Retail therapy? The truth about shopping addiction.

There’s no such thing as a shopaholic right?

shopaholic_eleoscounselling

 

You will often hear people call themselves Shopaholics but what actually is a Shopaholic? Although it’s not classified, as an addiction, in the DSM 5, (diagnostic and statistical manual revision 5; the Bible, for medical, and psychological illness.)  There is certainly some evidence to support, the idea of compulsive shopping as an addiction, so much so, that the DSM, may have cause to reclassify their diagnosis.

Oniomania, or shopping addiction, is considered to affect 8% to 6% of UK adults, that’s approximately 8 million people. The idea, that shopping addiction affects women more than men, is supported by research. Nevertheless, if you include, sports equipment, electronic gadgets and computer accessories and software, etc., there is also a prevalence of addictive shopping within men.

The popular idea of shopping being therapeutic, and the idea of being a Shopaholic as something humorous, soon falls away when you consider the real consequences of this compulsive behaviour. Often, the addict is left with crippling debt, severe depression and anxiety. More often than not, as with other addictions, the person with the shopping addiction will start to lose the respect of their loved ones, because of their addiction. Thus increasing their sense of loneliness, which in turn causes the Shopaholic to re- engage in negative or addictive behaviours.

So what drives, shopping addiction?

As with some other addictions, shopping is an easing of negative emotions or psychological pain such as anxiety, sadness, worry and, indeed, loss and loneliness. Shopping, for the addict, as with other behaviours provides an escape, from those feelings which at times can be overwhelming.

Much like any addiction, purchasing and owning, material items, can make the addict feel complete, and give them a sense of euphoria that makes them feel “normal”.

A study carried out at the Tilburg University in the Netherlands found that often loneliness, is one of the key components, of addictive shopping, and tends to make people more materialistic; the study found, there may be a link between hoarding and compulsive shopping, but the two disorders are unique in themselves.

So what is the solution, to shopping addiction?

What’s the answer to shopping addiction, is it simply to reject the inherent need to accumulate material goods; fundamentally is our stuff really that important to us, as human beings?

Letting go of some material possessions is akin to a traumatic event, since for some people this is like letting go of a part of themselves. Disaster victims who have had their homes swept away, often report confusion of identity, in brief their possessions gave them a sense of self.

How do people with compulsive shopping, seek help?

So how does someone with a shopping addiction overcome the anxieties, and concerns of life, without compulsive shopping? Talking to professionals, such as a psychotherapist/counsellor can assist a person becoming, more in contact with themselves.

Often people, will follow the same pattern, having insight into breaking patterns in life is one of the key components, in psychotherapy/counselling.

Having someone to talk to, who is non-judgemental, is a completely unique environment, and one, that has helped thousands of people. This is fundamentally what counsellors/psychotherapists offer.

If any of the issues raised in this blog resonate with you then maybe it’s time to see someone, who can help you such as a psychotherapist /counselor.

 

 

 

 

Obsessed by possessions

Obsessed by possessions

 

 

It is reckoned that one in 20 people now struggle with the obsession of acquiring possessions. I’m sure you would have seen the pictures, in the national press and programs on popular television, in which people’s houses become so overrun by possessions, so much so, it has become impossible for them to move around in, their own home, due to their inability to let go of, what some my considered to be rubbish.

Hoarding is nothing new

 

This is nothing new, in fact, Dante commented on this in his book the Inferno, written in 1300. In fact, Dante called hoarding the sin of greed; illustrating this in his book, by talking about a pair of souls, which are interlinked into one, grotesque creature. One portion who has hoarded all of life, the other one wasted all of life. Join together, in hell. One side gathers coins, whilst the other constantly spews out coins from his chest. The creature also has a gold mace that it can swing around in a circle, and defend itself, when it feels threatened.

What the scientists say about hoarding

Hoarding is only just been differentiated between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Studies of brain activity carried out by David Tolin at Yale University, School of medicine, asked participants in his research to hold an object they owned and decide whether they could throw it away. Unlike people with OCD, hoarders show over activity in the anterior cingulate and the insular cortex, areas of the brain; these areas help people make decisions whether something is important, relevant or salient.

