if the client is not experiencing psychosis. In addition to the mood stabilizer, your doctor may also prescribe an antidepressant that can reduce the frequency and severity of depressive episodes. It is very important that you take these medications as prescribed, as stopping them without consulting your doctor can be catastrophic even if you are feeling well. Overall, there are several treatment options for Bipolar Disorder, with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy combined with other treatment modalities probably the most common experience. Communicate with the mental health professional what is and what is not working for you. Fortunately, various approaches can be effective, so although it can take trial and error, most people with Bipolar Disorder benefit significantly from therapy.
(MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 05/07/2021

Why counseling is important?

Counseling is a joint effort between a client and a counselor; wherein professional counselors support clients in identifying goals and potential solutions to problems. Emotional turmoil, difficulty communicating, issues like anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia can be addressed with the support of a counselor. Counselors work with clients to improve communication and coping skills, support health self-esteem, behavior change, and overall mental wellbeing. Counseling comes in many forms. Individual counseling is one on one counseling. Couples counseling helps couples address relationship issues and strengthen bonds. Family counseling supports families in addressing areas of difficulty that they may encounter. Group counseling usually involves a counselor working with 8 to 10 people on the same or similar issues. At some point in life, everyone experiences a bump in the road. These challenges may be changing careers, navigating the end of a relationship, recovering from substance use, working through anxiety, managing stress, or learning to live with a mental health condition like depression, bipolar disorder, or something else. Counseling is a treatment that considers the individual and their unique circumstances when creating treatment plans. There are also many areas of specialty that counselors may work within: grief, addiction, relationships, and more. The research support for counseling as a viable treatment makes it extremely important. There are many modalities, theories of treatment, and interventions. Counselors receive training in multiple methods or their preferred methods and are ethically bound to use treatment modalities that have scientific research support as being helpful. Some common modalities utilized are cognitive behavior therapy or CBT, dialectical behavior therapy or DBT, EMDR or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, biofeedback, ACT or acceptance and commitment therapy, person-centered therapy, and more. Counseling has been researching proven to treat anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, attachment disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD, personality disorders, and more. While medical approaches and treatments with medication can be helpful, they may not be the first choice for every person or appropriate. Medication adherence and outcomes are often improved by therapy (also called counseling). Counseling empowers clients with skills that can last a lifetime and support them as they work through problems in ways that are best suited to their needs and preferences, making it a unique and important treatment option. For more information on the counseling profession and its many branches, visit the American Counseling Association website or the National Board for Certified Counselors.
(MS., CMHC., NCC.)
Answered on 05/06/2021

Are childhood memories important?

Childhood memories can be very important. In general, memory plays an important role in how we learn to make sense of the world. We have experiences in which we learn lessons. For example, we may learn that a thing with a back and four legs is off the floor in a chair. From there, we learn to classify other related data like “couch” or “loveseat” or “ottoman.” The way that we organize our pasts and prior experiences depends on memories of those past events. This, in turn, influences how we determine courses of action in the future and form judgments that we use to navigate the world in the present. People with fond memories of childhood, like good memories of their parents, typically have better overall health, fewer instances of depression, and a reduced likelihood of chronic illnesses as adults. Positive memories in young adults are also associated with better health, including better work and personal relationships, a lower risk of substance use, and depression. For some people, childhood memory is difficult. This is known as childhood amnesia and is thought to have multiple potential causes. Many childhood memories occur before children have a full vocabulary, which some researchers believe may hinder their ability to preserve memories. The rapid growth of the brain and development of language and vocabulary may have something to do with the ability to recall memories from before and after that point in time. Early childhood memories are also thought to be filled with potential errors in the recall, which means that they may not be as accurate as they seem. Many researchers believe that our earliest memories are often a patchwork of things we actually recall and bits and pieces of information from relatives and deductions and extrapolations based on other information we possess that may be relevant. Because researchers understand the importance of the stories we tell ourselves about our lives, as with the Adult Attachment Interview, it’s the sense that we make of our experiences and the narratives we build from them that have the actual impact on our lives. If you want to explore early memory and its importance or meaning, talk with a licensed professional counselor.
(MS., CMHC., NCC.)
Answered on 05/06/2021

