Nothing is better than getting answers to your anxiety questions from an experienced therapist.
Over past few decades, there has been a tremendous development in the field of psychotherapy for anxiety and depression.
Even then a majority of sufferers don’t know how, when and where to get help for these conditions. They keep suffering even when appropriate help is available.
Dr. Helen Odessky has answered 7 questions on anxiety briefly which can motivate you to get therapy as soon as possible and take back the control of your life.
Anxiety is often called as the worst distress. How are anxiety and panic attacks affecting the life of sufferers in today’s hectic life?
Today our hectic lifestyle is fueling anxiety.
I see clients that are simply unable to “unplug” from their stresses. They might be aware that they have such stresses but they are helpless. They cannot find ways to relieve their stress and most of the times the stressors remain unknown or unnoticed.
Our connectedness via electronic devices keeps people tuned in into the daily news cycle, when they need to take time away from these stressors.
What do people think about anxiety? Is there any social stigma about anxiety, and panic disorder?
The stigma about anxiety and panic has decreased, however, it is still around.
People wonder if they will be considered “crazy” if they admit to their anxiety and panic. This is unfortunate, as the more we can talk openly about panic and anxiety, the more we are able to overcome it.
What are safety behaviors and how do they prevent sufferers from getting out of repeated bouts of Anxiety and Panic?
Safety behaviors are a way for someone who struggles with panic and anxiety to regain control in an attempt to reduce their symptoms.
For example, someone who is afraid of getting a panic attack while driving, may stop driving or always drive with another person to feel safer in the situation. Because safety behaviors prevent you from overcoming anxiety and only let you avoid feeling anxious temporarily, they make the problem worse.
Rather than feeling empowered by engaging in situations and feeling like you can make it, safety behaviors actually strengthen the learning around the dangerousness of situations and symptoms and keep you stuck.
Overthinking is often noticed in people with anxiety and panic disorder. How does overthinking about panic attacks leads to more distress? What does your experience say?
Overthinking usually increases the panic and anxiety symptoms.
It is usually an attempt to feel better, but it ends up with the person getting lost in hypotheticals. Because we cannot solve hypothetical problems, the sufferer feels little to no relief.
My experience says that the sooner you are able to disengage from overthinking, the better you will feel.
We often hear that breathing exercises can help manage anxiety. What is the importance of practicing belly/diaphragmatic breathing for panic attack sufferers?
Belly/Diaphragmatic Breathing serves a purpose, provided it is not done during a panic attack–in which case it is usually unhelpful.
Belly breathing can be helpful as a stress reduction technique, and when practiced regularly, ideally daily can reduce your overall stress and anxiety levels.
It’s been said that exposure therapy is the real solution to anxiety and fears. Can one consider exposure therapy for panic attacks?
Exposure therapy for panic attacks is very effective and I regularly see it work with my clients.
Lastly, you being a practicing anxiety and panic attack therapist, what is your approach for curing anxiety and panic attacks? What message would you give to the sufferers?
I would encourage people to seek help–usually, people wait far too long, many as much as 5-7 years. Anxiety and panic are very treatable, but they do not get better without treatment.
I try to make treatment understandable to my clients and go over a plan and rationale for everything that we do.
I see a lot of hope and I would encourage people to give CBT and exposure therapy a try.