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Counseling Center

Questions and Answers
Is there a difference between "hanging-out" and dating?
How much sleep does the average college student get?

Professional Counseling
Counseling resources and services are available at no cost to the student. A staff of six professional counselors is available to confidentially answer personal questions and provide counseling services as needed. Our goal is to assist students as a part of the University’s mission to promote student success in all areas of life. Help or information regarding any of your concerns is available at counseling@harding.edu, 501-279-4347, or located in McInteer 313.

Self-Help

Addictions

Help is available. Call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

Alcohol/Substance Abuse & Dependence

www.capstonetreatmentcenter.com
Capstone Christian Substance Abuse Treatment Center

drugabuse.com
Coalition Against Drub Abuse

www.Ncadi.Samhsa.Gov
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information

www.aa.org
AA-Alcoholics Anonymous

www.Al-Anon-Alateen.org
Al-Anon and Alateen 

www.aca-usa.org
American Council on Alcoholism 

www.madd.org
MADD-Mothers Against Drunk Driving

www.naadac.org
National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors

www.niaaa.nih.gov
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism

www.nida.nih.gov
National Institute on Drug Abuse

www.nida.nihgov/drugpages
Commonly Abused Drugs: Street Names for Drugs and Abuse

www.nofas.org
National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

www.sadd.org
SADD-Students Against Destructive Decisions

www.smartrecovery.org
SMART: Self-Management and Recovery Training

www.soulselfhelp.on.ca/coda.html
Souls Self Help Central

www.treatment4addictions.com

Gambling

Gam-Anon Family Groups International Service Office
Phone: 718-352-1671; Fax: 718-746-2571; www.gam-anon.org

Gamblers Anonymous
Phone: 213-386-8789; Fax: 213-386-0030; www.gamblersanonymous.org

 

Sexual Addictions/Pornography

 

Accountability Software

www.xxxchurch.com
X3 Porn Addiction Support

www.integrity.com
Integrity Online

www.internetaccountability.com
Internet Accountability

www.covenanteyees.com
Covenant Eyes

Resources

www.christiansexualintegrity.org
Cornerstone Ministries

www.purerestoration.com
Pure Restoration

www.settingcaptivesfree.org
Setting Captives Free

www.everymansbattle.com
Every Man’s Battle

www.purelifeministries.com
Pure Live Ministries

www.firesofdarkness.com
Fires of Darkness

www.porn-free.org
Porn Free

www.bebroken.com
Be Broken Ministries

www.purewarrior.org
Pure Warrior Ministries

www.pinegrove-treatment.com
Pine Grove Treatment Center (Sexual Addictions)

www.sexaddict.com
Heart to Heart Counseling Center

Anxiety and Panic

Anxiety is a painful uneasiness of mind, usually over an anticipated ill. An abnormal apprehension and fear, often accompanied by physiological symptoms such as sweating, increased pulse rate, doubt about the nature and reality of the threat, along with self-doubt are common signs of anxiety.

We all feel anxious at various points in our lives when our stress level becomes overwhelming. Anxiety is a close relative of excitement, but it is best described in terms of worry, or an uneasy feeling of apprehension and impending doom. In a person with an anxiety disorder, the worry is persistent and habitual, often initiated by unrealistic situations or thoughts. In addition, this worry seems uncontrollable and often interferes with the ability to concentrate or otherwise function normally. This type of anxiety may be learned and therefore can be unlearned.

The most common complaints of people suffering from chronic anxiety include:

  • strong anxiety episodes
  • racing heart/chest discomfort
  • trembling
  • nausea
  • hot and cold flashes
  • feelings of unreality and disorientation
  • dizziness
  • scary, uncontrollable thoughts
  • depressed feelings
  • fatigue
  • feelings of helplessness
  • panic episodes
  • muscle tension
  • migraine headaches
  • numbness in various parts of the body
  • strange aches and pains

People suffering from anxiety disorder often have extreme apprehension about the following:

  • dying
  • having a heart attack
  • fainting
  • losing their breath
  • going “insane”
  • losing control
  • embarrassing themselves in front of others
  • choking
  • hurting themselves or someone else

The four most common concerns from this list are:

  • dying
  • embarrassing themselves in front of others
  • going “insane”
  • losing control

During a panic attack, the sufferer truly feels he/she will lose control, go “insane” or die if they do not get to a “safe” place or person. The “safe” place is usually home or somewhere very familiar and comfortable. The “safe” person is usually a spouse, boy/girlfriend or close friend – someone who can be there if the sufferer needs help. God may seem far away.

