“The purpose of psychotherapy is to set people free.”
– Rollo May
COURAGE. CONNECTION. CHANGE.
At SPBH, we treat a broad range of mental health issues across the diagnostic spectrum that occur in children, adolescents, and adults. We understand that the terminology for these conditions can be confusing. See below for descriptions of the most common issues that we treat.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: brain disorder characterized by an ongoing, chronic pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. (NIMH.NIH.gov)
- Child: fidgeting, squirming, trouble sitting still; playing loudly and aggressively; interrupting others/not taking turns; moody/fussy; lacking awareness/consideration of others.
- Adolescent: distractible, trouble staying focused on and completing tasks, poor concentration; misplaces/loses items, forgetful; high energy, risky behavior.
- Adult: poor organizational skills, difficulty keeping appointments and completing work; poor time management/punctuality; anxiety, irritability, restlessness, reactivity.
Learn more about ADHD
Adjustment Disorder: the presence of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor(s) occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s) (APA, 2013).
- Child: crying spells, reporting physical symptoms (head/stomach aches), appearing anxious or depressed.
- Adolescent: avoiding school, isolating, oppositionality, arguing/fighting, vandalism, destruction of property, self-harm.
- Adult: anxiety, depression, disturbed emotions, inappropriate conduct.
Anxiety: an emotion characterized by tension, worried thoughts, and increased blood pressure. (APA.org)
- Child: reports head/stomach aches frequently; tensing muscles—arms, shoulders, face; cries frequently and easily; asks “what if” questions, reports worry about future events; school avoidance; quiet around others; uncomfortable with food/bathrooms outside of home
- Adolescent: reports worry about family, friends, self; spending time alone/withdrawing from friends and activities; headaches, stomachaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, irritability; trouble falling/staying asleep, nightmares.
- Adult: irritability/agitation; restlessness, fatigue; chest tightness, tense muscles, panic attacks; avoiding social situations, fearing embarrassment; poor diet; irrational worries/fears; sleep problems.
Learn more about Anxiety
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder: developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior (NIMH.NIH.gov)
- Child: prefers to be alone, not interested in playing with others; rejects physical contact, poor eye contact; delayed speech/language skills; repetitive behaviors—rocking, hand movements, jumping, pacing; sensitivity to light and sound; rigid interest in certain activities and objects.
- Adolescent: unusual tone/inappropriate volume of voice, extensive vocabulary, confused by sarcasm and colloquial phrases; trouble reading social cues, body language, facial expression, odd eye contact; need for sameness—routines, seats, brands; few/no friends their own age; interests become obsessions, attachment to/fixation about objects, information, statistics.
- Adult: trouble empathizing with others, reading their emotions; poor social skills—difficulty keeping up a conversation, taking turns, allowing natural “flow,” limited range of topics, odd use of vocal inflection-robotic; repetitive behaviors/mannerisms; very fixed interests; perform tasks well in a highly specialized area, struggle in many others.
Learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder
Bipolar Disorder: mental condition marked by alternating periods of elation (mania) and depression. (APA.org)
- Child: aggression/physically reckless/inappropriate behavior, fits of anger and rage; severe fluctuations in mood and energy; impatience, restlessness.
- Adolescent: rapid speech; requiring little sleep but having high energy; moods swinging from agitated, hyperactive, distractible, bored/unmotivated, fatigue; grandiosity, arrogance, oppositionality; eating too much or too little; thoughts of death/suicide.
- Adult: hyper-energetic, upbeat, outgoing; racing thoughts; impulsive, risky, self-destructive behavior; sad, hopeless moods, low energy/fatigue; suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Learn more about Bipolar Disorder
Conduct Disorder: behavioral and emotional disorder occurring in children and teens; pattern of disruptive and violent behavior, trouble following rules, going against social norms, and violating the rights of others. (WebMD.com)
- Aggressive behavior; fighting, bullying, harming animals, using weapons, forcing others into sexual activity; fire setting, vandalism; shoplifting, stealing, breaking and entering; running away from home, skipping school, sexual activity at a very young age.
Depression: mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest, and low self-worth. (MayoClinic.org)
- Child: irritability/anger, outbursts/crying; changes in sleep and eating habits; social withdrawal/isolation, low activity interest/participation.
- Adolescent: excessive sleep; complaints of physical aches and pains; reporting sadness/hopelessness, inappropriate guilt, drug/alcohol use, criminal behavior; apathy.
- Adult: loss of once high-interest activities, decreased sex drive; pessimism, indifference; insomnia/excessive sleep, digestive problems, cramps, fatigue.
Learn more about Depression
Eating Disorders: psychological disorder characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. (WebMD.com)
- Child: picky with tastes and textures, small portions/skipping meals, hiding food, throwing tantrums at meals, weight loss/lack of growth.
