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Am I Having a Nervous Breakdown? 10 Steps to Find Out

The term “nervous breakdown” is often overused and ambiguous. It could mean anything from a bad day and being overwhelmed to a having a psychotic episode.

We often hear of celebrities “going through a nervous breakdown” when there are reports of erratic behavior or a significant change in the way they present themselves, but we may also hear a coworker proclaim “I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown” when circumstances are particularly chaotic at the workplace.

But what does the phrase "nervous breakdown" actually mean? It is first important to note that it is not a clinical term. A trained clinician will assess for symptoms that may lead to a diagnosis, and there is no “nervous breakdown” diagnosis.

Despite this, “nervous breakdown” is used as a blanket term, often in a context where the details of mental distress are not openly discussed. There is some shared sense of what the term means. If I were to conduct a small survey, it is likely that people generally would agree that a nervous breakdown indicates a point of abnormal psychological distress.

In order to label the change in behavior as abnormal, we must first have a sense of what is the standard behavior. From that point, what we see or experience as the norm is jilted by a “breakdown...

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Having an Affair? 8 Reasons Why It Is Never Okay And Needs To Stop

Let’s be upfront about a dirty little secret. Affairs are exciting. Often undertaken when a marriage has become contentious or stale, or when one member does not feel seen, known or loved well, they offer the illusion of an escape, a way to liven things up, a way to feel wanted again.

The attendant risks – of being found out, of public humiliation, of wanton destruction of our most dear relationships – can make an affair very exciting indeed. For a while. Almost no one gets away with it. At some point suspicions boil over and disaster strikes, leaving wreckage in its wake.

8 Reasons Why Having an Affair is Not a Good Idea

If you are considering having an affair, here are 8 good reasons to reconsider, or if you have started one, to stop.

#1 - You Will Cause Enormous Pain

People who have been cheated on often say things like, “I feel like someone ripped out my heart and stomped on it.” There’s a reason for these colorful metaphors. Being betrayed by the one you love and thought you would spend the rest of your life with causes agonizing emotional pain.

You would have to truly despise someone to deliberately inflict that kind of pain. If you got drunk, or “accidentally” let things go too far and they got out of hand, that is no...

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How Unforgiveness is Like a Cancer to Your Body and Soul

The scourge of unforgiveness is relentless and deadly if we allow it to take hold in our lives. It is like an addiction, providing a sense of satisfaction in the form of self-justification because it is based most often on a sense of injustice that we feel deep our souls.

Left unchecked, unforgiveness and the bitterness that comes with it can cause you to die inside, bitter through and through, incapable of experiencing love, good, beauty or joy. You may even live in this wretched state for decades before you die physically. For unforgiving, bitter people, Hell begins now, before they are ever in the ground.

If you have read this far it is not too late for you. If you struggle with unforgiveness, it is not too late for you.  If it weren’t too many words, the rest of that title up there would be, “and what to do about it.” So, let’s begin by scoping out the problem.

What Unforgiveness Is

Unforgiveness is a willful predisposition to dehumanize another person, in such a way that we can despise them as the personification of our negative image of them. Someone wrongs us by stealing from us (a job, a car, a spouse) and we feel deeply wronged and rightly so.

Let’s look at the extremes for a moment. Steal from a mostly compassionate person, and they will m...

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How To Live Well With Social Anxiety

Many of us experience social situations that cause us anxiety. For some, meeting new people is a challenge. For others, just walking into a room full of strangers is uncomfortable. Because we like to avoid discomfort, most of us try to develop workarounds that allow us to be out in the world and forming new relationships.

When the anxiety begins to keep us from activities, interfere with work, or prevent us from participating in social gatherings, it may be time to look more closely at our social phobia, understand it and get help.

Social Anxiety Disorder

For the purposes of this discussion, it is good to have a sense for what an actual diagnosis of social anxiety disorder looks like, so we can better assess our own symptoms and determine whether or not we should seek the assistance of a mental health counselor. The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition), describes Social Anxiety Disorder as follows:

  1. Marked fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others. Examples include social interactions (e.g. – having a conversation, meeting unfamiliar people), being observed (e.g. – eating or drinking), and performing in front of other (e.g. – giving a ...
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Trauma Treatment and Recovery from a Christian perspective

In my practice, individuals coming in with traumas make up a significant portion of those I see. In fact, many people coming in with depression and/or anxiety are experiencing this as a result of trauma, often without even realizing it.

Trauma can take many different forms. For many, when we think of the effects of trauma we think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This collection of symptoms first gained major attention after World War I and II, with many veterans showing difficulty readjusting to “regular” life.

At the time, we called this “Shell Shock,” and over the years the hallmark symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks, intense anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and nightmares, have been given different labels, but the underlying process remains the same.

However, trauma can come from a variety of origins, not just war. We might think of domestic traumas as things like being a part of or witnessing a major accident, death, or significantly terrifying life event. While these might feel like “flashbulb” incidents -- bright, vivid memories that are engrained in our memory, just like how a flashbulb allows for an image to be engrained on film -- trauma can come from a “slow burn” as well.

This can look like an abusive relationship or living in a high...

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Ten Child Behavior Problems You Should Not Ignore

Everyone displays problematic behavior at some point, whether it is overreacting to being cut off on the freeway or coping in not-so-healthy ways (e.g., emotional eating). This is especially true for children, since a child’s brain is continuing to grow and does not become fully mature until early adulthood.

Furthermore, although a child may be able to control his or her behavior in some situations, other times, especially when emotionally overwhelmed, the same child may actually be unable to control his or her behavior/reactions. This, although mind boggling and frustrating at times, is completely normal!

On the other hand, there are some child behavior problems that you definitely should not ignore, especially when these problems become habitual or negatively impact a child’s functioning and/or relationships. It is at this point that it is time to seek help. By intervening early, you have a chance at eliminating the behavior before the problem escalates and/or has significant consequences.

Regardless of the child behavior problems you are facing in your home, there is hope! A child’s brain has amazing capacities for growth and change. Furthermore, caregivers and other adults are vital partners in helping a child develop healthy coping skills and the ability to re...

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What are the Causes of Eating Disorders: 7 Common Risk Factors

Most people either know someone or know of someone who has struggled with an eating disorder. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), national surveys have estimated that in the United States about 20 million women and 10 million men will develop an eating disorder at some point during their lifetime.

In addition, eating disorders can have devastating effects on a person’s life and the lives of their family and friends. Therefore, prevention, recognition, and treatment of eating disorders are crucial.

As you are likely aware, there are three types of eating disorders that are often discussed in popular media: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. For the sake of simplicity, we will be focusing on factors that contribute to these three diagnoses.

Before we discuss risk factors, it is important to know that eating disorders are complex and multifaceted. We do not see one single cause creating an eating disorder, but rather that there are many factors that contribute to someone developing an eating disorder.

Furthermore, not everyone who displays risk factors will go on to experience an eating disorder. Throughout this article we are going to examine several of the risk factors that have been associated with eating di...

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