Cognitive distortions

Cognitive distortions arising from negative core beliefs are something to be deeply analyzed on a daily basis, for the automatic thoughts crossing our minds!

Taking a step back and looking at what just happened in our mind is all it takes to stay present with ourself and really being true to our personality.

Measuring the possibility of our core beliefs to be even slightly incorrect based on the existing evidence shown by the people around us and other environmental factors is very critical!

Here’s to looking closely at our thoughts that sometimes make no sense in hindsight! Lol!

Have a great weekend!

Best,

Srivi

Cbt as I understand it

The premise of cognitive-behavior therapy(CBT) includes the reorganization of an individuals own statements and beliefs to develop a synchronization with his or her behavior.  A relationship exists between thoughts (or cognitions), emotions, and behaviors that create cause and effect in how the individual experiences events and situations.  Human nature, says that individuals have the potential for rational and irrational thinking. This irrational thinking is identified as the basic problem in mental disorders of depression and anxiety where CBT is employed.

The constant rewiring of thoughts using positive rational statements forms the basis of Cognitive behavioral therapy. Examples of rewiring irrational thoughts with positive statements:

Rewire “I’m bad” with “I’m enough”

Rewire “I cant do this” with “I can try this”

Rewire “I’m weak” with “I’m strong enough to go for a walk”

So on and So forth simple translations/rewiring.

Trying to see the goodness in everyday life, when everything seems so gloomy, due to the automatic negative thought script running, is the real deal of cognitive behavioral therapy, as I understand it.

Hope this helps people in actively engaging in the therapy tactics as it is critical for recovery for the client to full engage and involve themselves in this REWIRING process.

Happy thoughts!

Infertility and Mental Health

Infertility is perceived as a problem across virtually all cultures and societies and affects an estimated 10%-15% of couples of reproductive age. In recent years, the number of couples seeking treatment for infertility has dramatically increased due to factors such as postponement of childbearing in women, development of newer and more successful techniques for infertility treatment, and increasing awareness of available services. This increasing participation in fertility treatment has raised awareness and inspired investigation into the psychological ramifications of infertility. Consideration has been given to the association between psychiatric illness and infertility. Researchers have also looked into the psychological impact of infertility and of the prolonged exposure to intrusive infertility treatments on mood and well being. There is less information about effective psychiatric treatments for this population; however, there is some data to support the use of psychotherapeutic interventions.

Psychological Impact of Infertility

Parenthood is one of the major transitions in adult life for both men and women. The stress of the non-fulfillment of a wish for a child has been associated with emotional sequelae such as anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, and social isolation. Couples experience stigma, sense of loss, and diminished self-esteem in the setting of their infertility (Nachtigall 1992). In general, in infertile couples women show higher levels of distress than their male partners (Wright 1991; Greil 1988); however, men’s responses to infertility closely approximates the intensity of women’s responses when infertility is attributed to a male factor (Nachtigall 1992). Both men and women experience a sense of loss of identity and have pronounced feelings of defectiveness and incompetence.

Psychological Distress, Psychiatric Illness and Infertility: Cause or Effect?

Stress, depression and anxiety are described as common consequences of infertility. A number of studies have found that the incidence of depression in infertile couples presenting for infertility treatment is significantly higher than in fertile controls, with prevalence estimates of major depression in the range of 15%-54% (Domar 1992; Demyttenaere 1998; Parikh 2000; Lukse 1999; Chen 2004). Anxiety has also been shown to be significantly higher in infertile couples when compared to the general population, with 8%-28% of infertile couples reporting clinically significant anxiety (Anderson 2003; Chen 2004; Parikh 2000).

The causal role of psychological disturbances in the development of infertility is still a matter of debate. A study of 58 women from Lapane and colleagues reported a 2-fold increase in risk of infertility among women with a history of depressive symptoms; however, they were unable to control for other factors that may also influence fertility, including cigarette smoking, alcohol use, decreased libido and body mass index (Lapane 1995).

Proposed mechanisms through which depression could directly affect infertility involve the physiology of the depressed state such as elevated prolactin levels, disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and thyroid dysfunction. One study of 10 depressed and 13 normal women suggests that depression is associated with abnormal regulation of luteinizing hormone, a hormone that regulates ovulation (Meller 1997). Changes in immune function associated with stress and depression may also adversely affect reproductive function (Haimovici 1998). Further studies are needed to distinguish the direct effects of depression or anxiety from associated behaviors (e.g., low libido, smoking, alcohol use) that may interfere with reproductive success. Since stress is also associated with similar physiologic changes, this raises the possibility that a history of high levels of cumulative stress associated with recurrent depression or anxiety may also be a causative factor.

