Sunday, 29 April 2012

Anxiety attack vs panic attack! Is there a difference?

Anxiety attack and panic attack sometimes are used to mean the same thing. But there is a distinction between the two conditions. The most obvious difference between anxiety and panic would be the level of nervousness that is experienced in each but there are also other differences.
On the other side, similarities are also found between them. Here the difference between panic and anxiety will be discussed.
The term anxiety attack is used to refer to an individual who has reached a level where there their nerves have been impaired; and affects their performance and thinking.

Persons, who normally work a 9-5 job, might have experienced this kind of attack. In 21st century living an anxiety is normal. Individuals who has never experienced being anxious might have another type of disorder. But, there are those persons who don’t become really nervous very often; however, this number of persons is small.
Anxiety Attacks Are Insignificant on Many Occasions
If you are in a situation where you want to get out immediately and decided to just leave and probably come back later, you’ve experienced an anxiety attack. Or maybe, you have found yourself so nervous while doing something you’ve vowed not to do it again, this too is an anxiety attack.
However, having a panic attach is being in a situation where the flow of adrenaline throughout the body is so intense you become extremely scared and physical sensations have become disturbing. This is one panic attach symptom. In summary, the physical sensation you have experienced is the difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack.
Physical Sensations a Panic Attack Symptom
Panic attacks are described by those who have them as a feeling of a stroke or having a heart attack, or may even feel dizzy. The sufferer experiences a terrible cycle because these feeling make them become even more nervous, this heightened nervousness cause adrenaline to flow more throughout the bloodstream, triggering more panic and in turn disturbing physical sensations become more.
Persons having an anxiety attach who decides to leave the event or situations that makes them nervous often times the anxiety will leave. But a panic attack is so intense if the individual don’t leave the situation immediately; they become so overwhelmed that another panic attack will strike.
An anxiety attack is not a disorder or syndrome; it’s a disorder when it causes the individual to change their lifestyle to a substantial degree. So a panic attack is a disorder. Panic attack treatments need to be administered properly or else the condition may worsen.
There are many panic attack treatments out there but not all of them seem to provide the best remedy for all. Each individual’s attack levels differ and therefore it is best to consult a physician or doctor before taking any medication or treatments to curb your panic attacks.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Overcoming Anxiety and Panic – What Works