Where is Alzheimer’s most common?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition. The disease accounts for the majority of dementia diagnoses worldwide. Alzheimer’s affects the global population, no single population more than another, although it occurs in the elderly more frequently than any other demographic. Even though it happens most often in older people, it is not a normal part of aging. Scientists believe that the development of proteins in the brain, called plaques and tangles, causes dementia that results from Alzheimer’s disease. These protein formations are thought to block the absorption of nutrients by cells and communication between them, resulting in brain cell death. Over time, the death of the brain cells results in atrophy or loss of brain mass. The initial signs of the disease are usually memory-related. Difficulty recalling the right words or losing objects are common early-stage symptoms. The mid-stage of Alzheimer’s lasts the longest, sometimes for many years. During this stage, symptoms progress. Symptoms in this stage may include problems recalling personal information like date of birth or residence and important events in personal history. It’s during this stage that patients may begin to wander and become lost. The final stage of Alzheimer’s is the most severe. The loss of motor abilities like walking, talking, and swallowing may occur during this stage. The patient may lose the ability to interact with their environment and communicate with others, making them especially vulnerable. During this stage, the person is completely dependent on others for care and support. At present, there are no treatments that stop or reverse Alzheimer’s disease. Current treatments focus on symptom management. Research is ongoing in the hope for a cure and treatments that stop and reverse the condition. Prevention is a focus in some of the available research. Conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure are often linked with Alzheimer’s and are more likely to be found in Alzheimer’s patients. For this reason, it is recommended that practicing prevention for these conditions may help prevent Alzheimer’s. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep may help prevent Alzheimer’s and support overall health. If you have concerns about Alzheimer’s disease, talk with your trusted medical provider. You can also contact the 24/7 Alzheimer’s Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.
(MS., CMHC., NCC.)
Answered on 05/06/2021

When do Alzheimer’s patients stop talking?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition often at work in the brain long before the first symptoms appear. Researchers believe that Alzheimer’s starts in one area of the brain and advances through other areas, which results in an ongoing decline in cognitive ability and eventual difficulty with motor skills like speaking. In the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, the areas of the brain that are responsible for memory and thinking are most impacted. At this stage, symptoms may include: Losing important objects Difficulty planning and organizing Trouble coming up with the right words Problems in social settings People in the earlier stages can live well and independently in most cases. They’re encouraged to engage in meaningful and important activities at this stage and to engage in healthy activities like exercise and eating well. During the middle stage of Alzheimer’s, a greater level of care and assistance is needed. This stage can last for many years. Symptoms become more pronounced and may begin to include: Forgetting personal history and events Moodiness or being withdrawn in social situations Forgetting basic information like address Confusion about time and place Wandering and becoming lost Personality and behavior changes Changes in sleeping patterns In the later stage of Alzheimer’s, the symptoms are more severe. Patients begin to struggle with motor abilities like walking and speaking. At this stage, patients may: Require full-time care Lose awareness and ability to engage with their environment Lose physical abilities like walking, sitting, and swallowing Lost the ability to speak and communicate with others Become more vulnerable to infections like pneumonia While the stages of Alzheimer’s are usually the same for each person, symptom severity and length of each stage can differ from person to person. After diagnosis, the life expectancy is typically four to eight years, but some people live much longer. At present, there are no treatments that stop or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, although research on treatments is continual. If you or a loved one have concerns about symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, talk with your doctor. Support is important to both caregivers and patients. For support, contact the Alzheimer’s Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.
(MS., CMHC., NCC.)
Answered on 05/05/2021

What happens when you bully the wrong person?

