Childhood Anxiety

Childhood anxiety is not so very different form anxiety in adults. Hopefully children can get over anxiety and panic attacks faster, if it is caught early and the cause dealt with.

In my case it was not caught early. I was firstly diagnosed with an ear infection (The cause of my dizziness) and then shipped off to see a neurologist and given an EEG scan to check for tumours and epilepsy. It was some obviously a relief to have the results turn up negative, but I do remember being disappointed when I realised that if it were epilepsy I could be treated by taking a simple course of medication.

It was several years before I told my parents about my symptoms and it wasn’t until I was twenty-one that I was successfully diagnosed as suffering from anxiety. By that time I had been suffering frequent bouts of anxiety for nine years.


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy wouldn’t have helped much. With childhood anxiety I think the cause is important. It is bound to be unhappiness in the home, parental strife, insecurity, bullying at school or too much pressure. Sometimes a homosexual child may feel constrained by a conservative family, and anxiety can easily result from inner-self doubt or anger. So rather than using CBT alone, I would suggest looking for the cause. If my causes (low self esteem, insecurity, unhappiness in family life, unhappiness at school, not having space to be myself, depression) had been dealt with, I would not have grown into finding the anxiety of my childhood so normal and everyday that is was hard to let go of.


If Childhood Anxiety is not dealt with in childhood it will surely go on to cause anxiety or depression in adulthood.

Agoraphobics – Wanted for TV Therapy Show

“I am currently working at Monkey Productions, an independent TV company, on a documentary about Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia for Channel 4.

We are fortunate to be working with Professor Paul Salkovskis – the Clinical Director of the Anxiety Disorders and Trauma Unit at the Maudlsey Hospital and one of the leading specialists in this condition in the UK. He has devised an intensive treatment programme specifically designed to help sufferers get their lives back on track. This TV series follows on from the success of ‘The House of Obsessive Compulsives’ which we produced for Channel 4 last year. If you didn’t see it, these programmes depicted the lives of 3 people suffering from OCD who underwent treatment with Paul and his team: all three of them improved dramatically. We aim to produce similarly sensitive and sympathetic films about Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia.

I am keen to talk to anyone who feels ‘trapped’ by the condition about their experiences to learn more about how the condition affects them, and ultimately to find people who are keen to take part in the treatment programme itself. “

If you are interested call Zoe on 0207 749 3169

Phobias – a Cortisol Link/Cure?

This was from the BBC Health Section

Hormone could cut spider phobia

As long as this one doesn’t come up the plugholeIt could be easier for those with a fear of spiders to have a bath following a study published this week.

Researchers suggest arachnophobes, and people with other phobias, could be helped by a dose of the stress hormone cortisol, which impairs memory.

The University of Zurich team found giving the hormone before being exposed to the phobia trigger led to less fear.

But a psychiatrist said the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study was not the whole answer.

It seems unlikely that you could remove a long-term phobia by simply altering the chemical levels

Dr Cosmo Hallstrom, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the treatment would not help people stop avoiding the thing they had a phobia of.

Standard phobia therapy involves exposing a person to whatever it is they are frightened of in initially tiny doses, building up to full exposure – by say, holding a spider – so that they are no longer frightened and stop organising their life in a way that means they avoid the trigger of their phobia.

Stress reports

Cortisol impairs the retrieval of memories, so the principle the researchers were looking into was whether giving a dose of the hormone before people were exposed to a spider – or their own personal phobia trigger – would help.

The theory was tested on 40 people with social phobia and 20 with spider phobia.
Half of those studied were given cortisol and the rest a dummy version.

They were then either asked to give a speech in public, or exposed to a spider, depending on their phobia.

In both cases, subjects who received the hormone reported less stimulus-induced fear and anxiety.

Those who were frightened of spiders who were given the hormone treatment saw a progressive reduction of fear during each session over the two-week period of the study.
This was maintained during the final session when subjects received no drug treatment.
Those patients who were not given the hormone treatment who reported the least anxiety released the most cortisol, which the researchers say supports their theory.

The team, led by Dr Dominique de Quervain, suggest that cortisol treatment, in conjunction with behavioural therapy, could be used to reduce or even extinguish phobias and post-
traumatic stress disorders which are triggered by a particular stimulus.

But Dr Hallstrom added: “It seems unlikely that you could remove a long-term phobia by simply altering the chemical levels of something that’s already present in the body.

“This is very interesting research. But it is only part of the story.

“Phobias have two components. One is the fear of whatever it is you have a phobia about.

