Sunday, October 28, 2012

NAMI Social Anxiety

NAMI is a great resource for mental health needs. Their website alone has a wealth of information and the local NAMI's have groups and other resources to help people with mental illness. So if you are looking for resources or just information NAMI is a great place to look. Below is an article from their site about social anxiety.

What is social phobia?

Social phobia is a strong fear of being judged by others and of being embarrassed. This fear can be so strong that it gets in the way of going to work or school or doing other everyday things.
Everyone has felt anxious or embarrassed at one time or another. For example, meeting new people or giving a public speech can make anyone nervous. But people with social phobia worry about these and other things for weeks before they happen.
People with social phobia are afraid of doing common things in front of other people. For example, they might be afraid to sign a check in front of a cashier at the grocery store, or they might be afraid to eat or drink in front of other people, or use a public restroom. Most people who have social phobia know that they shouldn't be as afraid as they are, but they can't control their fear. Sometimes, they end up staying away from places or events where they think they might have to do something that will embarrass them. For some people, social phobia is a problem only in certain situations, while others have symptoms in almost any social situation.
Social phobia usually starts during youth. A doctor can tell that a person has social phobia if the person has had symptoms for at least 6 months. Without treatment, social phobia can last for many years or a lifetime.

What are the signs and symptoms of social phobia?

People with social phobia tend to:
  • Be very anxious about being with other people and have a hard time talking to them, even though they wish they could
  • Be very self-conscious in front of other people and feel embarrassed
  • Be very afraid that other people will judge them
  • Worry for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  • Stay away from places where there are other people
  • Have a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  • Blush, sweat, or tremble around other people
  • Feel nauseous or sick to their stomach when with other people.

What causes social phobia?
Social phobia sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some people have it, while others don't. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.

How is social phobia treated?

First, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor should do an exam to make sure that another physical problem isn't causing the symptoms. The doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist.
Social phobia is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.
Psychotherapy. A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy is especially useful for treating social phobia. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help him or her feel less anxious and fearful. It can also help people learn and practice social skills.
Medication. Doctors also may prescribe medication to help treat social phobia. The most commonly prescribed medications for social phobia are anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants. Anti-anxiety medications are powerful and there are different types. Many types begin working right away, but they generally should not be taken for long periods.
Antidepressants are used to treat depression, but they are also helpful for social phobia. They are probably more commonly prescribed for social phobia than anti-anxiety medications. Antidepressants may take several weeks to start working. Some may cause side effects such as headache, nausea, or difficulty sleeping. These side effects are usually not a problem for most people, especially if the dose starts off low and is increased slowly over time. Talk to your doctor about any side effects you may have.
A type of antidepressant called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are especially effective in treating social phobia. However, they are rarely used as a first line of treatment because when MAOIs are combined with certain foods or other medicines, dangerous side effects can occur.
It's important to know that although antidepressants can be safe and effective for many people, they may be risky for some, especially children, teens, and young adults. A "black box"—the most serious type of warning that a prescription drug can have—has been added to the labels of antidepressant medications. These labels warn people that antidepressants may cause some people to have suicidal thoughts or make suicide attempts.
Anyone taking antidepressants should be monitored closely, especially when they first start treatment with medications.
Another type of medication called beta-blockers can help control some of the physical symptoms of social phobia such as excessive sweating, shaking, or a racing heart. They are most commonly prescribed when the symptoms of social phobia occur in specific situations, such as "stage fright."
Some people do better with cognitive behavior therapy, while others do better with medication. Still others do best with a combination of the two. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for you.

NAMI, 2012, Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder): Alway Embarrassed. Retrieved on October 28th, 2012 from

Sunday, October 21, 2012

How to Not be Manipulated

  1. Identify where your boundaries are and stick to them.
    • If you know where your boundaries are and stick to them you will have a much stronger stance against a manipulator. If you do not know where you stand, you are much more likely to be manipulated.
  2. Decide who you are.
    • Manipulators will often tell you are a bad person if you don’t do x,y or z. Do not allow another person to define you. Decide for yourself what makes you a good or a bad person.
  3. Have thick skin.
    • Once you have identified that someone is a manipulator do not allow yourself to take anything they say to heart. View their words through a lens that tells you their words are meant to hurt not help, and then disregard them.
  4. Get them out of your life.
    • If you have a manipulator in your life, they are toxic to your mental health. Getting them out of your life can be the best thing you do for yourself to fight anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
  5. Find Support.
    • Find someone who is healthy and supportive to bounce ideas off of. Sometimes we get sucked into a manipulator’s web, but if we have a friend that can help pull us out, we do not get trapped. This can also help us see the lies more clearly.
  6. Don’t let them intimidate you.
    • If they make threats do what you need to block them. Get the police involved if you have to. Threats are a major way manipulators control. To be truly free from a manipulator, you cannot let them have power with their threats. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to Tell if Someone is Manipulating You

Manipulative Techniques
by Anita Anand

How do you tell if someone is a manipulator? Or if you yourself have manipulative tendencies? Simon identified the following manipulative techniques:

• Lying: It is hard to tell if somebody is lying at the time, although often the truth may be apparent later when it is too late. One way to minimise the chances of being lied to, is to understand that some 
personality types (particularly psychopaths) are experts at the art of lying and cheating, doing it frequently, and often in subtle ways.

