Research has shown that women are twice as likely to be affected by panic attacks. The mean age at onset for panic attack in US is approximately 22-23 years old. This is more related to a weaker autonomic response to emotional states in older individual compared to younger individuals. Negative affectivity (i.e., proneness to experiencing negative emotions) and anxiety sensitivity (i.e., the disposition to believe that symptoms of anxiety are harmful) are risk factors for the onset of panic attacks, as well as worry about panic. Childhood experiences of sexual or physical abuse are more common in panic disorder. Smoking is a risk factor also for panic attacks and panic disorders. Personal stressors (e.g., interpersonal conflicts, diseases, or death in family, use of illicit drugs) are often identified as stressors before the first panic attack.
As we step into the new year, let's look at 5 common problems people face and what we can do about it:
All mums experience an intense emotional and physical transformation during pregnancy and the first year of a baby’s life, but for a significant proportion of us, this can lead on to full blown depression and anxiety and for a very small number, postnatal psychosis. The Baby Blues are a common expression for what happens to approximately 80% of all mums around the third to tenth day after birth. Because it is so common and temporary, we do not associate the Baby Blues as being a mental illness, but rather a natural state that is sure to pass once we settle into our new role as mothers. Symptoms include exhaustion, tearfulness, mood fluctuations, anxiety and irritability. Baby blues is thought to occur as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy, the labour, breast feeding and lack of sleep.
With the prevalence divorce rate, many of us are now growing up to be Adult Children of Divorced Parents. Having gone through the turmoils of our parents' divorce, we now feel the past is over and we can focused on living our own life, cutting our past and leaving it behind. What we may not be aware of the continued effect of this hurt in our current, present lives as adults.
“For better or worse, through sickness and in health, till death do us part.” Extra-marital affair, without a doubt, would be categorized under the “worse” part in the marital vow. Its damaging effects are due to the fact that it shakes the very foundations of the relationship: Trust and Commitment. The discovery of an affair in a marriage often leads to a crisis full of emotional struggles for all parties involved. Eventually, should a couple decide to continue their marriage, some of the questions that would surface are “Where do we go from here?”, “Will things ever get back to normal?”, etc.
Whether a marriage would survive an affair is dependent on the strength of the couple’s emotional bond, as well as the efforts both put in the recovery process. The tasks facing the couple are two: rebuilding the marriage and personal healing. Here are some tips on rebuilding a marriage after an affair:
Often we seem to be trapped in the repeated cycle of doing unhealthy pattern of behaviours, over and over again, despite the pain and suffering we go through. Sometimes we might even have the insights that these behaviours came from unresolved issues from our past and yet felt helpless in changing them. Here's a poem for us to reflect upon.
Alcohol has become part of the lifestyle of being an Expat in Singapore. For many people, it is not unusual to enjoy a bottle of wine with the meals, it’s a must to add some fun to the parties, and it’s something to do to de-stress and unwind at the end of a hard day. What some people don’t realize is that they have crossed the line from being a social drinker to having alcohol problems. Many people have this stereotypical picture of an alcoholic being someone who needs a drink every day, drinks from the moment they open their eyes, can’t go to work, sleep on the street, etc. What they don’t realize, addiction is defined by control: who has the control? You or the alcohol?
The arrival of a child or children marked a new stage in a couple’s journey. Embarking in Parenthood is definitely a huge transition – priorities shift, roles are redefined, and the balance between freedom and responsibility undergoes a massive overhaul. All these are necessary to ensure that the child(ren) received the best care possible. Some couples described this stage as shifting sands where each day present new challenges and they have to decide and redefine.
For some couples, after this initial stage of transition, romance starts working its way back into their lives and they start gravitating towards each other again. However, for others, they slowly wander off onto 2 separate paths of estrangement. This is why many couples identify “having children” as the point when their relationship starts to fall apart when they show up for couple therapy.
Why are some couples able to find their way back to each other while others can’t? Obviously a lot of that have to do with the pre-child(ren) relationship of the couple but let’s look at some of the challenges parenthood brings and what couples need to do to overcome that:
As therapists in our work with clients, if we are doing real therapy instead of managing a current crisis, we would often uncover stories of pain, suffering and trauma. It never ceases to amaze us the strength of the human spirit in overcoming such adversity and part of our joy in our work is to be witness and part of the process of bringing to blossom this strength within a person.
One trauma that is usually a deep secret that is rarely told until the process of therapy is that of sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual abuse often carry a lot of shame which should not be theirs, but nonetheless became deeply embedded within them. Dealing with shame and absolving them of blame are important steps they need to take to transform from survivor to victor. So how can you do that?
We all worry at times about actual or potential problems. Why do we worry? Worrying is our brain’s way to prepare and anticipate for bad things happening. Moderate amount of worry is positive in that it helps us take precaution and avoid risky behaviours. Worrying becomes a problem when it distracts us from focusing on the solution or built our anxiety so high that it paralyzes us from taking actions. Worry that is too intense, too frequent, and too unrelenting can definitely cut down on our happiness and enjoyment of life. It can even impact our physical health.
Ms Ho Shee Wai