If anxiety is a problem that troubles you, call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

Resources

Anxiety/Phobias/Stress

Agoraphobics Building Independent Lives
Phone: 804-257-5591; www.mhav.org

Phobics Anonymous
Phone: 760-322-2673

Trichotillomania Learning Center
Phone: 831-457-1004; www.trich.org

www.healthanxiety.org
Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center

www.healthyminds.org
Anxiety Disorders

www.npadnews.com
National Panic/Anxiety Disorder Newsletter

www.lexington-on-line.com
Panic Disorder

www.panicattacks.com.au
Anxiety Panic Hub

www.panicdisorder.about.com
Agoraphobia: For Friends/Family

www.intelihealth.com
Mastering Your Stress Demons

www.jobstresshelp.com
Job Stress Help

www.selfhelpmagazine.com/article/stress
Meditation, Guided Fantasies, and Other Stress Reducers

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity & Impulse Control

Help is available. Call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

ADHD & LD

Children and Adults with AD/HD (CHADD) 
Phone: 301-306-7070, 800-233-4050; Fax: 301-306-7090; www.chadd.org

www.LD-ADD.com
Attention Deficit Disorder and Parenting Site

www.aap.org
American Academy of Pediatrics Practice Guidelines on ADHD

www.add.about.com
Attention Deficit Disorder

www.add.org
Attention Deficit Disorder Association

www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/adhd/cfm
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

www.oneaddplace.com
One ADD Place

Depression

Depression is a mood disorder experienced by many people ranging from mild to severe at different stages. As you will see in the indicators below clinical depression should not be confused with occasional "blue" moods, pre-occupation or times when things just don't go well.

Many in the medical community believe depression is related to chemical imbalance or other biological origin. The other significant consideration is that depression results from intense or prolonged negative life experiences. Feelings of anger, sadness and confusion commonly accompany unexpected or continuous struggles with life issues.

The following are characteristics often associated with clinical depression:

marked sadness
decreased appetite
decreased motivation
lack of concentration
insomnia
excessive sleeping (especially daytime)
withdrawal from social activities
preoccupation with feelings of low self worth
sudden and repetitive crying spells
feelings of hopelessness
isolation
suicidal thoughts

Help for depressed feelings usually involves a combination of remaining involved, diet, exercise (very important), spiritual stimulation, counseling and possibly conferring with a physician about antidepressants.

A key to evaluating depression and most emotional concerns is to ask yourself two questions.

  • How often do I feel this way? (Frequency)
  • How long does the feeling last? (Duration)

Resources

Mood Disorders

Depressed Anonymous
Phone: 502-569-1989
www.depressedanon.com

Emotions Anonymous International Service Center
Phone: 651-647-9712; Fax: 651-647-1593
www.EmotionsAnonymous.org

Recovery
Phone: 312-337-5661
www.recovery-inc.org

www.Depressedteens.com
Depression and Related Affective Disorders

www.Ifred.org
National Foundation for Depressive Illness

www.befrienders.org
Samaritans International

www.blarg.net/~charlatn/voices
Voices of Depression

www.bpso.org
BPSO-Bipolar Significant Others

www.bpso.org/nomania.htm
How to Avoid a Manic Episode

www.dbsalliance.org
Depression & Bi-Polar Support Alliance

www.helpfordepression.com
Help for Depression with treatments, articles and more

www.miminc.org
Bipolar Disorders Treatment Information Center

www.wingofmadness.com
Wing of Madness: A Depression Guide

Suicide Support

Covenant House Nineline
Phone: 212-613-0300, 800-999-9999; Fax: 212-629-3756
www.covenanthouse.com

Friends for Survival
Phone: 916-392-0664
www.friendsforsurvival.org

NineLine
Phone: 212-613-0300, 800-999-9999
www.nineline.org

www.friendsforsurvival.org
Friends for Survival

Eating Disorders

A whole range of issues may be behind the eating disordered choices of an individual. Eating disorders may begin as a way to smoke screen other concerns and may be a symptom of thoughts, behaviors, and feelings over which the person does not feel control. These other concerns may be the catalysts for restricting caloric intake or for binge-purge cycles. Either of these can result in serious health problems and even death. Red flags for use in the early identification of eating disorders are as follows.