“Bu the other is that you spend your life avoiding that thing. This treatment wouldn’t help with that.”

Anxiety – Coeliac Diseas and IBS Link.

It is well know that Coeliac Disease can cause depression and breathlessness, (along with lots of other nasty symptoms) but what about anxiety? It can be hard to tell if a food type is causing anxiety although diets high in wheat, dairy, caffeine, simple carbohydrates and sugars have all been blamed before for panic, low mood and agitation.

Let’s be clear about exactly what Coeliac Disease is. Coeliac disease is not an allergy or an intolerance, it is an auto-immune disorder which causes your body to attack itself if gluten is ingested. It’s an incredibly hard disease to diagnose and doctors can not be really sure if a patient has it until they have carried out a biopsy. Some statistics suggest that as many as one in a hundred people could have the disease. It is serious (increasing the risk of stomach cancer amongst others) and if you have any symptoms you should definitely get yourself checked out.
Is there a link between anxiety and Coeliac disease? Well, there certainly is an important link between the stomach and the mind. Research has found that as many as 90% of those with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) also present some psychiatric issue such as anxiety, depression, or OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). So it would be surprising if Coeliac Disease did not bring out stress and anxiety in someone that already had it inherent inside them. There is as yet no proof that Coeliac Disease causes anxiety but unexplained symptoms, particularly ones that cause nausea and diarrhoea, may well lead to an association being formed between extreme worry and being away from home. Only a couple of painful or embarrassing incidents in a shopping mall would be needed for most people to start to worry about visiting the mall.

IBS is much more common than Coeliac Disease. Rather than being a specific ailment it is more a category of symptoms. For some people it is aggravated or brought on by eating wheat, dairy produce and sometimes oats and rye. It may be unrelated to particular foodstuffs and a careful diet may or may not be useful in controlling symptoms. There is no Cure for IBS as such, as there are as many perturbations of the condition as there are sufferers. Many people do find relief with some experimentation.

When it comes to anxiety rather than see IBS or Coeliac Disease rather than seeing them as a cause of anxiety, perhaps anxiety is the cause of them. Or at least factors which play a large role in exacerbating the symptoms. Often people fond that their symptoms are worse in various locations, such as at work. In these cases dealing with stress may be a far better than solution than any special diet.

Anxiety Meme

I thought I’d start an impromptu survey meme type thing here by asking what your worst fear is. What is the worst possible thing that you think could happen to you. Is it an unavoidable confrontation with a something of which you are awfully phobic? Like a big hairy spider in your sleeping bag or a Black Mamba hanging from the curtain rail in your shower?

Is it something more socially orientated, like losing your train of thought during an important speech and slouching from the podium to the sound of your own feet as thousands in the audience look at the floor and cringe?

Is it being caught in flagrante by your wife or husband? Catching a terminal disease? Nuclear war or being struck by a meteor?

Whatever really scares the hell out of you, I’d like to know!

Post your answers on the anxiety blog here.

If you don’t know what a meme is click here.

Anxiety – The Importance of a High Life State

To beat anxiety you need to keep yourself in a high life state. Most people who suffer from Anxiety, Panic Attacks or Agoraphobia tend to link their symptoms with certain situations: crowded shops, being far from home, elevators, freeways etc. These associations are of course completely erroneous, they are just our minds trying to make sense of something we don’t properly understand.

Anxiety disorders seem to develop when people undergo great stress, hardship or fear at a time when their lives are already at a low ebb. Life stressors which tend to create the conditions in which anxiety disorders take hold include:

  • bereavement
  • work stress
  • illness
  • divorce
  • physical/sexual/psychological abuse

And many more. Anxiety disorders also often seem to spring out of a period of depression.
Unsurprisingly, if being in a low life state helps us fall into an anxiety disorder, getting ourselves into a happier, higher life state greatly helps us climb out of the anxiety and fear cycle. So how do we get into a higher life state when we feel so anxious and rotten? Let us examine two options:
Firstly I recommend looking for the good in your anxiety. Whether you have religious faith or not you probably believe things happen for a reason. “What good can possibly have come of anxiety?” do I hear you say? I suspect that if you look hard enough you will find that you have benefited from your anxiety. I did.

In my case:

  • Anxiety caused me to find true happiness because I wouldn’t settle for anything less.
  • It made me a fighter – overcoming anxiety left me feeling invincible.
  • It saved me from a dull career in the financial sector, where I would have become a clone.
  • It made me understand the true value of friendship. I would not be the person I am today without it.