This manifests itself as a form of perfectionism, if you have seen any of the reality TV shows on television you may find it hard to believe that, hoarding is a form of perfectionism; reality TV shows will often show years of decaying rubbish, such as papers and magazines, that the hoarder will not throw out.

Tolin, comments that to think of a hoarder is a perfectionist is counterintuitive, to what we normally think, but it in a way makes perfect sense.

Hoarding happens in many civilisations

 

Hoarding does not limit itself to Western civilisation, hoarding actually exists in virtually every civilisation.

If you need help Eleos counselling can help

If you, or anybody close to you, has any of the symptoms of hoarding, then may be psychotherapy and counselling can help.

If you would like to click on the link below to be taken to the Eleos counselling main website, where you will find more information.

Link to  web site 

 

The silent pain miscarriage

eleos counselling_miscarriage menA recent article in the Independent paper by Julia Hartley- Brewer, highlighted, an often not talked about issue for men.

The article spoke of the impact of a couple’s miscarriage has, not only on the woman also the man. The article quotes Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg and his recent announcement that is wife is expecting a baby, but how the couple has unfortunately suffered three miscarriages.

Zuckerberg was commended for his honesty and bravery of talking about the effects of the couples, three miscarriages, has had on him, in his Facebook posting.

The article is quoted as saying that 25% of men, whose girlfriends or wife’s miscarry, never speak about the grief that they feel, often it’s the fear of upsetting their partner, which keeps them from talking. For some it is the sense of the trauma of seeing their partner bleeding, this in itself, can be overwhelming for some men. These emotions can be compounded by the man’s feeling of powerlessness unable to do anything to help the woman they love.

It is an expected convention that men, simply get over a miscarriage, and life gets on with itself. Often men report returning to work traumatised and unable to cope, therefore, even less likely to talk to colleagues and friends, because often pregnancies in early stages is not often not announced, to friends and family, so the loss becomes even more private.

Men can often put on a brave face when faced with emotional traumas using black humor, as a way of shrugging off, the personal loss.

Hartley- Brewer suggested in her article the best way for men to cope is to see a counsellor.

It’s worth remembering that no matter how rich and famous you are the tragedy of a loss, such as miscarriage, can affect everybody, even the CEO of a multi-million dollar social media network such as Mark Zuckerberg. Grieving the loss of what could have been is natural, this is where counsellor can help.

 

When your anger gets the better of you.

blog picture_angry farmer_eleoscounselling_ anger managementAnger can be a difficult thing to control, recently at Eleos counselling we are developing an anger management course for young people. We feel this is very important as teaching young people how to control their anger now will reduce the amount of angry incidences, not only in school, now, but later in life, when they have to interact with others, with authority, and form relationships with others.

It’s a fact, the more heated the disagreement, the more our inner pressure gauge goes up this can build up to breaking point, is at this point anger and rage can rear its ugly head.

This reminds me of a short story, I once read, about very religious and God-fearing Quaker farmer who owned a disagreeable cow. Every time he went to milk her it would be a battle of wills.

Early one morning, at milking time, the cow was unusually short-tempered, but the farmer was unwavering in his attitude to ensure the milking session, went, without so much as a bad attitude. As the farmer started to milk, the cow trod on the farmer’s foot with all her bulk. He winced silently, but mumbled under his breath freeing his foot, and then sat back on his stool to milk. The cow, then squished her tail in his face like a long fibrous whip. The farmer just merely leaned away so to avoid the cow’s tail, next she kicked over the milking bucket, by then half full with milk. The farmer started to mutter a few words to himself; but never lost his temper. Once finished with the ordeal of milking this cow the farmer inhaled a sigh of relief, picked up his bucket and stool and as he was leaving, the cow lets off a kick, kicking the farmer against the barn wall, catapulting him 12 to 15 feet. That, unfortunately, did it, the farmer, raised to his full height, walked in front of the cow stared at her big brown eyes and then he shook his long scrawny finger at the face, of the dairy cow, and he shouted, you know I’m a Quaker, but I can sell you to an unbeliever.

