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When High-Functioning Perfectionism Breaks Down

When High-Functioning Perfectionism Breaks Down

When High-Functioning Perfectionism Breaks Down

Are you a high-functioning perfectionist? Being highly successful and very good at what you do is something to be proud of. But the unfortunate reality of being high-functioning doesn’t always make it easy to recognize your imperfections or realize when they’re negatively affecting your life. High-functioning perfectionism can lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, exhaustion, hopelessness, and loneliness – and it can feel like nobody truly understands what you’re going through…until now. Here are some signs that might indicate that your high-functioning perfectionism has taken over your life.

What is high-functioning perfectionism?
Some people have trouble identifying or describing it, but most of us know a perfectionist when we see one: They’re those colleagues who are always striving for excellence. The ones who double-check their work and worry about making mistakes. The overachievers who seem to take everything in stride until something goes wrong, and then they fall apart. In some ways, high-functioning perfectionists can be even more difficult to deal with — because they hide their self-doubt so well. High functioning perfectionists often over-prepare, over-do, and leave themselves no time to recover mentally and physically from the demands of the standards they hold.

How can we cope with it?
Learning to deal with perfectionism is a process of teaching one’s self that ‘just enough’ is good enough. That one’s best effort cannot be given to every single activity engaged in or you will begin to struggle to do your best when it really counts the most. It’s making choices about what deserves our effort, time, and energy – and that can be a hard process to begin. Let us know if you need help with perfectionism, our efforts can help you learn to align your behavior and time use with your values.

‘Just Right OCD’: A little-known form of OCD that’s more common than you think

‘Just Right OCD’: A little-known form of OCD that’s more common than you think

‘Just Right OCD’: A little-known form of OCD that’s more common than you think

The term ‘OCD’ is often associated with people who are obsessively clean, with an excessive attention to detail, or who have a compulsion to order items in their environment. But not all people with OCD fit this stereotype. In fact, one of the lesser-known types of OCD is called ‘just right OCD,’ and it’s actually much more common than you might think. Here’s what you need to know about this form of the condition and how to cope with it successfully.

When something needs to feel a certain way, so you do it again.
Picture a seven-year-old child. He’s eating with his hands, on an airplane. His mother tells him to use silverware, but he doesn’t want to. He continues using his hands until he gets to just where he wants it—the just right point—when it feels perfect for him to eat with silverware again. That’s what just right OCD is all about: getting things to feel just right before moving forward. It’s not about perfectionism; rather, it is about seeking out and finding comfort in the way that things ‘feel.’ Often there is either a certain sound, sensory feeling, or emotional feeling that the suffer feels must occur before the task can be started or completed. It’s not about “perfection” or order – it’s about what feels ‘just right.’

Repeating, repeating, and waiting for that feeling.
People with ‘just right’ OCD often have difficulty explaining why they feel they need to do something repeatedly. They may set down a cup repeatedly until they think they’ve heard the right sound when the cup meets the table. They may wait for the right feeling when the cup meets the table or even the right mood or thought to pass as they set down the cup. Suffers may find themselves in endless loops of repeating tasks. This form of OCD also tends to be confusing for clinicians with little expertise in OCD as well, because the individual often may report no clear fear of something bad occurring if the task is not completed to ‘just right’s’ satisfaction. Often there is a diffuse discomfort or a sense that something negative but unidentified may occur.

Feeling safety even though it’s not ‘just right’ through exposure
In exposure therapy, a person with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) will challenge their fear by repeatedly coming into contact with something they fear. For example, if they are afraid of germs, they may go touch door handles several times to help them learn that germs aren’t dangerous. With ‘just right’ OCD, instead of trying to neutralize obsessions it’s a process of becoming comfortable with discomfort so you can return to a life of meaning, rather than seeking momentary relief.

Relationship OCD: A form of OCD that often damages the relationships where we most seek to be certain

Relationship OCD: A form of OCD that often damages the relationships where we most seek to be certain

Relationship OCD, or ROCD, refers to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms centered around relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers. As can be seen from the symptoms below, ROCD sufferers obsess over fears that they’re not in the right relationship or that taking some step in the relationship will be the wrong step. In an attempt to protect themselves from relationship failure and ensure their happiness, individuals with ROCD may sabotage their relationships or inadvertently damage them over time.