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 40 million American adults are affected by anxiety disorders. That is 40 million Americans who are full of fearfulness and uncertainty.
Gayla Miller, Hopkins County, KY author, suffered with anxiety for 18 years, from age 15 into her early 30s. Gayla told SurfKY News that early on, worrying became a regular habit.
“Worrying was my normal,” said Gayla, “I would worry about something all the time. If there wasn’t anything to worry about, I would make something up.”
Gayla’s worries started morphing into panic attacks. Panic attacks can be characterized by sudden waves of pure terror, a pounding heart, feeling sweaty, weak, faint and dizzy. A person may become suddenly nauseous, feel actual pain in their chest or feel as if they are in a dream-like state. A panic attack creates a feeling of impending doom and a fear of losing control.
Usually, people suffering from anxiety and panic attacks will believe they are having heart attacks or losing their minds. It is a scary and confusing reality for millions of Americans.
“One little thing would go wrong, and I would feel my heart sink to my stomach and my legs go warm and weak. I would literally be in a state of bewilderment,” explained Gayla. “I was a big catastrophizer. Everything was a catastrophe. If things came easy I felt like there was something wrong. If it wasn’t hard, I’d try to make it hard. I was working against myself every day.”
People in this position usually start displaying “safety behaviors”. Safety behaviors are actions that a person will engage in to help him or her feel protected in the event that a panic attack occurs. This includes carrying safe items, limiting travel by sticking to safe places and even latching onto safe people. A “safe person” is usually a significant other that knows about the panic attacks and knows how to assist the person when an attack takes place.
“I got to the point where I had a safe place and a safe person,” admitted Gayla. “My safe person was my husband and my safe place was my home. My world just kept getting smaller and smaller.”
In Gayla’s early 30s she lost a family member and that is when her anxiety went through the roof.
“It was ridiculous after that,” Gayla remembers. “There were other things going on in my family at that time too. At that point, I was living in a constant state of alert.”
About 6 million American adults have panic disorder and it is twice as common in women as men. People who have repeated, full-blown panic attacks can become terribly disabled by their condition. They will start to avoid places and situations where panic attacks have occurred. The National Institute of Mental Health states on their website that about one-third become housebound. Eventually, this condition can lead a person to acquire full-blown agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces.
Gayla continued to go about living life as best she could, but her anxiety was off the charts. She constantly felt bewildered, like she was moving slower than everybody else. Gayla hid her anxiety issues from her friends, family and the people around her.
“Nobody would have ever known,” she admitted. “I put on a real good mask. I didn’t want anybody to think I was crazy. I thought I was the only one.”
Gayla went on to tell SurfKY News that her friends knew she was a “worrywart” but that they didn’t know the full extent of her worry.
“Literally, one day I woke up and I was like, I can not do this anymore. I was killing myself slowly and I knew it,” said Gayla. “That was when I started, what I call, my road to self discovery.”
It was then that Gayla discovered cognitive behavior modification. Gayla’s friend, Robin, was also suffering from anxiety. Robin’s anxiety was so bad that she was having up to five anxiety attacks every day. Robin told Gayla about a program she had been utilizing that focused on cognitive behavior modification. The program had been giving Robin some relief so Gayla gave it a try.
Cognitive behavioral modification is a therapeutic technique developed by a psychologist named Donald Meichenbaum. The therapy focuses on identifying dysfunctional self-talk in order to change undesired behaviors. Meichenbaum’s technique focuses on the things we talk about and the way we talk about them. He considers the intent we put out in the world a direct affecter to our own personal behaviors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy takes place in three separate phases.
The first phase is all about self-observation. In phase one the focus revolves around observing your own behaviors and listening to your internal dialogue. If you are thinking negative thoughts they will consume you. This in and of itself could be the center of all of your anxiety and panic symptoms.
The second phase is all about changing your internal dialogue, your “self-talk”. Once you start picking up on your negative thought process, you can focus on that and start modifying it. Whenever you find yourself slipping into negative thought patterns, you alter that and replace those thoughts with new and positive self-talk. Stop telling yourself that you can’t do something. Start telling yourself that although it may be difficult, you can try. If you start there and recreate your thought patterns, you will be able to stop avoiding and start coping. You have to be willing to experience situations which provoke your anxiety so that you can actually learn to deal with those situations. It is an important step to recovery.
The third phase is centered on learning new skills. The way you respond to anxiety and panic, now that you are becoming aware of your own inner thoughts, gives you a better grasp on your anxiety. You can alter your own reactions in a productive way. When you let negative thoughts consume you it can be difficult to control the way you react to things and situations. Utilizing cognitive behavioral modification could dramatically change your life.
It took Gayla a little over a year to get the upper hand, thanks to CBM.
Once Gayla felt she had cured her anxiety she wanted to share what she had learned.
“I knew there were other people struggling with anxiety,” said Gayla. “I didn’t want to keep it in. I wanted to share it with other people.”
Gayla, now a self-proclaimed “life coach”, stumbled across a SurfKY News article written by Hopkins County lead news reporter, Luke Short. It was titled “Recovering Addict Inspires New ‘Vision’ for Salvation Army”. The article focused on their new “Pre-Hab” program. Gayla was inspired by the article. She immediately called Josh Peyton at the Salvation Army, and after some conversation, it was decided that Gayla might be able to serve the community by offering a couple weekly classes addressing anxiety and stress.
salvation army 300In conjunction with the Salvation Army, Gayla Miller will be hosting seminars on Mondays and Tuesdays. The meetings are free and secular.
“Meditation Monday” will start at 5 p.m. in the Salvation Army Chapel Worship Center. Gayla will lead the group in a 15 to 30 minute meditation session. Following meditation there will be some time for group discussion.
“Tension Tuesday” will begin at 5 p.m. at the Salvation Army Center of Hope in one of their meeting rooms. Tuesday’s meetings will be 45 minutes to an hour long. They are designated group coaching sessions, in which Gayla will discuss cognitive behavioral therapy and offer techniques that help. The group will be able to share details about their previous week with each other in a comfortable supportive setting. Some of the topics Gayla plans to go over include; how to end panic attacks, positive self-talk, counteracting negative thoughts, how to lower your expectations and time management skills.
The group is open to men and women of any age. The material will be spread over the course of four to five weeks so a person looking to join the group can jump in at any time and attend as long as they wish.
Gayla points out that it takes courage to address your anxiety, and fear of that is normal. When a person decides to seek help with their anxiety, that in and of itself, makes their anxiety worse.
“People scare themselves off because the anxiety gets worse, and they are like, I’m not doing it. People freak themselves out before they even get their foot in the door.”
Gayla encourages those suffering to “Feel it and come anyways.”

