Uncategorized resources

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is much more than the normal anxiety people experience day to day. People with GAD can't seem to shake their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. Their worries are accompanied by physical symptoms, especially fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes. People with GAD may feel lightheaded or out of breath, may feel nauseated or have to go to the bathroom frequently. Individuals with GAD seem unable to relax, and they may startle more easily than other people. They tend to have difficulty concentrating, and have trouble falling or staying asleep.

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is when a severe fear or discomfort suddenly develops, peaking within 10 minutes. During this discrete episode, 4 or more of the following symptoms occur:

  • Chest pain or other chest discomfort.
  • Chills or hot flashes.
  • Choking sensation.
  • Derealization (feeling unreal or detached from self).
  • Dizzy, lightheaded, faint or unsteady.
  • Fear of dying.
  • Fears of loss of control or becoming insane.
  • Heart pounds, races or skips beats.
  • Nausea or other abdominal discomfort.
  • Numbness or tingling.
  • Sweating.
  • Shortness of breath or smothering sensation.
  • Trembling.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects about twice as many women as men. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. It is diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months worrying excessively about a number of everyday problems. There is evidence that genes play a modest role in GAD.

GAD is commonly treated with medications and counseling. GAD rarely occurs alone, however; it is usually accompanied by another anxiety disorder, depression, or substance abuse. These other conditions must be treated along with GAD. Treatment may be improved or speeded up with counseling. Contact me for an appointment.

Taken in part from the National Institute of Mental Health publication, Anxiety Disorders.

How to Get Help

If you, or someone you know, has symptoms of anxiety, a visit to the family physician is usually the best place to start. A physician can help determine whether the symptoms are due to an anxiety disorder, some other medical condition, or both. Frequently, the next step in getting treatment for an anxiety disorder is referral to a mental health professional. Contact me for an assessment.

Among the professionals who can help are psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors. However, it's best to look for a professional who has specialized training in cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or behavioral therapy, as appropriate, and who is open to the use of medications, should they be needed.

Psychologists, social workers, and counselors sometimes work closely with a psychiatrist or other physician, who will prescribe medications when they are required. For some people, group therapy is a helpful part of treatment. It's important that you feel comfortable with the therapy that the mental health professional suggests. If this is not the case, seek help elsewhere. However, if you've been taking medication, it's important not to discontinue it abruptly. Certain drugs have to be tapered off under the supervision of your physician.

Remember, though, that when you find a health care professional that you're satisfied with, the two of you are working together as a team. Together you will be able to develop a plan to treat your anxiety disorder that may involve medications, cognitive-behavioral or other talk therapy, or both, as appropriate.

Helpful Books:

12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy
Henry Cloud, John Townsend
Not everything believed a biblical truth is truly biblical. The authors debunk 12 commonly accepted beliefs that cause bondage rather than liberty. They explain how nuggets of truth become cornerstones for error when wrongly understood, and they help build solid scriptural foundations that produce emotional freedom.

God Will Make A Way: What to Do When You Don't Know What To Do
Henry Cloud, John Townsend We all have times when we feel lost, we hurt and we find ourselves asking, "Where is God in all of this?" When the road gets rough and we don’t know which way to turn, it can feel like God is so far away. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend present eight fascinating and persuasive principles that demonstrate how God enters both the heart-breaking situation and the life looking for more. This book shows how you can apply these eight principles to key areas of your life.

Co Dependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
Melodie Beattie
Recovery has begun for millions of individuals with this straightforward guide. Through personal examples and exercises, readers are shown how controlling others forces them to lose sight of their own needs and happiness.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Dr. Laura urgently reminds women that to take proper care of their husbands is to ensure themselves the happiness and satisfaction they yearn for in marriage. Women want to be in love, get married, and live happily ever after. Yet disrespect for men and disregard for the value, feelings, and needs of husbands has fast become the standard for male-female relations in America. Those two attitudes clash in unfortunate ways to create struggle and strife in what could be a beautiful relationship. Dr. Laura shows you—with real-life examples and real-life solutions—how women can attain the intimacy, love, joy, and peace they desire.

Helpful Websites:

TroubledWith: Stress
Excellent collection of resources on dealing with anxiety disorders, as well as when and how to seek treatment.

Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
National, non-profit membership organization dedicated to informing the public, healthcare professionals and legislators about anxiety disorders, promote the early diagnosis, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders, and improve the lives of the people who suffer from them.

Freedom From Fear
National not-for-profit mental health advocacy association developed to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support.