For many people, therapy and counseling are what other people require, not one’s self. Sound familiar?
This inability to admit that we could use help or that we are struggling is a common feeling. But so is stress and anxiety. When such negative emotions are left to fester, our physical health can suffer, too. Perhaps you do not recognize stress and anxiety as emotions you battle with?
Today, there are new anxieties that counselors and therapists have begun to help individuals with. Here are a few of the new disorders that are a result of our hyper-connected online lives and the new digital age that might resonate with you.
- Gaming disorder
In a beta draft of mental health conditions by the World Health Organization, a surprising newcomer entered the scene. Gaming disorders will now be something your doctor could diagnose you with.
WHO states that a gaming disorder is recognized as a pattern of behavior, characterized by impaired control over oneself. This manifests itself through increased priority given to gaming, giving it precedence over other daily activities. For this disorder to be diagnosed, the pattern of addictive behavior must be evident for 12 months.
According to Dr. Piper Walsh, an orange county psychologist, “Any type of physical or psychological dependence is a form of addiction. This is true whether you are struggling with alcohol, drugs, binge eating, pornography, or something else altogether.”
The WHO clarifies that only a small portion of people who game have this disorder. However, gamers should keep track of the time they spend gaming. And make sure it does not hinder normal social interactions or activities needed for one’s health.
- Social media anxiety and depression
In a recent survey covered by Time magazine, Instagram ranked the worst for one’s mental health and well-being. This social media site is based on picture sharing and thus, many of the images shared are posed and only show glimpses into others’ lives.
The survey that questioned 1500 teens and adults found that Instagram use was associated with high levels of depression. As well as anxiety and the “fear of being left out.”
Other studies have shown a connection between teens that spent more than 2 hours a day on social media sites and psychological distress. The reason could be the unrealistic expectations that such posts create of what daily life should look like.
The WHO notes that depression is one of the leading causes of mental illness across the globe. Depression does not have any one single cause. New triggers, such as excessive social media use, continue to crop up. Fortunately, the illness has been studied for decades. And if you know where to look, the symptoms can be easy to spot. Symptoms include extreme irritability over small issues, restlessness, anxiousness, and anger.
Depression also often triggers feelings of hopelessness and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Serious depression can lead to thoughts of death and suicide.
Depression is a highly treatable illness. Counseling is one of the first and most helpful ways forward that mental health professionals advise. Depending on the cause of your depression, your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medication.
- Internet addiction disorder
Being online is considered normal and being offline is considered rare. In our present environment, is it possible for Internet use to be considered an addiction?
Mental health professionals think so. Here is why. The brain can get addicted to the rewarding stimuli associated with certain activities. The behavior is called an addiction when those activities have adverse consequences. Regular Internet use is fine. But overuse and compulsive use have been linked to depression, social anxiety, and low self-esteem in teens and adults.
For many of us, Internet use is simply part and parcel of our daily life and work. We use the Internet to research work-related tasks, to make decisions on where to shop, or to grow our businesses. It is only when Internet use interferes with or impedes daily life and relationships that it should be considered a danger.
In fact, Internet addiction disorder is thought by experts to rather be an expression of a larger problem. Counseling can help you uncover the root of the imbalance. And help you achieve balance in all areas of your life.