Monday, 23 April 2012

Gambling and anxiety go hand-in-hand

Dear Doctor K: I used to gamble once a year, on a trip to Vegas. But lately my lifelong battle with anxiety has gotten worse — and so has my gambling. Are they related? What can I do?
Dear Reader: Gambling and anxiety do often go hand in hand. People who gamble report feeling less anxious while gambling because the excitement masks anxious feelings. This relief can become addictive, and the impulse to gamble can become overwhelming.
So for many gamblers, reducing anxiety by some other means is necessary in order to control the urge to gamble as a way of dealing with anxiety. There are several techniques that can help.
One of the most powerful ways that people can counteract anxiety is by learning relaxation techniques. Relaxing means more than just sitting on the couch watching TV or a movie. Unless the show is completely absorbing, anxious thoughts can keep breaking through.
Relaxation exercises can teach you to identify worry triggers. Then you can defuse them and break the cycle of anxiety. It’s best to do them every day. The more you do them, the more positive effect they will have. There are many types of relaxation exercises, from the deep breathing exercise I describe below, to mindfulness meditation, to exercises such as yoga and tai chi.
The goal of these exercises is to bring about the relaxation response, which is the opposite of the stress response. By regularly practicing techniques that evoke the relaxation response, you can help your body reduce the cumulative effects of stress.
Relaxation-response techniques slow down your heartbeat and breathing. Your body uses less oxygen and blood flows more easily throughout your body.
One way to relax is through deep breathing or breath focus. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down. Begin by taking a slow, deep breath. The air coming in through your nose should move downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural).
Put one hand on your abdomen, just below your belly button. Feel your hand rise about an inch each time you inhale and fall about an inch each time you exhale. Your chest will rise slightly, too. Remember to relax your belly so that each inhalation expands it fully. As you breathe out, imagine that the air leaving your body carries tension and anxiety away with it.
When you first start, 10 minutes of breath focus is a reasonable goal. Gradually add time until your sessions are about 15 to 20 minutes long.
If you need more help in controlling gambling as a response to anxiety, you can find more information in the new book “Change Your Gambling, Change Your Life” by Harvard Medical School’s Howard Shaffer, M.D. You can find out more about it at my website,
Other treatments for anxiety also can help. Anti-anxiety medicines and cognitive behavioral therapy (a form of “talk therapy”) are effective treatments for anxiety as well.

Clinical anxiety, depression deserve attention

Many of us know the feeling all too well: It shows up unexpectedly in the form of sweaty palms and rapid heart rate, and it lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.
Anxiety is anything but foreign to college students.
Max Rubin | Daily Trojan
Most likely, as you prepared for college, your friends and family said the next four years would be “the time of your life.” But with the stress that college creates, it is not uncommon to find depression and anxiety becoming a fixture in students’ lives — anything but what you might have expected.
Though USC offers group and individual counseling services and the Office for Wellness and Health Promotion offers many resources for students to learn about managing anxiety, stress and depression, more needs to be done to ensure that the USC student body is healthy and happy.
In a survey of USC undergraduates in 2009, graduate and undergraduate students reported experiencing anxiety and depression in the last year, with 13.6 percent of undergraduate and 17.4 percent of graduate students reporting they had been diagnosed with depression.
Almost 18 percent of undergraduate students at USC reported that anxiety affected their academic performance in the last year. An additional 28 reported being affected by general stress. 13 percent reported being affected by depression.
A small amount of stress and anxiety can be healthy and will motivate you to study or complete a task. But too much can be detrimental to your psychological and physical health.
Anxiety is an umbrella term for a range of emotional disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and so on.
The way anxiety manifests in one individual can be quite different from that in another, which is why it can sometimes be difficult for professionals and non-professionals to identify it.
Oftentimes, in a clinic, issues concerning physical health are managed first because they are more visible. Treating emotional ailments, however, is just as important.
Anxiety can have large repercussions if it is not dealt with. Episodic anxiety can manifest in frequent panic attacks. Low levels of anxiety can also become debilitating.
But once you or another does identify an anxiety disorder, who do you talk to? What can you do to combat this?
The resources available at USC are not talked about as much as they should be. Simply getting the conversation started about anxiety and related emotional disorders would be a huge step to diminish the stigma surrounding such diagnoses, allowing many students to get the help they need so that their four years at USC can, in fact, be the best of their lives.
Whether you are stressed about graduating in the middle of an economic recession or simply overwhelmed by the amount of material on your final organic chemistry exam, be sure to assess how you are feeling and determine whether the amount of anxiety is manageable.
Exercising, eating well, being with friends and taking quiet time for yourself have been proven to aid in anxiety and other emotional disorders. Still, sometimes these steps are not enough — and that’s not a sign of weakness.
If the need arises, seek professional help and do not be ashamed for doing so. If you had an unmanageable cold, you would see your physician. Experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety or depression is no different.
Take control of your emotional well-being; this is your time to thrive.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Childhood Abdominal Pain Linked to Adult Anxiety