This is a really good question because when people choose to bully another person, they possibly end up bullying the wrong person meaning that they do not anticipate and expect the person to respond or retaliate much as certain people would. In most cases of bullying, people walk away from that experience, hurt, and even traumatized. Still, a person who might fit the description of either a narcissist or sociopath might respond to it very differently. This is because those people tend to have little to no remorse when it comes to hurting other people, and so if they have hurt themselves, their ego strength is such that they need to get back and retaliate. This can be in the form of so many things, including, but not limited to, all forms of abuse, stalking, terrorizing, and trying to stay in the life of the person who bullied them. Additionally, what can also happen when a person bullies the wrong person is payback is much larger. For example, if someone verbally attacks and bullies someone severely in middle school or high school, the victim may, in turn, do something much more severe to the person because they have spent time ruminating and thinking up ways to get back at them. In a world where human behavior has largely become incredibly difficult to interpret at times, it is extremely important to be discerning and make choices that are rational and not based on emotion. Many people misinterpret simple teasing as bullying, so the bullied people could sometimes interpret that as bullying and end up causing a lot of damage. So, a fair warning would be to be very careful about who you choose to tease and try your very best to avoid teasing or bullying at all costs because nothing positive comes of it. You might end up getting seriously hurt, much more so than what you intended for the other person. A good rule of thumb is to think about what you’re doing, and it is kind, necessary, and benefit someone? Our desire to hurt another person is often about something going on inside ourselves that was triggered by. Once that is rectified, typically y, we can move forward.
(M.Ed., MA, LPC)
Answered on 05/05/2021

Can childhood trauma cause OCD?

Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include types of abuse & violence that could potentially be triggering. During childhood, the brain forms connections based on our physical, emotional, and relational environments.  This is the time in which beliefs are molded regarding ourselves, other people, and the world.  Trauma can play a large part in shaping the formation of those connections in ways that are generally damaging and can cause long-term issues. When trauma happens, the event overwhelms the child’s available coping mechanisms.  This, in turn, can cause intense emotional dysregulation and imbalance as the child attempts to understand their experience(s).  Because unprocessed emotions and visceral remnants of trauma become trapped, the brain seeks to find alternative methods of expression in an attempt to rebalance the body and return to equilibrium; however, these attempts ordinarily show up as repetitive symptoms that only serve as short-term solutions.  For example, a physically abused child may discharge emotion by exerting violence toward others (which can provide a momentary sense of power that depletes quickly).  Most children who have sustained trauma adopt coping skills that help them feel in control of their environment---one of which can develop into Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  OCD is a pattern of obsessions (unwanted repetitive/intrusive thoughts) that drive compulsions (to reduce anxiety accompanying the thoughts).  Whether or not the obsessions and compulsions are directly related to their experiences of trauma, these responses come from attempts at resolving intense feelings of anxiety and internal dysregulation (which were forged as a result of trauma).  Many people with OCD often fear harm will come to others if compulsions aren’t completed. OCD, however, does not have to be permanent.  Exposure and Response Prevention (ESP) is one of the more effective forms of treatment to eliminate compulsions and gain new ways of productively working through anxiety, therefore releasing the individual from the dreadful cycles and symptoms of OCD.  For example, the client is exposed to something that triggers an anxious response (obsessions, fear-based thoughts, etc.) but sits with the anxiety with new coping skills (instead of using a compulsion to reduce anxiety).  This helps to unpair obsessions and compulsions and teaches tolerance of anxiety through mindfulness, breathwork, etc.  Some clients may also need to verbally recount past traumas to process through related emotions and sensations.  Each pathway here is individualized and depends on the unique factors of the client. If you are a survivor of childhood trauma and have struggled with OCD, therapy can be a great way to start healing.  We have plenty of research to support desired outcomes, so there’s always hope that these methods can work for people!
Answered on 05/05/2021

Who decides guilt or innocence?

