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Social isolation has never been as prevalent as it is today. Staying at home is a joy for many, but it might not be the best for your mental health. We take a look at if isolation can cause social anxiety.

At Cognitive Behavior Associates, we provide services for the best cognitive behavioral therapy Los Angeles has to offer. Our goal is to help every patient grow and develop, especially during trying times.

Can Isolation Cause Social Anxiety?

We are quickly approaching a year of recommended isolation and social distancing. The economic costs splatter the news. But few people are taking the time to fully recognize the mental strain that we are all under. The separation from parents, siblings, and close friends has been hard. The general need to remove ourselves from practically all forms of social interaction may be even harder. We are a highly social species. And we have been asked to give up one of the core aspects of human life.

We recognize the necessity of isolation. And we care for the health of our fellow human beings. But there is no avoiding that it has come at a cost.

The Isolated Mind

Long before the average person had even considered the possibility of a pandemic, psychologists were already studying what isolation does to human beings. Alarmed by what appeared to be increasing rates of loneliness in American adults, researchers began to study the effects. One 2015 study found that people who felt isolated were more likely to smoke often and drink heavily. And this trend fits with current data coming from Americans in isolation this year.

Studies that pre-date the pandemic found that isolation often led to the development of depression and the associated sleep disorders. But what about social anxiety? In many ways, it makes sense that you may feel social anxiety as a result of isolation and depression. At its root, social anxiety thrives when we feel unsure of ourselves in a social setting. If we’re out of practice, it’s no wonder that anxiety sky-rockets.

Understanding Social Anxiety

Most people experience some level of social anxiety during their lifetime. It’s that nagging feeling you get in a room where you feel like others are judging you. Or it is that sense like you don’t quite fit in. It’s an uncomfortable ache. And in severe cases it can seriously inhibit a person’s ability to socialize.

There is still a lot of research to be done before we can definitively say what the effects of the pandemic are, but we have a start. Gyms have closed down. Grocery stores barely open. And barbers are on hold, so many of us don’t look our best at the moment. On top of that, there seems a growing push to act “more” productive despite the disruption of our lives. Just by talking to family and friends, we can see the change. More and more people are unwilling to go out when they can and shying away from others out of fear that they will be judged.

What is left is a population of people suffering from isolation and social anxiety, which can feel like an impossible situation. If this describes you or someone close to you, you deserve to know that it is okay to ask for help.

Finding the Help You Need

At Cognitive Behavior Associates, we use cognitive behavior therapy to treat a range of psychological disorders, including depression and social anxiety. We offer the best social anxiety treatment Los Angeles has around. It works by making the patient an integral part of their own recovery by helping them to recognize the stimuli that trigger the negative emotions they are experiencing. From there, the staff can work with you to see the correlation between the stimuli, your negative emotions, and what they are actually doing to you. This helps many patients to recognize the ways that they can replace negative thoughts with positive ones to improve their mental health overall.

However, the doctors at CBA also recognize that this is sometimes easier said than done. To help you while you’re working on reducing the frequency of negative thoughts, they will also help you to learn behavioral tricks to control or eliminate harmful behaviors. Even if you aren’t comfortable leaving your home due to being high risk, you can always arrange for a telepsychotherapy session to get started.

Addiction recovery can be a challenging time. In fact, it rarely is easy. But many factors go into determining how difficult or doable it is. What role does family play in addiction recovery? Is it positive? Or negative? Or, like most things, a little bit of both?

In regard to medicine, our understanding of addiction has changed dramatically over the past century. Unfortunately, developments in science are not always immediately applied by society at large. Popular discussions focused on mental health, sobriety, and substance abuse continue to rely on outdated tropes that shape these serious health concerns into personal, moral flaws. This can make recovery even more difficult. The affected person has to try to overcome their addiction under the added strain of public condemnation.

Addiction and Family

The role of family in addiction recovery is certainly not negligible. Regardless of how you choose to define your family, having an addict among you comes with a unique set of challenges. You have to carefully balance their emotional needs. At the same time, you must hold them accountable for behavior patterns that develop out of their illness. It’s a tightrope that most families cannot maintain without falling into a collective set of dysfunctional roles. Without professional help, you will likely find that each member of your family begins to fill one aspect of the addict’s needs. You may be the enforcer, the enabler, the family clown, the over-achiever, or any other number of fixed roles in their life, but none of these represent a healthy response.