April 17, 2012 (Arlington, Virginia) — Children with functional abdominal pain (FAP) are up to 5 times more likely to have a comorbid anxiety disorder by 21 years of age than healthy children, new research shows.
In addition, 2 studies presented here at the here at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America 32nd Annual Conference suggest that treating anxiety in adults reduces both gastrointestinal and psychiatric symptoms.
Taken together, the studies show that the early diagnosis and treatment of pediatric anxiety can have a significant impact on the adult brain–gut connection.
"It's a bidirectional relationship. If you have anxiety and depression, you're more likely to have FAP; if you have FAP, you're more likely to have depression," said John Campo, MD, a pediatric psychiatrist who moderated the session.
Dr. Campo, who is professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Ohio State University Medical Center and chief of behavioral health services at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, has just completed a study showing that children with anxiety and depression have higher rates of FAP (51.5% vs 8.8%; = 0.0002), migraine (57.6% vs 23.5%; = 0.0062), and constipation (21.2% vs 8.8%; = 0.183) than healthy control subjects.
His previous research showed that 80% of pediatric FAP patients have current anxiety, 43% have current depressive disorder, and 29% have current major depressive disorder.
Dr. Campo's work shows that in children with both FAP and anxiety, anxiety tends to come first (mean age of onset, 6.25 years), followed by FAB (mean age of onset, 9.17 years).
Adult Anxiety
New work by Lynn Walker, PhD, from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, has shown that children 8 to 15 years of age whose abdominal pain persists to age 21 are 5 times more likely to have an anxiety disorder in adulthood, and that those with pain that has resolved by 21 years are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder.
Dr. Walker's study involved 754 children 8 to 15 years of age with FAP and no identifiable organic disease.
Patients and their mothers were interviewed at a pediatric gastrointestinal clinic, and underwent a multidimensional assessment of pain intensity, frequency, and duration, and the cognitive and affective aspects of their pain.
A cluster analysis identified 3 distinct groups of patients: the "high pain dysfunctional" group had intense frequent pain, high levels of catastrophizing, negative affect, and low levels of perceived efficacy (25% of the cohort); the "high pain adaptive" group consisted of patients who were trying to remain functional despite their pain (40% of the cohort); and the "low pain adaptive" group had minor infrequent pain, low levels of catastrophizing, high perceived efficacy, and little dysfunction. In this group, it was the parents' concern about the pain that brought the children to the clinic.
Nine years after enrolment, 379 patients (average age, 21 years) were contacted and reinterviewed about their abdominal pain, other pain, and psychiatric symptoms.
Novel Focus on Anxiety
In the high pain dysfunctional group, 60% of patients still had persistent abdominal pain; the rate was about half this in the other 2 groups, said Dr. Walker.
More than 45% of patients in the high pain dysfunctional group met the criteria for a current anxiety disorder, which is significantly more than in the other 2 groups (25% to 30%). A retrospective chart review revealed a 70% lifetime rate of anxiety disorders in this group.
"The majority of those with a lifetime anxiety disorder often had an onset prior to their FAP evaluation," she said, adding that almost 1 in 5 patients in the high pain dysfunctional group reported that they had lost a job because of illness.
Depressive symptoms were no higher in any of the groups than in the general population, which adds to the evidence that it is anxiety, not depression, that is driving this process.
"Poor outcomes were driven by anxiety-related processes, including threat appraisal, fear, and avoidance," she said.
"This is interesting because the GI world and the IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] world has focused, in adults, at least initially, more on depression than anxiety."
The study is the first to show different psychosocial profiles in pediatric FAP and to link them to prognosis.
She asked: "Can we identify high-risk groups efficiently in the busy pediatric clinic...and would treatment of anxiety improve these outcomes?"
Bidirectional Relation
A pilot study presented at the meeting partially answered this question, although the patients were adults.
Thirteen subjects, 18 to 65 years of age, with comorbid IBS and generalized anxiety disorder were treated for 12 weeks with duloxetine, an antidepressant that is also approved for diabetic neuropathic pain and other pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia.
"The goal of the study was to try to use 1 agent to treat both conditions. It's a lot better if 1 agent can target the neurobiology of both," said lead investigator Alicia Kaplan, MD, from the Department of Psychiatry at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The primary outcome was change in the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale score; secondary outcomes were changes in the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale score, the IBS Quality-of-Life Scale score, and the IBS Symptom Severity Scale score.
Compared with baseline, a significant improvement was observed in CGI–Improvement (P < .000) and CGI–Severity (P < .000) scores. There were also significant reductions in anxiety (P < .001) and IBS symptom severity (P < .023), and improvements in quality of life with IBS (P < .012).
"The brain–gut connection is bidirectional, and 95% of our serotonin receptors are in the gut," said Dr. Kaplan.
"There's a connection between the brain and the gut that is causing these symptoms. Part of it may be anxiety, part of it may be irritable bowel, but sometimes antidepressants can help both."
Dr. Campo, Dr. Walker, and Dr. Kaplan have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) 32nd Annual Conference. Session 306R, presented April 13, 2012; poster 106, presented April 14, 2012.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Anxiety: a very modern malaise