Anorexia Nervosa

  • Loss of menstrual period,
  • Dieting with relish when not overweight
  • Claiming to feel "fat" when not overweight
  • Distorted body image
  • Preoccupation with food, calories, nutrition and/or cooking
  • Denial of hunger
  • Excessive exercising, being overly active
  • Frequent weighing
  • Refusal to maintain weight expected for age and height
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or being fat
  • Strange food-related behaviors
  • Complaints of feeling bloated or nauseated when eating normal amounts of food
  • Intermittent episodes of "binge-eating"

Bulimia Nervosa

  • Excessive concern about weight
  • Strict dieting followed by eating binges
  • Frequent overeating, especially when distressed
  • Bingeing on high calorie, sweet food
  • Expressing guilt or shame about eating
  • Use of laxatives, over-exercising, enemas, diuretics, fasting and/or vomiting to control weight
  • Leaving for the bathroom after meals (secretive vomiting)
  • Being secretive about binges and vomiting
  • Planning binges or opportunities to binge
  • Feeling out of control
  • Depressive moods

Help is available. Call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

Resources

www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
National Eating Disorders Association

www.EDReferral.com
Eating Disorder Referral and Information Service

www.gurze.com
Eating Disorder Resources

www.anad.org
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

www.anred.com
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders

www.bulimia.us.com
Bulimia: News & Discussion Forums

www.closetoyou.org/eatingdisorders
Close to You

www.edap.org
Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention

www.mirror-mirror.org.eatdis.htm
Mirror, Mirror

www.something-fishy.com
Something Fishy 

Food Addicts Anonymous
Phone: 561-967-3871; www.foodaddictsanonymous.org

National Center for Overcoming Overeating
Phone: 212-875-0442; www.overcomingovereating.com

Overeaters Anonymous General Service Office
Phone: 505-891-2664; Fax: 505-891-4320; www.oa.org

Family

For many people the process of growing up and dealing with loved ones has been one of ups and downs. For some the process has contained many more downs than ups. When problems such as abuse, control, manipulation, substance-abuse, and any number of problems are present, the effects on children can last long after the child becomes an adult. There are times that individuals do not even realize their family had problems until they find themselves in a new context, like college. For others the awareness of family problems is an everyday occurrence. Even families that from all appearances to “outsiders” seem to have things together, the presence of dysfunction for its members may be great. While all families experience problems, the members of families that have prolonged exposure to dysfunction are more likely to experience problems as a result of their family environment.

At times the impact of one's family dysfunction is felt most in relationships with others. In college settings like Harding’s, you are exposed to a number of relationships. Dating relationships, roommate relations, and intense friendships can all highlight the impact that certain family dysfunction has had on your life. The presence of certain family dysfunctions such as:

  • Abusive and/or Substance Abusing Parents: Unfortunately many children are raised in families that contain abusive and/or alcoholic/drug abusing members. Various forms of abuse can have a number of effects on children. Ranging from sever physical abuse, sexual abuse, to verbal abuse, all abuse can promote a measure of distrust in children who’s caretakers have betrayed them. Likewise, even the inappropriate handling of an abuse to the child when it is reported to the family can develop an environment of mistrust and secrecy in the family. It is not uncommon for abused children to take personal responsibility for the abuse. To be resentful, angry, untrusting of individuals in authority, and even untrusting in relationships themselves.
  • Absent Parents: Individuals who have parents that are workaholics, neglectful, and even single-parent families may at times promote a sense of abandonment. It is quite common for the children of absent parents to take on more adult responsibilities and miss out on many of the important aspects of childhood.
  • Domineering Parents: Children who are raised in rigid families may not be allowed to experience age appropriate responsibilities due to the controlling nature of their parents. Likewise, this type of environment might promote a spirit of “secrecy” and/or “loyalty” that must be maintained at all costs. In such an environment it is not uncommon for children to develop a lot of anger, dependence, and/or feelings of inadequacy as a result of parental control.

In addition to those mentioned above, children and adults who are raised in dysfunctional families commonly report a wide range of difficulties in a number of areas. If you feel like some of the things you are struggling with are related to the way you were brought up or your family, there are some useful ways to begin the healing process.

  • Give yourself permission to be hurt/angry about what occurred at home.
  • Take time to take care of yourself not just everyone else.
  • Make a slow effort to trust others who have shown they are trustworthy.
  • Get some professional help.

Some people believe that since they are away at college the things that happened at home will not effect them anymore. Likewise, that there is nothing that can be done about the past. While the past can’t be erased talking to someone who can provide an “outsiders” view is often very helpful to those who are struggling with family issues. Harding has trained professionals that can be a resource for you to learn more about ways to deal with family of origin issues and the impact that a family dysfunction can have on its members. In you feel like some of the things you are struggling with are a result of your family environment don’t hesitate to call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

Grief and Loss/Adjustment

The loss of a significant relationship or the death of a loved one can trigger grief. For most who grieve, it is some comfort to know that the pain is normal under the circumstances and that others have shared a similar experience and eventually achieved a resolution.