Our interpersonal relationships are far too complex for us to reduce them down to one set of emotions. Even if you think you are doing what is necessary to keep your family together, you are likely causing further damage to your family dynamic. The honest truth is that if one member of your family is an addict, then you are all going to need professional therapy. It is the best way to protect the bonds that hold you together during their recovery period.

Moving Forward Together

To give your family the best chance of recovery, it is important that you do what you can to maintain a supportive environment. Specifically, one that doesn’t condone the addict’s negative behavior. Every family’s experience with addiction is different. So, you will want to work through recovery with the help of a mental health professional. They can help you to stop harmful patterns before they start. They can also help you by finding positive behaviors that will provide you and the rest of your family the support they need as you go through this together. At Cognitive Behavior Associates, we provide the best addiction recovery treatment Beverly Hills has available. Call us today to learn more and start your path to recovery.

Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Family therapy can make a great difference. It can provide stability and healthy responses as your family member goes through the recovery process. However, this probably won’t be enough on its own to get your loved one to a point where they have the opportunity to heal. In addition to family therapy and regular medical attention, people suffering from addiction often benefit from cognitive behavior therapy.

Cognitive behavior therapy is designed to help addicts recognize what environmental and emotional triggers drive their addiction. It may be certain friends, stress, or a specific environment. Figuring out what experiences are most likely to initiate their cravings means that the addict can move forward with avoidance or coping.

The experts at Cognitive Behavior Associates balance positively engaging activities with exposure to triggers. And they work on dealing with the negative emotions associated with them. Based on your loved one’s readiness, the therapeutic team will help them to gauge their ability to deal with triggers in the real world, teaching avoidance if necessary.

In allowing your family member to understand what triggers them, the staff at Cognitive Behavior Associates can help them take a level of control over their addiction. It is still not an easy process, and full recovery will require a life-long commitment. However, family counseling, medical treatment, and CBA can give your loved one an opportunity for a better life. Contact us today to learn more about the best option for cognitive behavioral therapy Los Angeles has.

Long before the pandemic, medical professionals had already realized a disturbing trend in mental health cases. In many communities across this nation, Americans are working longer hours. And increasing wages are failing to keep up with more rapidly increasing inflation. The internet allows us to build global communities, but many are still alone when they go to sleep at night. Self-care during quarantine is about more than reacting to COVID-19, it is about learning healthy practices.

These are just a few factors that scientists believe may be correlated to perceived increases in cases of depression, anxiety, and other environmentally-driven mental health disorders. A lot of research still needs to be done. Still, there is a general consensus that the isolation of the pandemic will aggravate existing mental health disorders and increase cases across the country. As a result, even if you are not already struggling with your mental health, it is absolutely imperative that you take the appropriate steps to protect it.

According to the experts at the Center for Disease Control, self-care can be as simple as taking care of your physical needs and maintaining the emotional connections that help you thrive. By setting aside time to get outside or talk to your best friend over the phone, you can do a lot to maintain a sense of comfort and normalcy despite the current situation. Here are just a few ways you can escape from the stress of the pandemic and take care of your mental health.

Try Cooking Something New

Giving your body the nutrients it needs is vital to keeping yourself feeling good. Unfortunately, cooking the same old meals over and over again takes the fun out of it. To mix things up, take an hour of your time to explore popular food blogs and print out the recipes that sound the most delicious and contain plenty of vegetables. You can do this with dessert too, if you prefer baking. A great fruit tart, beautiful carrot cake, or even chocolate zucchini bread will satiate your sweet tooth and creativity while delivering much-needed nutrients.

Find a Local Trail

Our parks, beaches, and normal outdoor hangouts are a little too populated for anyone concerned about COVID. To get yourself out and about, you’ll need to strap on some good shoes and find a local trail. You will definitely see people, but the density is noticeably less, allowing you to keep your distance and your mask while enjoying the great outdoors.

Schedule Calls with Family and Friends

It’s natural to want to withdraw a little when you are feeling anxious, but you will need as much support as you can get to make it through quarantine. Set a time once a week or so to check in with family and friends. It’s good for your mental health, and it will allow you to reach the people who may be having an even harder time dealing with the pandemic.

