We all know what anger is, and we've all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage.
Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. The Care and Counseling Center of Georgia can help you manage your anger effectively.
Research indicates that “letting it all hang out” is a dangerous myth of anger management. Our counselors can help you with such anger management techniques as:
- Cognitive restructuring
- Problem solving
- Better communication
- Using humor
- Changing your environment
- Easing up on yourself
Anger – one letter short of danger
The physical effects of anger can affect your health in the short term and long term. Regular and intense periods of anger may lead to problems with your:
- digestion – contributing to the development of conditions such as ulcerative colitis, gastritis, or irritable bowel syndrome
- immune system – making you more likely to catch the flu virus and slow your recovery from accidents or operations
- heart and circulatory system – increasing your risk of coronary heart disease or a stroke
- mental well-being – including depression, addiction, self-harm, compulsions, and bullying behavior
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms more days than not, you may be experiencing severe anxiety:
- Inability to control worrying
- Worry about many things
- Worry that is difficult to control
- Restlessness, feeling keyed up or on edge
- Tiring easily
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling easily annoyed or irritated
- Muscle tension or tightness
- Difficulty sleeping
If these things affect your ability to function at home, work, or socially, or cause significant distress, it may be beneficial to seek treatment.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition resulting in symptoms of inability to maintain attention, impulsive behaviors and/or motor restlessness.
Below are many of the symptoms of ADHD:
- Often fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
- Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often does not follow through or finish tasks
- Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Often avoids or dislikes activities that require sustained mental effort (such as homework)
- Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
- Often is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- Often is forgetful in daily activities
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
- Often leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
- Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which that is inappropriate
- Often has difficulty quietly playing in or engaging in leisure activities
- Often is "on the go" and seems to be driven by a motor
- Often talks excessively
- Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- Often has difficulty awaiting turn
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others
For the consideration of the diagnosis of ADHD six or more of these symptoms should be prevalent for at least 6 months and to a degree that impairs everyday functioning. We offer an assessment for this disorder in adults or children.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression, is a type of mental illness that involves a disorder of affect or mood. The person's mood usually swings between overly "high" or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, with periods of normal mood in between.
- Extreme irritability and distractibility
- Excessive "high" or euphoric feelings
- Increased energy, activity, restlessness
- Racing thoughts, rapid speech
- Decreased need for sleep
- Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
- Increased sexual drive
- Abuse of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless behavior such as spending sprees, rash business decisions, or erratic driving
- In severe cases, hallucinations and loss of reason
Mental health specialists refer to bipolar disorder by type: Type I bipolar disorder involves extreme upswings in mood (mania) coupled with downward spirals. In Type II, the upward swings are more mild (hypomania), but the frequency and intensity of the depressive phase is often severe. Since the elevated mood states of Type II are relatively mild, they are often missed and the bipolar nature of the illness goes undiagnosed.
Who is Affected by Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder affects more than 2.5 million adult Americans every year. (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Up to 90% of bipolar disorders start before age 20, although the illness can start in early childhood or as late as the 40's and 50's. An equal number of men and women develop bipolar illness and it is found in all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes.
- More than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close relative with the illness or with major depression, indicating that the disease has a genetic component.
Suicide and Bipolar Disorder
- Bipolar disorder results in 9.2 years reduction in expected life span, and as many as one in five patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide.
Children and Adolescents
- Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect the children of parents who have the disorder. When one parent has bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is 15% to 30%. When both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk increases to 50% to 75%.
- Some 20% of adolescents with major depression develop bipolar disorder within five years of the onset of depression. (Birmaher, B., "Childhood and Adolescent Depression: A Review of the Past 10 Years." Part I, 1995)
- Up to one-third of the 3.4 million children and adolescents with depression in the United States may actually be experiencing the early onset of bipolar disorder. (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1997)
- When manic, children and adolescents, in contrast to adults, are more likely to be irritable and prone to destructive outbursts than to be elated or euphoric. When depressed, there may be many physical complaints such as headaches, and stomachaches or tiredness; poor performance in school, irritability, social isolation, and extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure.
If you are concerned that you or someone you love may be experiencing a bipolar disorder, treatment is essential. Counselors and psychiatrists at the Care and Counseling Center of Georgia can help. Research indicates that the earlier the treatment begins, the better the prognosis is.
Child Custody Evaluations
What are child custody evaluations?
