Skip to main content
Category

Mental Health

What Is The Root Cause Of Trust Issues?

What Is The Root Cause Of Trust Issues?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines trust as a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Trust is generally viewed as one of the foundational pillars of any authentic, healthy relationship. It can take years to develop trust in a relationship, and only moments for it to be destroyed. A tendency to distrust others can lead to a slew of unwanted consequences (e.g., exacerbate depression, loneliness, antisocial behaviors, etc.). Trust issues are largely characterized by fears of abandonment, betrayal, and manipulation. There are different frequently exhibited signs with which an individual struggling with trust issues may present, including the following examples, provided by Good Therapy:

  • Lack of intimacy or friendships
  • The mistrust that interferes with a relationship
  • Dramatic and turbulent relationships
  • Suspicion or anxiety about friends and family 
  • Terror during physical intimacy
  • The belief that others are deceptive or malevolent without evidence

Unresolved trust issues can cause problems in romantic relationships as well as non-romantic relationships and can interfere with one’s ability to cultivate and maintain future healthy relationships. 

Where Do Trust Issues Come From?

There is no single root cause that universally and accurately encompasses why chronic distrust, colloquially known as trust issues, develops. Rather, in most situations, the cause of trust issues is often due to a confluence of contributing factors. Trust issues can develop because of past or present experiences. Common causes of trust issues could be attributed to:

  • Childhood experiences: research has found that people who have endured a troubled childhood are more likely to develop trust issues later in life. For some individual’s the development of trust issues may be attributed to exposure to the following examples at a young age:
    • A parent making false promises to a child 
    • A friend failing to follow through on their words 
    • Caregivers with poor parenting skills
    • Abuse (e.g., emotional, physical, sexual, psychological, etc.)
    • Parental neglect
    • Parents with psychiatric conditions
    • Parental anger issues
  • Toxic relationships: unhealthy elements of relationships that could ignite trust issues may include:
    • Jealousy
    • Possessiveness 
    • Unreasonable rigidity 
    • Emotional infidelity 
    • Physical/ sexual infidelity
    • Relational game playing 
    • Lack of reliability and/ or dependability 
    • Lack of emotional support 
    • Lack of financial compatibility 
    • Lack of mutually supportive goals
  • Traumatic incidents: the effects of trauma can interfere with an individual’s ability to let their guard down and trust others. A traumatized individual (e.g., a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, extreme bullying, etc.) often feels unsafe in society and may begin to anticipate potential danger in all relationships, which can cause confusion regarding whom to trust and emitting vulnerability. 

Psychology Today explains that some individuals’ trust issues could partly be a matter of personality, as people that are naturally less agreeable tend to be more prone to distrusting others. However, it is important to note that people are not born with trust issues. Trust issues gradually develop as a cumulative impact of the various negative experiences one encounters in his or her life, beginning in childhood.  

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Dissociation Feels Like

What Dissociation Feels Like

Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from one’s feelings, thoughts, sense of identity, and/ or memories. The Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, explains that dissociation is a psychological phenomenon that “describes a state in which the integrated functioning of a person’s identity, including consciousness, memory, and awareness of surroundings, is disrupted or eliminated.” Dissociation is specifically influenced by the disruption of four areas of personal functioning (identity, memory, consciousness, and awareness of oneself and surroundings) that are designed to operate automatically and seamlessly. The exact causes of dissociation remain unknown, but various sources have identified certain risk factors (e.g., drug abuse, exposure to life-threatening or traumatic events, such as extreme violence, war, kidnapping, childhood abuse, etc., the presence of other mental health conditions) that may increase one’s susceptibility.  

What Does It Feel Like?

Dissociation is an overload response that works as a subconscious coping mechanism for an individual to temporarily avoid a traumatic situation, alleviate emotional overwhelm, and/ or evade negative thoughts. Every person is unique and therefore, dissociation is inevitably different for everyone. A study published in Access Advances in Psychiatric Treatment explains that general symptoms of dissociation often include changes in bodily senses and a reduced ability to react emotionally. The symptoms of dissociation can range from mild to severe and are often broken into the following five overarching categories:

  1. Depersonalization: feeling detached from one’s thoughts, feelings, and body
    • Becoming fully engrossed in something (e.g., a movie, a book, etc.) to the point of becoming unaware of what is going on in one’s surroundings
    • Having an out-of-body experience (e.g., an individual feeling as though he or she is floating away or watching themselves from a distance)
  2. Derealization: feeling disconnected from one’s environment
    • Daydreaming
    • Zoning out (e.g., scrolling through social media and suddenly noticing hours have passed)
  3. Dissociative amnesia: experiencing retrospective memory gaps 
    • Unable to remember important information about one’s life, history, and/ or identity
  4. Identity confusion: feeling unsure of one’s sense of self or place in the world
    • Obsessive behaviors (e.g., an individual repeatedly looking in the mirror to check and make sure that they are real)
  5. Identity alteration: the sense of being markedly different from another part of oneself

Severe symptoms of dissociation, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), could include perceptual alterations, emotional or physical numbing, distorted sense of time and space, unreal, unstable, or absent self, etc. The severity, combination, and duration of symptoms will vary from person to person. Individuals that dissociate do not necessarily experience symptoms from all five categories simultaneously, and further, dissociation can present as symptoms that may only be attributed to one of the above categories.  

