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Separation Anxiety Disorder: The Fear of Losing Your Loved Ones

Written by Onaolapo Adeyemi. Posted in EMDR

Separation anxiety disorder may be defined as a psychological condition in which the individual experiences severe anxiety or stress by thoughts of or actual separation from home or from the people with whom the individual has a strong emotional bonding.  Note that this is also a case of trauma.  If there is trauma, EMDR can be used.  Even though more instances of separation anxiety are often witnessed in children, this condition may manifest itself in individuals of all ages.

Separation Anxiety in Children

Separation anxiety in children often fades after they reach a certain age and only needs to be addressed with the help of a professional if it continues beyond a certain age. Instances of separation anxiety disorder are also prevalent in animals, with pets exhibiting abnormal behavioral pattern when they are separated from a human or animal companion or when they are taken way from an environment they are familiar with.

emdr - cure to ptsd


Separation anxiety disorder in children is considered to a normal component of the developmental stage when the child cries or may show signs of being in stress when separated from his parents or from home. Separation anxiety disappears when the child begins to feel more secure and is assured that the parents will return after a short absence. If the child continues to show aberration in his behavior every time he is away from his parents or his familiar surroundings, after he has reached the age of five, it may represent that he is suffering from a separation anxiety disorder.


Symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder

Some of the common symptoms of separation anxiety disorder are persistence of anxiety and stress when separated from home or from loved ones, excessive anxiety about losing a person with whom the individual is emotionally attached, fear of an imaginary event or a situation that may result in separation from loved ones, fear of being alone, refusal to sleep away from home or away from loved ones and manifestation of the anxiety in physical symptoms when the individual is sure that the separation is imminent. In children, separation anxiety disorder may take the form of a refusal of the children to attend school. This is also known as the ‘school refusal’ syndrome.

Treatment Options

The most common treatment options for separation anxiety disorder are play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques and family therapy. These treatments help the child to calm down, understand that the separation from home and parents is a normal phase of growing up and also help an older child to take control of his negative behavior and practice appropriate behavior when separation is imminent.

Read more on separation anxiety disorder

Originally posted 2013-06-29 10:43:51.

PTSD Treatment and Management

Written by Onaolapo Adeyemi. Posted in EMDR

Cognitive-Behavioral-TherapyPTSD treatment and management – Many warriors prefer to keep silent about their feelings to themselves than talking to anyone, not even the therapist, but the truth of the matter is that you have to talk before you can get the treatment you need, and deserve.
Today, there are good treatments available for PTSD.  Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of counseling. It appears to be the most effective type of counseling for PTSD. The VA is providing two forms of cognitive behavioral therapy to Veterans with PTSD: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy.  To learn more about these types of therapy, see the official VA fact sheets listed on the treatment page.

There is also a similar kind of therapy called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) that is used for PTSD.  Medications have also been shown to be effective.  A type of drug known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is also used for depression, is effective for PTSD. More information can be found at the VA treatment page.  There are different types of cognitive behavioral therapy.

PTSD Treatment And Management – Types of cognitive behavioral therapy

Watch The Videos Below to Learn and Determine Your Best Treatment Option(s)




In cognitive therapy, your therapist helps you understand and change how you think about your trauma and its aftermath.  Your goal is to understand how certain thoughts about your trauma cause you stress and make your symptoms worse. Once you understand the fundamentals of your problem, you can definitely tackle it with full force.  The work of your therapist, by using cognitive therapy is to help you identify thoughts about the world and yourself that are making you feel afraid or upset.  With the help of your therapist, you will learn to replace these thoughts with more accurate and less distressing thoughts. You will also learn ways to cope with feelings such as anger, guilt, and fear.

In exposure therapy, your goal is to have less fear about your memories. It is based on the idea that people learn to fear thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind them of a past traumatic event.  All you have to do is talk about your trauma repeatedly with a therapist, you’ll learn to get control of your thoughts and feelings about any kind of trauma you might have encountered that is causing you the pain and discomfort. You’ll learn that you do not have to be afraid of your memories. This may be hard at first. It might seem strange to think about stressful things on purpose. But you’ll feel less overwhelmed over time.

Group therapy

Talking to other people with similar trauma experience is also a great way of staying sane with your past experience.  Sharing your story with others could help you feel more comfortable talking about your trauma. This can help you cope with your symptoms, memories, and other parts of your life and can bring a great positive change to your life.  Sharing with the group also can help you build self-confidence and trust. You’ll learn to focus on your present life, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the past.  Group therapy assists you in building relationships with others who understand what you’ve been through.  This will boost your confidence because you know you are not alone.  You will learn to deal with emotions like shame, guilt, anger, rage, and fear.