When it comes down to how an individual deals with guilt and or innocence, several factors can come into play when it comes to the actual verdict of guilt or innocence when it comes to internal processing and decision making. Each individual can decide mental guilt or innocence. The human brain is very sophisticated, and we can encompass the ability to decide our own personal guilt or innocence. Everyone can experience mental stressors and/or emotional distress that can occur daily until a situation can be resolved, which can lead an individual to feel guilty or innocent with their thoughts and feelings. We have to be mindful to take the time to actively process how we can uniquely define the understanding of guilt and innocence when it comes to our thinking. Our thoughts are very important to our everyday feelings, emotions, behaviors, and or actions. As we go through our everyday lives, we can experience a situation where we have to decide if our thoughts, experiences, and or actions are guilty or innocent. Guilt can be seen as an internal representation of how we judge ourselves self consciously. It can be seen as an internal struggle in the mind where someone is determining how they will be affected by their conscious mind. In terms of feeling like you are mentally guilty or innocent. Individuals’ can usually experience thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and or actions due to feeling guilty after engaging in the following situations or instances that include but are not limited to the following: inappropriate behavior by the individual, negative actions by the individual, failing to speak up about an issue or topic, speaking up about an issue or not, losing interest in something and or someone, finding interest in something or someone, etc. Ultimately, several factors can affect how we perceive our internal thoughts of feeling guilty or innocent due to the circumstances of the situation at hand. Therefore, each individual can decide if they feel guilty or innocent in regards to their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and/or actions.    
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Where is guilt held in the body?

Guilt can ultimately be held anywhere in the body. Although, feelings of guilt can feel like it is taking control of your entire body at times. However, the ultimate effects of grief mainly come from the central nervous system that is controlled mainly by the brain. The brain's prefrontal cortex is the main powerhouse of the body that contributes to feelings of guilt. The prefrontal cortex is mainly focused on the logical thinking section of the brain in the body. The main section of the brain that is connected with feelings of guilt is mainly seen in the body's automatic nervous system. The body's automatic nervous system is known as the main cause of the fight or flight responses of the mind. The perception of how an individual can be affected by guilt is ultimately up to the individual who is actually experiencing issues with coping, managing, and or alleviating their thoughts and feelings of guilt. Guilt can feel like it can manifest anywhere in the body, and it can be brought on by any thoughts and feelings someone can exhibit when they feel guilty about something. Guilt can feel like it is held on by our entire body when we feel guilty about something we see, do, say, or feel about something that is causing thoughts and feelings of guilt. Guilt can seem to appear and start in the heart where you feel emotions and feelings. Once we start to feel guilt, it can seem to travel to our minds, with the brain being the powerhouse of our thoughts and feelings. Then, guilt can seem to transpire to our stomach, making an individual feel like they are getting ill, nauseous, experiencing digestive issues. Guilt can also cause automatic responses to the body's limbic system where we can feel like our arms and or legs are losing their strength as they can be affected by thoughts and feelings of guilt. Thoughts and feelings of grief can also manifest in muscle tension, uncontrollable shaking, sweating, pain, etc.
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Where does guilt manifest in the body?

Guilt can be very difficult to define precisely as it can look different for everyone. Guilt is not seen as a one size fits all solution. However, it is usually something that we all may experience at some point in our lives. It comes as no shock that we can experience guilt, and it can be very uncomfortable as it can start to easily affect our everyday lives and decisions due to the feelings that guilt can cause.  The symptoms and or feelings of guilt can ultimately manifest anywhere in the body due to the mental and emotional distress caused when an individual feels guilty about something that has happened. When individuals are dealing with guilt, they can experience several symptoms and or physical issues within the body. Individuals must be aware of how guilt can affect an individual’s mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and/or lack of spiritual well-being. Guilt can manifest itself in areas inside the body that are known to be hidden or unseen. For example, if a person is thinking about their guilt, their thoughts and feelings cannot be seen with the naked eye; however, their thoughts and feelings can be observed and or assessed by an individual’s behavior. Usually, if we think about something such as guilt, it can affect the way we or we feel about things, and then guilt can, in turn, affect how someone chooses to behave. One of the most know organs internally affected by guilt can be the brain. The brain is known as the powerhouse of processing our thoughts, feelings, and or emotions. Therefore, excessive and or automatic thoughts that manifest into guild can be very exhausting mentally, which can cause the brain to work harder to process our thoughts, feelings, and or emotions in regards to how we will responsibly be able to process the effects that guilt can cause us over a period of time. When individuals feel emotional and or mentally guilty, the ultimate effects of guilt can cause an individual’s everyday habits, relationships, work duties, and or responsibilities to be greatly affected.  
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Can grief cause dementia?