Feeling the strain: economic woes and job worries have contributed to a growth in the number of people being treated for anxiety disorders - Anxiety: a very modern malaise
Feeling the strain: economic woes and job worries have contributed to a growth in the number of people being treated for anxiety disorders Photo: ALAMY
That was until the night she sank to the floor, paralysed by fear, her own voice sounding muffled and as though on a time delay, while her view of the room darkened into the narrowest tunnel vision.
She thought she was dying. In fact, it was the start of an anxiety disorder that was to become her new reality, and to dominate her twenties. After finally sleeping, she awoke disorientated and petrified – a state that continued for more than three years, in which waves of panic attacks were “punctuated with glimpses of the real world”.
Looking back, she believes the anxiety was her body’s response to a pace of life she could not sustain. “When everything is busy and going well, you just keep on going. Then suddenly you look down and see that there is nothing anchoring you; and so you fall.”
She is not alone. Last year, close to 7  million prescriptions were issued by the NHS for anti-anxiety drugs. As economic woes have worsened, and job and mortgage worries become rife, the numbers being treated in hospital for such disorders have soared – with more than 17,000 outpatients’ appointments last year, four times as many as in 2007.
As Britain enters the Age of Anxiety, great swaths of the population appear to be nearing the end of their tether.
However, Dr Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, believes that economic pressures are aggravating a far deeper problem; that modern technology, with its ability to bombard us with messages 24/7, has rendered many of us unable to “switch off”.
“We have actually created a more anxious state,” she says. “When our brain is expecting some kind of news, we prime ourselves to be on alert. With texts, emails and social media, on top of images from TV news, we are constantly on alert, and that can make people chronically anxious, and chronically exhausted.” She advises her patients to take some time away from their gadgets at least once a day – even if it is just for 10 minutes.
Dr Joanna Moncrieff, a consultant psychiatrist and senior lecturer at University College London, agrees and is concerned that Britain is following the path trodden by America in medicalising a social problem instead of examining the values behind it.
“We live in a culture that makes people anxious,” she says. “It encourages the idea that everything can be achieved or bought, that 100 per cent is not enough, that you have to be the perfect wife and mother, and succeed in your career.”
Meanwhile, too much faith has been invested in scientific progress, therapy and a pill for every human ill. “And we have become less able to tolerate and endure life’s ordinary difficulties.”
There has certainly been a distinct shift in the public image of anxiety disorders and the drugs used to treat them. While Valium earned a reputation as “mother’s little helper” among 1960s housewives, by the 1980s the group of benzodiazepines had become better known as “jellies” and “benzos” by recreational users seeking a high.
Today, the same group of drugs are being discussed in far glossier circles.
Earlier this month, Alexandra Shulman, the editor of Vogue, admitted she has regularly suffered panic attacks – and always carries some Xanax in her handbag as her “lucky charm”.
British supermodel Jodie Kidd and her sister Jemma, the Countess of Mornington, have both undergone successful treatment for anxiety and panic attacks which they described as “crippling”.
“The attacks felt like that split-second before a car crash, when the adrenalin whooshes through your body and you think you are going to die,” says Jemma. “From the outside, I might have looked sorted, but on the inside, I was thinking 'if only you knew… ’ ”
Both checked into the Linden retreat, in Worcestershire, also the choice of British novelist Plum Sykes.
Ms Sykes’s anxiety followed the onset of a rare migraine disorder that left her so dizzy she couldn’t care for her children. Though treatment for the condition was successful, the fear of such attacks left her virtually housebound, unable to take even the few steps from her home into a taxi unassisted.
“Life became a series of 'what-ifs’.” she says. “I would imagine every possible worst-case scenario which could occur. In the end I became too frightened to do anything at all.”
In an article for US Vogue this month, she wrote about her stay at the retreat, and the dinner conversations with 11 other anxiety sufferers, including a 23-year-old policewoman who experienced panic attacks when her baby refused food.
“You must be terrified at work then,” Ms Sykes sympathised, “dealing with criminals and everything?”
“ 'Work’s fine,’ the policewoman cheerfully replied. “I just lock offenders in a cell. I’m not afraid of them. It’s when I’m at home that I’m anxious.”
