these facts, the anxiety disorders have not been taken seriously
in the past and it is only within the last decade that substantive
research has been published about these major debilitating
the anxiety disorders still are not understood by most professionals
or the general public. 
Disorders? Panic Attacks? Social Anxieties? What do we mean
when we talk about problems with "anxiety"? Technically,
were referring to the "anxiety disorders"
that are spelled out in the DSM-IV, a psychological reference
book. Many millions of people suffer from anxiety problems,
and until recently, little research has been done about
how to treat these conditions successfully.
however, research on anxiety disorders is blossoming, and
we are able to significantly help the vast majority
of people who come in for therapy.
what are these anxiety disorders? We will list them and
give a brief description of the problem.
panic attacks and the fear of having additional attacks
characterize this problem. Many times the person does not
know why they are having an attack. Sometimes, it seems
to come "out of the blue". A panic attack is usually
accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness or faintness,
increased heart rate, trembling and shaking, hot or cold
flushes, and a sense of detachment. Other common symptoms
include fear of dying or "going crazy", and the
fear of losing control.
Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia
is the fear of having panic attacks in public places (usually
because they have happened there before) and then the avoidance
of these places that are associated with panic attacks.
It is anxiety-causing not to know when your next panic attack
might occur. As the panic attacks occur more frequently
and in different locations, the person who is untreated
begins to fear going anywhere "unsafe" or outside
of their security zone; that is anywhere they might have
a panic attack. Thus, it is common for the person with agoraphobia
to avoid travel and stay close to home.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
worries about more than one circumstance characterize this
anxiety problem. People with GAD are "bothered"
or "worried" most of the time. Many times the
worries are unrealistic, such as "What if my
son goes to the baseball game today and gets in an accident?"
or "What if I lose my job and I become homeless?"
All of us think about things like this, but people with
GAD fixate on them and cant get them out of their
mind. Generalized anxiety has been termed free-floating
because it can come and go at will, without apparent reason.
Physical symptoms of GAD include (but are not limited to)
bodily tenseness, lump in the throat, trouble falling asleep,
dry throat, and difficulty in concentrating. It is very
hard for the person with generalized anxiety to just be
still and relax.
is also possible that people with current generalized anxiety
symptoms have experienced panic attacks in the past, become
agoraphobic, and begin to exhibit symptoms typical of generalized
anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, without treatment, they
continue to remain restricted in their lives and fear or
dislike going too far away from home.
Social Anxiety Disorder/Social Phobia
anxiety disorder or social phobia is the constant fear of
being criticized or evaluated by other people. People with
social phobia are nervous, anxious, and afraid about many
social situations. Simply attending a business meeting or
going to a company party can be highly nerve-wracking and
intimidating. Although people with social anxiety want very
much to be social and fit in with everyone else, their anxiety
about not performing well in public is strong and tends
to cripple their best efforts. They freeze up when they
meet new people, especially those who are authority figures.
They are particularly afraid that other people will notice
that they are anxious -- and this fear permits the anxiety
to grow and turn into a vicious cycle. People with social
anxiety tend to avoid social situations as a result of the
painfulness involved. Most socially-anxious people can remember
being called "shy" as a child and can elicit experiences
from their past that correlate with the social anxiety they
now feel. Social anxiety tends to develop early and, without
adequate treatment, is a chronic, unremitting, torturous
condition. Today, however, the prognosis is good for overcoming
social anxiety disorder altogether.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
who has been through a traumatic life experience may suffer
future anxiety and panic over it. Severe wartime experiences,
for example, not only elicit anxiety and stress, they may
induce flashbacks and panic attacks. Other post-traumatic
conditions include rape or other sexual abuse, emotional
abuse, and living through negative natural events, such
as a devastating earthquake or hurricane.
Doctors seem not to really understand Anxiety?
you beat your head against the wall trying to get "professionals"
to understand your anxiety?
professionals do not have real training in anxiety. They
do not understand you, and they never will. Finally,
you know more about your pain and symptoms than
is a very serious problem. We have people come to see
us who have developed depression over their anxiety in
the past, under the care of 'professionals" who didn't
understand anxiety. In some cases, anxiety sufferers have
been prescribed medication that virtually "sent them
over the edge".
of this writing, a young man with an anxiety disorder sits
in a psychiatric ward back East because his "caregivers"
over a twenty-year period (a) provided him talk
therapy, (b) took him off an effective medication for anxiety,
and (c) placed him on a newer, untested "antidepressant"
that has a strong potential to cause very negative and powerful
side effects for anxiety people.
his symptoms worsened, he fell into a deep depression, began
scratching himself incessantly, developed horrible headaches,
became nauseous, and began talking about killing himself.
His "caregivers" response?: "The medication
must be working. Look at all the side effects!"
little over 50% of the people who came to clinic have had
horror stories of being put on antidepressants for anxiety
that caused all kinds of brutal and nasty effects. Several
had to be hospitalized because of an SSRI or an SSRI augmentation
with another "newer" antidepressant.
accurate information seems to exist on panic/agoraphobia
than for the other anxiety problems, but those of our people
with social anxiety and generalized anxiety
experience much more trouble in getting the appropriate
people to understand their particular anxiety problem and
how to treat it effectively.
all three anxiety problems, cognitive--behavioral therapy
has been shown to work best in helping overcome the anxiety
disorders. No other therapy comes close. Breathing exercises,
hypnosis, relaxing, imagery, and other more esoteric exercises
may be nice and fine.......but they do not overcome anxiety
problems by themselves. Don't settle for someone who is
going to teach you to "relax". This is not enough.
had in the past, anxiety people who are so down and out
that they can't hold down a regular job. The professional
is likely to misunderstand the diagnosis, and prescribe
something the drug companies are pushing, instead of
what we know from research and clinical practice works.
must check with your doctor/psychiatrist, however, concerning
complications and interaction effects of usefull drugs.
These medications are generally well tolerated and non-addictive
to those who have clinical anxiety disorders. None of our
people have ever become addicted to these medications.
can get cured, dont forget it.