Do Some Indoor Exercise

When your gym is closed and the sidewalks are too crowded, it can be difficult to stay fit, but maintaining a healthy BMI is good for your overall health, not just your vanity. To stay active, try following along with a yoga video or game. You can also do bodyweight exercises, such as squats, push-ups, and planks for a little extra burn.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Don’t wait for a crisis. If you feel that you are struggling with your mental health, you need to talk to an expert. Cognitive Behavior Associates offers telepsychotherapy, which means you can speak with an expert from the comfort of your own home and start the journey towards better mental health. For caring, quality cognitive behavioral therapy in Los Angeles, call CBA today.

Please note that all of these suggestions are preventative. If you are in crisis or considering hurting yourself, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The operator will be able to connect you with the resources you need to feel like yourself again. Self-care during quarantine is vital. Don’t neglect your own well-being!

Nearly half of the United States’ population will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Despite the stigma, struggling with a mental illness is a normal part of existence, especially for urban populations where the percentage of cases is substantially higher. Perceptions of mental illness have drastically changed, allowing people to access real help more easily than ever before. Unfortunately, that does not mean that all negative associations have disappeared. On average, only 41% of people dealing with a mental illness receive professional aid in a given year. The result is that 59% of people are trying to control a serious health issue alone. But why do people avoid mental health treatment?

According to data published in Psychology Today, the reasons behind so many patients avoiding professional treatment are complex and often deeply personal. However, this information does emphasize three primary categories of reasoning that prevent many individuals from seeking treatment for mental illness.

Perceptions

In the initial study, 35.3% of all participants cited a concern that they might be perceived differently if anyone knew about their mental illness. Many were concerned about confidentiality and whether their neighbors or employer might find out that they were undergoing treatment.

These anxieties are common among people with mental illnesses. Anxiety itself is a common symptom. However, their concerns don’t exist in a vacuum. For patients with a wide range of mental health struggles, their anxieties lock onto pre-existing stigmas that do exist in our society.

Fortunately, HIPPA covers treatment for a mental health illness. This means your personal data can only be used for necessary operations. In reality, you have complete control over who knows you are seeking treatment.

Money

Given the nature of our current healthcare system, it is not surprising that 65.9% of participants were concerned about cost. Many worried that their health insurance might not cover care. Or that the cost of treatment may be too high even with insurance. The study emphasizes that cost concerns also seemed driven by perception rather than an attempt to receive treatment.

Patients concerned about the cost of receiving professional help should speak with their primary care physician. Also, we advise having a consultation with a mental health specialist to determine available solutions. These parties can typically help you to navigate the insurance system to receive as much aid as possible, making treatment a workable solution for you. However, Cognitive Behavior Associates has compiled a useful list of resources for therapy to help people take the first step towards a healthier tomorrow. We hope this list benefits patients who may not be ready to open up to their doctor or need help locating services near them,

Understanding

The last category may seem somewhat generic, but 58.9% of respondents suggested a reason they didn’t seek help was due to misunderstanding the nature of their illness. Many initially thought they wouldn’t need help. Or they worried they might be forced to take medications against their will. Others assumed that they would be able to fix it themselves.

The heart of the issue is that we, as a society, still fail to equate a mental health illness with a physical illness. We know that we can’t fix a broken leg or a malfunctioning heart valve. Yet we believe that those dealing with depression, anxiety, and other serious mental health issues can fix it by putting their minds to it. It is not that simple.

Finding Help When You Need It

Despite all of these misgivings, the truth is that mental illness is like any other serious health issue. You can’t solve it on your own. And a professional is best suited to helping you navigate your way through your illness. For a positive, scientifically-backed approach to your mental health treatment, contact Cognitive Behavior Associates to schedule an initial consultation.We are top providers of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Los Angeles and have served countless patients. We offer treatments for disorders ranging from social anxiety to bipolar disorder. We look forward toward helping you move toward a future of mental health. Don’t let the reasons people avoid mental health treatment keep you away from a clearer sense of self and purpose.

Anxiety disorders represent the most common mental illnesses present in the United States today. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, roughly 40 million adults over the age of 18 are affected every year. That is 18% of the national population! As many as 25% of American adults having an anxiety disorder at some point during their lifetime. The physical symptoms of anxiety disorders can become rapidly apparent.

Predictably, anxiety disorders have not been spared from the stigmatization of mental health. Rather than being treated as inherently dangerous or uncontrollable, people with anxiety disorders regularly face apathy and even scorn, as the remaining majority of the population refuse to validate the condition. The combination of social perceptions and the lack of access to affordable medical care for many patients with mental health disorders has resulted in less than 37% of people with anxiety disorders receiving treatment for their condition.

