1. 7 Signs You Have an Anxiety Disorder

    January 6, 2014

    7 Signs You Have an Anxiety Disorder

    It’s pretty normal to get nervous on occasion, as anxiety certainly can come when you find yourself in a new situation or having to speak to a crowd.  For some individuals, though, anxiety can become a hindrance to everyday tasks and can take over their lives.

    Maybe you struggle with anxiety more often than an average person or the intensity seems to get a bit out of control at times.  How can you tell if your anxiety is normal or has crossed over into an anxiety disorder?  It’s not always easy to tell, but there are certain signs that will help you identify where you are on the scale of anxiety levels.

    If you happen to experience some of the following signs, you may want to contact a health professional (such as psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist) to discuss your anxiety and how you can manage what you are contending with.

    1. Irrational or extreme fears.  If you are extremely fearful of something or a situation, you may be dealing with irrational thoughts, which can lead to an anxiety disorder called a phobia.  If that phobia disrupts your life in ways that you are not satisfied with, it is time to face that phobia and work on overcoming that irrational fear.
    2. Extreme worry.  Excessive worry is a very common characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). If you are worrying about all sorts of things most days of the week and your life is suffering in one way or another, you may be suffering from such. It is normal to worry on occasion about something, but when the emotions get out of whack from excessive worry and it is affecting you and others negatively, it’s time to take an honest look at the cause and check into treatments.
    3. Excessive self-consciousness.  Sometimes everyone is self-conscious, but if your world starts revolving around anxiety at the thought of being in public, talking to anyone, or eating in front of people, you may have a social anxiety disorder.  Do you find yourself sweating profusely, getting a stomach ache, feeling nauseated, or stumbling all over your words while being around people?  Feeling that eyes are always on you and being super self-conscious makes for a stressful and fearful life, so if this sounds like you, you could have an anxiety disorder.
    4. Inability to sleep.  Many people have sleep problems, but if you are tossing and turning every night full of anxious thoughts and concerns racing through your mind, you may have an anxiety disorder.
    5. Digestive issues.  Anxiety certainly affects the physical body. In fact, many indigestion problems are directly linked to chronic anxiety and stress.  If you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, an ulcer, or other digestive issues, you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder.
    6. Feelings of panic.  Extreme feelings of panic and fear are termed panic attacks. If you find yourself suddenly gripped with paralyzing fear, a feeling of helplessness, intense emptiness feelings, racing heart, chest pain, and breathing problems, chances are you are suffering from a panic attack and require some help in order to manage such.
    7. Compulsiveness. One anxiety disorder that not many people are aware of in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  The anxious and compulsive thoughts that go along with this can make a person feel like he or she is going crazy. For example, if you have to have every item on your desk in a certain spot and get highly upset when someone moves something- to the point of yelling- you may have an issue with OCD.

    These signs are indicators that something is not quite on target with the way you process and manage stress and anxiety. Treatment for such includes a combination psychotherapy (e.g. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or CBT), changes in lifestyle (i.e. exercise, yoga, meditation), and healthy diet. Anti-anxiety medications may also be needed to manage severe cases of anxiety. Many people who struggle with anxiety disorders lead happy, healthy, and relaxed lives due to a variety of treatment options.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceodissey/2580085025/


  2. Positive Thinking – Stopping Anxious Thoughts

    December 4, 2013

    Positive Thinking – Stopping Anxious Thoughts

    Positive thinking is a great way to combat anxiety and the anxious thoughts that go along with it. Although positive thinking may be hard for several people with anxiety, but it will help to take your mind off of the situation that causes you to be anxious, which will obviously reduce your anxiety.

    Reassurance To Your Body

    One of the biggest ways that positive thinking helps  is by providing reassurance to your body. This works by telling your body that everything will be okay. Knowing that everything will be okay causes anxiety being lifted from the body. This helps your body build confidence in yourself, which will help you in your current situation as well as future situations.


    Providing your body with reassurance to lift anxiety by positive thinking is extremely hard, especially in cases of severe anxiety. Positive thinking is always a hard thing to do. It gets even harder if you don’t have confidence in yourself or you feel like there is no way you will make it through. It may also be hard if you feel like something could go wrong that will mess everything up. However, you must try your hardest to look at the positives in any situation.


    A Wish Has The Possibility of Coming True

    “Wishful thinking” is usually a term used to define a wish that will never come true. However, this is usually not the case when it comes to positive thinking to help anxiety. Positive thinking to help anxiety is usually reassuring your body that things will not go wrong (as stated above). Positive thinking may often be put of as “wishful thinking” to those who struggle with anxiety. Many people that try to reassure themselves that everything will turn out okay begin to think that things will not be okay, and that it is only a wish that things will be okay. However, you should combat this feeling and remember that your mind is tricking you into worrying. You should try your hardest to convince your brain that everything will turn out okay.


