Laura Adams PsyD MFT

Marriage Family Therapist
& Psychoanalyst
MFT License #MFC 40884




Licensed Marriage Family Therapist & Psychoanalyst
A Psychoanalytic Approach to Psychotherapy
Dr. Laura Adams is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Psychoanalyst in Orange County, CA with a private practice in Mission Viejo. 
 
Using psychoanalytic psychotherapy, she counsels individuals, couples and families who want to address long term problems and patterns.

It is through this kind of personal exploration and counseling that a deeper understanding can be attained and the sense of self can be strengthened.  A psychodynamic approach can go below the surface to address difficult emotional problems, improve personal relationships, and stop self-destructive patterns of behavior.

So often, our pasts can interfere with our lives in the present and we find ourselves suffering through the same ongoing pain. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy can bring about more permanent results whereas many other forms of treatment tend to provide only a temporary fix.

The therapy and counseling experience takes place in the context of a consistent, supportive relationship that provides the starting place for this kind of depth work.

Areas of Emphasis:
 
  • Addictions (Drugs, Alcohol, Internet, Porn, Virtual Affairs 
  • Adolescents -Teens,Teenagers
  • ADD/ADHD Teenage Issues 
  • Anger Management
  • Anxiety, Stress Disorders 
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Long term Depression, Stress and Anxiety 
  • Long term/Manic Depression
  • Attachment Therapy
  • Avoidant Personality
  • Chronically Mentally Ill
  • Communication/Marriage/Couples
  • Couples/Relationships -Marriage Issues 
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Divorce/Marriage Dissolution
  • Domestic/Marriage Violence
  • Eating Disorders
  • Individual
  • Marriage Infidelity and Cheating Marriage Issues 
  • Issues of Abuse (Abused)
  • Issues of Abuse (Offenders)
  • Issues of Abuse (Trauma)
  • Life Transitions/Mid-Life Issues
  • Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder
  • Parenting
  • Persons With Disabilities
  • Phobias
  • Pre-Marriage Counseling
  • Self Esteem/Personal Growth
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Step/Blended Families
  • Stress
  • Teenage Behavior Issues
  • Victims of Crime
  • Women's Issues
Analytically- Informed Perspective:
 



Service Area
  • Attachment
  • Developmental/Depth
  • Intersubjective
  • Object Relations  
  • Self Psychology  

 
South Orange County
Aliso Viejo
Dana Point
Mission Viejo
Ladera Ranch
Laguna Beach
Laguna Hills
Laguna Niguel
Dana Point
Irvine
Foothill Ranch
San Juan Capistrano
San Clemente
Newport Beach
Newport Coast
Coto de Caza
Trabuco Canyon 
Dove Canyon
Rancho Santa Margarita 
Mission Viejo 
Newport Beach 

Sage Hill
Santa Margarita Catholic
Saddleback Valley Christian
South Shores Christian
St Anne
St Catherine
St Margaret's
Jserra
Aliso Niguel
Dana Hills
Tesoro
Mission
Christian Counselor
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Depression

Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Help

Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair take hold and won't go away, it may be depression. More than just the temporary "blues," the lows of depression make it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Hobbies and friends don’t interest you like they used to; you’re exhausted all the time; and just getting through the day can be overwhelming. When you’re depressed, things may feel hopeless, but with help and support you can get better. But first, you need to understand depression. Learning about depression—including its signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment—is the first step to overcoming the problem.

What is depression?

We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.

Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don't feel sad at all—instead, they feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.

Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

Are you depressed?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

  • you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
  • you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
  • you feel hopeless and helpless
  • you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
  • you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
  • you are much more irritable and short-tempered than usual
  • you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)

Signs and symptoms of depression

Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression. When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that's when it's time to seek help.

