Therapy That Works...

Dealing With Anxiety During The Holidays - By Chris Gearing

Friday, November 15, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on KTXD 47 discuss how to handle your stress during the holidays - click here.

Coping With The Empty Nest - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Watch Dr. Sylvia on KTXD Channel 47 discuss how empty nesters can cope with their new found freedom and their kids returning home for the holidays! click here.

Drug Bust At Texas Christian University - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How big a problem are drugs on college campuses?

Drug addiction in general is increasing exponentially. Over a ten-year period, the number of Americans abusing prescription drugs increased seven times faster than the increase in the U.S. population.

Getting High on Campus: Forty nine percent (just under 4 million) of full time college students binge drink and/or abuse prescription and illegal drugs on campus.

Dependency: Just fewer than 2 million students meet the medical criteria for substance abuse and dependence—2.5 times the 8% of the general population.

Invisible Epidemic: We have been in denial about the severity of this problem. Alcoholism has received the most media attention in the past but those rates have not risen. However, prescription drug abuse has become the most underreported drug abuse problem in the nation. Unfortunately, it is now an epidemic.

Why is prescription drug abuse growing at such alarming rates?

Access to Drugs: We have more effective drugs that are more vigorously marketed to the public ($60 billion annually spent on marketing by pharmaceutical companies). Approximately three billion prescriptions are written annually, and we are all encouraged to take pills to make things better.

Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs: We have grown more casual in self-medicating. We also borrow prescriptions from friends and families. One study found that fifty-six percent of pain relief abusers acquired the medicine from a friend or relative for free (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2007). An estimated 48 million people have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in their lifetimes (National Institute of Drug Abuse) – that’s almost 20% of the U.S. population!

What are the signs that a college student may be abusing drugs?

Remember that addictions are progressive—what you see today started months ago. Here are a few signs to look for:

  • A change in your child's friends
  • Long unexplained periods away from home
  • Lying and Stealing
  • Deteriorating family relationships
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Obvious intoxication such as slurred speech
  • Decreased school performance
  • Relaxed and/or a euphoric state

What are the effects on a college student’s future?

We know that young adults are extremely vulnerable to experiences—good and bad—during this pivotal time. The brain in early adulthood is still expanding and refining itself and is not fully mature until age 26. When you introduce drugs or alcohol into a developing brain, lifelong addictions can get a foothold. The dependence on the drug replaces the cultivation of sturdier, more resilient ways of approaching problems in life. Emotional intensity that compels them to escape into a “high” is the solution.

What would you recommend for parents who are concerned about their college age child?

Discuss the Problem: Challenges such as alcohol and drug abuse must be part of the family conversation. Kids who learn about substance abuse from their parents have much lower usage rates than those whose parents never offer to talk about it.

Parents are the Keys to Prevention: Live the lesson you are teaching your child. Do not drink and drive, smoke marijuana or misuse your own prescription drugs and then wonder why your child is confused. Practice what you preach without exception.

High Expectations: Today’s parents are often afraid of expecting the best from their kids. They worry about overtaxing their child with expectations and demands. But on the basics of responsible living--like don’t use drugs-- you have a responsibility to be clear, absolute and emphatic. Step up and make your son or daughter understand the rules.

Source:

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

Valentine's Day Surprises: Love Gone Bad - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how Valentine's Day could actually be the end of your relationship - click here.

According to a recent report, filings for divorce increase by up to 40% around Valentine’s Day. Why would partners think about calling it quits around the biggest romance holiday of the year?

The bill comes due on Valentine’s because many of us begin to think a little harder about our relationships—what we do have compared to what we wish we had in the relationship. As we consider those differences, that’s when trouble often begins.

To make matters worse, it often seems like everyone else has it better—flowers are being delivered, reservations are being made, and we are alone in what now looks to us like a loveless relationship. If your relationship is already in a rough patch, then you are more likely to focus on this day as a last ditch effort to pull it out of the fire. He either “gets it” or he doesn’t and many of us make large decisions based on what happens around this holiday.

In addition, people like to have simple stories or narratives to explain relationship endings. Valentine’s Day can be a perfect example of the serious failures in the relationship. Often what did happen—or didn’t—is played out in the social network of each partner.

So what happens when people talk about breaking up?

Certain conversations can redefine the relationship. Often times, people will fight and say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment. However, even talking about breaking up can leave a permanent mark. It can actually be traumatizing for one or both of you.

When you talk about breaking up, you are rehearsing the death of the relationship. While your partner may move past the moment and forgive what you said, he will always remember your threat to leave even if you didn’t actually walk out the door. The bottom line is if say anything about breaking up, you need to be very sure that it is something you are serious about. You can’t take back the words once they are said.

So what are the basic questions you should ask yourself if you are considering breaking up?

