We’ve all experienced rage at one time or another. In traffic…dealing with our toddler’s temper tantrum…an unfair call at the ball game. Anger is a normal outlet of emotion. Excessive, uncontrolled anger is not. Sometimes it gets out of control and takes a destructive turn, leading to problems at work, within your family, in your social relationships and indeed in the overall quality of your life.
You may not want to feel angry all the time. In fact, you may feel like you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful force. It’s OK. You can understand anger and in that understanding, learn to control it.
Quite simply, this is an emotional state that can range from minor irritation to intense rage. Just like other emotions, such as happiness and sadness, it comes with certain physiological and biological changes such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Our instinct when feeling anger is to express it outwardly and aggressively. This is, after all, a natural instinct bred in us from our very beginnings – fighting to defend ourselves when attacked is a normal response to a perceived threat.
So, it stands to reason that a certain amount of anger is critical to our survival. However, verbally or physically lashing out at anyone or anything that makes us mad is socially unacceptable, not to mention unsafe and illegal. People typically have three main ways to deal with anger: express, suppress or calm.
Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive but not aggressive manner is certainly the most productive option. However, some people don’t know when to stop, crossing the line to become pushy, demanding, disrespectful and even abusive.
For those who find themselves angry all the time and can’t control it, anger management counseling or therapy could be a helpful option. The goal of anger management is to calm your emotional feelings down and thereby reduce the physiological responses that your anger causes. This is to help you internally (remember the high blood pressure thing?) as well as externally to those around you. While you can’t eliminate the people or things that enrage you, it is possible to change your response.
In addition to counseling, you can try at-home relaxation tools to help calm you down:
- Breathe deeply, from your gut, in and out.
- Slowly repeat a calming word or phrase such as “slow down,” “relax a bit,” or “take it easy now.”
- Picture a relaxing experience or place in your mind.
- Try slow exercises like yoga to relax your muscles.
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
If you feel you need help controlling your anger, please don’t hesitate to call us for an appointment at (715) 381-1980. Our therapists have vast experience in anger management techniques.Learn More
There has been plenty of talk and awareness about eating disorders in girls and women. In fact, as many as 10 in 100 young U.S. women have an eating disorder, stemming from stress, depression, poor nutritional habits, poor body image and food fads, says the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
However, there’s a hushed murmuring of the other victims of eating disorders: teen boys and young men. This is a damaging stereotype that often silences males from seeking treatment, such as teen counseling. The National Eating Disorders Association says eating disorders will affect 10 million males in this country at some point in their lives. Such eating disorders can range from binge eating and purging to laxative abuse and fasting. The numbers show that these disorders are nearly as common for boys and men as they are for girls and women.
Further compounding the issue is the stigma attached that keeps males quiet about their disorder: a double stigma, in fact, for having a disorder characterized largely as female or gay for trying to get help. On top of that, current assessment tests are designed for females, which can skew results and lead to misconceptions about how eating disorders manifest in males.
The hard facts are there:
- 30 million people of all ages and genders have an eating disorder in the United States.
- One person dies every hour as a result of an eating disorder.
- Eating disorders come with the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
- Eating disorders affect all races and ethnic groups.
- Risk factors range from genetics to environmental factors to personality traits.
Trapped under the stigma of a “girl’s disease,” boys suffering from eating disorders like anorexia can face challenges to: #1, even acknowledge there’s a problem and #2, seek the right kind of help. The stigma spoken of above isn’t just in the teen boy’s own mind; sadly, it’s a snap judgement on the part of medical doctors as well. Many families say they have to see five or more doctors before anyone takes them seriously and refers them to the right kind of help.
We may not realize it, due to the overwhelming emphasis in society on the pressures of girls to look good, but teen boys are at the same mercy of those high standards as well. They are lured in by the billboards and the gym ads featuring bulging biceps and glutes. Why do we assume girls are the only ones who are impacted by these images? Can teen boys not fall into the trap of “I want to look like that and will stop at nothing to achieve it”?
The truth is yes, they do. Studies show that with proper and early treatment, 60 percent of eating disorder sufferers can make a full recovery.
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
If you suspect your teenager is suffering from an eating disorder, get help now. Contact Midwest Psychological Services at (715) 381-1980.Learn More
Depression is a term that gets thrown around a lot by many people as an umbrella term to mean they are sad. However, there is a big difference between the two. Sadness is a normative emotional state, while depression is a serious condition that requires treatment, such as counseling and medication. People confuse the two perhaps because we tend to associate depression with its primary symptom of sadness, says Psychology Today, and therefore have a hard time deciphering the difference between these two common psychological states.
Let’s look at the difference between the two.
This is a normal human emotion. We all experience it to some degree on a regular basis, up and down, again and again. One day we may be sad, the next happy. Perhaps we may be sad for several days in a row. This emotion tends to be triggered by a specific event or experience such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or even just a bad week at work.
That sadness may go on for a few days or even a few weeks but as we get over the trigger, that sadness recedes like the tide.
By contrast, depression is an abnormal emotional state. This is a form of mental illness that pervades our entire thinking, emotions, behaviors and perceptions in chronic and long-lasting ways. You don’t have to suffer a particular event in order to be depressed. In fact, depression often comes on in the absence of such triggers. Your life may look perfect on the outside. You may seemingly have everything you want. In effect your life looks good on paper. But you still feel horrid inside.
Depression colors every part of our lives. Things you once enjoyed no longer bring you happiness. Things are not as interesting as they used to be. Pursuits that used to seem worthwhile just seem unworthy now. That’s because depression sucks out our energy, stalls our motivation and dampens our ability to feel true pleasure, anticipation, joy, excitement, connection and indeed meaning within our lives.
Depression makes us impatient, quick to temper and frustration. It breaks us down fast and hard, which means it takes much longer to bounce back up.
Symptoms of Depression
In order to be diagnosed with depression, you must display five of the following symptoms for a long duration, usually at least two weeks. Severity of symptoms will also come into play.
- Depressed or irritable mood
- Loss or decrease of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Significant changes in weight or appetite
- Inability to get enough sleep
- Sleeping too much
- Feelings of restlessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating, focusing and making decisions
- Thinking of death or suicide
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
Contact us at (715) 381-1980 if you find yourself saying yes to several of the above bullet points. Our therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists are here to help you. Please reach out.Learn More