It’s not at getting angry, that’s the problem, it’s how we express that anger. Sometimes, that can be inappropriate, telling the boss where to stick his job might cause some relief, temporary, but when you have no paycheck at the end of the month, to pay the bills that may cause you a problem.

If you would like to know more about anger management, then please go to our website at www.eleoscounselling.com

New research looks at depression as a symptom of brain inflammation?

eleos counselling blog_brainLast week an article published in New Scientist threw a different light onto the subject of depression. Research carried out by the University of medicine in Germany, suggests that depression could be a reaction to an infection, causing the brain to become inflamed.

Although this study was very small research scientists are excited by the results. It is thought that stress may cause an inflammation which spreads to the brain. Although the brain has its own immune system, the blood-brain barrier, it is thought that some infection can go past this and cause cells in the brain’s very own immune system called microglia to kill off neurons.

What is also interesting is that the researchers speculated that Alzheimer’s disease can be a result of microglia killing off brain cells, due to ongoing infection. Research carried out in the UK at Southampton University suggest that an anti-inflammatory drug called Etanercept, which is normally used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, can help reduce some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as poor memory.

One comment made in the article is that categorising depression as a medical problem, rather than a psychological problem, in of itself can cause a stigma for people suffering with depression.

What was not clear from the article is whether depression causes the inflammation or the information causes depression. The article does state that poor diet, obesity, smoking and inactivity can cause an increase in the risk of inflammation. Ironically, a overeating, under exercising, and a bad diet are often some of the things that a depressed person would use to self soothe themselves.

The articled stated that more research needs to be carried out, to make a definite link between depression and inflammation, whether this will result in a new form of treatment for depression, one would have to wait and see.

 

Become a superhero? How your body language can alter how you feel

Aeleoscounselling_blog_hero recent article in the New Scientists writer William Lee Adams speculated whether self-confidence can be increased. Self-confidence is something that is often thought to be something one has, or one doesn’t. However, social psychologist Amy Cuddy, would disagree, her TED talk, lecture, currently ranks as the second most viewed TED talk. Speaking of self-confidence, Cuddy recommends standing with your hands on your hip and stretching, to increase self-confidence before any stressful situation, such as a job interview. With her mantra “fake it till you make it”. In fact, there is something to be said for the body language of people, especially those people who are depressed.

Researchers found that people who are depressed tend to hunch, as if threatened. Observing primates in the wild, and in captivity, gives rise to the view that spreading one’s arms out, and making oneself big is a dominant/confident position, and thus this is the origin of Cuddy’s hypothesis.

An interesting point was brought up by the article stating that lower status people, whilst amongst friends or in a work environment are always monitoring the higher ranked individuals, in their group. The research suggests that, because of this constant monitoring, an additional cognitive load makes it difficult for them to stay focused and achieve personal goals. This constant monitoring, in of itself can cause more depression, as goals are not met, or fall short of expectations. Research carried out suggested that more confident people have high levels of testosterone and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It was found that less dominant/depressed people have high levels of cortisone.

Of course, being overconfident can have its downside, a recent radio programme investigating air disasters, stated that because hierarchy is hardly ever challenged, particularly in the work environment, and most notably in airline infrastructure, this in of itself, can cause problems. One of the worst air disasters on record the Tenerife air disaster is such a case. For those who don’t remember the 80s, the crew was asked to go to a holding pattern before landing, the commander took the plane over dangerously high terrain, contrary to the orders from the control tower. It is now considered that if someone had questioned the flight commander, this would not have taken place; this disaster was compounded by dubious instructions from the Spanish air traffic controller.

Clearly, confidence is a complicated issue, too much and problems occur, too little and one can become stressed and thus doesn’t get that killer job one has been looking for.

 

If you’re worried about your self-confidence, there may be psychotherapy can help.

Eleos  Counselling is a  counselling organisation offering counselling, in Crawley West Sussex.

 

 

Does substance misuse cause mental health problems?