Normal grief reactions include the following questions and statements. "Is there a right way to grieve?" "Why do I feel so out of control?" "I'm so glad it's over. Is that wrong?" "I never knew it would hurt so bad!" "I feel so relieved."

Other normal symptoms of grief are:

  • I feel as if it isn't real.
  • I feel a tightness in my throat and a heaviness in my chest.
  • My mood changes over the slightest things.
  • What is there left for me to live for?
  • Sometimes I feel angry.
  • I cry at unexpected times.
  • I don't want others to see me when I feel sad.
  • I can't concentrate.
  • I sense my loved ones presence, like hearing their voice.
  • I feel like my mind is on a merry-go-round that will not stop.
  • I have trouble sleeping.
  • I don't feel hungry.
  • I'm eating all the time.
  • I have an empty feeling.
  • I miss being touched.
  • I miss having someone help me make decisions.
  • I'm so lonely.

These grief responses are all natural and normal after a loss. It is important to reach out and talk with people and to cry when you need to.

While profound grief is not a sign of mental illness, many people who experience it for a prolonged period may benefit from counseling to help work through unresolved issues. If you need assistance call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

Resources

Death/Trauma Loss Support:

www.counselingforloss.com
Counseling for Loss and Life Change

 www.death-dying.com
Death and Dying Grief Support

www.griefnet.org
GriefNet

www.psycom.net/depression.central.grief.html
Grief and Bereavement

www.rainbows.org
Relationship and Learning Center

www.unitegriefsupport.org
UNITE

www.1000deaths.com
Survivors of Loved Ones’ Suicides

www.sidsalliance.org
First Candle/SIDS Alliance

www.climb-support.org
Center for Loss in Multiple Birth

www.alivealone.org
Alive Alone

www.nationalshareoffice.com
National SHARE Office

www.widownet.org
WidowNet

www.grasphelp.org
Grief Recovery After A Substance Passing

Divorce/Separation Support:

www.divorceasfriends.com
Surviving the Emotional Trauma of Divorce

www.divorceinfo.com
Divorce Support

Homesickness

Research indicates that as many as 70% of university students develop feelings of homesickness at some point during their college career. While the excitement, stress, and new surroundings of being in college are a part of every student’s experience, the adjustments that have to be made are not always easy. It’s important to remember that you aren’t the only one having these feelings and that there are many others that have to make the transition to college life along with you.

The process of adjusting to your new environment (e.g. your dorm room, new roommate, courses, and schedule) may seem exciting at first but may become somewhat overwhelming after the newness wears off. However, others may find that the process of making new friends, adjusting to the dorm, or missing your friends and family back home is difficult from the start. Since most people find comfort in familiar surroundings and relationships, the process of leaving the familiarity of home and moving into a new environment can make this process difficult. It is important to remember that dealing with change can be a difficult process and that it is normal to have some difficulty adjusting. Since every student has varying degrees of connectedness to friends and parents, distance from home, and level of independence the impact of homesickness can vary greatly from person to person. Some common characteristics of homesickness are as follows:

  • A faint sense of loss when thinking about familiar things like friends, family, pets, and even your own bed.
  • Failure to get into a comfortable routine.
  • Being miserable and lonely and lacking the desire to get out of your room.
  • A strong resistance to return to school after a weekend visit or holiday.
  • Crying for no reason and an empty feeling like nobody understands.
  • Getting angry at others who seem to be enjoying their college experience.

While some students with homesickness may experience all of these, others might struggle with completely different things. In addition to remembering that homesickness is common and normal there are some other things that might help you to get acquainted with your environment faster and/or help you to get some relief from the homesickness.

Get involved and do things that you enjoy.
Though you may feel like staying in your room watching TV, listening to music, or chatting with your friends from back home on line, get out and take advantage of some of the campus activities. Get involved in a club, intramurals, or home Bible study group. There are a lot of activities on campus and you will likely find that there are others who like to do some of the things you enjoyed doing back home.

Keep in touch with your family and friends.
Even though reminders of home might make you feel even further away at first, the comfort of a familiar voice can ease the sadness when you feel like an unknown in such a strange place.

Keep your goals in mind.
Don’t lose track of what you came to college for. Make the decision to go to class and to make the best of your college experience. Focus on your school work and on the mission that you’ve set out on to get a degree that will be with you for the rest of your life.

