Panic

Anxiety

There are many types of anxiety disorders that include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. Many people feel anxious, or nervous, when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different. They can cause such distress that it interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be crippling.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several recognized types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Panic disorder: People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. Other symptoms of a panic attackinclude sweating, chest pain, palpitations (irregular heartbeats), and a feeling of choking, which may make the person feel like he or she is having a heart attackor “going crazy.”

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): People with OCD are plagued by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. The disturbing thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals are called compulsions. An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes his or her hands.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event, and tend to be emotionally numb.

  • Social anxiety disorder: Also called social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centers on a fear of being judged by others, or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.

  • Specific phobias: A specific phobia is an intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as snakes, heights, or flying. The level of fear usually is inappropriate to the situation and may cause the person to avoid common, everyday situations.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety.

Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder, but general symptoms include:

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness

  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts

  • Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences

  • Nightmares

  • Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing

  • Problems sleeping

  • Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet

  • Shortness of breath

  • Palpitations

  • An inability to be still and calm

  • Dry mouth

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

  • Nausea

  • Muscle tension

  • Dizziness

Source: WebMD.com

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

We successfully treat anxiety disorders with EMDR, visualization, meditation and breathing techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Sometimes we just use one of these interventions, and sometimes we combine them. Every treatment plan is specially formulated to take into consideration the unique characteristics of our clients.

Highly recommended self help work book: The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

EMDR

EMDR is a treatment used to help people who’ve been physically or emotionally traumatized. Trauma symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, spacing out, panic, numbness, being easily startled, or a sense of a foreshortened future. These symptoms may be signs of full blown PTSD, (posttraumatic stress disorder) or general trauma responses.

EMDR helps people who can’t get over the trauma. You may notice you can’t get your thoughts, emotions and behavior to work altogether in a healthy way. This happens because sad or traumatic life experiences seem to “freeze” our emotional logic and trigger us into seemingly irrational feelings and behavior. We may know one thing, but feel or behave completely differently. We feel out of control. If we experience any kind of assault or even witness it, we somehow think it’s our fault.

It’s really not irrational. You needed to “freeze” at the time of the trauma in order to survive. But what’s happening now is that present situations are triggering that “frozen” emotional state, making you feel as if your survival is again at risk. Something happens which takes your body sensations or thoughts back to the bad experience and you have an emotional “meltdown”. In other words, you react to certain present situations as if you were still back in the traumatic event. What helped in the past is a problem in the present.

EMDR is an effective therapy in which the therapist guides you in your own self healing. It helps you get unstuck. You free yourself of negative thoughts about yourself by focusing, at your own pace, on the traumatic “freeze”: body sensation, thoughts and emotions surrounding the traumatic event. With the support and skills of the therapist, the psyche remembers what it already knows: its not you, it’s what happened to you.

You deserve to feel better.

How does EMDR work?

Picture your physical circulatory system. It flows through your body in a healthy way and all is well. Now imagine you have an emotional circulatory system. Something happens which traumatizes you. It may be being bullied, abused, a bad break up, an affair or a physical trauma like a car accident or a medical issue. Or in general you don’t feel good about yourself. If you cannot work through this on your own, it clogs up your emotional circulation like a big “lump” on your head. You can’t feel well because, as EMDR teaches us, inside that lump are negative thought about yourself, emotions, and body sensations related to the trauma. The emotional circulation is not functioning in a healthy manner.

EMDR “melts’ the lump and you feel well again. Starting with whichever memory hurts the most, you close your eyes and, holding small vibrating pulsers, you just watch what comes up in your mind as if it were a movie. By watching from a distance, you feel safe and see that any negative thoughts you’re holding about yourself are not fair to you and you finally feel good about yourself! EMDR desensitizes the memory and it cannot hurt you anymore.