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

How Do You Fix Trust Issues In Yourself?

How Do You Fix Trust Issues In Yourself?

Trust is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” It is the foundation of any healthy relationship, including oneself. There is no one more important to trust than yourself. Self-trust can boost your decision-making skills, improve your self-confidence, and even reduce stress levels. Psychology Today explains that “people who do not trust their own knowledge, beliefs, commitments, and emotions suffer from a lack of self-trust.” When a lack of self-trust extends to most areas of a person’s life, he or she may begin to view him or herself and become untrustworthy to him or herself. There are a variety of reasons and circumstances under which a person may lose trust in him or herself. Fortunately, self-trust issues can be fixed. 

How To Develop Self-Trust

There are several ways to cultivate and improve self-trust. To help mend your self-trust issues consider implementing the following suggestions: 

  • Be yourself: when you share your authentic self with others, they will treat you with more trust, which can in turn help build up your self-trust. 
  • Honor the promises you make to yourself: making a commitment to yourself and following through helps to build trust.
  • Avoid people who undermine your self-trust: surround yourself with people that support you and want to see you succeed.
  • Set attainable goals: although there are benefits to aiming high, it is helpful to your self-trust to start small. When we set unrealistic goals, we are often met with failure. Set smaller goals that enable you to succeed. Achieving smaller goals along the way can help you gain confidence and trust in yourself.  
  • Be kind to yourself: recognize that no one is perfect and be understanding towards yourself when you make a mistake.
  • Nurture your strengths: while trusting yourself means being able to try different things without being too self-critical or judgmental, when working on building trust in yourself it can be helpful to focus on doing things that you know you are good at. 
  • Be decisive: often when we lack trust in ourselves it can manifest as constantly questioning our decisions or actions. Breaking the habit of questioning your decisions by making and sticking with a choice can help build trust in yourself. 
  • Spend time with yourself: when we lack self-trust, we often develop a habit of looking away from ourselves as it can feel uncomfortable to spend time looking inward. Carving out time to focus on your inner thoughts and making a practice of patiently looking inward can help you get to know yourself better while simultaneously building up your self-trust. 

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix nor are there unanimous guidelines that are universally effective in building self-trust. Building and enhancing self-trust is a process that does not occur instantaneously, be patient with yourself and know that in time and with a little effort, it can be mended.  

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

How Do I Fix My Trust Issues?

How Do I Fix My Trust Issues?

Trust, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Trust issues are characterized by fears of abandonment, betrayal, and manipulation. It is impossible to move through life without encountering trust issues at some point. The severity and how those issues affect and shape each person may be different but facing trust issues is simply a part of life. Fortunately, there is a plethora of resources and helpful suggestions that an individual can take advantage of to shift painful trust issues into building blocks for cultivating healthy relationships. 

Common Signs

The first step to mending trust issues that may be interfering with one’s relationships is to recognize common signs. While trust issues have the propensity to manifest in different ways, frequently exhibited signs that may present could include but are not limited to the following examples, provided by Good Therapy:

  • Lack of intimacy or friendships
  • The mistrust that interferes with a relationship
  • Dramatic and turbulent relationships
  • Suspicion or anxiety about friends and family 
  • Terror during physical intimacy
  • The belief that others are deceptive or malevolent without evidence

The signs of trust issues may include any combination of the above examples. Unresolved trust issues can cause problems in romantic relationships as well as non-romantic relationships. 

Tips

There are several ways to overcome trust issues. To help get you on the path of resolution, consider implementing the following suggestions: 

  • Face your fears: the best way to diffuse the power of your fears that feed your trust issues is to name them, acknowledge them, and move on. 
  • Take emotional risks: to provide yourself with opportunities to heal you must dive in headfirst and embrace being emotionally vulnerable.
  • Everyone is human: it is advantageous to realize that no one is perfect, and that re-learning trust is a process that will likely involve some level of discomfort as well as additional experiences of broken trust. 
  • Seek closure from the past: as difficult as it may be, rather than allowing past experiences to negatively define or limit your future, try to learn from your past by seeing beyond the dysfunction, and extracting applicable lessons that can be used to develop healthier relationships in the future. 
  • Time is healing: for some people, it may only be a matter of time before your sense of trust feels restored.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix nor are there universal guidelines that are unanimously effective when working through betrayals, breached confidences, abandonment, or other trust issues. It is important to bear in mind that everyone is unique, and each person will process, integrate, and work through trust issues in their own way and in their own time.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Is Secondary PTSD?