- Adolescent: binging/purging/restricting at meals; delayed puberty, fine hair growth; self-induced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives.
- Adult: preoccupation with food, dieting, weight loss; food rituals—types, amounts, times of day; uncomfortable eating around others; low thyroid, potassium, red/white blood cells; dry skin, muscle weakness, poor wound healing.
Learn more about Eating Disorders
Emotional Disturbance: condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree:
- inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
- an inability to build and maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
- inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
- a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression;
- a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined they have an emotional disturbance. (DSM-5)
- Child/adolescent/adult: hyperactivity, aggression, withdrawal, immaturity, learning difficulties.
LBGTQ+: an acronym used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity; the letters stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning. (gaycenter.com)
- Lesbian: women sexually attracted to women
- Gay: attracted to the same sex as your birth assigned sex
- Bi-sexual: attracted to both males and females
- Transgender: feeling the terms “boy” and “girl” do not fit, feeling the opposite of a birth assigned gender, feeling neither, feeling both; non-binary.
- Queer/Questioning: unsure of one’s sexual identity/attraction preferences.
Learn more about LGBTQ+
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: anxiety disorder in which people experience unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, images, and sensations (obsessions) and engage in behaviors or mental acts in response to these thoughts or obsessions. (psychologytoday.com)
- Child: preoccupation with germs/getting sick/death; washing/checking if things are clean; reporting feeling badly/guilty if they make a mistake or break a rule; repeating behaviors–touching, tapping, straightening, especially a set number of times.
- Adolescent/Adult: fear of contamination/germs/illness; persistent, recurring doubts about whether an action was performed (door locked, stove turned off) and fear of disastrous consequences; rituals/repeat behaviors (checking, washing, organizing) that are time consuming and interrupt functionality in daily activities—school, work, social life, family.
Learn more about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Oppositional Defiant Disorder: childhood mental health disorder marked by frequent and consistent anger, irritability, and arguing with parents and other adults.
- Loss of temper, argues/refuses to follow rules or directions, deliberately upsets and annoys others, shows spiteful or vindictive behavior, blames others for problems.
Personality Disorder: a deeply engrained, enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior manifesting in two or more of the following areas:
- Child: rarely diagnosed before age 18.
- Thinking: rigid, extreme and distorted patterns
- Feeling: problematic emotional response patterns
- Interpersonal relationships: significant problems relating to/getting
- Impulse control: spur-of-the-moment decision making
- This pattern deviates markedly from cultural norms and expectations, is pervasive and inflexible, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment. (DSM-5).
Types of Personality Disorder
- Anti-Social: deviance–violating morals, norms, rights of others; lacking conscientiousness and empathy.
- Avoidant: low self-esteem, lacking interpersonal confidence, fear of rejection or ridicule by others
- Borderline: mood swings, intense emotional reactivity, impulsive and risky behavior, lack of stability in relationships.
- Histrionic: excessive attention seeking, exaggerated display of emotions, prideful and self-indulgent behavior, need for approval and praise, sensitivity to criticism, frustration, and failure.
- Narcissistic: grandiosity, perceived superiority over others; entitlement, expectation of special treatment; need for admiration, control, exploiting others for personal gain.
- Paranoid: mistrust and suspicion of others; distorted interpretations of actions and events as hostile; sensitivity to struggles and failures; belief in conspiracies.
- Schizoid: lack of interest in relationships with others; emotionally cold, aloof, disconnected, indifferent, isolated.
- Schizotypal: strange thinking, beliefs, appearance, affect, perceptions, speech and behavior; social anxiety, few close relationships.
Learn more about Personality Disorder
PTSD Trauma Abuse
PTSD: acronym for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world. (DSM 5)
- Child: Easily startled, physical reactions to stimuli; difficulty concentrating; depression/sadness/hopelessness; reporting flashbacks of the traumatic event/denying the traumatic event took place.
- Adolescent: fearful/uncomfortable going new places or doing new activities; significantly startled in response to typical unexpected stimuli; bed-wetting; sleep walking; acting out aggressively toward others; promiscuity.
- Adult: feeling emotions more intensely–mood swings, irrational/angry outbursts, thoughts of shame/guilt; avoidance of discussing the traumatic event; experiencing unwanted, recurring memories of the event; sleep disturbances; shaking, sweating, panic attacks.
Video Gaming Disorder
Video Gaming Disorder: an impulse control disorder characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. (Who.int)
- Child: restlessness, irritability, temper tantrums when unable to play; lying about how much time is spent playing; isolating/avoiding other activaties to increase gaming time.
- Adolescent/adult: preoccupation with thoughts of previous online activity or anticipation of the next online session; interference with functioning at school/work; eye strain, headaches, fatigue due to excessive screen time; carpal tunnel syndrome; poor hygiene/diet.
Specializing in Family Centered Therapy, Community Partnerships, and a Systems Approach in Connecticut
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