    Studies have shown that those people who think positively tend to go through life in a happier mood. People tend to be happier if they think positively. This simply means that if you think positively about situations, you will be happier in life as well as combat your anxiety. Thinking positively will help you be a better person in life altogether. It will help you go through life in a happier mood, and you may feel like walking around and smiling at people as you’re walking through the grocery store. This is simply because it is a great feeling to be happy, and when you’re happy and care-free, you want to spread the happiness to all of the other people in your life – whether you know them or not.


    In conclusion, it is a great idea to think positively. Not only will it help you combat your anxiety and provide reassurance to yourself, but it will also help you be happier in life. If you are happy, you probably will want to spread the love with everybody else. The world will be a happier place if people would think positively more often. Not only does positive thinking help to improve your anxiety, but it also helps to improve your mood. It will make you a happier person and allow you to control your anxiety at the same time. It is a great idea to try your hardest to think positively, as it will improve yourself as a person, and it may even have an effect on others around you.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindseykone/5362917664

  3. What Does Social Anxiety Feel Like?

    December 2, 2013

    What Does Social Anxiety Feel Like?

    Social anxiety is a growing problem in the United States. More and more people are becoming diagnosed with this disorder. It is definitely not a made-up disorder. Many people may think it’s “no big deal,” but it is a huge deal to those that are diagnosed with it. It is no mild feeling of uncomfort like many people think of it as. It is extremely stressful to the person that is diagnosed with it, and it can have a huge impact on their daily lives. Social anxiety is something that needs to be addressed and taken seriously.


    Variable Between People

    First of all, social anxiety is extremely variable between people. For some people, social anxiety could only occur when there is a large group of people (50+ people). Others may notice panic attacks when going to the grocery store to pick up groceries. For others, it could be when having a conversation with a couple people. Others could even have anxious or nervous thoughts about picking up the telephone and calling the mechanics shop to see if their car is fixed. Social anxiety varies in types and severities from person to person, but it provides a great amount of stress to all of the people that have it.


    Daily Struggle

    People with social anxiety struggle with their feelings every day. These feelings can take control over their lives. They can seemingly smother their lives by affecting their feelings every single day. People with social anxiety have super strong feelings that can hurt their ability to contact with people.


    Social anxiety can affect a person’s ability to connect with people. People who can’t connect with others on a social level can’t make friends themselves. Thus, people with social anxiety are usually the quiet people that don’t have much to say. They also have a tendency to be a “loner.”


    People with social anxiety always struggle with worry. They worry about being in social situations. They fret over the least things. If they say or do something wrong, they think that the people around them will hold the thought in their head for a long time. Many think that others will never forget their embarrassing words or actions. In reality, others actually let things go pretty easily, but people with social anxiety have trouble grasping that idea. People who struggle with social anxiety have trouble being in social situations, and they always worry about what others will think of them. It is thought that their worry about what others think about them is the cause for their worry of being in social situations.


    Children and teens with social anxiety tend to be the quiet people in school. They have a tendency to be the people who sit in the back of the classroom and don’t say much. They obviously struggle with oral reports. Many even have trouble raising their hand to answer a question. This can occur even if they know the answer. They usually get embarrassed easily.


    Adults with social anxiety struggle with being in social situations also. They usually have anxious thoughts about going to work, and they almost always worry about their boss will think of them. They feel like they’re going to mess up somehow. They also have anxious thoughts about their co-workers and other equivalent employees. Many have anxious thoughts about eating in a restaurant. They usually feel like they are going to drop their plate and get embarrassed. They may even struggle with getting their plate filled. They can feel like they will spill food when filling their plate and everybody will look at them with disgust.


    In conclusion, the people who have social anxiety struggle with their anxiety every single day. They have trouble communicating efficiently and struggle with making friends. They live their lives with constant worry and fear of embarrassment. The above situations are just a few of the many struggles that people with social anxiety deal with on a daily basis. Social anxiety affects a surprising number of people. These people become overwhelmed by daily life, but they somehow deal with it. Often, people hide their anxiety. Many people never even get diagnosed with their anxiety. Cognitive behavior therapy and sometimes even anti-anxiety medications are used to treat the people who struggle with social anxiety. This type of treatment can be of great help to people who struggle with social anxiety.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/micahrr/5357518701/

  4. Using EMDR to Treat Anxiety

    November 30, 2013

    Using EMDR to Treat Anxiety

    by Dr. Wilfried Busse, PhD

    Your pulse is racing and your palms are sweaty. You are having trouble keeping your breathing steady. Your brain is misfiring, making you think that you may be having a heart attack. The chances are, if you have not experienced this for yourself, someone close to you has. Did you know that there are an alarming number of people who reach out to emergency officials for what is commonly known as an anxiety, not a heart, attack?