What Is Secondary PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a mental health disorder that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it.” Secondary PTSD, also known as vicarious trauma, secondhand trauma, secondary trauma, and PTSD by proxy, is the emotional distress that results when an individual hears about the first-hand trauma experience of another person (e.g., family member, close friend, neighbor, stranger on the news, etc.). The difference between PTSD and secondary trauma is that secondary PTSD occurs after an indirect exposure to threatening events while PTSD occurs due to a perceived direct threat to an individual. Akin to PTSD, the symptoms of secondary trauma can be difficult to manage without proper guidance.

Who Is At Risk?

Some people are more susceptible to secondary trauma than others. Common risk factors that increase one’s propensity for developing secondary PTSD include, but are not limited to the following, provided by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN):

  • Mental health complications prior to hearing about the trauma
  • Greater geographical proximity to the event
  • Gender: females are at increased risk
  • Lacking social support networks
  • Acquaintance with those involved in the trauma
  • Emotional dysregulation 

It is important to note that not all individuals exposed to one or more of the above risk factors will inevitably go on to develop secondary trauma. 

Signs and Symptoms

There are many possible signs and symptoms that could manifest because of secondary PTSD. Some examples could include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following, provided by the Boston Children’s Hospital:

  • Fear
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anger
  • Hopelessness
  • Chronic exhaustion
  • Physical ailments
  • Agitation
  • Depression 
  • Reckless behaviors
  • Regressions
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Irregular sleep
  • Difficulty with physical contact
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Constant feelings of fear and worry
  • Experiencing crying spells
  • Tense muscles
  • Social anxiety

Additional symptoms, according to American Academy of Pediatrics may include “hypervigilance, avoidance, re-experiencing…and an impaired immune system.” The signs and symptoms associated with secondary PTSD typically mimic those that present with post-traumatic stress disorder. Much like with PTSD, often the symptoms of secondary trauma interfere with one’s ability to function in his or her daily life. 

Secondary PTSD Treatment

There are many treatment options for an individual struggling with secondary PTSD. An individual with secondary trauma will likely require a customized treatment plan that may include a variety of treatment modalities. The main types of psychotherapy that are commonly used to treat secondary trauma include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapy, and talk therapy. Guidance from a qualified mental health provider can help provide an individual suffering from secondary PTSD with the much-needed support in cultivating effective coping strategies and learning applicable skills to aid in the recovery process. 

Disclaimer:

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

Signs of Self Harm and Treatment Options

Signs of Self Harm and Treatment Options

Self-injury, synonymous with self-harm, refers to the non-suicidal act of deliberately harming one’s own body. While the most common form of self-injury is cutting, there are a number of ways in which an individual can harm themselves, such as:

  • Breaking bones
  • Hitting or punching
  • Burning (with matches, cigarettes, hot objects, etc.)
  • Head banging
  • Carving symbols into skin
  • Piercing
  • Picking at a wound that interferes with healing
  • Biting
  • Pulling out hair

There is no diagnostic test for self-injury, rather diagnosis is based on a physical and psychological evaluation. 

Signs and Symptoms

Every person is unique and those that struggle with self-harm may exhibit slightly different signs and symptoms. Some of the possible examples that may indicate that an individual is engaging in self-harming behavior could include, but are not limited to any combination of the following, provided by Delta Specialty Hospital:

  • Cuts or burn marks on legs, arms, abdomen
  • Hiding sharp objects (e.g., box cutters, knives, razor blades)
  • Bizarre excuses for injuries 
  • Strange scars on one’s body
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Broken bones
  • Agitation 
  • Wearing long sleeve clothes in hot weather
  • Depression
  • Difficulty with interpersonal relationships
  • Emotional instability
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Self-imposed social isolation

Many people that engage in self-harming behaviors will do so in a location on their body’s that is not visible. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for an individual to become attached to their scars and will repeat the behaviors directly over them (e.g., cutting in the same spot). This behavior occurs as an individual self-harming views his or her scars as a physical sign of strength, which is reinforced by inflicting, continued self-harming behaviors in the same location.

