A Brief Introduction to the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder pic
Bipolar Disorder
Image: webmd.com

Since earning a Ph.D. and licensed as a psychologist following a graduate program at the University of Maryland, College Park, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D. has spent more than three decades providing psychological support to individuals throughout the Rockville area. Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., treats clients for a number of psychological issues, including trauma-related stress and reactions, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is primarily a disorder involving Depression, a psychological condition that is characterized also by excessive mood swings or at least a single manic episode. It is usually known to the public as excessive mood swings disorder that carries an individual from the lows of clinical depression to the extreme highs of mania. However, many of Bipolar patients do not suffer from the mood swings on a regular basis or even frequently, showing instead mostly symptoms of depression. Because of the mood swing aspect, the disorder was previously known best as manic-depressive illness. However, we now recognize that episodes of unexplained or confused elation could also be a sign of the disorder even without frank mania. Untreated bipolar disorder can result in erratic, sometimes psychotic or dangerous behavior, sometimes leading to suicidal tendencies and frequently to major disturbances in social, family and work situations.

It is best to treat bipolar disorder medically and psychologically as soon as possible. Individuals with a mild form of the disorder, called Hypomania, should, therefore, remain vigilant for the advancing symptoms of the disorder. Common symptoms of bipolar depression range from long episodes of crying to suicidal ideation. Physical clues may also include insomnia and oversleeping, low energy levels, fatigue, and changes in appetite or strong agitation, mild depressing hallucination, and delusions.

Mania is most commonly signaled by periods of euphoria and impulsive, selfish disorganized gratification seeking behavior, such as a need for constant stimulation, travel, gambling, promiscuity. Manic episodes are usually very unsettling for the family and the individual. A manic individual can become irritated and angry, or may behave like a hungry addict, not only for drugs, and may report beautiful hallucinations and delusions, flashing colors or ‘visions’. It should also be noted that individuals dealing with bipolar disorder may struggle with depression and mania at the same time. As the reader might have noted, extreme symptoms might be classified as psychotic.

Many Ways to Learn, A Children’s Book About Learning Disabilities

Many Ways to Learn pic
Many Ways to Learn
Image: amazon.com

A Licensed Psychologist with more than 30 years of experience in Maryland, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., is currently a psychotherapist in private practice in Rockville, Maryland. In his post-doctoral training, he trained and became a certified school psychologist, a certified sex therapist, and a certified NLP practitioner. He received extensive training in cognitive-behavioral therapy and Trauma treatment, among others. Dr. Uzi Ben-Ami shared his knowledge of children with special needs in “Many Ways to Learn: Young People’s Guide to Learning Disabilities,” a book he co-authored in 1996.

Designed to be read by the children about whom it is written – mainly those between 8 and 13 years of age – Many Ways to Learn offers easy-to-understand descriptions outlining different types of learning disabilities and how they manifest themselves. Dr. Ben-Ami and his co-author examine the ways in which each disability affects the behavior, performance, and emotions of the child, and how these learning differences can be best managed at home, at school, and in social situations. The book provides a convincing major metaphor to be used in order to explain learning differences. The use of the book and the central metaphor would help parents explain to their child and normalize learning differences. In addition to the explanations by the authors, the book shares a personalized, first-hand account from a child with a learning disability. Other chapters supply parents with helpful resources.

Ultimately, Many Ways to Learn teaches children struggling with a disability that they have as much – if perhaps in different areas – intelligence, spirit, and experience compared with their peers and that they could find creative ways to handle and improve challenging aspects of their lives.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D.
Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D.

Child and adolescent psychologist, Dr. Uzi Ben-Ami provides an educational program, counseling and therapy services for all ages, children and young adults, parents, and groups. His training as a cognitive behaviorist using CBT, DBT, and Future Facing Trauma Therapy, lead Dr. Uzi Ben-Ami to practice Cognitive Behavior Therapy flexibly, treating generalized anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder and trauma reactions such as PTSD, which usually involves disruptive obsessive thoughts and fearful reactions.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common presentation in therapy. OCD is usually considered a symptom of anxiety, a condition characterized by repetitive symptoms such as frequent disruptive thoughts or obsessions and/or compulsions. Sometimes, to control disruptive and disturbing thoughts, the individual reacts with repetitive behaviors that are known as compulsions. For example, with OCD, individuals may have an irrational fear that a loved one will be in an accident if they do not turn the light switch off and on four times. Occasional repetitions are considered a mild ‘superstitious behavior’ and may not necessitate intervention because they may not disrupt and disturb a person’s normal life activity or might even enhance it, such as becoming very neat and organized. However, when the behavior repeats itself in high frequency it may disturb normal life activity and may increase obsessive preoccupation which in turn may increase the frequency of compulsions or cause depression and additional anxiety. Life may become difficult to bear for the individual, and bring concerns to family, friends or colleagues. OCD may force someone who is dealing with the disorder into a stressful life. A person having fearful thoughts and compulsive rituals frequently tries unsuccessfully to ease disruptive thoughts and behaviors. It should be noted that compulsive behaviors may appear without obsessions but might become just as disruptive and difficult to bear.

Although there are different approaches to managing OCD, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is usually considered the preferred, evidence-based, research-supported intervention. With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, disruptive thoughts and behavioral patterns will be altered through supportive guidance, educational explanations, habit-reversal efforts, and by teaching how to evoke parasympathetic tension-reducing reactions. Therapeutic interventions are never cold and clinical. Therapy must always involve friendliness, hope, and a strong rapport, which must be established first before a cooperative successful intervention starts.

What to Expect With Anger Management

 

Anger Management pic
Anger Management
Image: apa.org

Located in Rockville, Maryland, Dr. Uzi Ben-Ami counsels his clients in a private suburban house rather than in an office building, individually or together with a partner. Dr. Ben-Ami uses his knowledge of Behavior Therapy, CBT, DBT and PTSD, to provide his clients with practical and realistic help with anger management.

One targeted goal with anger management is helping you recognize types of situations that make you angry and teaching you how to manage your anger, using new specific skills. Knowing what to do before anger takes over will help you overcome it faster or avoid it altogether.

Knowing common physical signs of anger helps you reduce rage and how to prevent escalation. One example: clenching your fists, grinding your teeth, pacing, rocking while sitting, shallow breathing, and an increased heart rate, are all physical signs that you can observe yourself. By keeping track of your physical signs of anger or writing them in a journal, you can look back and see what situations make you feel angriest, what triggers the anger and what skills you used. With the therapist, you can look back and see what situations you should avoid, what skills are missing, and plan on acquiring the skills through explanation and discussion, some role-play, and also by watching fun or funny relevant videos. Your therapist will teach you realistic relaxation tricks that are possible to apply in real life situations. When needed, you may learn which muscles to use and which to avoid during the confrontation, so you don’t overreact, all this without losing your pride or your opponent’s respect for you.