Addiction (non-chemical)

AddictionI do not treat addictions that are due to a chemical substance, such as alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs, and supplements. I can make a referral to a clinician or an organization that specializes in this type of addiction counseling or treatment. The types of addiction that I can provide counseling for are: internet, social media, video games, smartphone, shopping, exercise, pornography, fetishes, voyeurism, serial dating, and other repetitive behaviors. Prior to starting treatment, I provide an evaluation of the symptoms for severity, frequency, and functional impairment, to determine the most appropriate course of action. Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Adjustment Disorder

AdjustmentTypical causes are stressors and situations that may cause adjustment disorder symptoms: End of a significant relationship, Business difficulties, Marriage problems, Unfulfilled sexual relationship, Seasonal business downturn, New illness (yours or a loved one’s), Persistent illness, Natural disaster, Job loss, Career change, Leaving home, Getting married, Becoming a parent, Retirement, Death of a loved one, Anything that, to you, represents a major change in lifestyle, comfort, security, relationship, career, health. Symptoms are: 1. Marked distress that is out of proportion to the severity or intensity of the stressor, taking into account the external context and the cultural factors that might influence symptom severity and presentation. 2. Significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSDTraumatic memories (abuse, assault, rape, combat, natural disaster) and all memories in general are processed by the brain and stored in different ways. Even mildly traumatic experiences can sometimes become etched or “burned-in” with a high degree of detail. In these cases, it is not only the memory of the fact that is preserved, but also the intense emotional experience of it. When a significant event is moderate in emotional intensity, it is usually stored in long-term memory. The long-term memory process works as it should and the memory of significant events is stored and remains retrievable throughout our lifespan. Traumatic events, on the other hand, can disrupt this process and cause the brain to store memories almost entirely as emotions or sensations rather than as a nearly emotion-free recollection of facts. Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Anxiety & Stress Disorders

AnxietyWe are programmed for survival and to respond to potential dangers on every level, physical, psychological and emotional. When our threat-detection mechanisms misfire we can become hypervigilant, always alert for real or perceived dangers, and respond exaggeratedly.  Anxiety and stress arise from a perception that our resources are inadequate to meet the challenges we may face, and inadequate to face their consequences.  This may or may not be the case, however to the anxious or stressed individual there is no logic that can effectively counter this dysfunctional way of thinking. Psychotherapy, and more specifically CBT has been proven very effective in treating anxiety disorders that stem from a a maladaptive way of perceiving and managing life’s challenges. The treatment also includes mindfulness and diaphragmatic breathing training, and relaxation techniques. The most typical anxiety disorders are: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); Separation anxiety disorder (children and adults); Social anxiety disorder (social phobia); Panic disorder, with or without panic attacks; Selective mutism (in children); Specific phobia: illness (hypochondria), animal, natural environment; Blood-injection-injury: fear of blood, fear of injections and transfusions, fear of other medical care, fear of injury; Situational: agoraphobia (open spaces, enclosed spaces, crowds), acrophobia (heights); Substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder (provoked by illicit drugs or alcohol). Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD & ADHD)

ADDAttention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in adults often includes hyperactivity, in which case it is commonly referred to as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Adults suffering from ADHD may be characterized by a high degree of restlessness that is not only a problem for the sufferer, but it is also noticeable by and bothersome to others. Adult ADHD may include impulsivity, which is the tendency to make quick decisions and act without thought for the consequences. This degree of impulsivity can be harmful to the individual (e.g., crossing the street without looking) and bothersome to others, especially in relationships. High impulsivity may be motivated by a quest for immediate rewards and the inability to delay gratification. This can manifest itself in social intrusiveness (e.g., interrupting others excessively) and in making important decisions without proper planning or understanding of their implications (e.g., making an investment without adequate information, quitting a job for trivial reasons). In all cases, the essential feature of adult ADHD is a a pervasive, noticeable pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interferes with functioning and may cause severe distress. It is a severe disorder that will not resolve itself without treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication is the approach that has been shown to produce the best results. Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive)