Common signs and symptoms of depression

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities.  No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Irritability or restlessness. Feeling agitated, restless, or on edge. Your tolerance level is low; everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

Types of depression

Depression comes in many shapes and forms. The different types of depression have unique symptoms, causes, and effects. Knowing what type of depression you have can help you manage your symptoms and get the most effective treatment.

Major depression

Major depression is characterized by the inability to enjoy life and experience pleasure. The symptoms are constant, ranging from moderate to severe. Left untreated, major depression typically lasts for about six months. Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but more commonly, major depression is a recurring disorder. However, there are many things you can do to support your mood and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is a common subtype of major depression. It features a specific symptom pattern, including a temporary mood lift in response to positive events. You may feel better after receiving good news or while out with friends. However, this boost in mood is fleeting. Other symptoms of atypical depression include weight gain, increased appetite, sleeping excessively, a heavy feeling in the arms and legs, and sensitivity to rejection. Atypical depression responds better to some therapies and medications than others, so identifying this subtype can be particularly helpful.

Dysthymia (recurrent, mild depression)

Dysthmia is a type of chronic “low-grade” depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood. The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time (at least two years). These chronic symptoms make it very difficult to live life to the fullest or to remember better times. Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as “double depression.” If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like you’ve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is “just the way you are.” However, dysthymia can be treated, even if your symptoms have gone unrecognized or untreated for years.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

There’s a reason why so many movies and books portray rainy days and stormy weather as gloomy. Some people get depressed in the fall or winter, when overcast days are frequent and sunlight is limited. This type of depression is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder is more common in northern climates and in younger people. Like depression, seasonal affective disorder is treatable. Light therapy, a treatment that involves exposure to bright artificial light, often helps relieve symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder: When Depression is Just One Side of the Coin

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterized by cycling mood changes. Episodes of depression alternate with manic episodes, which can include impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, rapid speech, and little to no sleep. Typically, the switch from one mood extreme to the other is gradual, with each manic or depressive episode lasting for at least several weeks. When depressed, a person with bipolar disorder exhibits the usual symptoms of major depression. However, the treatments for bipolar depression are very different. In fact, antidepressants can make bipolar depression worse.

Depression causes and risk factors

Some illnesses have a specific medical cause, making treatment straightforward. If you have diabetes, you take insulin. If you have appendicitis, you have surgery. But depression is more complicated. Depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, and is not simply cured with medication. Experts believe that depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. In other words, your lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills matter just as much—if not more so—than genetics. However, certain risk factors make you more vulnerable to depression.

Causes and risk factors for depression

  • Loneliness
  • Lack of social support
  • Recent stressful life experiences
  • Family history of depression
  • Marital or relationship problems

  • Financial strain
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Unemployment or underemployment
  • Health problems or chronic pain

Depression and Suicide

Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. Thoughts of death or suicide are a serious symptom of depression, so take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It's not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide: it's a cry for help.

Warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about killing or harming one’s self
  • Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
  • An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
  • Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
  • Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
  • Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
  • Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out.”
A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy.

 
 


Dr. Laura Adams
Psychoanalyst
26151 Marguerite Pkwy
Mission Viejo CA 92692

Office: 949-244-1992



Marriage Counseling


Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy. Marriage counseling helps couples — married or not — recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through marriage counseling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding your relationship or, in some cases, going your separate ways.

Marriage counseling is usually provided by clinical social workers or licensed therapists known as marriage and family therapists. These therapists have graduate or postgraduate degrees — and many choose to become credentialed by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

Marriage counseling is often short term but can be exended. Marriage counseling typically includes both partners, but sometimes one partner chooses to work with a therapist alone for an extened time . The specific treatment plan depends on the situation.



Service Area: South Orange County, Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Rancho Santa Margarita, Aliso Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest, Tustin, Laguna Woods, Las Flores, Mission Viejo, Trabuco Canyon, Wagon Wheel, Costa Mesa, Corona Del Mar Sage Hill Santa Margarita Catholic Saddleback Valley Christian SchoolShores Christian St AnneSt Catherine .