Have you exerted every effort to repair the relationship? Have you talked to friends and family? Have you worked with a psychologist? This self inventory includes taking a hard look at what you may have done to your partner. Don’t sweep past that point since many of us don’t realize how we also have failed in the relationship.

Is your marital misery insurmountable? Are you really able to live without him forever and will you be less miserable as a single person?

Do you believe that your partner is incapable of being your ultimate partner? Have you lost your belief in the relationship but most of all in her basic personality fitting with yours?

Are you making an emotional decision? Are you so angry or so disillusioned that you are inaccurate about the potential of the relationship? Remain balanced and look at some of the positives that exist even if negatives are pronounced.

Are you making a decision using both your rational mind and your emotional mind? Research shows that the best decisions are made using both parts of your mind to weigh the pros and cons.

Are you ready for the aftermath of the divorce or break up? All the financial, logistical and social consequences? Are you willing to share your children on the weekends and holidays? Are you willing to win your freedom by making vast changes in your life? Make sure that the consequences are worth it.

Emotional Detachment: How emotionally detached have you become? Do you fundamentally not care anymore and do you define yourself as separate and on your own? Research shows that emotional detachment is the number one predictor of divorce.

But don’t you worry – there is hope if you are thinking of breaking up around Valentine’s Day.

I believe almost any relationship is fixable if the following factors are present:

First, Early Warning: You have the best shot at fixing your relationship if you catch serious problems early and address them head on. Most people wait an average of six years before they seek help for a struggling marriage. By the time they make it into the counselor's office, one or both partners has already left the relationship either physically or emotionally.

Accountability Is Key: Remain personally accountable even if the truth is painful. Relationships are our greatest teachers because our greatest faults are always in play. If you have difficult parts of your personality, don’t blame your relationship for your own personal problems. Face the challenges and overcome them with the help of your partner.

Meet In The Middle: Problems have solutions if both parties can compromise and commit to working as a team. You won’t always get your own way, but you can strike a balance between the needs of both parties if both of you will give a little bit.

Never Give Up: Resilient couples push through even when things get tough. If you truly love your partner, remain committed to them and keep trying to get your relationship back on track.

Sources:

Avvo.com

Huffington Post

The Work of Dr John Gottman

The Health Effects of Nostalgia - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on YouTube describe how nostalgia and remembering the good times can actually be good for your health - click here.

Part of the magic of family is getting together and revisiting family traditions – eating a family meal together at the holidays, watching the same movie, or singing the same songs. But did you know that those nostalgic feelings are actually good for you?

In a recent study, nostalgia was found to have a physically comforting and relaxing effect on the body. Subjects had lower blood pressure, calm heart rates, and lower levels of anxiety.

So if you’re looking to take the edge off of your stressful day, take a trip down memory lane and remember everything that you have to be thankful for.

Source:

“The Power of Nostalgia at Thanksgiving” by Jacque Wilson, CNN.com

The Cuddling Connection - By Chris Gearing

Monday, January 30, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing share how cuddling is important to both men and women in relationships - click here.

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, millions of Americans will be snuggling up with their partners in front of the fire. We all know that cuddling is important in any relationship to build intimacy between partners, but most people think that men are just putting up with what their women want.

However, new research has found that frequent kissing and cuddling were found to have the largest effects on how men felt about their relationship! Men were happier with their partner when they had more cuddle time. In fact, they may even crave more non-sexual contact than women! But don’t think women aren’t happy with cuddle time – it was found to have a large effect on their ratings of sexual and relationship satisfaction.

So go ahead and snuggle up in front of the fire. It should make your nights a little brighter.

Source:

Men’s Health Nov 2011 edition

How To Not Overeat When You're Dieting - By Chris Gearing

Monday, January 16, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia on YouTube explain how to stay on course with your diet - click here.

Worried about wreaking your diet? Here are a few tips to help you stay on course:

Smaller Plate, Smaller Portion: When fixing your plate, try using a smaller sized plate. Researchers find that Americans compulsively clean their plates, so a smaller plate means there’s less to eat!

One Too Many: I recommend to my patients that they only make themselves one plate of food at every meal. Go ahead and make the most of it, but with repeated trips to the buffet or the kitchen, you are more likely to overeat.

Cut Out The Snacking!: We usually aren’t counting as we eat our third, fourth, or fifth cookie, but we just keep snacking away! Try to keep the snacks as far away as you can! As the saying goes – “out of sight, out of mind.”

Know Your Enemy: Try to eat foods that are not only better for you, but will also fill you up faster. Turkey or chicken are always the best choices for a high protein, low calorie solution. A good rule of thumb is that the simpler a dish is to make, there are usually less calories in it.

SOURCE:

MensHealth.com

Friday the 13th - Fact or Fiction? - By Chris Gearing

Friday, January 13, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 talk about Friday the 13th and superstitions in general - click here.