 

Common Triggers
Relationship OCD symptoms are typically triggered by an event or situation in a relationship, such as asking a partner to move in together or getting married. It can also be triggered by something a partner does or doesn’t do. For example, if your partner has been spending more time with friends and family than with you, you might start questioning your place in their life. Or if they don’t respond to a text message right away, you might begin worrying about whether they still love you. If you have ROCD, any change in your relationship could potentially cause anxiety. This is because when it comes to relationships, certainty is everything. The idea of not knowing what will happen next is terrifying for someone with ROCD. Often ROCD suffers will chose to end relationships they truly value, in order to be certain not to harm the other person or to be sure they aren’t making a wrong choice that cannot be undone at a later time.
First Steps
If you suspect you have Relationship OCD, seek help from a professional with speciality in OCD. Clinicians without experience treating OCD may often inadvertently worsen the condition by providing reassurance or engaging in debates with clients that cannot come to real ‘certainty.’ This may also lead to a tendency for clients to seek out clinicians to make the important decisions in their lives for them, in order to feel more certainty or less responsibility for the outcome of their decisions. This condition should not be managed on your own. Your therapist will help you use Exposure and Response Prevention therapy to work on facing relationship fears without resorting to reassurance seeking or other safety behaviors. Don’t let Relationship OCD become a barrier to finding a healthy relationship. Recovering means learning how to face uncertainty without fear—you can do it! And remember, treatment works!

Dealing with your Anxiety
Step 1 – Reaching out for help. The first step in dealing with relationship OCD is to reach out for help. You may want to reach out to an OCD specialist prior to discussing ROCD in detail with the individuals whom it involves in your life. For example, loving partners often have great difficulty understanding why doubt exists and can sometimes take offense or behavior in ways that worsen the doubt with the best intentions. If ROCD exists, an expert clinician is likely to be willing to support you in explaining your symptoms to the individuals whom your doubt targets in ways that better help you potentially preserve the relationship and gain real support from your relationships that help you reduce your ROCD symptoms. One thing that is not typically recommended, is ending relationships simply to feel more certainty in the moment – ROCD typically attaches itself to different relationships. Therefore, ending relationships to reduce momentary discomfort can set up a cycle where symptoms arise again with a new relationship which in turn causes the individual to again end the relationship.

Moving On Through Treatment
Relationship OCD is an insidious condition in which sufferers are plagued by thoughts about their relationship. These thoughts almost always focus on whether or not their current partner is the right one, and thus cause ROCD sufferers to have a difficult time moving forward with intimacy in their lives. It is possible, however, for those suffering from Relationship OCD to move on with their lives if they address their symptoms early enough. The first step toward doing so is recognizing that you may have Relationship OCD. Treatment for ROCD with an expert therapist should involve exposures to help you face your uncertainty and may involve meetings with family or important relationships, should you want these, to help your supporters understand what you are going through.
5 Tips for Modifying Your Sleep Behavior for a Better Night’s Rest

5 Tips for Modifying Your Sleep Behavior for a Better Night’s Rest

Sleeping well can mean the difference between being alert, focused, and productive during the day and suffering from headaches, decreased cognitive function, and feeling irritable and moody. Unfortunately, many of us are getting less sleep than we need on a regular basis. If you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re tossing and turning all night, it might be time to make some behavioral changes to see if that helps. Here are five tips for modifying your sleep behavior so you can get a better night’s rest!

1) Go to bed at the same time every day
Consistency is key when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Try setting a regular bedtime, and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you establish your sleep rhythm. Even if you only manage to get seven hours of sleep per night, that’s better than eight hours on some nights and five on others!

2) Wake up at the same time every day
If you’re looking to improve your sleep habits, consider waking up at the same time every day. Maintaining consistent sleep hours is key to better quality of sleep. It will also make it easier to go to bed at a regular time each night, which in turn makes falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer easier.

3) Know how much sleep you need
The amount of sleep you need can vary, but it’s generally recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. The best way to determine how much you need is by trial and error—when you’re sleepy, it’s time to go to bed. If you aren’t sure what your ideal amount of sleep is, start by trying out a few different amounts and working your way up or down from there until you find something that works for you.

4) Prepare your mind and body
Setting your brain and body up for sleep is crucial to getting quality shut-eye. To prep yourself, turn off screens 30 minutes before bedtime, spend a few minutes relaxing (try deep breathing or reading), and establish a bedtime routine. And try setting specific wake-up times so you don’t have to worry about hitting snooze over and over again.

5) Go outside before bed
Countless studies have demonstrated that exposure to natural light helps regulate our internal clocks, making it easier to fall asleep and get better sleep. Spend some time outside before you go to bed each night—even if you just walk around your yard or look out your window. The outdoor air can help reset your circadian rhythm, which will make it easier to sleep soundly at night.