Talk to a professional.
Some people feel like an issue like homesickness is stupid and should just go away; just having that disposition about it can make the feelings worse. Harding has trained professionals that can be a resource for you to learn more about ways to deal with homesickness and they can help you remember that you are in the majority if you are having some difficulty making the transition to college life.

Most students find that after they begin to develop a routine, strong friendships, and make a new home for themselves on the Harding campus their homesickness diminishes. However, there are others that continue to struggle despite all their efforts. In either case if you feel like homesickness is having a negative impact on your college experiences don’t hesitate to call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

Same Sex Attraction

Help is available. Call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

Gender Identity/Same Sex Attraction

www.centerpeace.net
Center Peace

www.loveinaction.org
Love in Action

www.lovewonout.com
Love Won Out

www.exodusinternational.org
Exodus International

www.zoegroup.org
Zoe Group

www.cornerstonepsychotherapy.org
Cornerstone Treatment Center

www.samesexattraction.org
Unwanted Same Sex Attraction

Stress

Stress can be a most debilitating problem when we become so frazzled that we don’t function well and our work is affected. The stress which motivates us to go to class and to do our work is a good thing, but too much stress is counter productive and leaves us feeling overwhelmed and drained.

A Student's Guide to Balancing Stress

Four types of stress symptoms often appear:

  • Physical symptoms include fatigue, headache, insomnia, muscle aches and stiffness, heart palpitations, chest pains, cramps, nausea, trembling, sweating, frequent colds, etc.
  • Mental symptoms include decrease in memory and concentration, indecisiveness mind racing or going blank, confusion and loss of humor.
  • Emotional symptoms include anxiety, nervousness, depression, anger, frustration, worry, fear, irritability, impatience, short temper, etc.
  • Behavioral symptoms include pacing, fidgeting, nervous habits like nail-biting, increased eating, smoking, drinking, crying, yelling, swearing, and blaming.

Everyone experiences stress. It cannot be eliminated, so if you find yourself feeling tired and irritable, restless, not sleeping well, and unable to relax on your own, you need to look for some positive stress reducing strategies. Many ways exist to manage stress in our lives.

Here is a list of ten good strategies.

  • Decrease or discontinue caffeine.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Prayer, relaxation, and meditation
  • Get 7-8 hours sleep per night
  • Have regular rest breaks and leisure time.
  • Develop realistic expectations.
  • Reframe situations positively.
  • Check your belief system.
  • Find and use a support system and talk it out.
  • Look for humor in every situation.

If you need help learning to relax, reframe, or talk things out, call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.

Test Anxiety

Do you enjoy taking tests? Many people do actually look forward to the challenge of test taking. These people like the thrill of the unknown and the excitement surrounding the fact that they will be tested. Many people do not like to take tests. Are you one of these? The thrill of the unknown and the expectation of performance can sometimes spiral into a fear that reduces a student’s capacity to produce. Test anxiety is a temporary condition relating to how a person responds to a testing situation. For some people this fear can result in physical symptoms. A person may experience increased heart rate, sweating palms, shortness of breath, or an ache in the stomach. A person may have trouble capturing known facts from their memory and an inability to organize thoughts. If you struggle with this type of response to tests, then there is hope and help for you.

Some Ideas to help Test Anxiety

  • Prepare thoroughly: the more prepared the less anxiety
  • Study with a partner or group: go into the test with a sense of community
  • Look at the test realistically: one test at a time. One test does not make or break the course.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques: deep breathing, positive visualization

The University Counseling Center can assist you with channeling your excitement into a positive direction. You don't need to fear tests any longer. If we can help, call us at 279-4347.

Time Management

Where does time go? Actually time is constant. Time is always the same, there is no more or no less in any given day. The issue people have is how to manage this constant. Often time just seems to slip away without anything of necessity being accomplished. If you find yourself missing deadlines and appointments, constantly running late or over procrastinating, then you may struggle with time management. There is no need to find time, only to manage it productively. For some students, college is the first time they must solely manage their time. This responsibility can easily be neglected in the midst of making new friends, going to class, finding a social group, and just fitting in to place.

Here are some ideals that might help identify some "black holes" that eat up you time:

  • Set your priorities and goals for the semester: this will include all aspects of life, not just school work.
  • Keep a daily log of activities: this is a temporary method of identifying what is happening in a day.
  • Make a "to do" list.
  • Schedule work time and play time.
  • Learn to say NO

Time management is an important aspect of successful life. If you or a friend is struggling with managing time, call the University Counseling Center for help at 279-4347.

Contact Us

Counseling Center
located in McInteer 313
501-279-4347
counseling@harding.edu