Alcohol and drug addiction have historically always been linked to mental health problems. Mental health problems do not necessarily cause addiction. Nevertheless, some mental health problems, addiction-black-and-white-depressed-depression-drugs-Favim.com-428367exclusively those which have not been diagnosed quickly, can cause alcohol and drug problems, for the person with a mental health difficulties.

Having a depressive disorder can cause a feeling of being overwhelmed by life, social isolation, sleeplessness, a feeling of psychological unconnectedness, and thus the person feeling this symptoms’, will often self medicate with either alcohol or drugs, in order to feel some relief from these feelings.

Recently a paper published in the Lancet has linked skunk cannabis misuse with a 24% increase first incident psychosis. The research was specifically aimed at people with no diagnosis of mental health problems before using the drug. Effectively, this shows a link between using a drug and a mental health problem. For some, this would not be a revelation, as often people have anecdotal evidence, knowing someone close or in the close circle of friends, who suffered a mental health problem and has used or in the past used drugs or alcohol.

One research paper by the University of Lancaster has linked the use of skunk marijuana and people who are self-medicating for symptoms of bipolar disorder. An interesting comment was made in this research saying cannabis use increase when somebody was in a positive or manic mood.

In fact, smoking marijuana can make depression worse. Temporary relief may be found in a line of coke or a drink, but when the chemicals, except the body depression can worsen to a new low. These so-called “withdraw depressions” happens after somebody has come down from using drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, many people do not experience chronic symptoms at first. Furthermore, the depression felt from using recreational drugs and alcohol can lead people to reuse, can lead into a problematic cycle.

These symptoms can be made worse when somebody who is on prescribed medication uses drugs or alcohol. Mixing Street drugs and alcohol with prescribed drugs can be deadly, putting the person in danger.

A question often asked for people with an alcohol or drug problem is “did my drinking or drug taking cause me to have depression?” It Is often the job of a psychotherapist/counsellor to help the client find the source of the depression. Furthermore, gain insight into the possible causes of their problems. Whether that’s passed problems unresolved, or fear of failure in the future.

 

It is often the case client who comes to therapy for an addictive problem are able to track back to when he or she first felt depressed, and gain insight into why they turned to their drug of choice, whether that be alcohol or street drugs.

At Eleos counselling we have had many years helping clients with depression, and a drug or alcohol problem.  We work in a Humanistic  way to help the client  come to terms with life’s hurts and the wave come to cope, if you would like to know more, please click on the link below and you will be taken to the Eleos counselling website.

ELEOS COUNSELLING WEB SITE 

What are young people saying when they are angry?

It would be right to say that most adults have angry feelings, theseangry teenager_Eleos counselling are normal reactions to when things which frustrate us when things go wrong, or people feel an injustice has been done to them. Children, young people express these feelings in different ways.

In a young toddler or young child, frustration and anger are often expressed by having tantrums, when they don’t get what they feel they should or get their own way. They can hit, scream, throw things and often destroy possessions. This is their way of saying they don’t like the emotions or feelings they have, and struggling to express these words. Consequently, their behaviours express their anger and frustration.

In teenagers anger can be expressed by being defiant and refusing to keep house rules. A teenager will often push against boundaries to increase their own independence or sense of self.

Young adults and children can often convey their anger by shouting, refusing to do what they’re told. Furthermore,  Parents often witnessed or objects of aggression when a child starts to hit them or hurt them, often using spiteful words, which cuts to the quick.

Young person or child could have many reasons for express their anger inappropriately, including the following:

  • Struggling to come to terms with hormonal changes during puberty.
  • Divorce or separation in parents.
  • Sibling rivalry or jealousy towards a brother or sister.
  • The feeling of rejection by parents or close family.
  • Witnessing domestic violence.
  • Being accepted into a friendship group or having problems, relationship   difficulties within that group.
  • Feeling powerless through being bullied or hurt.
  • Struggling to cope with schoolwork, academic workload.
  • Having to be a carer will look after parents or relatives.
  • Break-up of  a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend

Anger is a normal part of being human, but for some children, or young adult’s  anger is often expressed inappropriately.  Parents, grandparents, or adults close to the  young people, young adults, often feel walking on egg shells and will often placate behaviours, rather than deal with them head-on.