    Anxiety is a culmination of emotions usually associated with worry, fear and/or feeling severely uncomfortable in certain situations. Some people freeze, while others panic. However, only a select few experience an entire breakdown that requires medication to ease their nerves. Anxiety is now a major epidemic in today’s society. It makes one question what kinds of triggers set off an anxiety attack, and what kinds of methods of relief outside of medication?

    Take some time to reflect on your life where your body reacted with any of the above symptoms. Perhaps it was when you had to give an oral presentation at school or work. How many of us have experienced test anxiety where our minds went blank or were preoccupied with fear with worry? Other anxiety triggers involve social settings or feeling overwhelmed with financial hardship or medical processes.

    Anxiety can be crippling for many people. Those with academic or work-related anxiety frequently find themselves suffering from failing grades or a decreased work performance, even though they are good students or valuable employees. Some people with severe anxiety cannot hold down a job or successfully complete school. Anxiety has the potential to destroy lives, rendering them unable to function in everyday life activities. Simply put, anxiety is a form of trauma.

    Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers is a book that came out a few years ago.  The main plot explored how zebras have finely tuned brains that allow them to sniff out danger in the wild and to get a jump start on evading a predator.  Their brains, however, are not complex enough to “remember” the event and “interpret” its “meaning.”  Therefore, they do not worry about it once the danger is past.  What we can take away from this is since they do not worry, they do not get ulcers.

    With many of us, it is different.  We remember a dangerous or traumatic event and may develop anticipatory anxiety about it happening again.  Our nervous systems become overly sensitized to “expecting the worst,” and we may “see” the worst when there is no real threat.  Our brains become like an overly sensitive motion detector installed over the front entrance to our house. Just like how a light breeze or the motion of a fine rain drizzle can set off the motion detector, our bodies may react in similar ways even when in both scenarios, there is not a real intruder. When expecting and worrying about the “worst happening,” our brains go into a state of “fight or flight.”  In this state, a cascade of physiological responses is set off to protect us from danger.  Blood flow goes directly to the muscles to prepare an individual for “fight or flight” and away from the front part of their brain, which allow them to make a more calm and objective assessment of the perceived threat.  When fight or flight is set off prematurely, the body may feel like it is spinning out of control. It may feel like a panic or anxiety attack.

    Psychiatrists and trauma therapists have been trying to find the most effective treatments for anxiety.  One of the types of therapy becoming more common with anxiety treatment is known as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).  A body of research continues to confirm its effectiveness.  EMDR is typically used with patients who suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) as well as other types of trauma. It has also been found to be effective in addressing anxiety or panic episodes, especially those that were precipitated by a traumatic event.

    How does EMDR work to address the debilitating effects of panic or anxiety?  At the risk of oversimplifying, EMDR calms the nervous system by desensitizing the fight or flight response.  In fight or flight, the front part of the brain is “hijacked.”  Remember that the front part of the brain allows us to analyze a situation objectively and realistically and to take appropriate action.  When “hijacked” by the fear center of our brains (fight or flight), the frontal lobes tend to be biased by distorted perceptions by sensing danger when none is present.  EMDR calms the fear center and allows more realistic perceptions to take hold and allows more access to positive memories of how we acted in past stressful situations without going into a panic state.

    Therapists using EMDR may solely use this technique or combine it with other forms of therapy to help people, at the very least, cope with anxiety. Any tools that anxiety-sufferers utilize will help them regain control over their lives because the concept of control is highly important to them. If you are ready to stop the health-limiting effects of anxiety, you can regain control of your life by seeking assistance from a licensed psychiatrist or trauma-specialized therapist.

    Author Bio: Psychologist Dr. Wilfried Busse is driven by evidence-based therapy methods and integrates these methods into his practice for new or current patients dealing with trauma, PTSD, depression, grief and ADHD.

    Image Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/thelotuscarroll/6847105674

  5. Understanding Causes of Anxiety In Children

    November 28, 2013

    Anxiety In Children

    Anxiety affects all different types of people in the world – different sexes, races, and, of course, ages. This means that adults aren’t the only ones that are affected by anxiety. Although they may feel anxiety in different ways, children are affected just as often and as severe as adults. However, anxiety in children is often downplayed and not taken seriously. Many adults think that children simply don’t worry, or that a child’s problems aren’t anywhere near adults’ problems. This, however, is very untrue. Although us adults may have big problems in our lives, children also have worries, and their worries can be very severe.


