Self-Help for Anxiety and Panic Disorder
Anxiety in Today's World
Anxiety has been described as a hallmark of modern life, as the pace of change seems only to increase. We are bombarded with anxiety-provoking stimuli in the newspaper, on TV, over the Internet. Bad news still sells papers.
Panic attacks are severe anxiety experiences accompanied by physical sensations such as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, dizziness, tingling and sweating. They may come on without warning, and leave the sufferer terrified and panic-stricken.
Fear is a milder form of panic, and involves the prediction of a negative outcome. When faced with uncertainty or ambiguity, it is easy to respond with fear, rather than curiosity or a sense of adventure. Fear is a difficult emotion to deal with, in part because it is frightening and painful to feel it.
Worry - a chronic, low-level combination of anxiety and fearfulness -- is a habit that is challenging to break. Obsessing about things over which we have no control drains energy away from more productive activities.
Phobias are rigid fearful responses to particular stimuli: snakes, flying, open spaces. Untreated phobias may severely limit a person?s life as he or she devotes increasing time and energy to avoiding the feared experience.
Treatment of Anxiety Conditions
All these phenomena are manifestations of out-of-control anxiety. Significant advances have been made in recent years in the treatment of these conditions, using a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The self-help resources listed in the section on anxiety and panic disorder offer useful tools to help you understand the symptoms you may be experiencing and to assess their magnitude and cause. They provide step-by-step guidance for taking positive action to combat the difficult presence of panic, fear, worry or phobia in your life.