In situations where a marriage or relationship is ending or a current custody arrangement is being contested, an objective assessment by a trained custody evaluator is sometimes needed. Child custody evaluations assess specific behavioral and mental health concerns one parent has about the other, make recommendations to the court regarding who should have decision-making authority (including but not limited to medical needs and academic concerns), and who should have access rights to the child or children and to what extent. Child custody evaluations are always conducted with the best interests of the child or children in mind.
What should I expect?
Child custody evaluations require a lengthy assessment process. After the court and attorneys have approved the evaluation, the parents will meet individually with the evaluator. Parents will be asked to provide information, including the names of others whom the evaluator will contact to gain a more complete picture of the family. Separate observations will be made of the parent interacting with the child or children involved. There likely are further face-to-face interviews with the evaluator before the work is completed.
If you need a child custody evaluation, the Care and Counseling Center of Georgia is able to meet your needs.
Depression affects 5% of the child/adolescent population. Sadness and irritability are considered adaptive and normal responses to stress, disappointment, changes from loss or separation. Children who have problems with attention, learning, conduct or anxiety may also show signs of depression. Your child may be depressed if changes in their behavior or mood lasts more than a few weeks or interferes with daily activities.
The following are symptoms of depression in children and adolescents:
- Depressed mood
- Increase in conduct problems at home or school
- Increase in physical complaints (headaches, muscle-aches, stomach-aches, tiredness)
- Decrease in energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent absences from school
- Decline in grades
- Unexplained crying
- Low self-esteem or extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
- Poor communication
- Major changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns
- Threats or efforts to run away from home
- Thoughts of suicide or engagement in self-destructive behavior
In addition to the above, adolescents may exhibit:
- Drop in school attendance
- Problems with alcohol, drugs or sex
- Impulsive behavior
Maintaining a healthy state of personal wellness includes giving daily attention to the nurturance of our bodies, our minds, our moods and our spiritual life.
Online bullying, called cyberbullying, happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Cyberbullying affects almost half of all American teens. Whether you’ve been a victim of cyberbullying, know someone who has, or have even cyberbullied someone else, there are steps you and your friends can take to stop cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe.
How Are Teens Cyberbullied?
Being a victim of cyberbullying can be a common and painful experience. Some youth who cyberbully
- Pretend they are other people online to trick others
- Spread lies and rumors about victims
- Trick people into revealing personal information
- Send or forward mean text messages
- Post pictures of victims without their consent
How Do Victims React?
Some teens have reacted in positive ways to try to prevent cyberbullying by
- Blocking communication with the cyberbully
- Deleting messages without reading them
- Talking to a friend about the bullying
- Reporting the problem to an Internet service provider or website moderator
Many youth who are cyberbullied report feeling angry, hurt, embarrassed, or scared. These emotions can cause victims to react in ways such as
- Seeking revenge on the bully
- Avoiding friends and activities
- Cyberbullying back
Some teens feel threatened because they may not know who is cyberbullying them. Although cyberbullies may think they are anonymous, they can be found. If you are cyberbullied or harassed and need help, save all communication with the cyberbully and talk to a parent, teacher, law enforcement officer, or other adult you trust.
How Can I Prevent Cyberbullying?
Follow the footsteps of other quick-thinking teens and
- Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages
- Tell friends to stop cyberbullying
- Block communication with cyberbullies
- Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult
- Speak with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyberbullying
- Raise awareness of the cyberbullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents
- If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.
- Delete cyberbullying.
- Don’t write it.
- Don’t forward it.
What Else Can I Do To Stay Cyber-safe?
- Never post or share your personal information online (this includes your full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or Social Security number) or your friends’ personal information.
- Never share your Internet passwords with anyone, except your parents.
- Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online.
- Talk to your parents about what you do online.
For More Information
See our Links for more resources on cyberbullying.
If you have experienced at least five of the following symptoms for at least two weeks, you may have clinical depression, and should seek help:
- Depressed mood most of the day nearly every day.
- Significantly less interest or pleasure in most activities most of the day
- Significant weight loss or weight gain, or a change in appetite
- Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
- Agitation or restlessness
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt nearly every day
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If some of these symptoms are present you may be suffering from another form of depression. Counseling can help.
Divorce can be a puzzling, painful and overwhelming experience. Financial issues, custody concerns, feelings of betrayal and abandonment, returning to the workforce or dating arena, and the loss of a partner, can magnify the distress. For many this can be a time where it appears that life is out of control and the future is blurry and uncertain.