Habit Reversal: Treating Tics & Tourette’s

Habit Reversal: Treating Tics & Tourette’s

Tics are involuntary muscle movements or vocalizations that can affect the face, body, and even the limbs of someone with Tourette syndrome (TS). Tourette’s has recently gained more recognition as the famous singer, Billie Eilish, has been public with her experiences of Tourette’s and her symptoms can often be observed (by her report) in her performances. For many people with Tourette’s and involuntary tics, the involuntary movements or vocalizations experienced can be distressing and embarrassing. If you suffer from Tourette’s or tics, there is help. As with any repetitive muscle movement, it’s possible to train yourself to resist performing the tic that results from an urge. Treatment by habit reversal works by teaching you to recognize the urge to perform the tic, wait until it passes, and then perform an alternative response that doesn’t result in the tic.

What Are Tics?
We all have unwanted habits that crop up now and then. We might find ourselves biting our nails, twirling our hair, or tapping our feet when we get stressed. These are called tics. A tic is an involuntary movement or sound that people make repeatedly and cannot control. Common examples of tics include shoulder-shrugging, nose twitching, blinking eyes rapidly, tapping fingertips together, sniffing sounds, clearing throat and facial grimacing. Tics can be annoying for those around you, but they aren’t usually harmful. They may go away on their own within a few weeks or months. But if they don’t, it can help to talk with us about treatment options.

Where Do My Tics Come From?
Your tics can come from your body’s attempt to relieve stress. Many people who have Tourette syndrome also suffer from anxiety and stress. So, if you notice that a lot of your tics occur around certain stressful situations, it might be good for you to learn how to relax. Tics also may increase in frequency when we are more ‘unaware’ or bored or experiencing certain emotions. It is important to remember that everyone’s experience with tics is different.

Why Habits Work To Stop A Tic?
When it comes to a tic, your brain is doing exactly what it wants. Trying to force it not to do something can only make things worse. But, if you’re able to break down a tic into its individual components, you can reduce and even eliminate that tic by encouraging alternate behaviors and reinforcing them through repetition. This process is called habit reversal therapy or HRT.

How To Form A New Habit That Prevents Involuntary Movement
Here’s how to turn those involuntary movements into voluntary ones. It might sound counterintuitive, but it works—and has been used successfully for decades by psychologists and therapists. In fact, habit reversal is one of two behavioral therapies that have been shown to be effective in treating tics and other repetitive behaviors in children and adults (the other being habit-reversing drugs). It can also be used for a wide range of other conditions, such as nail-biting, hair pulling, skin picking, and even self-injurious behaviors like head banging or self-hitting.

The Superbill vs. the Receipt: What’s the Difference?

The Superbill vs. the Receipt: What’s the Difference?

The Superbill vs. the Receipt: What’s the Difference?

You’ve probably heard the terms Superbill and receipt before, but do you know what the difference between them are? If you’re not sure, this article will help you find out.

What is a Superbill?
A Superbill, also known as a charge summary, is a streamlined version of an invoice that outlines all charges for a specific service or visit to your doctor’s office. A Superbill includes everything you would expect to see on an invoice, including payment information, charges and description of services performed and tests ordered. A Superbill is only provided when you are not a ‘cash pay only’ client (i.e., asserting that you are not seeking reimbursement from your insurance company) and when insurance is not filed by your provider. If your insurance is filed directly by the provider you will receive statements but these may be largely incomplete until your insurance responds to the claims submitted. Please note that insurance companies may take 45 days to several months to fully respond to your provider about what they will and will not cover. They often provide providers and their clients with estimates of what they may cover – that they cannot be held to fulfilling.

Things you need to know about a Superbill.
If you receive a Superbill from your provider, it is your job to file this with your insurance. You should expect that your insurance may provide feedback and often attempt not to pay your benefits. This is, after all, how insurance companies stay in business and maintain more money than they issue out. Be prepared to discuss with your insurance how the services should be covered by your benefits and don’t be dismayed by quick answers from customer service representatives that your provider may have “coded something wrong” as that is usually a “safe” answer for the customer service representative rather than stating “this service may not be covered by your plan.” As always, it is your responsibility ultimately to understand your healthcare plan coverage. Communications between insurance companies to providers are often not reliable until payment or an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) is provided following services and their determination of your plan’s coverage of those services.

