The psychologists at the HVCCT work with adults, children, adolescents, couples, and families. Below are the common problems and circumstances for which individuals seek treatment:
Depression - Common symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, decreased interest or pleasure in usual activities, changes in weight, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, feelings of restlessness, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of death. Depression may be diagnosed when these symptoms occur for at least two weeks and begin interfering with functioning.
Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia - Panic attacks can best be characterized as a sudden burst of intense fear accompanied by uncomfortable physical sensations. Typical symptoms include difficulty breathing, sweating, chest pain, dizziness, shaking, tingling, nausea, heart palpitations, a feeling of unreality and a fear of dying, going crazy or losing control. Some individuals with panic disorder also develop Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia refers to the fear of going into certain situations because it may trigger a panic attack. Examples of these avoided situations include riding elevators, driving, using public transportation, traveling, going to shopping malls and restaurants, and being home alone.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - GAD is characterized by excessive, unrealistic worry and chronic feelings of restlessness, nervousness, and tension. In adults, the anxiety may focus on issues such as health, safety, money, or career. Worry becomes difficult to control and may lead to problems concentrating, sleeping, and enjoying life. GAD symptoms also may include trembling, muscular aches, headaches, stomachaches, dizziness, and irritability.
Social Phobia - Social Phobia is characterized by extreme anxiety about being judged by others or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or humiliation. When entering social situations, these individuals may experience uncomfortable physical symptoms, including shaking and trembling, heart palpitations, faintness, blushing, and profuse sweating. These symptoms can add to the anxiety because the person fears that others are noticing these symptoms and judging him/her negatively because of them. As a result, social situations may be endured with intense discomfort or avoided all together.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - In OCD, individuals are plagued by persistent, repetitive thoughts (obsessions) that are intrusive and cause the person intense anxiety. Common obsessions include worry about being contaminated, persistent doubts (e.g., whether they locked the door or turned the stove off), aggressive or inappropriate sexual thoughts, or fears of behaving improperly or acting violently. In order to neutralize or counteract these disturbing thoughts, repetitive rituals (compulsions) may be performed. Common compulsions include cleaning, checking, washing, repeating, and hoarding. The compulsions are aimed to relieve the anxiety brought on by the obsessions, however relief is only temporary. Often OCD suffers will begin to avoid situations that are likely to bring on obsessions (e.g., avoiding children for fear they will act aggressively, avoiding public bathrooms for fear of contracting a disease, etc.).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - PTSD can follow an exposure to a traumatic event, such as a sexual or physical assault, repetitive abuse, being involved or witnessing an accident, witnessing an act of violence, or a natural disaster. The main symptoms associated with PTSD are (1) re-experiencing the traumatic event (e.g., flashbacks, nightmares); (2) heightened physical arousal (e.g., an exaggerated startle response, difficulty sleeping, irritability, poor concentration), (3) emotional numbing (feeling disconnected and detached from self and others), and (4) avoidance behaviors (such as avoiding places or situations that are reminders of the trauma).
Phobias - People with phobias suffer from an intense fear reaction to a specific object or situation (such as spiders, dogs, or heights). The degree of fear is usually disproportionate to the situation, and is recognized by the sufferer as being irrational. The fear can become so intense that common, everyday situations where they may come into contact with their feared situation, animal, etc. become avoided.
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