Professional help may be needed if one or more of the following symptoms are experienced:
- Inability to accept the end of the marriage
- Seeking revenge toward ex-spouse
- Degrading ex-spouse publicly
- Avoiding ex-spouse
- Stalking ex-spouse
- Destruction of ex-spouse's property
- Unwillingness to cooperate with ex-spouse
- Using children to communicate with ex-spouse
- Using children as bargaining leverage
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Suicidal thoughts
- Suicidal threats
Answer the following questions about yourself and your partner. If any of these instances are occurring in your daily life, you may be experiencing an abusive relationship. It is important to seek help for abuse: without it, the abuse will likely continue.
Signs of domestic abuse:
- Are you afraid of your partner?
- Has your partner ever hit, slapped or pushed you?
- Do you feel as if you deserve to be punished?
- Is your partner good to you most of the time but occasionally cruel and scary?
- Have you believed that your partner would kill you?
- Has your partner ever threatened to kill you or kill him/herself?
- Do you feel isolated from friends and family?
- Do you feel emotionally numb?
- Has your partner forced you to do something you didn't want to do?
What is alcohol/drug abuse?
- A pattern of substance use that leads to impairment or distress.
What are some signs of alcohol/drug abuse?
- Recurrent substance use resulting in failure to fulfill obligations at work, school, or home.
- Recurrent substance use in hazardous situations (e.g. while driving).
- Legal problems related to substance use.
- Continued substance use despite social or interpersonal problems caused by or exacerbated by the effects of the substance.
What is alcohol/drug dependence?
- It is a progressive, chronic and potentially fatal disease.
- It most often has a genetic component; it runs in families.
- Alcohol/drug dependent persons crave the substance and continue to use despite harmful effects.
- Alcohol/drug dependent persons have progressively lower ability to choose not to use.
What are some signs of alcohol/drug dependence?
- High tolerance to the substance
- Unplanned use
- Loss of control of use
- Blackouts, that is, the inability to remember events which occurred while using
- Using while alone
- Using against direct medical advice
- Hiding substances for later use
- Lying to others about use
- Preoccupation with use, avoiding social situations where use is not possible
If you or a loved one is having difficulty with alcohol or drug use, know that help is available through therapy and/or a 12-Step program like Alcoholics Anonymous. We offer individual and group counseling for substance abuse, as well as drug testing if requested.
If one or more of the following characteristics exist in your family, we would suggest family therapy as a means of help:
- Defensiveness – blaming others
- Excessive arguing
- Criticism – name calling
- Hitting, pushing, pulling, shoving
- Stonewalling – silent treatment
- Destruction of others’ property
- Over-involvement in or by extended families
- Power struggles
- Controlling behavior
- Life transition difficulties
- Behavior problems with children or adolescents
- Division – cutting off relationships
After a person has been diagnosed with HIV, there can be many concerns, specific to the diagnosis or otherwise. Counselors at CCCG are here to help. In fact, funds are available to help defray costs for our services to clients living with HIV/AIDS. Some specific issues often addressed are:
- Anxiety and depression
- Making healthy choices
- Intimacy in relationships
- Family-of-origin conflicts or concerns
- End-of-life transitions
- Compulsive sexual behaviors
Many studies have shown that spiritual satisfaction and comfort is an important aspect of living a meaningful life.
Signs that an individual may be experiencing a period of religious or spiritual disquiet can include:
- Feeling distant from God
- Experiencing a lack of meaning or purpose in one's life
- Finding worship to be without meaning and boring
- Withdrawing from a faith community
- Arguing with partner about religious beliefs or commitments
- Facing prejudice due to religious/spiritual beliefs or commitments
- Making decisions or taking actions incongruent with who you want to be
- Facing criticism from faith communities or religious persons
- Struggling with religious condemnation for sexual orientation or gender identity issues
- Yearning for a relationship with God that gives life meaning
The staff of the Care and Counseling Center of Georgia can help an individual address and work through these issues so that spirituality can be an important and rewarding part of life experience.
What is Sexual addiction?
Sexual addicts are those who engage in persistent and escalating patterns of sexually compulsive behaviors despite increasingly negative consequences to self and to others. These persons become addicted to the neurochemical changes that take place during sexual behaviors.
If you answer yes to the following questions, you possibly suffer from sexually compulsive behaviors:
- Do you purchase sexually explicit magazines?
- Are you preoccupied with sex?
- Do you feel that your sexual behavior is abnormal?