Levels of Mental Health Care: Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, Group Therapy, and Individual Therapy

Levels of Mental Health Care: Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, Group Therapy, and Individual Therapy

Understanding the different levels of mental health care can make all the difference in whether or not you receive proper treatment, or how quickly you recover from an episode of depression, anxiety, eating disorder, or substance abuse. Although mental health disorders are very common in the United States, many people don’t know how to get help until it’s too late. Recognizing the different levels of mental health care can help you figure out what level of care your situation warrants so that you can get the help you need as quickly as possible.

Inpatient hospitalization
If you are reporting that you are a danger to yourself or others or that you are in an immediate psychiatric crisis, you may be admitted to an inpatient hospital program. Inpatient facilities are meant to stabilize people who may be a danger to themselves or others or may need brief medication stabilization to prevent themselves from acting on acute disturbing symptoms (for example brief supervision during an escalating manic episode where someone may know they are about to behave in ways they do not want to behave). People who are admitted to an inpatient program are monitored closely because they might be at higher risk for suicide or harming themselves. Inpatient treatment typically lasts no longer than a few days. Many people confuse inpatient facility admittance as a route to treating severe, long-standing problems. Inpatient facilities are not designed for these purposes and serve more as crisis centers that keep people safe briefly and triage them to an appropriate treatment level following hospitalization.

Residential mental health centers
If you have a mental health condition that’s severe enough to keep you from working or functioning normally in your daily life, residential mental health centers are where you might go. Residential centers tend to provide long-term care for severe symptoms with a greater degree of comfort and more established treatment programs than inpatient centers. They often feel much more like a ‘resort’ or a hotel to clients though they include overnight supervision and assistance to a lesser degree than inpatient centers. Many residential centers are designed to improve daily living skills over time and progressively have residents engage in more self-care at the facility. For example, over time the resident may be asked to take on more responsibilities for caring for their own room (e.g., bringing one’s laundry to be washed). Residential treatment centers are often targeted toward addressing a specific problem (e.g., substance abuse, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, etc.).

Partial Hospitalization
This is a modified form of hospitalization that allows patients to receive treatment while still maintaining their independence. Patients may be required to attend partial hospitalization on a daily basis for several hours (or half-days) or an afternoon each week. To qualify for partial hospitalization, patients must be diagnosed with a mental illness; have problems living independently; maintain an adequate level of medical care; demonstrate motivation to seek treatment; and agree to abide by facility rules. Partial hospitalization programs also vary significantly in their focus on treating specific problems versus focusing on re-integration and coping skills. Many people with specific severe disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders, eating disorders, etc.) do not experience significant benefits from attending general partial hospitalization programs that focus on coping and life skills but benefit from specialized partial hospitalization programs. You will often need a clinician to advocate with your insurance with regard for your need to attend a specialized program as frequently these programs may be reimbursed by insurance but not accept insurance directly.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP)
IOP, like partial hospitalization (PHP; Day Treatment), is often used as a stepping stone between inpatient care and individual therapy. IOP patients attend sessions on a part-time basis (usually three to five days per week). Sessions are typically two-to-three hours long, and they may be held at an outpatient clinic or at a location that’s convenient for patients who live nearby. The frequency of treatment allows people to maintain their work schedule while continuing to receive support from their therapist. It also gives them time for self-care activities such as exercise or housework. It’s important to note that like partial hospitalization programs, if you have a type of severe symptoms (rather than general issues with coping) you may need to seek out a specialized IOP program that addresses those issues. You may also need to advocate for your insurance to reimburse you for these services as many specialized IOP centers do not accept insurance directly.

Group Therapy
This form of therapy is designed to address issues within a group setting. The level of interaction between clients differs from group to group, but overall it’s an opportunity for others to support you through your own personal journey with mental health care.

Individual Therapy
An individual therapy session is one on one with a mental or behavioral health professional. These sessions are appropriate when you are able to continue to complete therapeutic assignments independently between sessions or when you are simply looking for support from a clinician briefly.
Check out our other articles to understand the differences between different types of clinicians and what types of therapies they offer.
 

Understanding mental or behavioral health benefits

Understanding mental or behavioral health benefits

Understanding mental or behavioral health benefits

There are many aspects of health insurance that consumers should understand, but mental or behavioral health benefits often get overlooked. If you have questions about how your plan handles issues such as depression or anxiety, you’re not alone. Fortunately, the following guide on understanding mental or behavioral health benefits will help you learn more about this topic and equip you with the information you need to make smart decisions about your care.

