What is the difference between Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. The duration or severity of an anxious feeling can sometimes be out of proportion to the original trigger, or stressor. Physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and nausea, may also develop. These responses move beyond anxiety into an anxiety disorder.

The APA describes a person with an anxiety disorder as “having recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.” Once anxiety reaches the stage of a disorder, it can interfere with daily function.


Other Anxiety Disorders:

  • Specific Phobias

  • Panic Disorder

  • Agoraphobia

  • Social Anxiety

  • Selective Mutism

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Health Preoccupations

 

Attention and Executive Function is that ADHD?

Many people think of ADHD as a disorder of attention or lack thereof. ADHD is much more complex. It involves issues with executive functioning, a set of cognitive skills, which has far-reaching effects. Understanding the role of executive function in ADHD is critical for parents, so they can find the right tools to address their child’s ADHD. Plus, what may look like deliberate misbehaving may be an issue with ADHD, a symptom that requires a different solution.

And if you’re an adult with ADHD, learning about the underlying issues can help you better understand yourself and find strategies that work — versus trying harder, which often doesn’t work.

 

Challenges with Behavior and Conduct?

It’s not unusual for children to behave differently in different settings. The behavior of some children and adolescents — especially those with issues such as anxiety, learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism — can vary especially when they are at home versus school. Some children may do a good job meeting expectations at school, but not at home.

Children and Adolescents with some disorders, including anxiety and OCD, are very concerned about how people perceive them, especially when they get into the middle and high school years. Children with challenges like ADHD and anxiety often have a very low frustration tolerance; asking them to be patient or persistent at school can be a stressor. Children and adolescents with autism may be allowed very ritualized or self-directed behavior at home but the structure of school settings may be very challenging for them.

 

What is a Mood Swing?

A mood swing is simply a noticeable change in one’s mood or emotional state. Everybody has mood swings and they are a natural part of most people’s lives. We get happy, we get sad. We have a period of feeling on top of the world, and then later in the same day, we feel tired, lethargic, and beaten down. Small mood swings are a part of most people’s lives.


People who are experiencing a mood swing that’s been going on for more than a few weeks and is seriously affecting their friendships, relationship, school work, etc. should consider seeking professional help for the issue. A professional can help accurately diagnose the problem, and prescribe a course of treatment to reduce the mood swings.

 

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is characterized by bouts of major depression and periods of mania — euphoria, poor judgment, and extreme risk-taking activity — in an often debilitating cycle. Onset usually occurs in mid-to-late adolescence, though there are cases in children.


Bipolar disorder usually develops in adolescence or early adulthood — the mean age of onset is 18, and between 15 and 19 is the most common period of onset. But the disorder’s first signs are very often overlooked or mischaracterized. At the outset, bipolar symptoms are commonly mistaken for ADHD, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and, in its more severe manifestations, schizophrenia.


A bipolar diagnosis based on a detailed history that tracks changes in mood over time; as one expert puts it, think of it as a movie, not a snapshot.


Without treatment, bipolar episodes usually last from several weeks to several months. Periods in between episodes, without symptoms of either mania or depression, can last weeks, months, or years.

 

What is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)?

Children and adolescents with depression are sad, empty, or irritable in the mood for a prolonged period of time, and there are usually changes in their energy level, affect, interests, ability to concentrate, and patterns of sleeping and eating.


Adolescents: Since adolescents are often moody, it can be difficult to recognize when your son or daughter has become depressed and might need help. The thing people tend to notice first is withdrawal, or when the teenager stops doing things she usually likes to do. There might be other changes in her mood, including sadness or irritability, or in behavior, including, appetite, energy level, sleep patterns, and academic performance. If several of these symptoms are present, be vigilant about the possibility of depression.


Adults and Adolescents: Depression is an internalizing disorder that disturbs a patient’s emotional life. It takes a while for the patient or others to recognize or to realize that thinking, and emotional responses, are disturbed.


There are two kinds of depression. In major depressive disorder, the most familiar form of depression, the symptoms occur in what may be severe episodes that tend to last from seven to nine months. The other form of depression called dysthymia, in which the symptoms are milder, but can last longer, even years. While the experience of dysthymia may be less debilitating for the patient at any given moment, the risk is that there is more accrued damage is higher.

 

What are OCD, and OCD Spectrum Disorders?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder that involves both obsessions and compulsions that take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities, such as school/work, developing friendships, and self-care.


Obsessions are recurring intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, or urges. Common obsessions may include: worrying about germs, getting sick, or dying, extreme fears about bad things happening or doing something wrong, feeling that things have to be “just right”, disturbing and unwanted thoughts or images about hurting others, or disturbing and unwanted thoughts.


Compulsions (also referred to as rituals) are behaviors you feel you “must do” with the intention of getting rid of the upsetting feelings caused by the obsessions. A sufferer may also believe that engaging in these compulsions will somehow prevent bad things from happening. Common compulsions may involve excessive checking or re-checking, excessive washing and/or cleaning, repeating actions until they are “just right” or starting things over again, ordering or arranging things, or mental compulsions.


In general, OCD is treated when these obsessions and compulsions become so time-consuming that they negatively interfere with daily life. Symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing doesn’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary.


OCD and OCD Spectrum Disorders:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Tourette’s Disorder/Tics

  • Hair Pulling Disorder (Trichotillomania)

  • Skin Picking Disorder

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

  • Hoarding​