• 22 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Overcoming Social Phobia or Social Anxiety

    Overcoming Social Phobia or Social Anxiety


    Social anxiety or phobia is felt by many people. Social anxiety is not just stage-fright, although stage fright may be a part of it.

    What is social anxiety?

    • Basically, the person feels high level of unease when they are on display in front of people in any social situation – this also mean gathering of friends and family too.

    Effect of social anxiety on person’s life:

    • Dating and relationships become difficult for them.
    • They are viewed as shy and backward.
    • Miss out opportunities to grow out of their fear.
    • They may hold jobs much below their capacity out of this fear.

     Causes of social phobia:

    Social phobia has many causes. By and large, research suggests that the fear is learnt. The upbringing of the child could be such that his or her parents never encouraged or acknowledged them, and were harshly critical, and so the self-esteem is very low. There could also have been one or more severely embarrassing social situations that could have triggered such intense fear of social situations.

    Attributions, or the reasons we believe are behind events, tend to add to this fallacy. A confident person would see an embarrassing situation as a one-off, or a learning experience and make the best of it. A person with low self-esteem would attribute it to their own fault, and would think that they are right in thinking that they cannot do anything at all, thus making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Can social anxiety or phobia be cured?

    The answer is yes. Not only with social anxiety but also with other anxiety disorders, there is some amount of fear of social situations, and therapists provide ‘social skills training’ to get over this fear. In this, detailed effort is made to unconditioned the fear of social situations, to understand accurately what facial expressions mean, how to start and maintain a conversation, how to make a compliment, an argument and so on. Since there is a high eagerness to make their situation better, clients do find the training very helpful.

    The therapists may even work on a client’s absolute thoughts, such as ‘I must excel at everything I do’ which is an unrealistic thought that put pressure on the person and increases anxiety. These thoughts are disputed and replaced by healthier thoughts. Slowly, clients start to do their disputations on their own, and feel much lighter and less anxious with these healthy thoughts.

    Since social anxiety can occur with other issues like panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and depression, sometimes medication may be suggested to reduce the intensity of the concerns. This helps to bring the person to a level where he or she can work on their thoughts and social skills.

    If you or someone you meet or know seems to go through these concerns, please do not dismiss these and ask them to ‘buck up’. If it were that easy, they would have done it already. They need help and the sooner they get it, the faster they get it, the better they could use the help and resolve these concerns.

     Image source : (http://www.ianwalshaw.com/selby-hypnotherapy-hypnosis-hypnoband-yorkshire/hypnotherapy-helped-problem/social-anxiety/)

    Responses 1

  • 22 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Understanding PTSD

    PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a variety of linked symptoms that people experience after living or going through intense trauma.

    Understanding PTSD

    Image source: (https://bradfordhealth.com/ptsd/)

    According to DSM V, the following criteria are necessary to diagnose PTSD:
    ⦁ Actual/threatened death, injury, sexual violence
    – Direct experience
    – Witnessing the event
    – Find out that it happened to a close family member
    – Experiencing the aversive details of the traumatic event repeatedly (cops hear abusive stories again & again) - This is not applicable to children below 6 years of age.
    • Doesn’t apply to seeing it on TV
    Any 1 needed of these is needed to fulfill criteria number 1.
    ⦁ Intrusive Symptoms after trauma (Same for children < 6 PRESCHOOL SUBTYPE)
    • Recurrent, involuntary, distressing memories (play themes in children > 6)
    • Distressing dreams with traumatic themes (children, frightening theme. May not be able to say the theme)
    • Dissociative reactions (flashbacks)
    Feels/acts (sensory, emotional, behavioral) as if the event is happening again – extreme can be loss of awareness of surroundings
    ( Children enact through play)
    • Distress when exposed to the traumatic cue
    – External cues – reminders
    – Internal cues- similar bodily signs during trauma
    • Physiological reactions to internal/external cues
    Any 1 needed of these is needed to fulfill criteria number 2
    ⦁ Persistent Avoidance of Stimuli (Same for children < 6)

    • Avoidance/efforts to avoid distressing memories/thoughts/feelings of trauma

    • Avoidance/efforts to avoid

    – External reminders – people, places, situations
    – Arouse distressing memories