When a person is fearful, the body is flooded with adrenaline in order to prepare it for extreme muscular activity, commonly known as the fight-or-flight response. In panic attacks, these reflexes are triggered despite an apparent lack of external threat, causing a response in the sympathetic nervous system with intense physical symptoms, including tunnel vision, hyperventilation and racing palpitations.
While the NHS prescribes drugs and, increasingly, cognitive behavioural therapy, to identify unhelpful thoughts and actions and replace them with constructive ones, the retreat’s founder, Charles Linden, an anxiety-sufferer for more than a decade, is adamant that when it comes to anxiety, neither approach works.
Instead, clients are given individualised programmes to follow, in Ms Sykes’s case insisting that she timetabled activities for every half-hour of every day so there was no time to look ahead and worry.
If some of his ideas sound kooky – tips to avoid panic attacks include “the cold apple” method, taking an apple from the fridge, and eating it slowly – the Kidds and Ms Sykes are among many celebrity clients who say they have been cured.
But Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at Kent University, fears that Britain has developed a culture that not only feeds and encourages anxiety, but also wears it as a badge of pride.
“At London dinner parties, everybody has a condition, an anxiety to talk about; if you don’t, there is something wrong with you. It has become normal and fashionable to be anxious; it is a little bit edgy,” he says.
He believes two twin forces are at work; that children are taught to “medicalise the everyday”, and learn a language of stress and anxiety, while our political classes have identified happiness as a public goal, with David Cameron last summer announcing plans to rate the country not just by its gross domestic product, but by the well-being of the public.
“In the Second World War, we maintained the stiff upper lip. Today it is almost the opposite. The message is to call a helpline, get support, find somebody to help you. If you aren’t opening up and talking about your problems, then you are seen as morally inferior,” Dr Furedi argues.
Certainly the past 60 years have seen a vast expansion in psychiatry, and in the redefinition of social problems as medical complaints.
In 1952, the first edition of the US Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the psychiatrists’ bible, that classifies mental illnesses, was 130 pages long and listed 106 psychiatric disorders. Today’s checklist, used across the world, runs to 900 pages and 297 disorders. A new version is due next year.
One of the most significant expansions, under psychiatrist Dr Robert Spitzer in 1980, led to the introduction of “generalised anxiety disorder”.
In recent years, Dr Spitzer has criticised his own work, suggesting that the criteria were so broad that up to 30 per cent of the population without serious mental health problems could fall under its classifications.
At Anxiety UK, the main charity for people suffering from anxiety disorders, phobias and panic attacks, chief executive Nicky Lidbetter believes people in this country have simply become more aware of conditions that have always existed, even if they went unnamed.
“I had a grandmother who was agoraphobic; we just didn’t have a word for it,” she says.
She sees first-hand how severe such disorders can be. “At worst, these can render a person housebound, or even roombound,” she says.
Ms Lidbetter also takes the view that modern technology and fragile economic conditions are putting increased numbers of people at risk. “People can usually cope with short bursts of pressure but what is much more difficult is situations of prolonged uncertainty, when there is no end in sight; conditions like our economic situation,” she says.
Stress can spur success, but it needs to be at a constructive level. As pressure ratchets up, coping mechanisms can falter. “When there is job insecurity, people take on more work than they can handle, they start surviving on coffee, not eating properly, and dropping the things that kept them well, the leisure activities, the trips to the gym,” she says.
She describes panic attacks as the “body’s internal alarm system”, sending a warning to slow down and take stock.
In Cheshire, Zoe Brook no longer suffers from anxiety. The mother-of-two has trained as a therapist, helping others with such disorders.
After three years of drug treatment, she learnt, by trial and error, to manage the warning signs.
Mrs Brooks describes anxiety as “a battle in the mind” and one that occurs not during the times of most pressure, but in the hours, days and weeks after – “the quiet times, when thoughts can rise to the surface”.
“The attacks paralysed me,” she says. “When I felt them coming, I used to grip the arm of the chair and steel myself for the wave. Then I realised you had to break it; to get up, to do something mundane, to take a deep breath, to potter about, to do anything.
“I began to realise that the best response was indifference – to laugh in the face of an attack.”
These days, when the going gets tough, she tries a different tack. “Now, I take a moment to lie on the grass, to look at the sky, and to see the shapes in the clouds. Sometimes you just have to stop and catch your breath.”

