Anxiety: A Three-Part Series
Part One: The Physiological Chain Reaction
Treating Anxiety in Therapy
Many people elect to treat their anxiety with anti-depressants and/or benzodiazepines such as Xanax when they are dealing with panic attacks. These can be very effective for many people. That said, we get an equal number of people who would prefer to treat their anxiety without medications or treat their anxiety with counseling in addition to medication. When treating anxiety in counseling there are two main ways to treat it therapeutically. There are reactive tools and proactive tools. Reactive tools are utilized when the anxiety flares up and is actively going on. The goal is to reduce the intensity of the anxiety and try to get it to dissipate. These are useful tools to have and can keep anxiety from escalating to the point of panic attacks for many people. As a precursor to discussing the reactive and proactive tools of anxiety, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the chain reaction that occurs with anxiety. In the next two articles, we will spend time talking about reactive tools that help mitigate anxiety and proactive tools, which are designed to keep anxiety from manifesting in the first place.
The Mechanics and Physiolo read more
Even during the best of times life is full of stressors and challenges. It is difficult dealing with the competing demands of work, finances, relationships, kids, parents, and trying to do a little something for yourself. Nearly 20% of American’s will be faced with a clinical depression or anxiety disorder at sometime in their lives. read more
Antidepressants have been around since the 1950’s and have a number of applications. Most people assume they are simply used for depression, but many people don’t realize how often they are used to treat anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and social anxiety. They have also been shown to have some success with issues like anorexia and trichotillomania, which is a hair pulling disorder. According to results from the National Center for Health Statistics 12% of the U.S. population used antidepressants in the past month. With the stigma surrounding mental health declining over the past 20 years, more people are seeking help for their issues and this has resulted in a 64% increase in people using antidepressants since 1999. Research says 20% of the population (1 in 5 people) will struggle with some kind of depression or anxiety at some time in their lives. For this reason, it is important to know how these medications work and how effective they are.
What are the different types of anti-depressants?
There are three different types of antidepressants, which all work differently. The Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s) are the oldest and first generation of antidepressants. These were commonly prescribed up through the 1980s. Although they help with depression and anxiety, the side effects are difficult for a lot of people to tolerate. The TCA’s of read more
There is no unified definition of a workaholic, but there is a profile and we will discuss some of the features and characteristics common to being a workaholic. Many of these types of people regularly find themselves working 50 or more hours a week and feel compelled to stay busy and productive. This pattern of being in the world is often passed down within in families. Some people become workaholics to cope with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. Excessive productivity or earnings are an attempt to compensate for not feeling good enough. Often there are perfectionistic standards and expectations that the person holds or grew up with.
Unfortunately for the person, being a workaholic is one “addiction” that our society reinforces and encourages. Employers benefit greatly and often others are encouraging and supportive of such effort so there is an inherent benefit to engaging in this type of behavior. The danger of this pattern is that there is a finite amount of time and energy to go around in any person’s life. When we become unbalanced but vesting too much time and energy into any area of our life, this inevitably means that other areas will suffer and be neglected. Often family and friends complain about not having enough time with the person. They may end up neglecting their physical hearead more
Most people are not sure if they have ever had a panic attack until they hear exactly what they are. Many people have experienced heightened levels of anxiety at various times in their life, but panic attacks bring it to the highest level and are very alarming. Panic attacks are typically triggered by intense worry or anxiety, but end up triggering a severe physical reaction. Most describe a feeling of losing control or wonder if they are having a heart attack.
Panic Attack Symptoms
Symptoms of a panic attack often feel like they hit suddenly, without warning, and seemingly out of nowhere. A panic attack may last for five minutes or as long as a half-hour, but become very intense within minutes. Symptoms can include racing heart, chest pains, sweats, shakes, chills, nausea, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, a sense of doom or dying, hot flashes, or headaches. Given the intensity of them, many people begin to develop a fear or anxiety about experiencing another one, which can create a snowball effect or even cause people to avoid going out for fear of having one in public situations.
Causes of Panic Attacks
Although there is no known cause for panic attacks, some research points to genetics, environmental stressors, the experienceread more
In practice, we are often asked by clients what is the best way to treat the issues they are dealing with? The short answer (of course) is that it depends. The recommendations that we provide to clients are based on professional training, clinical experience, and most importantly research findings. Let’s try to discuss some of the important variables that go into making what is a very personal decision.
Probably the most important factor to determining how to treat issues, is the issue itself. The diagnosis typically drives the treatment recommendation, however sometimes the severity (mild, moderate, severe) also changes the recommendation for medication, therapy, or both. Let’s talk about a few of the more common issues that people are often familiar with and often have a clearer recommendation. ADHD, once diagnosed after appropriate testing, is a condition that is often treated most effectively with medication. This is particularly true for moderate to severe forms. Some mild cases can be effectively treated with therapy or ADHD coaching that helps clients to implement certain tools and tricks to make their symptoms more manageable.
Medication is almost always recommended for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Most rread more
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that affects about 1% of the population worldwide. It is characterized by two key features: hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations can be of any type, but visual and auditory are the most common. Delusions are beliefs that are outside the scope of probable situations, such as believing the government is conspiring against you or that you are some famous person. Although there are treatments for schizophrenia, most people will have to cope with some symptoms throughout their lives. It affects men and women equally, onset is generally in late teens or early 20’s, but could occur as late as 30-45 years old.
Symptoms & Features
A thorough mental health diagnostic evaluation should be sought immediately if you suspect you are experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia. Early detection and treatment has been shown to improve outcomes. Symptoms include two or more of the following symptoms lasting more than a month: 1) delusions, 2) hallucinations, 3) disorganized speech, 4) grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, 5) negative symptoms such as flat affect, very little spread more