Mental Health and the Body

Indeed, an anxiety disorder is primarily a mental health issue. But this classification can be misleading. The Australian National Survey of Mental Health Literacy and Stigma found that the mental nature of anxiety disorders deeply affected popular perceptions. Most of those surveyed refused to believe that it was a real medical condition. Indeed, they posited that anxiety disorders were reflective of “personal weakness.”

In reality, any person who has experienced one of these disorders can tell you that it isn’t as simple as “snap[ping] out of it.” The brain and body are completely intertwined. A person suffering from an anxiety disorder isn’t merely dealing with negative thoughts and fears. They are battling an entire host of physical symptoms of anxiety disorders that further complicate the existing situation.

It is important to note that an entire range of anxiety orders exist, and some have very particular physical tells. The purpose of this article is not to diagnose a specific anxiety disorder but to help you recognize the general physical symptoms. If you or someone close to you is consistently demonstrating behaviors or symptoms consistent with an anxiety disorder, your next move is to seek/encourage professional diagnosis and treatment. Contact Cognitive Behavior Associates for professional help and a personalized treatment plan.

Recognizing the Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

When it comes to anxiety, there is a long list of possible symptoms. Some of these are emotional, but even they are often expressed in physiological terms.

Here are the ten most common physical symptoms to pay attention to if you suspect that you or someone close to you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. These include:

  • Chronic symptoms, which generally affect the person daily
  • Triggered responses, which usually occur during an attack

Chronic Symptoms:

  • Insomnia or Intermittent Sleep: Difficulty sleeping is a common symptom of an anxiety disorder. But not all people experience conventional insomnia. Some will wake up throughout the night, preventing adequate rest.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: In most cases, the mind seems to revert to the source of the anxiety. This prevents long periods of concentration on other subjects.
  • Regularly Avoiding Triggers: This is purposefully vague, as triggers can vary widely based on the diagnosis and source of anxiety. Pay attention to those who regularly seem to want to avoid crowds, loud atmospheres, or other specific stimuli. If they become agitated, try having a more open conversation about how those situations make them feel and make your support clear.

Triggered Responses:

  • Uncontrollable Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Hyperventilation
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Fainting

For the most part, when a person has a triggered response, you will notice several of these symptoms simultaneously. Please refer to our guide on how to help someone who is having a panic attack to learn more about what you can do to help without causing additional harm. Always be careful and understanding. An anxiety disorder can make someone feel isolated. By providing compassionate help, you can make a difference.

Although they aren’t necessarily common, panic disorders affect between 2 and 3% of all American adults. In fact, 4.7% of American adults will experience a panic attack during their lifetime. These statistics are markedly higher for adults in their late teens to early twenties and doubled for women. For friends and family, it is important to know how to help someone having a panic attack.

Due to the concentration of cases in these demographics, the reality is that you probably know someone who has or currently does suffer from a panic disorder. In order to do what you can for them in the event of an attack, you must be able to recognize a panic attack and respond effectively.

What to Look For

The symptoms of a panic attack can vary from person to person. In some minor cases, they are almost indiscernible if you don’t know what to look for because the most common symptoms are mainly internal. Mental Health First Aid warns that panic attacks can manifest in several ways. The following list comprises the most common symptoms.

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Numbness
  • Dizziness
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Chest Pain
  • Abdominal Distress
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fear of “going crazy” or dying
  • Chills and Hot Flashes
  • Feeling Choked
  • Feeling Faint
  • Feeling that you are detached from reality

Given the nature of these symptoms, a bystander is only likely to notice general physical and emotional distress. You may note that they are breathing heavily or look visibly confused. Unfortunately, these symptoms could be associated with a long list of other medical conditions.
Therefore, your first priority is to assess the situation to establish what the person is going through.

Assessing the Situation

Differentiating a panic attack from a medical situation that requires emergency help can be difficult, so your ability to assess the situation will rely on your ability to communicate clearly and concisely. A person in the throes of a panic attack will only be able to process small amounts of information at a time. All of their internal systems are in over-drive, so you will need to be patient.

Ask and Listen

Start by asking short, basic questions.

  • “Has this happened before?” Wait for a response. Try a different question if you get no answer.
  • “Do you want an ambulance?”
  • “Have you been feeling stressed?”