Why does Friday the 13th have such power over us?

Life is really uncertain and superstitions give us a way to be sure about something in our lives. The day Friday has been picked on for hundreds of years and has been considered unlucky since the 1400s in Europe, although no one knows why. In addition, the number 13 is also considered unlucky around the world so when you combine the two of them, it is a pretty powerful effect for a lot of us.

The truth is that most of us have our own superstitions even though most people won’t admit to them. Superstitions usually start in family traditions that are passed down generation to generation. Most of these stories are meant to prove a point and they are in every family and in every culture, even dating back to the ancient Mayans!

Are any of us fighting back against being superstitious?

A new trend though is to embrace the superstition and make it your own. You don’t allow the superstition to control you. You control the superstition. As a result, some people go out of their way to do something that involves risk such as finally asking that special girl out or skydiving or even getting married on this date. It makes a lot of people feel empowered to not give into the fear but to push directly against that fear.

Why do we want to believe in superstition so much?

Cause and Effect: Human beings fundamentally like to explain events to ourselves. We insist on making sense of something even if it is random. Sometimes things just happen but we like to wrap events up in theories and that is when superstitions get going. Think of this way, somewhere, sometime, long ago, someone had a really bad day on Friday the 13th. Other people heard about it, everyone abandoned reality, and the superstition was invented.

Self Protection: Superstitions give us all a lot of false security. Nobody likes it when bad things happen to them. We want to think that we have done everything to protect ourselves, even if it involves superstition. As a result, we will do whatever is required if we can avoid bad luck. So, if we are told that we need to avoid walking under ladders and not break any mirrors, most of us view it as a small price to pay for a little more comfort and confidence.

Proximity to Trauma: If you have ever experienced a traumatic situation, you may be more anxious in general and you may turn to superstitions to help mitigate the fear. Knowing that you have a lock on what date or object to avoid gives reassurance that you can avoid more trauma.

When does being superstitious go too far?

For most of us, it’s all fun and games and we like to laugh about our superstitions but some people may take this too seriously. They begin to experience overwhelming anxiety around superstitions. They lock their lives down to avoid the superstitious trigger. You know that things have gone too far when the following things are present:

Vulnerability to Anxiety: Some people's brains are built to generate anxiety. Obsessing and reviewing the trigger becomes rampant and they begin to map out the world according to what is dangerous and what is safe.

Overwhelmed with Stress Hormones: Remember that your brain does not differentiate between real events and fantasized events and will generate the constant warnings to keep you safe. That adrenaline and cortisol for fighting and fleeing will keep your system in a continuous alert state.

Loss of Critical Thinking: Failing to keep the situation in perspective and grounded in reality means that you are losing objectivity and are failing to maintain perspective about what you can do to protect yourself. You may be thinking in an illogical manner or overestimating your control over events.

Here's what you can do if you or someone you know is taking superstitions too seriously?

Get the Facts: Get some distance on your superstition by reading about where the superstition began and why. Most of them have great stories that are absolutely fascinating, but they have nothing to do with reality.

Healthy Habits: Make sure to keep living your life in a healthy way– get consistent sleep, eat healthy meals, and make sure to see friends and family often. Conversations with friends can foster a sense of normalcy and provide great outlets for sharing worries and releasing tension.

Maintain a Hopeful Outlook: Your mental health is one of the keys to staying healthy. Anxiety leads to state of alarm, which can be exhausting. Ironically, by stressing about the superstition, you make yourself more vulnerable to it. Distract yourself and break up the negative thinking.

How To Set Effective Weight Loss Goals - By Chris Gearing

Monday, January 09, 2012

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing teach you how to set effective weight loss goals on YouTube - click here.

Did you know that on average, Americans gain around 5 to 10 pounds around the holidays?

With stats like that, weight loss is regularly the number one resolution on New Year’s Eve, but most people don’t follow through. In fact, a condition called “Helplessness” can make them feel like there is no hope for change, so they never even try. But here’s a quick tip to help you stay on track with your weight loss goals and avoid feeling hopeless along the way.

Instead of setting a goal to lose a large amount of weight, make smaller goals that can easily be accomplished in small amounts of time. For instance, I recommend to my clients that they set a goal of losing one pound every week or every other week. It’s a small and easily attainable goal that can be accomplished with just a few small changes in their lifestyle. All you would need to do is skip dessert or make a couple trips to the gym. Instead of constantly worrying about the larger goal or feeling like they will never get there, they can focus on making a small change - right here, right now.

Check back tomorrow to find out which piece of electronics is causing you to overeat!

Source:

WeightWatchers.com

Christmas Shootings In Grapevine, TX - By Chris Gearing

Monday, December 26, 2011

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss the Christmas day shooting in Grapevine, TX - click here.


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