Psychological Distress and Infertility Treatment

While many couples presenting for infertility treatment have high levels of psychological distress associated with infertility, the process of assisted reproduction itself is also associated with increased levels of anxiety, depression and stress (Leiblum 1987). A growing number of research studies have examined the impact of infertility treatment at different stages, with most focusing on the impact of failed IVF trials. Hynes and colleagues assessed women at presentation for IVF and then following failure of IVF. They found that women presenting for IVF were more depressed, had lower self-esteem and were less confident than a control group of fertile women and, after a failed IVF cycle, experienced a further lowering of self-esteem and an increase in depression relative to pre-treatment levels (Hynes 1992). Comparisons between women undergoing repeated IVF cycles and first-time participants have also suggested that ongoing treatment may lead to an increase in depressive symptoms (Thiering 1993). The data, however, is still controversial since other studies have found minimal psychological disturbance induced by the infertility treatment process or IVF failure (Paulson 1988; Boivin 1996). In light of the discrepancy in results, there has been increasing interest in the factors that contribute to dropout from infertility treatment since this population is often not included or decline to participate in studies. Whereas cost or refusal of physicians to continue treatment have been cited as reasons for discontinuing treatment, recent research suggests that a significant number of dropouts are due to psychological factors (Domar 2004; Hammarberg 2001; Olivius 2004).

The outcome of infertility treatment may also be influenced by psychological factors. A number of studies have examined stress and mood state as predictors of outcome in assisted reproduction. The majority of these studies support the theory that distress is associated with lower pregnancy rates among women pursuing infertility treatment (Boivin 1995, Thiering 1993, Demytenaere 1998, Smeenk 2001, Sanders 1999).

Psychological Interventions

In light of data suggesting that psychological symptoms may interfere with fertility, success of infertility treatment, and the ability to tolerate ongoing treatment, interest in addressing these issues during infertility treatment has grown. Some interventions designed to alleviate the symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety in infertile women and men have been researched.

Several studies suggest that cognitive behavioral group psychotherapy and support groups decrease stress and mood symptoms, as well as increase fertility rates. In a study by Domar and colleagues of 52 infertile women, a 10-week group behavioral treatment program significantly reduced anxiety, depression and anger (Domar 1992). In a year-long follow-up study, Domar compared pregnancy rates of women undergoing assisted reproduction who were randomized to a group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) designed to decrease depression and anxiety, a support group, or to no group treatment. Viable pregnancy rates were 55% for the cognitive behavioral group, 54% for the support group and 20% for the controls (Domar 2000). A study where the intervention group received couples counseling directed toward education and addressing stress throughout their IVF cycle and the control group received only routine medical care, the intervention patients had lower anxiety and depression scores, in addition to significantly higher pregnancy rates (Terzioglu 2001).

Although there have not been systematic studies in infertile women examining the impact of other types of psychotherapy, treatments that decrease psychiatric symptoms and stress in the general population will likely benefit this population.

While there is little data regarding the pharmacologic treatment of patients with infertility, pharmacotherapy remains an important option for women and men who develop depression in the context of infertility and its treatment. Many women avoid pharmacologic treatment for fear that medication may impact their fertility or may affect the outcome of their pregnancy; however, there are no data to suggest that commonly used antidepressants negatively affect fertility. Furthermore, data accumulated over the last decade suggest that certain antidepressants may be used safely during pregnancy.

Source:

 

The Disappointment of Antidepressants: You Really Need to Read This Study

Can depression be cured? Do antidepressants work? How to beat anxiety? Antidepressants have always been in the equation, but this study distresses.

Source: The Disappointment of Antidepressants: You Really Need to Read This Study

Divorce and Mindfulness Meditation to help

[Source]

Photo Credits

With divorce comes the inevitable jumble of emotions that you can’t seem to sort out. From the moment the topic of divorce is brought up, the emotions start raging. When you and your spouse start the process with a divorce lawyer – and all throughout the proceedings – everything will even become more tangled; and after everything’s said and done, those emotions will continue ebb and flow.

It may even seem that you can’t see yourself getting back up, much less being happy again.

You will keep analyzing, overthinking, and in all likelihood live a disrupted life that just doesn’t make sense to you. This will result in a feeling of being overwhelmed.

“I’m going to try anything to feel better.”

That’s a mindset that can go either way. You may find yourself going out every night to forget, and to tire yourself out so that when you come home, you just crash.

On the other hand, you may want to try this suggestion: look to meditation and mindfulness to deal with the aftermath of your divorce.

How exactly do you do this?

The essence of mindfulness is consciously choosing how to think and act. Consciously being the operative word.

In the context of divorce, here are some concrete steps to take.

1. Make a decision.

With all the emotional turmoil you are experiencing, how can you expect yourself to make a sensible decision? I’m telling you now, you will probably make a wrong turn or two, but one decision that will definitely be right is this: To take steps to see things from a different perspective, and believe that you WILL be better at some point.

That is a very broad statement, to be sure, but it is a start. Once you have made that decision to start sorting out your ragged emotional state, you can proceed to even more concrete actions that will ease the aftermath of divorce.

2. Start a meditation routine.

If you’ve got experience in meditation, then it should be a bit easier for you. You know how to calm yourself down and center yourself during those panicky moments when you feel overwhelmed.

