At Withersdane we treat a wide range of behavioural health problems including compulsions and addictions, trauma, depression , anxiety, eating disorders and other problems. Whilst the psychiatric manuals give quite specific definitions for each and every problem it can make them sound like quite narrow and discrete experiences. In practice, when people are ill, they often have a cluster of problems in several areas all at the same time and, whilst many symptoms may be common, so they will also have their own quite unique symptoms. It is important to be able to work on all of the aspects of a problem rather than focus just on one narrow set of symptoms if we are going to be able to help someone really overcome their difficulties.

Trauma

Traumas so often lie behind psychological and emotional problems and whilst many people have experienced easily recognised traumatic experiences, many more have suffered experiences that they might not have recognised to be trauma. Sufferers may develop extreme anxiety, problems with relationships and low self-esteem. There are many successful treatments for Trauma including CBT, EMDR and Somatic Experience and recovery can be quite dramatic in a short period.

 

Addictions and Compulsions

Substance misuse and behavioural compulsions have many layers to them. In the first instance, people will comfortably and safely detoxify, often using medications, and then be helped to cope psychologically and emotionally. Next, we must look at what drove these behaviours in the first place. People frequently suffer with underlying issues of trauma, abandonment, depression and anxiety and without successfully addressing all of these underlying issues people will be driven back to substance misuse again and again. Finally, it’s important to be motivated for a better future. People who have been suffering from substance misuse problems often lose confidence and direction. Having stabilised in the present, dealing with the past, it is just as important to have confidence, motivation and direction for the future.

 

Eating disorders

Eating disorders fall into three main categories, anorexia (restricting food intake), Bulimia (cyclical bingeing and purging) and compulsive overeating (bingeing). Often people go through phases from one to another as they struggle with the underlying compulsions.

In common with other compulsive behaviours, the difficulty with an eating disorder lies not with the food but with the obsession, drive and cravings around it.

Recovery comes from following a simple food plan but then crucially managing the underlying drive and compulsion. Only when the compulsion is addressed can sufferers have a hope to manage their food and exercise.

Often the only eating disorder that is publicly recognised is very low weight anorexia and even then, it is only when it reaches a critically low weight. This late recognition of eating disorder problems leads to more suffering and a longer and more difficult recovery than should be the case.

As with other compulsive behaviours, managing food and weight is only the beginning of the recovery process, next, we need to establish and resolve the underlying driving forces in our past and then also develop new self-confidence and direction for the future.

 

Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety are very commonly occurring and co occurring problems. There are many different forms of depression and anxiety and there are just as many equally effective treatments. Best practice guidelines for the treatment of depression recommend treatments in combination when treating depression and yet many people have not had the chance to experience more than even one of the many well-evidenced depression treatments. It is extremely helpful to be in a supported environment while developing recovery skills. Family and friends often don’t know how to help and we can be embarrassed to expect more from them so having a team of professionals for support along with others who are practising the same new skills gives us the boost we need.