Treatment Options

There are a variety of treatment options available for an individual struggling with self-harm. Typically, self-injury is most effectively treated by attending a formalized treatment program. There are outpatient mental health programs that require an individual to participate in the treatment program for a certain number of hours, daily. There are also acute inpatient mental health treatment programs that offer twenty-four-hour care and support throughout the duration of the program. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Regardless of the format, an individual in treatment for self-injury will be provided with a customized treatment plan to accommodate his or her nuanced needs. Generally, the treatment protocol for individuals that engage in self-harm will include some combination of different psychotherapy approaches. Certain therapeutic modalities that are commonly integrated into treatment plans include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), expressive arts therapies, and more. Depending on one’s needs, treatment plans may also include medication. Certain medications can be helpful in decreasing uncomfortable symptoms associated with other underlying mental health issues, which in turn can reduce the urge to self-harm. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

Diagnosing and Treating Depression

Diagnosing and Treating Depression

Depression has become an integral term used in American society to describe sadness. However, depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD) or clinical depression, is listed as a medical illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and is recognized as a serious mood disorder. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that depression is “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities,” resulting in significant impairment in one’s daily life. An individual who suffers from clinical depression has a chemical imbalance in his or her brain, resulting in an inability to return to an emotional equilibrium as quickly as others when experiencing an emotional low. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) depression affects nearly 10% of the general population in America.

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria

To be diagnosed with major depression, a person’s symptoms must fit the criteria outlined in the DSM-5. An individual must be experiencing five or more of the following symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one of the symptoms should be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure:

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

These symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms must also not be a result of substance abuse or another medical condition.

The Treatment Process

There are many approaches to treating depression. For those who have a mild case of major depressive disorder the treatment could comprise primarily of psychotherapy. There are many different types of therapeutic modalities that could be incorporated into one’s treatment plan, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). CBT is a type of therapy that combines behavioral therapy with talk therapy. DBT primarily uses mindfulness-based principles to help an individual learn tools and techniques to work towards achieving one’s therapeutic goals through understanding one’s emotions and subsequent behaviors related to one’s emotions. IPT uses an interpersonal filter to explore and examine the relationships and their effects on one’s life. 

Some people diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder may benefit from including medication into the treatment plan, in conjunction with various therapeutic methods. The different types of medications prescribed for MDD include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). A quality treatment program will consider all treatment options and create a nuanced treatment plan, incorporating medication when needed as well as the best possible therapeutic modalities that are expressly geared to one’s personal needs. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

Covid’s Impact On Mental Health

man wwearing a mask suffering from mental illness

The 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), also known as COVID-19, is a new disease that has not previously been seen in humans. Clinical Microbiology and Infection (CMI) asserts that COVID-19 “is associated with a respiratory illness that may lead to severe pneumonia, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).” The fact that the method of transmission, severity of symptoms, and long-term affects of coronavirus-19 were largely unknown not only caused worldwide panic and but also initiated the surge of a global pandemic. In efforts to slow the spread of the virus, states all across America instituted social distancing guidelines, implemented sporadic stay-at-home orders for all non-essential workers, prohibited in-restaurant dining, closed schools, theaters, exercise studios, museums, public libraries, and more. Many hospitals around the country prohibited individuals that were not there for treatment from entering the building (e.g. loved ones of patients). Further, due to its highly contagious nature a strict no visitor’s policy was established both in healthcare settings (e.g. designated COVID-19 unites) as well as in the general public (e.g. mandatory quarantine for a minimum of 14 days) for those that tested positive for the virus. Sadly, this too meant that for individuals who became terminal from COVID-19 they would be unable to be in the company of loved ones in their last living moments. 

Mental Health Impact

Nearly every person in America has experienced the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in rare situations where an individual does not have a direct connection to someone who has contracted COVID-19, the pandemic could still negatively affect their mental wellbeing. For example, extroverted individuals that thrive on social interaction were required to adhere to the stay-at-home orders and social distance mandates for extended periods of time, which surely affected their mental state. Some individuals lost family members and/ or loved one’s to COVID-19 and were unable to visit with them, see them or be by their side as they passed, which could gravely imprint an individual’s psyche. Depending on the individual, when contracted, the physical toll the virus can take on an individual can be immense, and the recovery process from COVID-19 can leave an individual vulnerable to lingering adverse effects. Having to deal with newfound, seemingly long-term physical complications can contribute to one’s mental state, and could ignite any dormant mental health ailment. The fear surrounding the unknown was palpable, not only in the United States, but all over the world. There is an endless list of all of the known ways COVID-19 impacted society: individuals developed thorough/ obsessive cleaning rituals to avoid unnecessarily contracting the virus, people spent months on end inside their homes, people stopped obtaining medical services for pre-existing conditions for fear of contracting the virus, and many, many more. Every individual living through these unprecedented times is bound to experience a slew of emotions, some of which may be difficult to navigate as they are directly related to unparalleled times. There are countless layers of how COVID-19 could impact an individual’s mental health. Much like many of the long-term effects of contracting the virus itself remain unknown, the long-term mental health effects of living through this pandemic are unknown yet are sure to be both extensive and profound. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.