What are my health insurance benefits?
Most employer-sponsored plans cover some form of mental and behavioral health, whether it’s visits to a therapist or psychiatrist; substance abuse treatment; hospital stays for psychiatric care. When looking into what your plan covers, it’s important to understand that each one is unique. These plans tend to fall into two categories: mental health and behavioral health plans. Mental health plans usually include services such as individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, intensive outpatient programs (IOP), day treatment programs (DTP), partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and inpatient psychiatric care. Behavioral health plans are often more comprehensive than mental health plans because they can include not only behavioral services but also medical services related to substance use disorders. The main difference between these two types of coverage is that behavioral health tends to be more inclusive than mental health.

How does my plan work?
Most behavioral health plans aren’t traditional HMOs. You can get some—but not all—services covered out-of-network, which means you could still use an in-network doctor for that emergency appendectomy and a psychiatrist in your network for treatment of your PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Even if a behavioral health provider isn’t covered under your network, you may still be able to submit claims to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Can I make changes to my plan?
Yes. You are able to change your plan during Open Enrollment (typically October-December) or if you experience a qualifying life event such as birth of a child, marriage, divorce, and so on. For more information, check out HealthCare.gov. What is covered?: Most plans cover both inpatient and outpatient care for mental health services though they may have a variety of conditions for paying or reimbursing your treatment that are unrelated to the quality of treatment you receive.

Why did I receive a bill after visiting the doctor or hospital?
You may have received a bill after visiting your doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy, or other medical provider because you did not have insurance that covers these services at 100%. If your insurance pays part of your medical bill, you are responsible for paying that portion of the bill yourself. Depending on your coverage, you may be able to choose from different plans to help pay for those out-of-pocket costs.

7 Ways Yoga Transforms Your Mental Health

7 Ways Yoga Transforms Your Mental Health

7 Ways Yoga Transforms Your Mental Health

Yoga has become increasingly popular in the Western world, but many people still wonder why exactly they should practice it. While some of the reasons are physical and can be easily quantified by the number of calories burned or inches lost, many of yoga’s benefits are more mental than physical. Yoga has been shown to improve brain function, strengthen your immune system, and help you handle stress more effectively, among other mental health benefits. These seven ways yoga transforms your mental health will help you see that it’s something that everyone can benefit from.

1) Builds Discipline
Building discipline through yoga is something that can increase your capacity to stick with healthy behaviors, like eating a good diet or going for a run. In fact, studies show that regular yoga practice can make you 40% more likely to stick with a given habit. And if you want to lose weight—or start eating better, or exercise more frequently—yoga is an easy place to start adding some healthy habits into your life.

2) Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Word Consistency
When you’re practicing yoga consistently, your mood improves dramatically. A study conducted at Duke University found that people who practiced yoga regularly experienced improvements in psychological well-being and a decrease in levels of depression and anxiety. Other studies have shown that consistent yoga practice can result in lower rates of substance abuse and addiction, as well as an improvement in overall mental health. It’s clear that when it comes to mental health, a little consistency goes a long way!

3) Helps Fight Anxiety and Depression
Yoga is no longer just a method of physical exercise. It has developed into a holistic healing practice with multiple benefits for both physical and mental health. People who suffer from anxiety or depression find yoga an effective alternative treatment that doesn’t come with negative side effects. Try it out! If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or find it hard to cope with stress, try practicing yoga regularly and see if it can make a difference in your life.

4) Boosts Confidence
Studies have shown that yoga has a huge impact on self-esteem. In fact, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that men and women who did yoga reported increases in mental health–related quality of life compared to those who did not do yoga. This may be because all that deep breathing boosts oxygen flow to your brain, which translates into an energized, focused state of mind.

5) Fosters Self-Awareness & Connection
Yogis say that mindfulness is one of yoga’s main benefits. As you focus on your breathing and your body in space, you increase self-awareness and develop a deeper connection to yourself. Feeling connected to yourself means feeling connected to others as well, which improves your relationships at home, work, and play. Practice yoga regularly and get in touch with all of you! You will be amazed by how much more compassion you feel for others.

6) Works on the Body, Mind, and Spirit
Yoga works on multiple levels. It releases endorphins, improves your posture, and restores balance to your nervous system; it also connects you with fellow yogis who share your passion. And, most importantly, yoga teaches that we’re all one in spirit. No matter how many things are going wrong in your life—you lost your job or broke up with a partner—yoga reminds you that everything is always working out for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.

7) Improves Sleep Quality
An 8-week study found that practicing yoga five times a week led to less insomnia and a better quality of sleep. According to the results, published in Clinical Cardiology, yogis had an easier time falling asleep and their sleep was less fragmented than non-yogis. These benefits may be related to an increase in melatonin secretion (the hormone responsible for regulating our body clocks) due to increased body temperature during yoga practice.

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