Panic Attack Treatment - Stop Your Panic Attacks Correctly

These sensations created by a panic disorder are unquestionable. A person's experience of panic and fear is overwhelming and everything you desire is for it to end. The actual issue with the management of anxiety or panic disorder is that most traditional treatment methods fall short in lots of ways. That can make you believe that there isn't really a relief from your ailment.

There happens to be fantastic news. Research has shown that choosing medications for panic and anxiety attack treatment has not been as successful as treatment solutions without the use of medicinal drugs. Drug free solutions to treatment have even more good results and several health benefits over old fashioned medicine choices.

Panic And Anxiety Attack Activators

Panic attack signs and symptoms are occasionally very scary. Some people dread they can indeed be going into cardiac arrest when stress and anxiety attack. It could bring about difficulty in breathing and create an staggering emotion of horror.

Stress and panic may be a consequence of nerves, stress or several situations. You will have indicators that your panic or anxiety attack is about to get started or they could just appear quickly.

Many people know precisely what may cause their panic although some might possibly not have any kind of clue what sparks their disorders. If you're thinking of a anxiety and panic attack treatment, recognizing for what reason you have fear and anxiety can help. This is specifically true of conventional approaches of treatment. Even so, it's advisable to seek out a different therapy that will not require that you realize exactly what sparks off your anxiousness.

Discovering The Right Procedure

The more common panic disorder treatment is very often based on the reason behind the panic and anxiety. Anxiolytic medicines are used frequently by clinical doctors to make tension and anxiety symptoms to vanish.

The use of medicinal drugs hides the discomforts, and usually do not really ever eliminates the problem. Medicinal drugs also come with adverse side effects. They may not benefit everybody.

More attractive strategies for treatment happen to be those geared towards helping you to take control of your feelings and behaviour. Many of these treatments are actually more beneficial treatment for a lasting remedy.

The greatest panic attack treatment can help you to discover why you really have a panic or anxiety attack and find out how to deal with or cope with your symptoms. This could include staying away from particular triggers, learning relaxation approaches and maybe even dealing with your fears and defeating them.

Finding psychoterapy and receiving treatment is everything you might like to implement if you suffer anxiousness attacks . You ought to get power over the situation and not only just let it manipulate you. There's no need to be frightened of anxiety disorder solutions. Have the ability to take care of your problems without needing unwanted medication or wasting years and years in some treatments.