    ⦁ Negative alterations of Cognitions/Mood

    • Inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event

    – Due to dissociative amnesia – not brain injury/drug

    • Persistent & exaggerated negative beliefs about self & world

    – I’m bad

    – No one can be trusted

    – I’m permanently damaged

    • Persistent distorted cognitions

    – Cause & consequences

    – High self-blame

    • Persistent negative emotional state

    – Fear, anger, horror, guilt, shame

    • Diminished interest in activities

    • Detachment/estrangement from others

    • Inability to experience positive emotions

    Negative alterations of Cognitions/Mood

    ⦁ Alteration in Arousal & Reactivity (Same for children < 6)

    ⦁ Irritable behavior, angry outbursts

    – Without provocation

    – Verbal, physical aggression towards people/objects

    ⦁ Reckless, self-destructive behavior –

    ⦁ substances, (para)suicidality

    • Hypervigilance

    • Exaggerated startled response

    • Trouble concentrating

    • Sleep disturbance.

    These symptoms should persist for more than 6 months. It will show in children slightly differently, but will definitely be recognizable. Sometimes, there may be a delayed onset. That is, the display of PTSD symptoms may occur months after the actual trauma gets over.
    If you feel that you or someone you know maybe going through one or more of the symptoms, it is important and urgent to seek care. The disturbance you see in behaviour is much lesser than the disturbance that the person may be going through within. A history of known trauma is a big red flag here.
    PTSD is treatable. Medications and psychotherapy can help the person reduce the symptoms as well as work through the trauma and feel better. Care and help is available if you or someone you know has PTSD. Use it today.


    Responses 1

  • 22 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    How do I deal with a friend/family member with Psychosis

    It can be very distressing to see someone go through a psychotic episode. They may be saying, seeing, hearing and feeling things that you do not perceive or understand.

    Psychosis may occur as a result of a psychiatric illness like schizophrenia. In other instances, it may be caused by a health condition, medications, or drug use.

    It can be avery confusing situation. You do not understand whether to agree to their visions, disagree or just do nothing. More so, what can you do if they get violent?

    How do I deal with a friend/family member with Psychosis

    Since most psychotic disorders are episodic, you would mostly not be facing it for the first time. Use this knowledge to make a note of what the episode contains:

    What happens?

    What do they see or hear?

    Whether they get violent or not?

    How long does it take for them to calm down. When they are not having an active episode?

    Are they lucid enough for you to talk to them about it, and if possible, make a mutual action plan.

    One of the basic things to do is to get them the medical attention required. Proper medication and psychotherapy can reduce the intensity and even the frequency of such episodes. Knowing more about the disorder they have is also an immense help.

    Secondly, make sure that the room they live in does not have any sharp objects that can be used for self-harm or to harm others. It should not have any windows or balconies one can jump off from.

    During an actual episode, you should not agree with the delusion they have. This will reinforce it and make it stronger. At the same time, vehemently disagreeing with them makes them more violent and agitated.

    The best thing to do then is to tell them with empathy, that you cannot see/hear what they do, and you do understand how distressing the experience is for them. Tell them that you are there for them and will help in any way you can.

    Addressing distress with paranoid delusions (it is scary to think that people are following you/there’s a camera in this house) – that is, addressing the fear and other feelings behind it, works better than agreeing or disagreeing.

    It is imperative to have a care worker if you can afford it, or look for a pro-bono worker if they are available in your area. Not only are they more trained and experienced, but caring for them alone with tire you and increase the risk of you hitting them or needlessly sedating them out of sheer stress and pressure.

    Efforts should be made to talk to them about it when they are lucid. Research shows that when they are made aware of the episode when comparatively lucid, it can bring down the intensity of an episode and also increase insight into the fact that all of this may just be a product of their mind. This in turn makes them more willing and active in the treatment process.

    You can also ask them how they would like to be handled when in an episode, and would they agree to being sedated if the need is high? Such an agreement helps clarity and avoidance of medico-legal issues.

    Image source

    Responses 2

    • virendra rao
      virendra rao   Dec 28, 2015 12:34 PM

      If you are an average person , it is important that lot of effort required to improve your mental health. Change your rigid attitude, always give attention to your sorroundings. Keep doing good thing , without any botheration of failure.There are many thing which can attract you to loose your focus ,so do believe on yourself and keep concentrating on your aim.

    • Kartik kumar
      Kartik kumar   Oct 24, 2015 10:58 AM
      Efforts should be made to talk to them peacefully. And not forcing them for doing anything.
  • 13 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Types of psychotherapies

    How many Types of psychotherapies


    What Are Different Psychotherapies Used Commonly By Counselors?