To answer your question, yes and no. Grief does not cause dementia but can exacerbate the onset and progression of dementia symptoms and can deteriorate the person’s remaining resources and coping skills. The act of advancing through the course of dementia also includes its own set of losses and grief. There are periods when the person with dementia is crystal clear in their thinking and understands what is happening, which horrifies and aching realization. To lose your physical independence, you are also losing your ability to manage your own thoughts and body. Your own mind and body feel like someone else’s, and it causes many identity issues and confusion for the person experiencing these losses. A person with dementia experiences gaps of time that they cannot account for and begin to lose aspects of their personality one by one. This resource, from https://pathwayshealth.org/dementia-care/dementia-patients-and-grief/, describes these losses as “little deaths” that occur, losing their independence, the ability to drive, read, cook, enjoy hobbies, as well as much bigger “deaths” of memories and relationships, which are paramount to knowing who we are and what our lives have meant. Depression is a big issue for people who have been diagnosed with dementia, and ongoing psychiatric care is very important for their overall well-being. There is also evidence that suggests that the progression of dementia can be accelerated by stress, which may cause increased inflammation in the brain (https://www.alzheimers.net/the-stressful-life-events-that-can-lead-to-alzheimers) and can contribute to additional brain lesions due to the increase in cortisol and other stress hormones that are released as part of the body’s stress response (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060830005837.htm, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Stress-and-Alzheimers-Disease.aspx ) Your question points more to grief as a source of stress. Studies have been done on the so-called “Widowhood Effect” that suggests that when a spouse dies in an elderly couple, the overall mortality rate increases (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2636447/). If you know someone with dementia who has experienced this kind of loss, it is important to ensure that they are well-supported by friends, family, community, church community (if applicable). Remaining socially active and engaged is a protective factor for people with dementia and has been challenging during the global pandemic. Animal-based therapy has had wonderful outcomes for people with dementia, as well as art and expressive-based techniques, such as TimeSlips (https://www.timeslips.org/). Below are several other resources that will help you or your loved ones live with dementia and have an increased quality of life. Resources for Alzheimer’s Care: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/getting-help-alzheimers-caregiving Art Therapy: https://dailycaring.com/the-benefits-of-art-therapy-for-dementia/ Pets/Animal Therapy: https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/article/alzheimers-disease-magic-pets Resources for Caregivers: https://www.caregiver.org/resource/caregivers-guide-understanding-dementia-behaviors/ https://www.alz.org/help-support
(M.Ed, LPC)
Answered on 05/03/2021

How counseling changed my life

How has counseling changed my life? As with most things in life, the more effort you put into something, the more you will get out. This is especially true with counseling. The more you are willing to look inside yourself and peel back the layers of your being, the better results you will get. Counseling can help you recognize things about yourself you may have never noticed. There is a benefit to having that neutral person to speak to each week to offer unbiased advice and see things from a non-judgmental perspective.  Often some of our “issues” can seem obvious (i.e., dealing with grief or a specific trauma); however other times, there may be a certain feeling of uncertainty bubbling up under the surface that we would like to learn to identify and deal with. Learning to identify the triggers and ways of coping with them can greatly impact our day-to-day living. Through counseling, you can learn to take situations that were previously riddled with emotion and handle them seamlessly (or at the very least better). When you are in a therapeutic relationship, you open yourself up and share parts of yourself that might be uncomfortable or have strong emotions associated with them (sadness, anger, shame). For this reason, it is important to feel like you are safe with your therapist. You may feel vulnerable when discussing sensitive topics, and if you do not feel comfortable or safe, the experience may not be as positive as it could have been otherwise. Many times, these are things we have not discussed previously for fear of being judged or hurt. However, a therapist can help you process the situation's emotions and hopefully make it less powerful. There is great value in taking thoughts from inside our minds and processing them out loud. When we keep things “bottled up,” they can grow and become ugly; however, voicing them out loud or even through journaling and sharing them can help in processing them and help the healing process. Counseling can have a huge impact on your life. There may be times when you meet with your therapist, and it may seem like not much is going on, and there is not a lot to talk about, but I challenge you to reflect on how you feel afterward, and I would venture to say you at the very least a little bit more whole than you were before your session.
(MA, LPCC)
Answered on 05/03/2021