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Living with Panic Attacks, Phobia and Anxiety (Part 1)

Anxiety Disorders affect 20.6 percent of adults in the United States (approximately 42 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54), which also means that 1 out of 5 adults in the USA suffer from some form of Anxiety, Depression and Panic Attacks.

According to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by the ADAA and based on data gathered by the association and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one third of the $148 billion total mental health bill for the U.S.

More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of healthcare services, as those with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.

People with an anxiety disorder are three-to-five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than non-sufferers. The reasoning behind is pretty simple, since there is usually no physical disorder involved with the panic attack and the anxiety, therefore the person repeatedly visits the Emergency Room, in search for answers.

New Yorkers are no strangers to anxiety and panic attacks. Stress management in New York ranks high in demand for these essential services. For obvious reasons, the amount of the daily stress loads for New Yorkers may be higher levels for metropolitan-based commuters, when compared to those workers in other cities.

Anxiety will also trick you in believing that you are having breathing problems, heart attacks and all sorts of symptoms that you don’t have, yet you are experiencing the symptoms of those particular disorders.

The report also claims that women are twice more likely to be afflicted than men, however we believe the number of men who struggle with generalized anxiety is much higher because many don’t report it to their doctors.

Overcoming anxiety after it’s developed into a major difficulty in your life can often be confusing and upsetting. However, anxiety disorders are very treatable and with the proper help, it can be cured and controlled.

Understanding how anxiety “works” is one of the keys to overcoming anxiety. If Anxiety is not treated right, it will just get worst and may lead to depression, phobias and daily panic attacks.

There are basically two kinds of treatment which clinical research has shown to be effective in overcoming anxiety disorders: cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) and certain forms of medication. Other forms of psychotherapy are often helpful in resolving some of the issues associated with anxiety disorders, but are generally not regarded as capable of resolving the primary problem. Which form of treatment should you choose?

Our view is that most people with anxiety disorders are best served by trying a cognitive behavioral treatment first, and seeing what kind of results you get from that. You can always try medication later, if the CBT doesn’t provide all the results you seek.

There are three principal reasons to try CBT first. First, unlike medication, CBT has no side effects. Second, the use of medications tends to lead a person to believe that he or she is now “protected” from anxiety disorders, and the sense of being protected often leads an anxiety sufferer to feel more vulnerable in the long run. Third, the results you get from CBT treatment will generally be much more long lasting than those you get from medications. Results from medication treatments tend to fade after the medications are withdrawn.

Many people have a fear of doctors, and have trouble making an appointment. This is a phobia, and will generally respond to the same cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) approach, once you decide that a visit to the doctor, however anxiety provoking, is in your best interest.

There is no “One size fits all” mentality when it comes to curing anxiety and panic attacks. Each person reacts differently to various treatments, therapy and even medications.  For example: Some individuals swear by “Zoloft” and have been able to salvage a panic-attack-free life by simple popping a 50mg. pill every morning, and continuously raising the dosage  every 6-9 months (100mg, 200 mg., etc.) while others have struggled with it and had their lives turned upside down by Zoloft. It has caused them heart palpitations; it has plummeted their blood pressure to a dangerous level of 90 over 60 and has destroyed their daily routines.

The same is true with therapy, what works for one does not work for another. There is not a “Simple Routine” that just makes it go away. Getting to the root of the problem and cause for the attacks, will ultimately dictate and direct the action that needs to be taken and eventually help you learn how to live  and control your attcaks.

A person with Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia fears that a panic attack will disable him in some way – kill him, make him/her crazy, make him/her faint, and so on. In response, he often goes to great lengths to protect himself from a panic attack, by avoiding ordinary activities and locations; by carrying objects, like water bottles and cell phones, that he hopes will protect him; by trying to distract himself from the subject of panic; and numerous other strategies will ultimately make the problem more persistent and severe, rather than less.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, there is help you! Your disorders can be controlled and you don’t have to live in pain, fear and constant distress.

There are hundreds of ideas and techniques that you have heard of and tried but you always come back to where you have started. You have blown into a Brown paper Bag, You have snapped a rubber band against your wrist and you have gone into bed, closed your eyes and hoped it all goes away. These are not the kind of anxiety help you need! It doesn’t work, because the more you tell yourself not to think something, the more you’ll think about it.

Don’t wait another day, don’t get discouraged and take charge of your life. Seek a professional and get help you need and deserve.

 

By Leon Goldberg

Strategic Intervention Specialist

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Posted by on July 1, 2012. Filed under Health / Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.