• Lying by omission: This is a very subtle form of lying by withholding a significant amount of the truth. This technique is also used in propaganda.

• Denial: The manipulator refuses to admit that he or she has done something wrong.

• Rationalisation: An excuse made by the manipulator for inappropriate behaviour. 

• Minimisation: This is a type of denial coupled with rationalisation. The manipulator asserts that his or her behaviour is not as harmful or irresponsible as someone else was suggesting – for example saying that a taunt or insult was only a joke.

• Selective inattention or selective attention: The manipulator refuses to pay attention to anything that may distract from his or her agenda, saying things like “I don't want to hear it.”

• Diversion: The manipulator not giving a straight answer to a straight question and instead being diversionary, steering the conversation onto another topic.

• Evasion: Similar to diversion but giving irrelevant, rambling, vague, and weak responses.

• Covert intimidation: The manipulator throwing the victim onto the defensive by using veiled (subtle, indirect, or implied) threats.

• Guilt tripping: A special kind of intimidation tactic. A manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish or has it easy. This usually results in the victim feeling bad, keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious and submissive position.

• Shaming: The manipulator uses sarcasm and put-downs to increase fear and self-doubt in the victim. Manipulators use this tactic to make others feel unworthy and therefore defer to them. Shaming tactics can be very subtle such as a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, rhetorical comments, and subtle sarcasm.

Manipulators can make one feel ashamed for even daring to challenge them. It is an effective way to foster a sense of inadequacy in the victim.

• Playing the victim role (“poor me”): The manipulator portrays himself or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else’s behavior in order to gain pity, sympathy or evoke 
compassion and thereby get something from another. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffering and the manipulator often finds it easy to play on sympathy to get cooperation.

• Blaming the victim: More than any other, this tactic is a powerful means of putting the victim on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent of the manipulator.

• Playing the servant role: Cloaking a self-serving agenda in guise of a service to a more noble cause. For example saying, he is acting in a certain way for ‘obedience’ and ‘service’ to 
God or a similar authority figure.

• Seduction: The manipulator uses charm, praise, flattery or overtly supports others, in order to get them to lower their defenses, and give their trust and loyalty to him or her.

• Projecting the blame (blaming others): The manipulator often finds scapegoats, in subtle, hard-to-detect ways.

• Pretending innocence: The manipulator tries to suggest that any harm done was unintentional or did not do something that they were accused of. The manipulator may put on a look of surprise or indignation. This tactic makes the victim question his or her own judgment, and possibly his own sanity.

• Pretending confusion: The manipulator tries to play dumb by pretending he or she does not know what you are talking about, or is confused about an important issue brought to his attention.

• Brandishing anger: The manipulator uses anger to brandish sufficient emotional intensity and rage to shock the victim into submission. The manipulator is not actually angry, he or she just puts on an act. He just wants what he wants and gets angry when denied.

Anand, A., (2012) Personal Growth - The Manipulation Trap: Are you a victim? Retrieved on October 18, 2012 from

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Consequences of Grandparent Divorce

Grandparent age people are divorcing more than ever now.  So what are the consequences of couples divorcing at this age?

Well the research states that divorce causes distress for parents, children and grandchildren of any age.
·         Infants cannot understand the reasons why, but do feel the emotional tension in the home. This often displays in irritability, and change in eating or sleeping habits.
·         Toddlers can become more clingy or needy when stress increases in the home. This can also be expressed in anger toward parents or siblings that appear to be unrelated to the source of stress. It is common for developmental regression to happen. For example, a child who is potty trained might start having accidents, or a child might start to suck her thumb again.  Sleeping may become difficult and nightmares could even occur.
·         Preschool and elementary-age children often blame themselves, and have increased anxiety about how their roles will change. For example, they may worry about if they will see Grandma and Grandpa, or if their grandparents will still love them. They may also have nightmares and sleeping problems.  It is common for children this age to become aggressive and angry toward parents, grandparents, and siblings under this kind of stress.
·         Teens may express their struggles by withdrawing from friends, family and special interests. They may feel driven to take care of one or both of their grandparents. They may start to question their own beliefs about marriage, divorce and relationships. At times they may act out by doing rebellious activities such as drinking, drugs, sexual activity, swearing or aggression. 
·         Young Adults children of divorced parents often respond stronger than people would think.  Expecting your adult children to take it in stride might not be realistic. This can completely change the relational dynamics. Children’s worldviews can be challenged by this, they might start to question their childhood memories, and they might even struggle with guilt. “My parents said they stayed together all those years because of me.”  Adult children might view the situation as not just their parents separating, but rather that they are “losing their family”.
·         Age 30+- An interesting dynamic that happens with parents divorcing with adult children, is the parents often heavily depend on the children to transition through the divorce. Parents can forget that their children are grieving too and see how capable they are and rely on them to do things that their spouses used to do. This can become a tremendous stress to adult children.
·         Parents divorcing in the 50+ age bracket face their own special adjustment problems. They often have family and friends that are 20 to 30 year-long friendships that are discontinued due to the divorce. They may have habits or activities that they never had to learn how to do because their spouse did it, and now they are forced to learn how. These issues can be very difficult to adjust to.
·         Severity of symptoms will greatly vary in all ages based on the situation.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How to Tell if Someone is Lying