    If you are contemplating seeking counseling and psychotherapeutic services, then it’s a good idea to know what kind of difference options exist. Just like there are many branches and approaches to medicine, the kind of therapy a provider gives also differs. Some therapies are more specific and useful for particular issues and some are more general and can be used with a broad range of issues.
    In general, therapies differ in terms of their understanding of what causes the problem or issue at hand, and what are the best ways to resolve it. Therapies also differ based on who they work with, that is, individual, couple, group or family. There is a difference in the role of the therapist too, based on the school of thought.

    Cognitive behaviour therapy: It is one of the most commonly used therapies today. The reason behind this is that it is research based and quite effective in treating depression and anxiety, and these are the most common mental health issues people face. The CBT practitioner teaches the clients how their thoughts, feelings and actions are connected, and then helps them to change their thoughts so that feelings and actions change as a consequence. CBT can also be used for a large variety of issues, from marital conflict to drug abuse and even eating disorders.

    Group Therapy: A group approach helps when a large number of people have a similar concern and group dynamics can help the resolve some social and interpersonal skills issues that people have. Group therapy is more validating at times because it gives the person the confidence that there are others in the same position as he or she and if they can get better then so can I. There are various formats of group therapy, depending on the approach and founder. Group therapy can help with issues like anger, abuse, eating disorders and learning skills like social skills or time management.

    Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: This is a form of therapy that is helpful with borderline personality disorders, as well as other personality and mood disorders. It basically contends that ambivalence as a state of mind is okay and then from then on, it seeks to resolve it. Nowadays, mindfulness is used with both DBT and CBT to enhance effectiveness. Mindfulness is a school of thought that believes in entirely living in the moment, and it contends that most disturbances occurs due to an uncalm mind that does not live in the moment.

    Family Therapy: Family Therapy believes that the person who has an issue is only the ‘recognized’ patient or client and that they are part of a dysfunctional family system and thus the entire family needs to sort things out together. Improving family communication and problem solving is the major part of family therapy.

    Regardless of the psychotherapy chosen, it is important to choose a qualified, competent professional. It is important to keep your therapist in the loop about how therapy feels to you and works out for you, for overall effectiveness.

    Image source www.gallaudet.edu/counseling-and-psychological-services/clinical-services.html

    Responses 1

  • 13 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    What contributes to drug addiction?

    drug addiction


    A lot many teenagers and young people experiment with drugs as they grow up. Exploring recreational drugs is a cultural part of growing up in most countries and it can be difficult to keep tabs on such use. The drug awareness programs at present do not talk about drug use and its effects in the right way and place blame on the users.


    There are definite signs of addiction that we need to pay attention to, if we are confused about where on the continuum does our use lie.

    Firstly, the user controls his use if it is recreational, and does not need it to ‘function’ or be okay or think. So each time you need a smoke to use the washroom or to clear your head, although the smoke may do the job for you then, but it’s making you increasingly dependent. That is one of the first signs of the drug getting more and more important in the person’s life.

    Secondly, addiction, dependence or abuse of a drug means you spend a lot more time and money on the drug than you need to or can afford to. It can also mean delays in work and school assignments, your health and social life being affected, and such other impacts felt in areas of life seemingly disconnected with drug use.

    However, this begs the questions:

    • What makes recreational users addicts?
    • Why do some people consume more and others less?
    • Is it just a matter of control?

    Well, the literature on that is quite mixed, because certain people say that it’s more about brain chemicals and genetic vulnerability, while newer research indicates a mix of a lot many factors. One prime example is that when addicts were given a choice between a 5 dollar bill and cocaine in an experiment by Dr. Hart, they chose the money. This and many other experiments show that troubles in a person’s life, or emptiness, contribute largely in making the person an addict.

    Therefore, an important take-away from this is to think about your own social and personal situations.

    Are they unaddressed burdens and emotional baggage?

    Is the drug an escape for that?

    Constant escape surely means that the use is not recreational any more.

    If you do find out that your use of drugs is in fact a way to deal with your troubles, what should you do?

    Firstly, you have to accept that this is an issue and steps are needed to resolve it.

    The first step in order to resolve is to talk to a student counselor or the closest mental health professional available. When you work on your emotional issues with constructive ways, you will not feel the need to rely on drugs any more. That will automatically ensure you of the control that you needed to have with the use of drugs. In fact, research shows that seeking the right help can help you stop the use of the drug altogether.

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