At Eleos counselling we are developing an anger management program for young people. Unlike most programs Eleos counselling program is educational and fun for the young person to engage with. This course will be running groups, and rather seeing this as a punishment the young person, see this as an opportunity to find out how to express his or her anger. If you would like to know more, please go is the homepage and from there you will find our contact details, or click the link below and you will be taken to the Eleos counselling website.

Eleos  Counselling Link

 

 

Is it time for a radical rethink, on NHS psychological treatments, waiting Lists?

depression_eleiocounsellingThis morning’s radio fours woman’s hour interviewed the health minister regarding waiting lists for psychological treatments, on the NHS. The Minister promised an improvement, should the current government be re-elected. The Minister responded to claims that there is no choice in psychological treatments and that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT ) is often offered as the only treatment.

The Minister promised that other treatments such as psychodynamic, person centered, and solution focused therapy would be offered as a choice should the present government be re-elected.

Unfortunately, people are generally waiting up to 12 weeks to see the therapist, and then offered anything from 2 to 6 sessions. Research has shown, that it takes up to 4 sessions for a client/patient  to build up a good enough relationship with the therapist.

A spokesman for the Tavistock Institute in London quoted as saying that it takes up to 12 to 20 sessions for a potential client have good enough therapy.

The longer people wait for therapy more risk they are, often people will find a private therapist, which can see them right away. Of course, with private therapy, there’s no limit to the amount of sessions, one can have, if one can afford it.

May be if the NHS were to outsource psychological treatments to the private sector and individual therapists, in private practice, using the vast amount of experienced therapists in private practice, perhaps even local health providers could pay for a proportion of the treatment? Also, the patient or client is able to make an informed choice as to what type of therapy, he or she  has. A point raised in the programme is that, currently, only 10% of therapy is offered on the IAPT scheme are non-CBT.

 

At Eleos counselling, we offer a reduced rate counselling. The clients who are on family tax credit, income support can access psychological treatments at a reduced rate We feel, that this is the way of plugging the gap between the private sector and the therapies that are available, under the NHS scheme. One of the ethos  of Eleos counselling is to offer affordable therapy for anyone who needs it.

 

ELEOS COUNSELLING WEB SITE LINK 

Diogenes syndrome : a symptom of dementia or loneliness?

hoarding_eleoscounsellingA  recent article in the Daily Express spoke of a lady who had lived for three decades in a battered car, in a South London residential street. The lady in question Anne  Naysmith, recently died after being hit by a car, close to her home. It transpired that Anne Naysmith had been a talented concert pianist who had been suffering from Diogenes syndrome. This is mental illness, named after the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, who cast off material things in favour of  living  in a large jar in Athens.

A person with Diogenes syndrome has many idiosyncratic characteristics, one of which can be hoarding. As with Anne Naysmith, Diogenes syndrome is often associated with extreme self-neglect, causing the person to become socially withdrawn, furthermore, sufferers of Diogenes Syndrome, will also have a compulsion to hoard rubbish, which can add to the social isolation.

It is thought that long periods of social isolation, which causes lack of cognitive stimulation, or a genetic precondition may be the cause of this syndrome. An additional factor which is also thought to cause the syndrome is a traumatic life event. In the case of Anne Naysmith, it was thought that the breakup of her relationship with a handsome choral singer induced some of the behaviours which she had to her death.

For the family members of someone suffering with Diogenes syndrome, it can be difficult seeing someone living in extreme squalor. Furthermore, for those who are left to sort through years of squalid living.

With the biggest charity in Britain today announcing three centres of medical research, one in, Oxford, one in Cambridge and one at Kings College London. These three centres will be dedicated in trying to find a medical solution for dementia.  It is well known that Early-onset dementia will become more prevalent , in Great Britain as the  population becomes older.

Increasingly, people are becoming more and lonelier and social stimulation, is something that people crave for.  One can only wonder whether , if Anne  Naysmith had received the right amount of support, in the form of psychotherapy, after the break of the relationship, whether the outcome for her would of been different.