Obtaining assistance and obtaining psychological treatment is one particular thing you want to do if you suffer panic. You need control of the problem as opposed to let it manipulate you. There is no reason to be fearful of panic or anxiety attack solutions.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

How Women Deal with Bad Memories Linked with Depression

CREDIT: Elena Elisseeva | Dreamstime

Certain groups of women may be particularly prone to depression because of the way they deal with negative memories, a new study says.
The results show healthy women who scored high on tests of neuroticism — a personality trait associated with experiencing more negative emotions, such as anxiety — tended to return to their bad memories to mull them over.
This process, called rumination, is known to be linked with depression, the researchers said.

In addition, women who tended to deal with negative memories by trying to suppress them were actually more likely to recall negative memories, and then feel bad after remembering them, compared with women who used other coping strategies. No such link was found in men.
The findings suggest that changing the way we deal with emotional challenges such as negative memories may help prevent depression, said study researcher Florin Dolcos, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dolcos and colleagues surveyed about 70 men and women ages 18 to 34 who did not have a history of depression or other psychiatric disorders. They gave participants a questionnaire with 115 phrases intended to elicit memories of distinct life events such as "being hospitalized," "birth of a family member," or "witnessing an accident." For each life event they could recall, participants gave the date of the event, reported how often they thought about it, and rated the emotional significance of the memory. Only memories with strong emotional significance were chosen for the study's analysis. Participants also completed a personality test.
Men with a high level of neuroticism tended to recall a greater proportion of negative memories than men who were low in neuroticism. In contrast, women high in neuroticism tended to revisit the same negative memoires.
The researchers also assessed participants' tendencies to deal with bad memories through two strategies: suppression, which involves trying not to think about a memory, and reappraisal, in which people attempt to reduce the impact of negative memories by putting a new perspective on them. For instance, you might fail to get a job, but perhaps an opportunity or new connection resulted from the interview, Dolcos said. You could reappraise your memory by focusing on the positive aspects of the situation.
Suppressing negative memories may not be a good coping strategy because, by refusing to think about these memories, a person does not resolve their feelings about the situation, Dolcos said. If you relive memories to reappraise them, in a way, you find a solution that might help you feel better," he said.
Switching to a strategy of reappraisal, and interrupting memory rumination, may be ways to prevent development of clinical disorders, including depression, Dolcos said.
Pass it on:  Reappraising bad memories is a more effective way to deal with these memories than suppressing them.

Anxiety Linked to High IQ

CREDIT: Dreamstime
Excessive worry might not be such a bad thing after all — a new small study suggests that such anxiety may have evolved in people along with intelligence.
The results show, among people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, high IQ scores were associated with high levels of worry.
In addition, those with anxiety disorder tended to have higher IQ scores than healthy people, as well as higher levels of activity in regions of the brain that aid in communication between parts of the brain. These regions are thought to have contributed to the evolutionary success of humans, the researchers say.

Although we tend to view anxiety as not being good for us, it is linked with intelligence — a highly adaptive trait, said Dr. Jeremy Coplan, study researcher and professor of psychiatry at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.
High levels of anxiety can be disabling, and patients' worries are often irrational, Coplan said. But "every so often there's a wild-card danger. Then, that excessive worry becomes highly adaptive," Coplan said.
"People who act on the signals of that wild-card danger are likely to preserve their lives and the lives of their offspring," Coplan said.
Because the study was small, more research is needed to confirm the findings.
Anxiety and intelligence
In the study, 26 patients with anxiety disorder and 18 healthy people completed an IQ test, along with a questionnaire to assess their level of worry.
Among the participants with anxiety disorders, the higher their worry level, the greater their IQ score was.
Interestingly, the opposite was seen in healthy patients: those with high IQ scores tended to have low levels of worry, and those with low IQ scores tended to have high levels of worry — a finding that agrees with earlier research.
Not enough worry
Too little worry can be problematic for individuals and society, Coplan said. Some people are "incapable of seeing any danger, even when danger is imminent, he said.
"If these folks are in positions as leaders, they are going to indicate to the general populace that there's no need to worry," Coplan said. In some situations, like the recent real estate bubble, that lack of worry can have societal consequences, he said.
The study was published Feb. 1 in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience.
Pass it on:  In some situations, excessive worrying is advantageous, and the trait may have co-evolved with intelligence.