Asperger Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (or Pervasive Developmental Disorder) characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests. Those with Asperger Syndrome, or AS, may exhibit a lack of empathy for their peers, clumsiness, and atypical use of language, though none of these symptoms are required for a diagnosis.1
The pain of coming to terms with having Asperger's is still very real for me right now. There is a tremendous sense of grief. Grief for all that I suffered through to try to be "normal" and grief for how short of "normal" I always have been. There is also great relief to know that I am not crazy and that not everything can be traced back to an abusive past in the sense that some of what I experience is not choice/emotional but neurons/physical. The greatest challenge I face right now is trying to figure out which is which. This is not easy.
One of the most common side effects of a number of antidepressant medications is loss of sex drive. I could forgive our friends at fine companies such as Eli Lilly, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and Pfizer if dry mouth, irritability, disrupted sleep patterns, loss of appetite, sloth, and social phobia were the sole issues related to the medications I take on a daily basis. However, it is the sex thing I find most challenging.
Anhedonia is the technical term for the inability to experience joy. When people are in the depths of depression, nothing touches them, not the most intensely pleasurable activities, not the most familiar comforts. They are emotionally frozen. In this state, people either have to get professional help or simply wait for weeks or months until the depression lifts by itself; nothing is going to make them feel better.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects one person in every hundred.
Depression is perhaps the most common of all mental health problems, currently felt to affect one in every four adults to some degree. Depression is a problem with mood/feeling in which the mood is described as sad, feeling down in the dumps, being blue, or feeling low. While the depressed mood is present, evidence is also present which reflects the neurochemical or "brain chemistry" aspects of depression with the depressed individual experiencing poor concentration/attention, loss of energy, accelerated thought/worry, sleep/appetite disturbance, and other physical manifestations. When this diagnosis is present, the individual will exhibit at least five of the following symptoms during the depressive periods:
Significant cognitive theories are discussed that tend to play a major role in substance abuse treatments. Their common concepts are extracted and synthesized for the purpose of relating it to the relevant research about how they are applied to the development and treatment of addictive behavior.
Cognitive therapy is largely based on the work of Aaron T. Beck's treatment for depression (Beck, 1976; Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979; Beck, Wright, Newman, & Liese, 1993). It has been shown to be an effective form of intervention when dealing with anxiety disorders, panic disorders (Beck, Emery, & Greenberg, 1985), eating disorders, substance abuse, and dissociative disorders. A highly flexible modality, cognitive therapy has been proven successful when used in both short and long term interventions and with a variety of patients: adults, adolescents, children, couples, and groups. To be effective, cognitive forms of therapy require that the patient be active in the process, able to work with an educational type format, and willing to make changes.
Central to the therapeutic modalities associated with cognitive therapy (i.e., rational-emotive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and transactional analysis) is the concept that thoughts affect feelings. This construct implies that it is the emotional tones and expectations that one learns to associate with specific events that create problems rather than the events themselves that cause distress. Therefore, the goals of such therapies consist of assisting the client in identifying maladaptive thinking that result in emotional distress. Similar to behavioristic and humanistic therapies, cognitive therapies tend to be oriented in the present rather than the past. Current patterns of thought that result in current discomfort are focused on during therapy. For these therapies to be effective, the client must be motivated and capable of working from an educational perspective.
As its name implies, the primary concern is with the cognitive abilities and skills of the client. The cognitive therapies are directed towards identifying and correcting maladaptive thinking patterns that result in self-defeating or self-destructive behaviors and feelings. The goal of therapy is to assist the client in mastering skills used to identify problems, evaluating his/her perspectives concerning the problems, and providing a more balanced perspective that is conducive to more productive behaviors. This is accomplished by approaching problem solving in a systematic manner composed of steps that the client perceives as being manageable. Cognitive therapy is usually directed towards enhancing the coping capabilities of the patient.
Problem focused strategies or emotional focused strategies are the two primary approaches used in cognitive therapies to create a shift in thinking which transforms the client's perception of the problem. Problem focused strategies are useful in directing the client to identify a specific problem. The client is then assisted in identifying the responses that are typically used to reduce distress in the situation and to evaluate those responses for effectiveness. Alternative responses are then developed and examined from a cost-benefit perspective empowering the patient to make conscious choices about how he/she chooses to respond to stressful situations. This empowerment lends the patient a sense of control, as heretofore-unrecognized options become viable alternatives in managing distress.
Emotional focused strategies achieve the same end as the problem-focused strategies but from a different means. In this technique, the client's perception of the distressful event is altered, thereby causing a subsequent change in level of perceived distress. By redefining the problem, the patient can hold the power to transform a crisis into an opportunity or challenge. This re-framing of the event can be accomplished by minimization, distancing, selective attention, and searching for positive value from a bad situation. Ultimately, the result is that the patient has an increased sense of control over the situation and therefore stress is reduced.
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