Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Do you worry about anything and everything for as long as you can remember?Tips-On-How-To-Stop-Anxiety-Attacks-300x216

Is your mind constantly skipping form one concern to the next?

Are you often worried about your career, finances, health, or the health of your family members?

Do you have a hard time distracting yourself from these worries?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized in the DSM-5 as:

  • Excessive anxiety and worry that’s difficult to control, and 
  • feeling restless, fatigued, or irritable.
  • Also, individuals complain have muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, and insomnia.

If you find these anxieties to be distressing, discuss your concerns with a mental health professional and request a GAD screening.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for reducing and eliminating the symptoms of GAD.

The Geometry of Cheating: Triangles

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Unfortunately, many people experience infidelity as either the cheater or the partner of the cheater. This post will highlight the dynamics of cheating, based on Bowen’s concept of triangulation.

A triangle occurs when a person goes outside their primary relationship in order to fulfill emotional or sexual needs. In fact, triangles are not exclusive to physical affairs. Some individuals triangulate with their pets, children, parents, and even memories of an old flame. The underlying factor here is that one of the partners will be left feeling like the odd man out.

With regard to emotional or sexual affairs, one partner is redistributing their energy, actions, anxiety onto a third person. Triangles easily indicate deficits in the primary relationship- whether it be lack of communication, intimacy or passion. Paradoxically, triangles guarantee that no one is getting their needs met, yet the third-party helps stabilize and even maintain the primary relationship. In other words, for some individuals, infidelity keeps the primary relationship intact, for a time. Overall, there is no resolution all around.

Therefore, triangulation, an underlying factor of cheating requires that partners in the primary relationship recognize relational deficits and work toward improving them.

Saying Goodbye To A Family Pet

I was recently referenced in an article on pet loss at www.sheknows.com.

One important aspect of grieving the loss of a pet, that often goes overlooked, is holding a memorial for your beloved deceased pet. Pet memorials can help to bring closure to a grief that is largely unrecognized in broader society.

You can read the article here.

www.goodlifepsychotherapy.com

Technology and Cheating: Opportunity

Research suggests that 21 % of men and 11% of women will be sexually unfaithful in their lifetime. In fact, these percentages are quickly rising and the gender gap is getting smaller.

As mentioned in a previous post, social media sites such as Facebook are quickly becoming a catalyst for betrayal.

One factor that contributes to infidelity is opportunity. Having an opportunity to cheat with someone who is emotionally or sexually available, is a major predictor of cheating.

Technology, including texting and social media, substantially increase a person’s opportunity to cheat. Texting and emails allow for covert, private communication, while social media sites allow a person to reach out to an old flame instantaneously.

This topic is explored in a 4 minute clip on NPR. You can listen to the brief segment here.

Although there are a plethora of factors that contribute to cheating, opportunity is a poignant one to be considered.

www.goodlifepsychotherapy.com

Guest Blog: Emotional Eating

I wrote a guest blog on emotional eating for Mandy Seay, RD, LD, a nutrition consultant and freelance writer in Austin, TX.

Emotional eating, consuming food to feed a feeling, is the main cause of overeating.

You can read the article here on her Nutritionistics website.

Facebook and Old Boyfriends: To Friend or Not to Friend?

In 2004 Facebook was launched, revolutionizing how we communicate and keep in touch with one another. While it’s fun to reconnect with our friends from the past, getting back in touch with old flames sometimes carries an additional layer of complexity. In fact, Facebook has been cited as an emerging catalyst for infidelity and divorce. While most intentions are innocent, it’s a slippery slope when you’re sharing personal stories with someone you cared about, and they happen to be emotionally available too.

A question that I often hear is whether or not to friend request old boyfriends. The answer depends on several factors that should be considered prior to sending that friend request:

  • What are your motives for reaching out? Are they strictly platonic or do you have an underlying goal?
  • How did the relationship end?
  • Do you need closure?
  • Was this the “love of your life” or a more casual relationship?
  • Are you able to be respectful of your old flame in their current relationship (including their partner and children) if you do reconnect?
  • If you reconnect, will you be able to respect the boundaries of your own relationship?
  • Do you feel the need to hide or minimize your intentions from your current partner?

And the last and more important questions:

  • Are you satisfied with your current relationship?
  • Are your emotional needs being met within your current relationship?

If you answer no or sometimes to either of these questions, you should redirect your energy into improving your current relationship rather than reaching out to that old boyfriend. Although your intentions are innocent, getting your emotional needs met from conversing with your old flame on Facebook, rather than your current partner, indicates there might be some deficiencies in your relationship.

So, your old flame has popped up in your potential friend list for a while, but they haven’t initiated contact with you.

What should you do? I would love to hear your opinion, so please leave a comment below!

Millie Cordaro, PhD, LPC

www.goodlifepsychotherapy.com

Attachment: Understanding You In Your Relationship

John Bowlby conceptualized attachment theory as the quality of the emotional bond between the primary caregiver and child. According to Bowlby, the quality of this affectional bond during early childhood sets the stage for the quality of romantic relationships during adulthood. Therefore, infants who experienced secure and harmonious interactions with their mothers would mature into adults with healthy and satisfying romantic relationships.

Mary Ainsworth extended Bowlby’s theory of attachment, and described three major styles of attachment. These are:

  • Secure Attachment- Parent responds consistently and appropriately to child’s needs. The child uses parent as a “home base” from which to explore the environment, and checks back in with parent for comfort before further exploration.
  • Anxious-Ambivalent (Insecure) Attachment– Parent inconsistently meets child’s needs. The child is unable to use caregiver as a secure base. These children are usually distressed upon separation with indifference, anger, reluctance to warm to caregiver. The child is typically preoccupied with caregiver’s availability, seeking contact, yet resisting when it is achieved.
  • Anxious- Avoidant (Insecure) Attachment– Parent conveys little to no response to a distressed child. There is minimal affective interaction between parent and child, or the child does not convey distress when apart from parent and tries to avoid physical contact with parent.

Unfortunately, many people were not able to have the ideal, secure attachment, but experienced degrees of insecure attachment. Given that these early emotional experiences directly impact later adult relationships, characteristics from each of these early attachment styles can be found in our current relational styles.

  • Secure Attachment-These adults are comfortable being emotionally connected to their partner, and are comfortable spending time away from their partner to spend time with others and pursue their own interests.
  • Anxious-Ambivalent (Insecure) Attachment– As adults, they often look to their partner for approval and assurance, often becoming overly dependent; however, they can often be less trusting, have less positive views about themselves and their partners, and may exhibit high levels of  impulsivity in their relationships.
  • Anxious- Avoidant (Insecure) Attachment– These adults require a large degree of independence, often appearing aloof or afraid of commitment.  They tend to disconnect from their feelings, dealing with rejection by distancing themselves from partners.

So, can you see parts of yourself in one of these attachment styles? The good news is that you can work to improve your current relational functioning. You will need to work toward feeling secure as you emotionally connect with your partner, but also feel secure being on your own and away from your partner.

I would love to help you find this balance in your relationship. You can find me at www.goodlifepsychotherapy.com.