    Examples Of A Child’s Worries

    Children often have worries that seem very realistic to them. Most of their worries include situations that could cause embarrassment to a high degree. Others worry about what other people may think about them. A few even worry about causing trouble to adults. Below are a few examples of worries that children might have if they suffer from anxiety.


    Jenny and the School Play

    A nine-year-old girl named Jenny has been awarded a part in a school play. The play may not be too big or overly crowded – just the parents of some of the children performing – but Jenny is extremely nervous about it. Jenny feels like she will mess up in the play. She feels that if she makes one wrong move, the whole audience will see it and look at her. She feels like if that happened, all of the children will be angry with her for messing up, and the parents of the children will remember her as “the child that messed up during the school play.” She is extremely nervous about making one wrong action, and she is trying to talk her mother out of making her go.


    The above situation may seem silly to an adult, but the feelings are all too real for Jenny, who suffers from anxiety and is a constant worrier. She always feels like she will mess up in some way, or that other people will remember her for one of her mistakes. She is very nervous about the school play, and it is eating her up inside. She gets butterflies whenever someone mentions the play, and she has spent many sleepless nights worrying about messing up during the play. Her worries may seem mediocre to the average adult, but to Jenny, the situation is extremely nerve-racking. This would be in comparison to an adult that is nervous about making a public speech to represent his business or some sort. Although some adults could do this with no struggle or worry at all, other adults may struggle and worry about this quite a bit. This goes for children too: some may worry about it, while others will do fine with it. The ones who worry about the play are usually the people who suffer with anxiety, specifically social anxiety.


    Billy Not Having a Ride

    Billy, a ten-year-old boy that just got dropped off at his soccer practice, has begun to think that his mother will be late coming to pick him back up. His coach always stays at the game until all of the players have been picked up from the practice. He always worries about him being the last person being picked up from practice. He always feels like he will be of trouble to the coach because of him being picked up last, thus making the coach irritated with him because of him being picked up late. This worry sticks with Billy throughout his whole practice. It even affects his ability to play soccer well. He begins to make mistakes in his soccer workouts, which makes him feel even worse.


    The situation about Billy seems quite rare, but this is mostly because children tend to hold their worries in for a long time. Their worries often go unrecognized for an extended period of time. This is simply because many children think that their feelings of worry is of common occurrence among all children. They don’t understand that their thoughts of worry differ from any other child. Children tend to think that it is normal to worry about simply things, and they don’t realize that their thoughts of worry are actually a disorder known as anxiety. Usually, the thoughts of worry in a child tends to go unnoticed unless the child, for some reason, begins seeing a psychologist. Fortunately, many children do go see a psychologist sometime within their childhood years. This is when the psychologist begins to see that they have anxiety. In Billy’s situation, he seems to undergo generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), along with a possibility to have social anxiety.


    Anxiety In Children Is All Too Real

    Adults tend to think that a child’s worries are pointless. They may also think that their worries are silly, and they may also think that the period of childhood is a lot easier and “carefree” compared to that of adulthood. However, this is not the case. Children do go through hard times, with or without anxiety. However, those children that have anxiety tend to have a harder life, as the constant stress and worry associated with everyday life begins to take a toll on their body. This is very unfortunate, but luckily, most cases of anxiety in children can be controlled with cognitive behavior therapy. In other words, a psychologist will often be able to give children techniques to handle their anxiety. In the most extreme cases of anxiety (when a child’s anxiety is preventing him/her from completing their daily routine, or their anxiety is putting an extreme strain on their everyday life), medication may be prescribed to control their anxiety. However, most psychologists try to help the child handle their anxiety by simply by allowing the child to talk out their feelings and giving them strategies to help them in stressful situations. In short, adults need to realize that children have a hard life, and they need to help their child if they have some form of anxiety. They can’t simply push off their child’s feelings as “pointless,” or tell them how much harder adulthood is than childhood. Adults should understand that children with anxiety suffer greatly from their disorder, and they should always be there to help the child in any and all ways possible – even if that means getting them to a psychologist.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nwardez/3980217199