Have you ever been talking to someone thinking to yourself, "I wish I knew how to tell if they were lying!" I know I have!! Well here are some tips on how to tell!

1. Watch if they touch their face.
When people lie they might cover their mouth, scratch their nose or touch their face more than normal, especially near their mouth. It is like they are covering their face to cover the lie.

2. Watch their eyes.
According to Wikihow (2012), "When people remember details their eyes move to the right (your right). When people make something up, their eyes move to the left."
When people lie they might rub their eyes, or blink more or longer. Lack of eye contact is not necessarily a tell because people often will force eye contact to seem more truthful.

3. Watch for quick facial expressions.
There is something called micro expressions. These appear on people's face for a split second and then go away. You need to watch closely for this because it often reflects a persons true feelings.

4. Watch their body language.
Nodding their head no when they are saying yes with their words can be a sign. Excessive fidgeting, sweating, or frequent swallowing can be a sign. Keep in mind some of these signs can simply be from being nervous, not necessarily lying.

5. Watch how they tell the story.
Some times when trying to make a story believable people will add in too many details, giving away that they actually made up the story. They may also be off with their timing on how they respond to you. Hesitating before answering or answering very quickly can be a hint.

Keep in mind we can never know for sure just by following these signs. It's helpful if you know the person and know what a typical response looks like from them so you have something to compare it to.


Henahan, S., (1999). Science of Lying. Retrieved on October 7th, 2012 from

Intelihealth, (2000). Null Is Lying Unhealthy? Retrieved on October 7th, 2012 from

Wikihow, (2012). How to detect lies. Retrieved on October 7th, 2012 from

Thursday, October 4, 2012

How to Rebuild Your Relationship with Your Adult Children after Your Divorce

The stigma of getting a divorce is starting to lift. According to AARP (2012), divorce for people over 50 has nearly double since the 1990’s. Retirement and empty nest syndrome are often triggers for relational tension that result in divorce.

Adult children of divorced parents often respond stronger than people would think.  Expecting your adult children to take it in stride might not be realistic. This can completely change the relational dynamics. Children’s worldviews can be challenged by this, they might start to question their childhood memories, and they might even struggle with guilt. “My parents said they stayed together all those years because of me.”  Adult children might view the situation as not just their parents separating, but rather that they are “losing their family”.

So how do we navigate these murky waters and how do we preserve the relationship with our adult children?

Try to understand what they are feeling.

This can be hard because you are going through a very difficult time yourself –your divorce, but understanding that this is a trauma for your adult children as well, can make it easier to response in a positive way to them.  Your adult children might be angry at you, they might feel depressed or they might even try and fix the relationship for you. No matter how your child responds, do not try to rush them through their grieving process.

Try to respect your adult children’s boundaries.

An interesting dynamic that happens with parents divorcing with adult children, is the parents often heavily depend on the children to transition through the divorce. Parents might forget that the children are grieving too. Your child may want to help but your child may not. Be aware that this might be difficult for them, and look for other help if it is presenting as a problem for your child.

Do not talk bad about your spouse to your adult child.

It may feel like they are an adult and they can handle it, but keep in mind that they are not your confidant. Talking bad about your spouse to your child could lead to your child taking sides, or it could hurt their relationship with either parent. They may be mad at you for talking bad, or they may side with you and be angry with the other spouse. Either response is not in the best interest of the family. In addition to not being able to hear bad things about your spouse, this also means your child might not be able to celebrate with you different aspects of your new life that you may enjoy.  Try to be sensitive to this.

Re-establish that your love for them has not changed.

Show your children with actions that even though you are not married anymore, you still are the same person to them that you have always been.  If you used to be a good listener for them, continue to do so. If you used to go out to coffee continue that routine.
It can be rough, especially for the first year after the divorce. Do not be afraid to seek counsel if you feel your relationship with your children is severely damaged.

Abrahms, S.,( 2012). Life After Divorce: More Boomers are Calling it Quits after Years of Marriage. Retrieved on September 20th, 2012 from

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