If you’re new to meditation, start slowly.

First, begin your day by meditating. Don’t rush around to get things done. Instead, set aside a bit of time to gather your thoughts, calm yourself, and get ready for the day. Start in small increments – 5 minutes is enough.

Here is a good step-by-step guide for people who do not meditate.

Meditating doesn’t have to be limited to the start of the day. The chances are that you will feel those emotions rage in the middle of day, especially when you don’t expect it. When this happens, if you can find a quiet spot to meditate – even if only for 5-10 minutes – then do so.

3. Live by the day, even by the hour.

Sometimes, it’s by the minute. When my husband left me, often, I didn’t even know what I was going to eat for dinner – if I was going to eat at all. When I started to think about the next day, or anything further than that, I would get panic attacks so bad that I thought I would suffocate.

Then I realized that the only way to handle it was to take it slow. Just do what you can for the day. If that’s too much, do what you have to for the next hour. Once that’s done, go on to the next hour, and so on.

On bad days, that span of time could be by the minute!

My mantra back then was:

First do what you have to do,

then do what you are able to do.

Pretty soon, you’ll be doing what you want to do.

It wasn’t easy. It took a while. But being more aware of what I did each minute, each hour, and each day helped me get through the most difficult time of my life.

Remember: Meditation and mindfulness can ease the burden of a divorce or separation.

Using Mindfulness to Treat Anxiety Disorders

[Credits] : George Hoffman

An anxiety disorder is much more than being very nervous or edgy.

An anxious person will report an unreasonable exaggeration of threats, repetitive negative thinking, hyper-arousal, and a strong identification with fear. The fight-or-flight response kicks into overdrive.

Anxiety is also known for producing noticeable physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and digestive problems. In General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) the symptoms become so severe that normal daily functioning becomes impossible.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common treatment for anxiety disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy theorizes that in anxiety disorders, the patient overestimates the danger of disruptive events in his life, and underestimates his ability to cope. CBT attempts to replace maladaptive thinking by examining the patient’s distorted thinking and resetting the fight-or-flight response with more reasonable, accurate ones.

The anxious person and the therapist work to actively change thought patterns.

In contrast, instead of changing thoughts, mindfulness-based therapies (MBTs) seek to change the relationship between the anxious person and his or her thoughts.

In mindfulness-based therapy, the person focuses on the bodily sensations that arise when he or she is anxious. Instead of avoiding or withdrawing from these feelings, he or she remains present and fully experiences the symptoms of anxiety. Instead of avoiding distressing thoughts, he or she opens up to them in an effort to realize and acknowledge that they are not literally true.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, fully realizing the experience of anxiety enables anxious people to release their over identification with negative thoughts. The person practices responding to disruptive thoughts, and letting these thoughts go.

By remaining present in the body, they learn that the anxiety they experience is merely a reaction to perceived threats. By positively responding to threatening events instead of being reactive they can overcome an erroneous fight-or-flight response.

At the University of Bergen in Norway, Vollestad, Nielsen, and Nielsen surveyed 19 studies of the effectiveness of MBTs on anxiety. They found that MBTs are associated with robust and substantial reductions of anxiety symptoms. MBTs proved as effective as CBT, and are generally less expensive.

The researchers also found that MBTs are successful in reducing symptoms ofdepression. This is especially important since major depressive disorder affects 20 to 40 percent of people with GAD and SAD.

The study finds the success of MBTs notable “given that these approaches put less emphasis on the removal of symptoms as such, and more emphasis on cultivating a different relationship to distressing thoughts, feelings, and behavioral impulses. It seems that this strategy paradoxically could lead to less distress.”

In other words, a way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety is to be fully, mindfully, anxious. As anxiety reveals itself to be a misperception, symptoms will dissipate.

Reference

Vollestad, Nielsen, and Nielsen (2011). Mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions for anxiety disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Dublin, Ireland) – The Revolution in Psychotherapy – “thinking about thinking…”

Great Details on CBT in psychotherapy!

Veronica Walsh's CBT Blog Dublin, Ireland

Woman_writing_sofaMany of today’s mental health experts are recommending Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as a first choice treatment for pretty much all emotional disorders – stress, depression, anxiety, anger management etc.– rather than medication, or spending years undergoing the old style Freudian ‘shrink’  psychiatry.

This blog is a free resource to help you to understand and apply the self-help components, by yourself, to yourself…

simplifyingcbt|
Why CBT?
It’s elegant and efficient.
If applied diligently by somebody who is capable of self-awareness and self-critique, it can be life changing. It is an evidence based positive psychology, and the only measured and proven psychotherapy in the world. And it’s fast (improvements show in few sessions, which means it’s cheaper for governments to provide as healthcare). Studies show that it’s effects stay with participants after treatment. Quite simply – it works.

CBT is different to the traditional ‘talking therapies’… instead, it is a

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