  6. How to Manage Anxiety Sweats

    November 27, 2013

    How to Manage Anxiety Sweats
    The big moment has arrived, you’re having an interview with your dream job. You’ve been preparing your entire working career for this one opportunity and you’ve planned everything you need down to a tee.  A copy of your resume rests flat in your laptop bag, your shirt has been pressed and dry-cleaned and you got a good night’s sleep. It seems that nothing can go wrong. You jump in your car and pull out the driveway, the air con is blasting – you don’t want to get overheated and start sweating right? Only problem is, you are sweating. Despite an 18 degree temperature, two wet circles are starting to form under your arms and they’re spreading quickly – the enemy has won again! By the time you get to your interview, you’re anxiety levels are at an all-time high, and you’re struggling to get it under control. A million thoughts run through your head like, why couldn’t they be one of those new age businesses and conduct a Skype chat interview? Or would it be bad if I cancelled now? Or maybe if I wear my backpack the entire time they won’t notice. People who suffer from anxiety sweats (myself included) know this feeling all too well. You don’t need to be embarrassed, sweating due to anxiety is a common condition that affects more people that you think. Apparently, sweating is a natural response of our sweat glands when we are anxious. For some, the sweating doesn’t begin until you’re standing in a crowded room, others just need to think about interacting with people and they start perspiring. So how do you manage this condition? Here is a few ways to help you overcome anxiety sweats.

    Wear clothes that allow you to breathe


    Much like the aforementioned scenario, if you know you are going to be in a stressful situation that may lead to sweating, try to reduce your external body temperature by wearing non synthetic clothing that is light and breathable. Wearing synthetic materials will only increase your body’s need to sweat, making it seem more excessive. Partner this with a strong antiperspirant (I use Rexona Clinical) to prevent any further sweats.

    Recognise your triggers and focus on something less anxiety provoking


    Feeling of anxiety can be incredibly overwhelming, besides sweating you may also be feeling waves of tightening in the chest, a racing heart, snowballing worries and obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour. These reactions are provoked by situations that make you uneasy or nervous. I’m not saying it’s easy to recognise all your triggers, but if you can identify a few and find ways to redirect your focus onto something other than your anxiety, you retain a sense of control. You can reach out to others, do work around the house, exercise, listen to music, watch a movie or engage in a creative activity such as drawing, painting or writing.



    Here’s yet another good reason to get involved in some extracurricular activities. Physicians have long recommended exercise as a means of relieving anxiety by helping your body to practice responding to stress. That way, when the real McCoy happens, you are much better prepared to handle an anxiety provoking situation. Exercising prior to anticipated anxiety provoking situation is also a good idea (such as job interview), because the exercise will cause inflow of endorphins into your brain and it will function better. Yet, you should finish the exercise at least two hours prior to the interview.


    This is by no means an exhaustive list of the things you can do to curb anxiety sweats. However, if you do experience anxiety on a regular basis, remember these tips and don’t be afraid to see the psychologist or psychotherapist to deal with root cause of your problems.


    Image Credit: Ryan Hyde @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/breatheindigital/4668093768



  7. Anxiety Disorders in Women

    November 19, 2013

    Anxiety Disorders in Women


    “Women have higher overall prevalence rates for anxiety disorders than men. Women are also much more likely than men to meet lifetime criteria for each of the specific anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), simple phobia, panic disorder, and agoraphobia” (Pigott TA, 2003).

    Anxiety disorders are widespread psychological problems.  Anxiety is normal and helpful to us if the intensity is not severe. But, when it lingers for days after the anxiety-triggering event, it turns into a troubling disorder. Women are diagnosed with anxiety disorders at twice the rate of men, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Is there a biological reason behind women’s tendency to be victimized by anxiety more often than men? Are we raising our girls in a way that makes them more anxious? Some people rationalize the disparity by claiming that men are simply less likely to admit to suffering from any psychological problem, but the fact is, no one knows, and all of these questions need to be answered.

    Anxiety disorders in women can negatively affect their social life, work and relationships. It reduces their feeling of self-worth. Many factors can cause anxiety in women, including biological, psychological, and social factors. For example, women have to deal with the considerable biological issues related to pregnancy and childbirth. Young girls can get anxious at the start of menstrual cycles. There is also the immense responsibility of being both a wife and a mother, which can sometimes trigger negative thoughts and fears. In addition, the different ways which parents raise their children and discriminate between genders has an impact on our personalities. Young girls are expected to be polite, sensitive and nice. Boys are taught not to cry because it’s not a “manly” thing to do. These parental approaches are universal and could very well be a factor behind women’s high rate in anxiety.