BipolarBipolar Disorder (also known as manic-depressive disorder) describes the two polar opposite manifestations of the illness: a depressive stage which is either preceded or followed by a manic, hyperactive stage.  The name for this serious mental health condition also reflects the bipolarity (cycling through) of the symptoms, that is, the radically different emotions that can be experienced and the contradictory behaviors that can be exhibited by the same individual. It is a disorder that requires specialized treatment, often with a combination of psychotherapy (primarily cognitive-behavioral therapy) and appropriate medication. The major types of bipolar disorder are: Bipolar I Disorder (cycles from deep depression to full mania), Bipolar II Disorder (cycles from full depression to hypomania--lower level of mania), Cyclothymic Disorder, 
Substance/medication-induced Bipolar and related disorder, Bipolar and related disorder due to another medical condition. Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Complicated Grief

GriefIndividuals who must live through significant losses at any moment in their life (i.e., deaths, major illness, debilitating accidents, divorces, jobs) almost invariably experience severe depression and discouragement, and exhibit strong, uncharacteristic emotional responses that can be cause of concern. Intrusive, recurring thoughts centering around or dominated by the loss often cause the grieving person to experience poor concentration, sudden or prolonged tearful spells, and confusion about the future. In a sense, the individual’s future is temporarily “lost” after the experience of a significant loss. Eventually, if the severe grief does not resolve itself into a painful but bearable acceptance of the loss within a few weeks, or at most four to six months (depending on the severity of the loss), the grief becomes more problematic (Complicated Grief) and requires more intensive professional help. Among these strong emotional or psycho-somatic responses there can be a diminished appetite, weight loss, insomnia, despair, loss of self-esteem and moments of suicidal ideation.  In many cases, the feelings of guilt that not enough was done to prevent the loss from occurring, or an unreasonable belief of having contributed to the loss can become quite overwhelming. Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Depression

DepressionDepression has a very high incidence in all strata of society and affects the functioning and well-being of people of all ages, socio-economic status, and gender. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (better if paired with appropriate medication) has been proven very effective in treating depressive disorders. The major types of depression are: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder (Single episode, Recurrent episode), Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder, Depressive Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition. How do you know if you are clinically depressed? Five (or more) of the following symptoms may be present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning: at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.) Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation). Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. (Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gain.) Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down). Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick). Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others). Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.  Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCDObsessive-Compulsive Disorder is part of the anxiety disorders spectrum. It is a more severe manifestation of a concern, a fear, or a preoccupation with something physical or psychological, or with a relationship, whose symptoms rise to the level of pathology. What makes it pathological is the severity of the symptoms, i.e. the persistence and intrusiveness of the obsessions, and the frequency and intensity of the compulsions. It is not a disorder that will disappear by itself if left untreated.  If you or someone you love appear to suffer from OCD, it will be necessary to confirm the diagnosis through specific testing and a diagnostic interview, and then seek treatment with a recommended approach such as CBT (possibly combined with medication.) According to the expert’s definition, Mild OCD (Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale 10-18) causes distress but not necessarily dysfunction; help from others is usually not required to get through the day. Moderate OCD (YBOCS 18 -29) causes both distress and functional impairment. Severe OCD (YBOCS = 30 or above) causes serious functional impairment requiring significant help from others. Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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Other Mental Disorders

Meaning of LifeI also diagnose and treat a variety of other mental disorders that may affect individual men, women, and young adults over the age of 17. According to the American Psychiatric Association, a mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress or disability in social, occupational, or other important activities. Examples may be: Chronic Pain (for which I focus on the psychological, non-medical aspects), Personality Disorders (borderline personality disorder excluded, but including paranoia, codependency, among others), Specific Phobias (part of the anxiety disorder spectrum), and Sleep (insomnia, parasomnia, hypersomnia) problems. Give me a call at (678) 554-5632 to set an appointment (either at my office location or online via telehealth) or send me the appointment request form, which you will find here on my website.

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