- Does your significant other ever complain about your sexual behavior?
- Do you often feel badly about your sexual behavior?
- Do you hide aspects of your sexual behavior from your partner?
- Has your sexual behavior ever interfered with your family life?
- Have you been unable to stop your sexual behavior even though you know it’s inappropriate?
What behaviors are common with sex addicts?
- Compulsive masturbation
- Sex with prostitutes
- Anonymous sex
- Multiple affairs outside a committed relationship
- Habitual exhibitionism
- Habitual voyeurism
- Inappropriate sexual touching
- Persistent viewing pornography in magazines, TV, videos, internet
- Cyber infidelity
Is there recovery for sex addiction?
Recovery takes time and hard work, but with guided help, sex addicts can experience restoration in their emotional, relational, sexual, and even spiritual lives.
At CCCG we have a wide diversity of counselors, both gay and straight, who specialize in issues facing our LGBT clients. The process of embracing one’s sexual identity extends far beyond “coming out.” LGBT clients may seek help with many of the following issues:
- Building healthy social network
- Successful partnering
- Parenting and family planning
- Divorce and separation
- Mixed marriages
- Healthy sexual relationships
- Religious isolation
- Family-of-origin conflicts
- Teen, young adult, midlife and senior transitions
- Partner abuse
- Personal wellness
- Workplace and other discrimination
Being a teenager is often associated with moodiness, insecurity, impulsiveness and rebellion. Teenagers are also characterized by odd sleeping patterns, awkward growth spurts, bullying, and acne.
However, if your teen is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, you may need to seek professional help:
- Talk of suicide — It is important to have this assessed, especially if any specifics of a plan are mentioned. Never assume this is attention-seeking behavior.
- Symptoms of depression — Adolescents can have different symptoms than adults. Parents should pay attention to the following:
- Troubling changes in teen's eating, sleeping or social life
- Irritability/reactivity — including extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
- Vague physical complaints — such as headaches
- School absences
- Drop in grades
- Bouts of crying or shouting
- Reckless behavior — depressed teens are more at risk to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, or promiscuous behavior.
- Self-mutilation — Cutting or burning oneself is a sign that a teen may be trying extreme measures to get relief from emotional pain and needs to be assessed for depression or other difficulties. This could potentially become habit-forming, and the teen needs help developing non-destructive coping skills.
- Eating disorders — Be aware of any troubling changes in eating habits, including extreme restrictions with food, binge eating and any type of purging (vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise). Weight may still be in normal range with some of these destructive and potentially life-threatening behaviors.
- Drug/alcohol abuse — If a parent suspects that drug and alcohol abuse is becoming a chronic pattern, a professional assessment can be a life-saving intervention.
- Anxiety disorders — These include panic attacks or social anxiety. Any chronic worry/anxiety that is present more days than not and is interfering with social or academic functioning.
- High level of conflict — Chronic family or social conflict over a period of several weeks could be a potential indicator of multiple difficulties, whether it is depression or unresolved family issues.
Sometimes trauma happens directly to us (e.g. rape, car wreck), and sometimes it indirectly affects us (e.g. witnessing violence). Sometimes memories from these traumas can be so disturbing they can influence the way we function.
The following symptoms may indicate a need for professional help:
- A persistent feeling of "numbing."
- Re-experiencing the traumatic through flashbacks, dreams or physical sensations.
- Avoidance of anything associated with the trauma — including thoughts, activities, places and people.
- Loss of interests or reduced participation in activities.
- Sense of a shortened future (not expecting to have normal life span, career or marriage).
- Persistent physical arousal — such as difficulty with sleep, increased anger, difficulty concentrating, exaggerated startle response, hypervigilant about potential dangers.
If you experience any of these symptoms, our counselors can help.
The following list includes daily behaviors that promote health:
- Eat three balanced meals a day.
- Eat one meal a day with the gathered family (no TV, texting, or telephone).
- Sleep long enough each night to feel rested.
- Monitor caffeine intake (caffeine intake after noon can disrupt sleep).
- Monitor daily stress level.
- Take your full lunch hour.
- Take breaks from work and move around.
- Take a short walk outdoors, breathe the air, observe the colors in the sky and watch the birds.
- Exercise 30 minutes a day.
- Participate in a faith community.
- Set aside time each day for prayer or meditation.
- Call or write a friend.
- Help someone else.
- Spend time with a good book, listen to music, or engage another hobby.