    The most common anxiety disorder faced by women is social phobia, which is an extreme fear of being embarrassed or judged by others. Women are more concerned and care more about their public image and appearance than men. Living in a patriarchal world, where men have greater authority in most of the institutions of society, the anxiety faced by women struggling to make their way is realistic.  It is normal to be nervous while giving a presentation to a meeting room full of male colleagues but sweating, freezing or shaking in front of them as you give your presentation is not normal, and is a sign of a social phobia.
    Generalized anxiety disorder is unreasonable excessive worry about past, present or future events. Triggers can include relationship problems, a recent divorce, the loss of a loved one or just about any traumatic event or natural disaster. Women are considered to be more sensitive by society, which means they are more likely to allow themselves to worry. Research from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia concluded that the female brain may be less able to adjust to high levels of stress hormones and is also more sensitive to them. Specific phobias include irrational fears about a particular thing or event. Women are mostly afraid of animals, insects and darkness. When a woman is stricken by an obsessive compulsive disorder, she is anxious and remains anxious unless she acts on a compulsion to lessen her obsessions. Women tend to be more obsessed about locking doors, washing their hands because of a fear of germs, putting things in what they feel is the proper order, nail biting or hair pulling. When having an anxiety attack; women feel more fearful than simply feeling sad or worried, as in depression. Anxiety disorders pose a threat to a woman’s health, because it can lead to symptoms such as insomnia, dizziness or headaches, among other things.

    Experts have developed some strategies to overcome panic and fear in women and everyone else. Exercise and yoga have a strong connection to improved mental health, and a psychotherapist can show relaxation exercises that can help relieve you. Eating healthy food and avoiding junk and over-processed food can also help, as can discussing your feelings with a friend or family member. The relief we get after sharing our problems with someone is irrefutable, so go ahead and do so. Participate in social activities. Sleep well.  Some women believe that being a wife and mother requires giving it their all, but, being a human, you have the right to receive some, too. Give some of your time to yourself, too. You deserve to live a life without fear and worry.

    1.      Pigott TA. Anxiety disorders in women. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2003 Sep; 26 (3):621-72, vi-vii.


    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/helga/3621933626/


  8. Anti Anxiety Medication List – Benefits, Disadvantages, Side Effects

    November 15, 2013

    Anti Anxiety Medications

    Almost everyone suffers from anxiety at some point in their lives. Yet, if you are among 3.1% of Americans who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, medications could be a necessary component of your multimodal treatment. Anti anxiety medications should never be considered a permanent solution, regardless of what your doctor tells you. These could be used to control your condition, while you are working with a therapist and learn to manage your repetitive, negative, and often irrational thoughts. Psychotherapy is the only  permanent solution for anxiety, and it works best when combined with meditation, yoga, and regular physical exercise.

    Once you have been diagnosed with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder and it has been decided (by your physician or psychiatrist) that you need to take anti anxiety medication for  your treatment, it is important to know and understand all of the options available. The following is an anti anxiety medication list containing information about medications commonly used to treat anxiety. We describe here specifics of each medication, their benefits, disadvantages and possible side effects.




    *Xanax – panic, generalized anxiety, phobias, social anxiety and OCD

    *Klonopin – panic, generalized anxiety, phobias and social anxiety

    *Valium – panic, generalized anxiety and phobias

    *Ativan – panic, generalized anxiety and phobias

    *Serax – generalized anxiety and phobias

    *Librium – generalized anxiety and phobias


    Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs whose use results in sedative, hypnotic, and muscle relaxant properties. In general, these types of drugs are safe and effective for the short term. You can take benzodiazepines as a single dose therapy or several times a day for months at a time. Studies suggest that they are effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in about 70% of patients. They are very quick acting, tolerance does not develop, and overdose is not dangerous. Generic alternatives are available which can greatly reduce cost.


    Sometimes patients experience side effects such as drowsiness, lethargy, difficulty with speech, a decrease in coordination, unsteady gait, and headache. These types of side effects tend to be present the first few weeks of treatment, but usually clear up. Some patients experience irritability and agitation. Taking benzodiazepines can increase the effects of alcohol. Long-term use is still controversial due to possible psychological and physical effects. It can cause tolerance in some people as well as dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines are also controversial for use in pregnant women.




    *Inderal – social anxiety

    *Tenormin – social anxiety


    Beta blockers help to treat the physical effects of anxiety such as trembling, shaking, uncontrolled blushing and controlling rapid heart beat in anxious social situations for several hours. They are safe for most people with few side effects. Beta blockers are also non-habit forming.


    Sometimes the social anxiety symptoms present are so strong that beta blockers cannot provide sufficient relief. They also tend to lower blood pressure so those with a heart condition or low blood pressure may not use them. Beta blockers are not recommended for anyone with diabetes or with respiratory issues such as asthma.




