Other Related Problems

Insomnia

Insomnia is characterized by difficulties with falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Lack of sleep has been associated with daytime sleepiness, cognitive functioning, emotion regulation, social problems and substance abuse.

Adam is often feeling sleepy at his desk, longing for the end of the day when he can put his head down. By the time he goes to bed at night, he finds himself having trouble falling asleep. Watching T.V. in bed sometimes helps him but it is not long before he is awake again. Tossing and turning, watching the minutes tick by, he starts to worry about how he’ll manage to get through another work day. No sooner has he fallen into a deep slumber, his alarm clock goes off 

Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD in adults is characterized by problems with organization and planning for the future, as well as impulsiveness and failure to follow through on commitments, leading to difficulties in different life areas (e.g. work, finances, and relationships).

As a young adult, Mike’s life always seems to be in chaos. He has difficulty holding down a job for long, and usually gets fired for being late or not showing up for work. His “live in the moment” lifestyle and attitude is fun at times, but it usually ends with other people getting frustrated at him for acting irresponsibly and not thinking about his future. Mike is tired of making the same mistakes over and over with his life, without being able to learn how to break the pattern. He always has money problems as he seems unable to stop himself from overspending when he feels the urge to buy something new. 

Compulsive Hoarding

Compulsive hoarding is considered to be a form of OCD, characterized by a difficulty in discarding objects. This can result in excessive clutter.

Dennis lives in a decent sized apartment, yet he has no room for his new belongings. He has great difficulty parting with the newspapers, packaging and other inanimate objects that he has collected over the years, for fear that he might need to use them one day. He still keeps boxes of photographs, report cards and letters because they are sentimental. He has a hard time not picking up items on the curb that could be fixed and put to some use. His apartment is full. He is unable to use his living room, and no longer invites friends or family to visit. He doesn t like living this way, but the idea of changing his habits fills him with anxiety.

Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is characterized by recurrent hair pulling from the head or other parts of the body to the extent of noticeable hair loss.

Melissa has a secret that is so embarrassing that even her friends don’t know.  She pulls out individual eyelashes and hairs from the back of her head.  To disguise the thinning patch of hair on her scalp she keeps her hair tied back.  She purposefully keeps her bangs long in an attempt to cover her missing lashes.  Even though she knows that the hair pulling contributes to her feelings of isolation, she just can’t seem to stop.  Although she is still able to go to school and work part-time, she feels tortured by her compulsive behaviours.

Skin picking

Chronic or compulsive skin picking is characterized by recurrent picking of the skin, to the extent of noticeable damage and/or scarring.

Tim dreads having to shave because he feels compelled to dig out his ingrown hairs, to the point of leaving his neck with open wounds.  Sometimes he uses pins or tweezers to dig out the follicles.  He tries to disguise the damage he caused by wearing make-up and scarves.  But the scar tissue is beginning to be noticeable to others.  Tim feels embarrassed that he could not stop this destructive habit.

Tic disorders (e.g. Tourette syndrome)

Characterized by behaviour and/or vocal tics (sudden, brief, repetitive movements/noises), Tourette syndrome is an example of a tic disorder.

Anthony used to be made fun of in school.  Other kids would imitate his nervous twitches and snorting noises.  Now that he is in University he has learned to adapt to these behaviours, and they don’t seem to bother him as much.  But he feels very anxious in class when it is his turn to talk and all eyes are on him.  He tries to control his tics during class, and is somewhat successful.  When he gets home his tics take over, and he is unable to focus on anything else until they are “out of his system”.  He worries if his tics will negatively impact future job interviews. 

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is characterized by an intense preoccupation with a minor or imagined defect in one’s appearance.

Jane has always been worried about what other people think of her.  Most consider her to be quite an attractive woman, but she finds herself obsessing about the shape and size of her nose.  To her it is grotesque and totally disproportionate to her face.  She finds herself constantly checking her reflection and she has started to avoid public places where she might be ridiculed.  She has confided in a couple of close friends who reassure her that she looks fine.  This reassurance is short-lived as her negative thoughts return each time she sees her reflection.

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