Family therapy

When a member of the family has PTSD, it can affect your whole family.  Your kids or your partner may not understand why you get angry sometimes, or why you’re under so much stress.  They may feel scared, guilty, or even angry about your condition.

Family therapy is a type of counseling that involves your whole family. A therapist helps you and your family to communicate, maintain good relationships, and cope with tough emotions. Your family can learn more about PTSD and how it is treated.

Another form of treatment of PTSD is EMDR.

According to the VA PTSD Website; Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another type of therapy for PTSD and like other kinds of counseling, it is said to help change how you react and accept memories of your trauma.  Maybe you experienced trauma as a civilian, or as a soldier serving in combat zones, it is said to help relieve and/or treat the trauma.  The process involves thinking of or talking about your memories, while you’ll focus on other stimuli like eye movements, hand taps, and sounds.  Your therapist may use his or her hand as a movement focus point near your face, and you’ll follow this movement with your eyes.  Other equipment could also be used to replace the hand movement. See article about EMDR equipment here.  Experts are still learning how EMDR works.  Studies have shown that it may help you have fewer PTSD symptoms but research also suggests that the eye movements are not a necessary part of the treatment.


Chemicals in your brain affect the way you feel. For example, when you have depression you may not have enough of a chemical called serotonin. SSRIs raise the level of serotonin in your brain.  Medication is also very effective depending on what your doctor prescribes for you.  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant medicine which could help you feel less sad and worried.  They appear to be helpful, and for some people, they are very effective. SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (such as Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft).  There are other medications that have been used with some success.  All you have to do now is talk to your doctor about which medications are right for you.




Photos by:  http://www.freud-sigmund.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy.jpg

For more information on PTSD treatment and management, visit http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/gen-treatment.asp


Originally posted 2013-06-26 18:12:10.

Anxiety Treatment: Therapy that Combats Stress

Written by Onaolapo Adeyemi. Posted in EMDR

Anxiety Treatment: Therapy that Combats Stress.  Almost all cases of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, post-traumatic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and others can be treated through behavioral therapy and through medication.

anxiety_disorder_and_treatmentThe common mental therapy treatment options for people suffering from anxiety disorders are cognitive behavioral therapy, stress relieving or relaxation therapy, exercise, and group therapy. Even though the methods of anxiety treatment may be different, all the above-mentioned treatments rely on one underlying principle: i.e. to induce strength and resilience in the individual to be able to face any unpleasant life situation and to face the sources of stress, imaginary or real, with fortitude. If anxiety interferes with daily activities, a person may need treatment with medicines (such as antidepressants or antianxiety medications) and/or professional counseling.

Anxiety disorders are a type of mental illness characterized by severe anxiety that interferes with a person’s life. Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear, uneasiness, or concern that something bad is about to happen.

Anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder, which involves several months of ongoing physical symptoms that occur along with anxiety.
  • Panic disorders, which involve repeated episodes of sudden fear and feelings of danger or impending doom, along with physical symptoms.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, which involves frequent, repeated thoughts leading to repeated or persistent behavior (such as excessive hand-washing).
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, which involves reliving a traumatic event (such as a war experience or rape) and feelings of numbness and disinterest in daily activities.

These disorders can be treated with medicines and/or counseling. (VA Health Library)

Anxiety Treatment

One of the most popular anxiety treatment options for anxiety disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy, is based on the principle that our emotions influence our behavior. So, for an individual to function effectively, it is essential that he should think positively and harbor constructive thoughts. The therapist helps the individual to recognize the thoughts and the beliefs that are unpleasant to the individual and strengthens him by devising a strategy to face the situations and thoughts that are unpleasant and fear to provoke for him. The cognitive behavioral therapy includes lessons on slow breathing, relaxation techniques and education about anxiety, as well.

Relaxation therapy, another popular means of anxiety treatment, educates the individual about various relaxation techniques that help him to release the muscular and the psychological tension that he experiences every time he faces an undesirable situation. The relaxation techniques could include exercises on slow breathing, isometric relaxation, meditation, visualization, and self-hypnosis. The individual should practice these relaxation techniques on a regular basis and especially when he feels that he may experience an anxiety attack soon, due to the increase in the anxiety level triggered by some unpleasant source.

Mental health therapies are always a better option than prescription medicines because of the side effects that are often associated with the use of prescription drugs. Also, prescription drugs do not alter the behavior of the individual or help him face the unpleasant situations but only provide relief from the anxiety and stress on a short-term basis. On the other hand, behavioral therapies like the ones mentioned above have been proven to be effective, non-drug induced anxiety treatment to combat anxiety that is also recommended by the doctors themselves.


VA Health Library

ARMY MWR Library


Originally posted 2013-06-24 10:43:51.

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