    *Tofranil – panic, generalized anxiety, PTSD and depression

    *Norpramin or Pertofrane – panic, generalized anxiety, PTSD and depression

    *Aventyl or Pamelor – panic, generalized anxiety, PTSD and depression

    *Elavil – panic, generalized anxiety, PTSD and depression

    *Sinequan or Adapin – panic and depression

    *Anafranil – panic, depression and OCD


    Tricyclic antidepressants are among the earliest antidepressants developed. They are effective, but have been generally replaced with other types of antidepressants that cause fewer side effects. They are effective in reducing panic attacks and in elevating depressed moods. They are usually given in single daily doses with no tolerance development or withdrawal symptoms.


    Taking tricyclic antidepressants have a delayed onset of 4-12 weeks. Possible side effects include insomnia, tremors or both and both can last up to three weeks. Overdose is a dangerous issue with thee medications and the side effects are considered to be significant.




    *Lardil – panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression and OCD

    *Parnate – panic, generalized anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD


    MAOIs reduce panic attack, elevate depressed moods and increases confidence. These medications are well researched, cause no tolerance development and are non-habit forming.


    There are some dietary and medicinal restrictions that must be adhered to when taking MAOIs. Thee can be inconvenient for many patients. Aged cheeses and meat as well as certain medications need to be avoided when taking this medication. There can be significant agitation during the first days of treatment. There can also be a delayed onset of weeks to months and they are very dangerous in overdose. Patients that take MAOIs need to be extremely responsible.




    *Prozac – panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD

    *Luvox – panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD

    *Zoloft – panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD

    *Paxil – panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD

    *Lexapro – panic, generalized anxiety and OCD

    *Celexa – panic, generalized anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD


    SSRIs are a newer type of medication introduced in the 1980’s. They assist the brain in maintaining enough supply of serotonin in the brain. A deficiency of serotonin is associated with many anxiety disorders.  They are a well-tolerated medication that is safe for medically ill or frail patients. They are safe in overdose with no withdrawal symptoms unless abruptly stopped. No dependency develops and they do not promote weight gain.


    There is a delayed onset of 4-6 weeks  and full range effect can take up to 12 weeks. A worsening of anxiety symptoms can happen during the first two weeks of treatment.




    *Effexor or Effexor XR – panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression and OCD

    *Cymbalta – panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety and OCD


    With Cymbalta, therapeutic response can take up to 4-6 weeks and alcohol must be avoided. Nausea and dizziness are common side effects. SNRIs are more expensive than most anxiety medications.


    Image Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/54111420@N00/2763358057/


  9. How To Get Over Anxiety and Get My Life Back?

    November 13, 2013

    How To Get Over Anxiety and Get My Life Back?

    Once you discover that you suffer from anxiety, it is imperative to figure out what the best course of treatment will be. It can be difficult to discern whether your anxiety is something that can be overcome on your own or whether you need to seek professional help. When you ask “How to get over anxiety?” question, here are a few basic steps that you can take that can assist in determining the level of severity of anxiety you may suffer from.


    Clearly Identify the Source of Anxiety

    Anxiety is detrimental for your health and it crushes your potential. It is important to identify where the source of your anxiety is coming from. The source could be from something in your environment, from a specific incident or because of an impending event, meeting or activity. It is much easier to face fear and anxiety if you are clear about what it is. Often times, not knowing exactly what is causing your anxiety can add to the anxiety that you already feel. As difficult as it may seem to learn what is causing your worry, the fear of the unknown can be detrimental on its own.


    Determine If Your Anxiety Can Be Solved On Your Own

                Once you know what is causing your anxiety, you can start to determine whether it is something that can be dealt with. Ask yourself these questions: What can I do to lessen my anxiety? Is it a long-term or short-term fix? What steps can I take to prevent the anxiety from happening again?


    Consider Worse Case Scenario

                If you feel as if your anxiety is consuming your every thought, take some time to really think about the honest and absolute worst thing that could happen as a result of your anxiety. If you can manage to think critically about your situation, you may come to realize that there are very few situations that cannot be handled in a reasonable manner.


    Accept Uncertainty

    At this point, it is best to simply accept the uncertainty. Worrying about the unknown is counterproductive and an unnecessary source of fear that we sometimes fall victim to. If you can learn to accept the concept of chance, many aspects of your anxiety can become less prominent. This is probably the most difficult step for anyone.


    If working through these steps is impossible or seemingly unhelpful to you, then you should seek help from a professional. Some people are not able to answer the question “How do I get over anxiety?” on their own. Some anxiety is a normal part of everyday life. If, however, your anxiety has become a debilitating and disruptive condition in your life, affecting relationships, work, school and/or sleep, it is recommended that you seek help. You should consult your doctor if you find that your anxiety overwhelms you to the point of not being able to think straight or rationalize normally. Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling and what your symptoms are. It is imperative to seek help immediately for anxiety disorders because, if left untreated, they can lead to very serious medical issues.



