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Anxiety & Panic

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease.  Anxiety often happens when there is a feeling of fear or a sense of uncertainty about an outcome or future event.  Anxiety disorders range from feelings of uneasiness to immobilizing bouts of terror. Anxiety is one of the most common and most treatable of the mental disorders. It is a physiological, behavioral, and psychological reaction that affects your whole being. Anxiety may include bodily reactions such as rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, and sweating and can impair your ability to deal with certain situations. It arouses a sense of fear, dread and restlessness. In its most extreme form, it can cause you to feel detached from yourself and even fearful of dying or going crazy. In order to recover from an anxiety disorder, intervention must reduce physiological reactivity, eliminate avoidance behavior, and change self-talk which perpetuates apprehension and worry. Anxiety can appear in different forms and at different levels of intensity.


Anxiety is a natural occurring emotional reaction to everyday challenges involving potential loss or failure. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it is more intense, lasts longer, and leads to phobias that interfere in your life.  Almost any type of exercise can help to alleviate anxiety, and Yoga is a useful intervention for anxiety and stress management, particularly when combined with therapy.  Besides yoga and exercise, yogic breathing and other forms of breath awareness are very effective.  Guided Relaxation Techniques may include guided meditation, body scans and progressive muscle relaxation exercises.  Introducing good nutritional habits into your daily life-as well as paying attention to self-talk, mistaken beliefs, feelings, assertiveness, and self-esteem can all contribute to making your life more balanced and less anxious, regardless of the nature and extent of the anxiety you happen to be dealing with.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy along with mind-body techniques can help relieve the symptoms of anxiety. An effective technique called reframing uses cognitive therapy and mindfulness skills to manage anxious thoughts and emotions associated with panic. It also helps to understand anxiety from a biopsychosocial model.  For information on the biopsychosocial model of anxiety you can visit:


The more common anxiety disorders include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Most people experience anxiety at some point in their lives and some nervousness in anticipation of a real situation. However, if a person cannot shake unwarranted worries, or if the feelings are jarring to the point of avoiding everyday activities, he or she most likely has an anxiety disorder.


Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder experience white-knuckled, heart-pounding terror that strikes suddenly and without warning. Since they cannot predict when a panic attack will seize them, many people live in persistent worry that another one could overcome them at any moment.


Phobias: Most of us steer clear of certain, hazardous things. Phobias however, are irrational fears that lead people to altogether avoid specific things or situations that trigger intense anxiety. Phobias occur in several forms, for example, agoraphobia is the fear of being in any situation that might trigger a panic attack and from which escape might be difficult. Social phobia is a fear of being extremely embarrassed in front of other people. The most common social phobia is fear of public speaking.


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Researchers now know that anyone, even children, can develop PTSD if they have experienced, witnessed, or participated in a traumatic occurrence-especially if the event was life threatening. PTSD can result from terrifying experiences such as rape, kidnapping, natural disasters, or war or serious accidents such as airplane crashes. The psychological damage such incidents cause can interfere with a person's ability to hold a job or to develop intimate relationships with others.

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