ANXIETY DISORDER TREATMENT AND RECOVERY

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Panic

If you believe you, or someone you care about, may have an anxiety
disorder, you can take an online screening test. Very reliable screenings
can be found at www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/screenings.
If you discover you do have the symptoms of an anxiety disorder and
would like to find specialized treatment, the Anxiety Disorder Association
of America (www.adaa.org) also has a Find-A-Therapist option.

Does Panic Come from Out-of-the-Blue?

Many people experience panic attacks or a sudden attack of high anxiety
as something that just takes over their bodies suddenly. Part of treatment
is learning how to detect those subtle bodily symptoms that are the first
indicators of more anxiety symptoms to follow. While some people do not
like to be so aware of their anxious bodies, it is an important part of the
process of learning how to stop or manage the more severe bodily reactions
of a full-blown panic attack.

Recently a study was conducted at Southern Methodist University where
43 panic sufferers wore monitors for 24 hours on 2 separate occasions.
You can read about the study at
www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-07/smu-opa072711.php.

Quick Cure for Panic Attacks?

Recently I read about a homeopathic remedy called Aconitum napellus.
You are to take it when the “out of the blue” attack comes on. The
recommended dose is two pellets of a 30C potency. There is no harm
in taking it, even if it does not work.
Since I do not know anyone who has tried this I would be very interested
to know your results if any of you give it a try.

But what if you don’t like to meditate?

You have undoubtedly heard about the benefits of meditation and
mindfulness. I have also written about it in previous newsletters.
The benefits include reduction of anxiety, depression, insomnia,
chronic pain, and blood pressure, as well as increased focus and
creativity. However, some people find it so difficult to sit still and
slow down their brains that they give up on it.

Here are a few alternative techniques that have similar effects:

1)    Single-tasking:  As you go about your day do a single task
mindfully. This is the opposite of multi-tasking. For example:
When you are washing the dishes focus completely on the
experience of how the water feels, how the dish feels, etc.
and without any judgment of the process. If you realized your
mind has just wandered to something else, bring it back into
the present moment of the dishwashing experience.

2)    Move: Yoga, tai chi and qigong all combine specific movements
with a mindful focus on the body. These are sometimes called
moving meditations.
Perhaps you just need to get your body moving for a while
so as to work off excess energy making it easier then to sit
down to meditate. Some people take a run or do some stretching
before they feel ready to sit and get quiet.

3)    Mindful eating: This is best done when eating alone. Really notice
the aromas and colors of the food. Take a bite slowly, chew slowly
and be aware of the taste and the changing texture as you chew
and swallow. Be conscious of each bite you take and what your
body feels after you have swallowed each bite.
This technique is also recommended by many weight loss programs.

The more frequently you do these the more natural it begins to
feel to you after a while. Then the idea of setting aside some time
to sit and meditate may become a welcome experience.

Recommended Reading

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D. brought a new
understanding of how the brain works to the public. The neuroscience of
the last 10-15 years has created a major paradigm shift in our understanding
of the brain, which has major implications on medical and mental health. A
major finding with implications directly relating to
mental health is that our thoughts can change the structure and function
of our brains. The findings are presented as a collection of case histories
and presented in a very user-friendly manner. If you have any interest in
how the brain works you will enjoy this book.

Parting Words:

From the CHAANGE program: “Never compare your insides to other people’s outsides.”