    Other Practical Recommendations


    *Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to treat certain dysfunctional emotions and cognitive processes using goal-oriented and organized procedures. It is considered to be successful in treating a variety of condition including anxiety. CBT was created by integrating a combination of behavioral therapy and cognitive psychology.


    *Moodkit is a mood improvement tool for mobile devices that can help to give you the guidance and wisdom to become your own expert on your moods.


    *Stress is often a big factor with anxiety issues. Taking steps to alleviate your everyday stress can help to improve your overall mood and ability to handle potentially anxiety-ridden situations. Mindful meditation has been shown in recent studies to help reduce anxiety. This form of meditation focuses on breath and body sensations as well as objectively evaluating your anxious thoughts and emotions. There has been significant research to suggest that surrounding yourself with nature can be a powerful stress reliever. Outdoor exercise can be more anxiety and stress reducing than exercising inside of a gym.


    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beccaplusmolly/2925613547


  10. Understanding Personality Disorders

    October 3, 2013

    by Jessica Galbraith

    Personality disorders are widely misunderstood by the general public. Although an estimated 10% of people have some type of personality disorder (Mental Health Foundation), the negative stigma that is attached to them makes diagnosing and follow-up treatment difficult. There are ten major types of personality disorders, which cover a wide range of personality spectrum.

    Getting diagnosed can be a challenge in itself, and usually includes psychological testing by a registered psychologist or psychiatrist, extensive interviews, and meeting strict criteria specified by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. Let us explore what exactly constitutes a personality disorder, the diagnostic process, and the treatment options available to those who have been diagnosed.

    Getting diagnosed with a personality disorder can be scary, but also brings relief.

    What is a personality disorder?

    Each of us has our own unique personality which determines how we behave, process, and feel. We each react to situations differently, from social engagements to trauma. As we go through life, we learn to cope with these experiences. For someone with a personality disorder, this becomes much more difficult. They may feel isolated, misunderstood, and have a generally hard time in every aspect of life. The illness affects their relationships and how they process their feelings.

    What types of personality disorders are there?

    There are ten officially recognized personality disorders, which are categorized into three groups.

    •  Suspicious Disorders: paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
    •  Emotional and Impulsive Disorders: anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder
    •  Anxious Disorders: avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder

    Depression and anxiety are often present with a personality disorder, however the severity can range from mild to unmanageable. In addition, many sufferers deal with issues such as self-harm, eating disorders, panic attacks, and substance abuse.

     on the edge of suicide

    90% of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable personality disorder.

    Diagnosing and Treatment

    Getting diagnosed is often the biggest issue in mental health. Most people don’t seek help until they are forced to by family or friends, or until their illness escalates into a serious situation. Once a healthcare professional is able to assess what the person is dealing with, they will check if they meet enough criteria to be officially diagnosed with a disorder. A large majority of people who suffer from a mental health disorder, meet the criteria for two or even three others. There is usually multiple interviews to determine if the issues are constant or only related to a recent life changing event such as a divorce or loss. Once it has been established that they are dealing with a personality disorder, a treatment plan is devised. For many years, the general consensus was that there was no cure for mental illness. This is changing rapidly however, as research and mental illness education is becoming more accepted and prevalent. Those who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder, more often than not, face a lifetime struggle trying to find a balance through medication and therapy. The goal is usually to manage the disorder as much as possible rather than fix it. Medication can help side issues such as anxiety and depression, and psychotherapy is effective in addressing feelings and concerns as they arise.

    Common Misconceptions

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths out there on mental illness. One of the most common is that personality disorders are not treatable. While treatment is never expected to ‘fix’ the person, it does make life manageable; many people live normal lives with families, jobs, and a functional day-to-day. Another common myth is that mental illness isn’t a real condition. This of course, just isn’t the case. Mental illness is as real as any physical illness and has been linked to genetics and other neurological factors. Mental illness is also commonly believed to be a weakness in a person, and that it is something they should be able to snap out of. These types of misconceptions do tremendous harm to those who suffer with personality disorders. It can deter them in seeking help and creates feelings of shame.

    The misconceptions about mental illness are immense, but education initiatives are slowly making their mark.  As the general public becomes more informed, hopefully the myths and stigmas attached to mental illness will fade. There is still very limited research on the long-term benefits of various treatment options, but more and more research is being done. The future for those who suffer with mental illness has never looked better; but there is still a long way to go.

    Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytudut/5180391961 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3685379062/