CBT for Depression, Anxiety, and Adjustment Problems

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CBT for Depression

Depression can be characterized as a feeling of sadness or emptiness that lasts for at least two weeks and is experienced most of the day, most days. Usually, there are additional problems that include a loss of interest in pleasurable aspects of life, trouble with concentration or short-term memory, appetite changes, sleep problems, changes in sexual interest, and hopelessness/helplessness/worthlessness/ guilt. CBT for depression focuses on changing the depressive thinking patterns, increasing activity levels for daily routines, increasing pleasurable events in life, and being more engaged with friends and family.

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CBT for Anxiety

  • Panic is an anxiety attack usually lasting 20 or 30 minutes, often accompanied with thoughts of dying or losing ones mind, and sometimes occurring away from home, in crowds, or in open spaces. Usually someone with panic will begin to stay close to home and overly monitor their internal processes such as heart-rate or breathing. While medication can help, usually managing anxiety includes learning not to be afraid of the panic attacks, developing calming strategies, and refusing to build up safety zones.
  • Phobias are fears, quite extreme, to specific situations, events, or objects. If a phobia exists, usually the person tries to avoid the trigger, or if avoidance cant be accomplished then there is strong anxiety in anticipation of the trigger. Phobias to performing socially, meeting strangers, or certain animals are common. Treatment for phobias usually includes exposing yourself to the thing, or situation, that scares you. The way you do the exposure can depend on different CBT methods, and tailored to the individual.
  • Generalized Anxiety is usually characterized by chronic and hard-to-control worrisome thoughts, tension in the muscles, stomach problems, tingly in the hands or feet, irritability, problems with sleep, and a feeling of being keyed up. Treatment is often a combination of a) changing the believability of the worrisome ideas, b) learning to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, and c) facing the fearful ideas head-on.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a frequent intrusive set of ideas that trigger anxiety and that can not easily be controlled. The anxiety is often reduced if the person performs certain routines or rituals, and these rituals can be overt behaviors or internal mental activities (such as repeatedly saying a word or prayer). OCD usually consumes well over one-hour per day thinking the obsessive thoughts or acting on the urges to perform the routines. CBT of OCD is usually a technique referred to as exposure-response prevention, or ExRP. ExRP includes prolonged exposure to images or real-life situation of the content of the obsessive thoughts, along with prevention of the rituals. The rituals most often work to neutralize the anxiety from the obsessive thoughts, so preventing them is important to promote a change from avoidance to coping.
  • Habit Disorders are typically destructive behaviors that develop because of their tendency to reduce stress while being performed. Examples of more common habit disorders include skin picking and trichotollomania (hair pulling). Treatment includes stress management, reversing the habits with replacement behaviors, and changing the ideas associated with the destructive habit.

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CBT for Adjustment Disorders

Adjustment Disorders are short-term (less than six months) reactions that are unhealthy, in response to identifiable stressors. The problems can be experienced as depression, anxiety, or behavioral outbursts, or a combination of these. Treatment includes changing the ideas associated with the stressor, use of mindfulness strategies to reduce physical stress, and development of problem solving strategies.

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