Your goal is to figure out if they know what is happening to them and if they require emergency help. Regardless of whether you end up calling 911, you will need to manage the situation until the attack has passed or the ambulance arrives.

Managing the Attack

Your last question should always be, “What might help you?” If they need to be moved away from a crowd or sat down, offer aid. Once they’re settled, stop asking questions. Instead, provide gentle assurance. Stay calm, talk slowly, and help them to focus on their breathing by encouraging them to count to ten with you.

On average, the longest attacks can last between 20 and 30 minutes, but most panic attacks will only last 5 to 10 minutes. During this time, stay with them to ensure continuity and support while they recover.

After the Attack

Once the attack has passed, it is important to show that you genuinely care for their well-being. See if they need you to call someone to pick them up, and encourage them to reach out to a medical professional regarding their attacks.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be used to teach patients how to recognize their triggers and manage their symptoms. In ten weekly sessions, the “Panic No More” program at Cognitive Behavior Associates will help patients to restructure their reactions to common anxiety behaviors and address avoidance behaviors.

According to the Sleep Foundation, depression affects around 20 million Americans. Still, many experts believe that depression remains an under-reported condition. On the one hand, the long-surviving negative attitude surrounding mental illness is a contributing factor. But, the subtle nature of depression itself is responsible for patients going undiagnosed for months or even years. And, insomnia and depression often appear together.

Depression is characterized by its gradual onset and the mixed appearance of symptoms. The result is that it can be difficult to know that you have it before it becomes severe. This is true even if you are the one affected by depression. Recognizing your depression can be tougher than you might expect.

The difficulty of diagnosis becomes worse when loss of self-worth is a common symptom. As a result, many individuals with depression are too worried about wasting another person’s time. They see their problems as insignificant. This mindset prevents them from seeking the help they need. 

Factoring in Sleep

There are many symptoms regularly associated with depression. These can include physical symptoms like tiredness and changes in weight. But the more dangerous ones are mental. These include difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, loss of self-worth, and suicidal thoughts. 

Almost all depression patients experience one symptom: sleep disorders. You can have trouble sleeping, called insomnia. Or, you might find yourself sleeping for extended periods, called hypersomnia. In either case, sleep disorders are repeatedly associated with depression. Experts see it both as a contributing cause and a core symptom, according to Duke Health

What the Research Says

In fact, people who experience constant insomnia are ten times more likely to develop depression. An academic article in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience comments on sleep disturbance. It says that it is “prevalent…and often unresolved by treatment” in cases of existing depression. 

In plain English, sleep disorders contribute to the start of depression. Not only that, but they make it worse over time. Unfortunately, current treatment plans often fail to treat the sleep disorder. Doing this opens the patient up to continued periods of depression until you can address the sleep disorder fully.

The Added Trouble with Insomnia and Depression

All sleep disorders have the potential to interfere with quality of life. Hypersomnia can negatively impact your ability to hold a job or succeed in school, but insomnia has yet another effect. 

Being unable to sleep prevents your body from getting enough rest. So, first, your depression affects your interactions with other people. Then it limits your ability to focus. Finally, you’re also fighting the added effects of exhaustion. 

How Common is Insomnia?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that chronic sleeplessness affects 10-35 percent of the US. Obviously, people all over feel its effects. Research shows that sleep loss has noted effects on attention and working memory. This serves to compound already existing symptoms of depression. 

In addition, sleep loss from insomnia impairs physical parts of the brain. Specifically, it harms the brain’s waste disposal symptom. What this means is patients become vulnerable to physical brain diseases. Such illnesses can even further weaken their ability to manage the symptoms of depression as they age. And they are difficult to treat.

Start With Sleep

Even if you are currently managing your depression, don’t ignore the importance of treating your sleep disorder. Don’t think of it as a separate entity. It can be contributing to your condition. But, your condition also might cause it. 

You may need a small team to help you through this, and that is okay. 

Depression is a multi-faceted disease. So, it naturally requires a wide range of expertise to treat it on all fronts. At Cognitive Behavior Associates, your care providers work with your doctor and therapist to manage your condition from multiple angles. Such an approach gives you the best chance at extended recovery.

For anyone reading this who hasn’t found aid, there are people ready to help. Please call the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Hotline at 1-800-662-4357. 

If you are contemplating self-harm, remember your life does matter. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.