Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic, phobias and Obessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Data indicate that in any given year, nearly 18% or nearly 40 million people in the United States experience an anxiety disorder.

There are several types of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and various specific phobias. Anxiety disorders often co-occur with depression, and women are twice as likely as men to have generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. Anxiety disorders are treatable with a high rate of success.

When anxiety interferes with your daily activities, it may be time to talk to a professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy provides well-established, highly effective treatments for anxiety disorders.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

In the United States, OCD affects approximately 1 in 100 children and 1 in 40 adults every year. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is closely related to anxiety disorders. It can be experienced as obsessions, compulsions or both. Obsessions are intrusive, uncontrollable and repeated thoughts, urges or images that cause anxiety or distress. Compulsions are behaviors that one feels compelled to perform repeatedly to reduces their obsessions, or the anxiety caused by the obsessions. Compulsions can be mental acts such as counting, or physical behaviors such as rearranging items (to be symmetrical, for example). Most adults with OCD recognize that their thoughts and behaviors don’t make sense; however, insight can vary from person-to-person and from time to time for any one person. Not surprisingly, children will have a much harder time recognizing the irrationality inherent in OCD.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a chronic disorder that can be life-long. It can be managed well with a reduction in the frequency and intensity in symptoms. One of the most effective treatment for OCD is Exposure and Relapse Prevention (ERP), which is a type of Cognitive BehaviorTherapy (CBT). In fact, 70% of people who receive ‘first-line’ treatments consisting of ERP will experience beneficial results. Depending on the severity of the OCD symptoms, therapy appointments could be one to three times per week initially. The skills learned in ERP will provide you with tools that can benefit you for the rest of your life.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is closely related to anxiety disorders. More than 8 million American adults have PTSD. It is normal for a person to feel fear and a ‘fight or flight’ reaction when experiencing a life-threatening, dangerous or scary situation, including the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one. When specific fear reactions continue beyond a month, and interfere with a person’s functioning, a person may be diagnosed with PTSD. These symptoms include re-experiencing symptoms (e.g., flashbacks, nightmares), avoidance symptoms (e.g., avoiding reminders of the traumatic events including places, events or objects), arousal and reactivity symptoms (e.g., difficulty sleeping, being easily startled), and cognition and mood symptoms (e.g., loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, negative thoughts, feelings of guilt or blame).

Children can develop PTSD and it sometimes looks a little different with behaviors such as bedwetting, having difficulty separating from a parent or caregiver and being clingy, forgetting or not being able to talk, and acting out the traumatic event. Teenagers might show destructive and revengeful behaviors. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is more likely to occur in women than men. Common co-occurring disorders include depression, other anxiety disorders, and substance use.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is treatable with different types of psychotherapy. Effective psychotherapies typically have key components including an educational component to help you understand the symptoms, skills to identify triggers of the symptoms, and skills to enable one to manage symptoms effectively.

Exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring are two types of well-established, effective CBT therapies for PTSD. Exposure therapy involves gradually and safely exposing you to the traumatic event using imagery, writing or visiting the place where the trauma occurred. Cognitive restructuring helps you to develop a heathier and more accurate view of the experience, make sense of the event, and change or heal negative thoughts and feelings.

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