Anxiety / Depression / OCD

Feeling depressed, anxious or having your mind invaded by repetitive, controlling thoughts is no way to live.

Everyone feels sad, depressed or anxious at different times in life. However, if these feelings last for two weeks or longer and interfere with daily life, something more serious may be going on. Feeling depressed, anxious or having your mind invaded by repetitive, controlling thoughts is no way to live. Our therapists customize highly researched and evidence-based interventions for the treatment of anxiety, depression and OCD sufferers. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is the gold standard in the treatment of anxiety, depression and OCD. CBT works to replace negative and unproductive thought patterns with more realistic and logical ones.

These treatments focus on taking specific steps to overcome anxiety, depression and OCD. Treatment often involves facing one’s fears as part of the pathway to recovery. Interpersonal connection established in session, problem-solving and exploring unconscious thought are additional components of treatment. Exposure or experiential therapy is often utilized as well for the treatment of anxiety and OCD as confronting fears directly often reduce the associated anxiety or obsession/compulsion. Often clients are seen once a week and given exercises to practice at home between sessions. Multiple sessions each week may be required if the client is in crisis or experiencing severe symptoms. Referrals are made to appropriate physicians in the event medication is needed.

What is Anxiety*?

People struggling with anxiety or a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) worry to extreme. GAD comes on gradually and most often hits people in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood, too. People with GAD can’t seem to shake their concerns, even though they usually realize their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants and it’s somewhat irrational. It’s diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months worrying excessively about a number of everyday problems.

Often anxiety sufferers become preoccupied with feelings of dread when thinking about the future. However, unlike OCD, they do not typically engage in ritualistic behavior to deal with their fears. Another difference between OCD and GAD lies in the worries themselves. GAD usually involves worries that are strongly based in real-life concerns. While the worries may be extreme, the topics are often appropriate. These topics concern issues such as: health, personal relationships, finances, work, etc.

Common symptoms of a Generalized Anxiety Disorder include:

  • Frequent panic attacks
  • Persistent and sometimes illogical and intrusive worry which interrupts daily life
  • Inability to relax or sleep well though fatigued 
  • Difficulty concentrating and handling uncertainty

*Adapted from on 01/28/2020 and on 1/28/2020

What is Depression*?

The American Psychiatric Association defines depression (major depressive disorder) as “a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression. According to the APA, one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s.”

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech 
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Also, medical conditions (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes.

*Cited from on 1/29/2020

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD*?

OCD is a biologically based mental health disorder whereby a person experiences intrusive unwelcome thoughts (obsessions) and engages in rituals (compulsions) to get rid of the anxiety (or any uncomfortable feeling) associated with those thoughts. For a diagnosis of OCD, the tendencies must take up an hour or more each day, bother you a lot and get in the way of normal life at your job, school or within your relationships. Some people with OCD may experience obsessions, but no compulsions or vice versa. Obsessive compulsive disorder stems from a healthy type of anxiety which develops into something all-consuming and disruptive to normal life. Additionally, there are many other mental health disorders which coexist with OCD. 

A few common examples of how OCD may present include the following:

  • Obsessive fear of germs
  • Excessive handwashing or cleaning
  • Obsessive fear of harm to yourself or others
  • Obsessive fear of breaking religious rules
  • Obsessive drive for perfection
  • Compulsive and ongoing repetitive thoughts 
  • Compulsive need for symmetry

*Cited from on 1/29/2020