I could go on but my benefits are not useful to you, we all have our individual benefits. Try and understand what your anxiety has told you, and what you have gained from it. Try to be grateful for it. That is not as ridiculous as its sounds. When you are grateful for your anxiety and you see it as a part of you that is trying to help you, it becomes easier to release.
The second step of gaining a higher life state it to deal with the people who make your life miserable. These are the people you fear, the people who you feel you need to impress, and the people that control you and put you down. Whether you change your relationship with them or remove them from your life is up to you. There are no short cuts or magic wands here. If someone is making you feel rotten then the situation has to change, and you can’t hang around waiting for them to act in your best interest. The action you take depends on your particular scenario, in many cases coolly and calmly becoming more stubborn and less guilty pays a lot of dividends. It may take time for friends and family to adjust to the new you, they may even resent the fact that you are willing to put yourself first for once. This is all part of the process, relish every second: because you’re worth it!
A word should be said about domestic violence and bullying at school or in the workplace. If standing up to your aggressor will put you in danger then don’t do it. Instead, speak to someone else. You do not have to suffer on your own. When you speak out people can help you in all sorts of ways that you can barely imagine, and your anxiety will improve in droves as you take further control of your life!
In part two of this series I will examine several more ways of raising your life state to beat anxiety.

 

Anxiety – Keeping in a high life state

When tackling anxiety, panic attacks and phobias it is important to be in a high life state. What do I mean by that? Well, anxiety issues (which often lead to panic attacks and phobias) are often compounded or even caused by stressors in daily life. These stressors could be such things as unhappy marriages, bullying at school or work, a feeling of a pointless life, a pending court case, or an illness. Life is full of ups and downs and there is no escape from the challenges of life, nor would such an escape be desirable; life is exciting because of those ups and downs, and in the ups and downs of others’ lives. People who become too rich and comfortable end up drinking themselves to death because life is too dull.

The answer is not to escape life’s hardships but to be bigger than them, to enjoy the struggle and know when to take decisions. Many years ago I heard about a woman who had anxiety which had lead to agoraphobia. She was also in a violent marriage which made her desperately unhappy. The therapist pointed out to her that she was wasting her time tackling the anxiety while she was still in that marriage, because it kept her in such a low life state.

I am not contradicting myself, being bigger than an issue means knowing when to take positive action to escape. The guts to do this are an important part of tackling anxiety and panic attacks. So on the one hand you have to be able to take the knocks, and on the other know when the knocks are too big and its time to take a safer path. By taking more control of your life you will be in a better position to tackling your anxiety. You may even see your anxiety diminish radically just by being more assertive and letting life bother you less.

More tips on raising your life state tomorrow!

List of Phobia Cures

by Adam Eason

Phobias are these intense, irrational fears which cannot be overcome even when the sufferer is fully aware (as is usually the case), that there is no reason for the fear. There may have been a very valid reason for it at some stage of your life, but not anymore.

Fear is steeped in anxiety, and there does not seem to be any aspect of life that people don’t get anxious about at some time during their lives. But when the fear of that thing is so crippling that we become frozen at the very thought of it – let alone seeing it – you have moved from a simple fear to a paralyzing phobia.

Most people are aware of the phobia surrounding the fear of flying or spiders; I have taken it upon myself to list all phobias. I decided to list all phobias as I keep on getting requests about some unusual ones. I have done my best to create a list of phobias that is all encompassing, some may seem ridiculous, some may give you the wrong ideas, just use the list of phobias in the way that is right for you.

Phobias take many different forms and the list of phobias includes fear of humiliation or embarassment (social phobias), fear of high places (acrophobia), fear of open places (agoraphobia), fear of spiders (arachnophobia), fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) and fear of animals (zoophobia).

Phobias may relate from almost any situation, idea or object and most people have at least one mild phobia that is on the list of phobias. Severe phobias are, however, very disabling and can seriously disrupt normal living.

As I decided to list all phobias and researched the subject even further beyond what I originally knew about them, it seems more likely that a phobia is a simple, forgotten conditioned reflex which is kept active (reinforced) by the repeated drive to avoid the unpleasant experience. There is often an initial sensitising event where you learned the phobic response, however, this is not always the case; it may have been learned gradually and increasingly over time.
This view is supported by the success of behaviour therapy in removing phobias. While most of these fears are rooted in some reality; we all know needles do hurt, dogs do occasionally go for you, new people can be judgmental and so on; a phobia is based in an unrealistic fear: the needle will break off in your arm and the dogs will attack you like in a horror movie. All these thoughts are terrifying to those who suffer from the phobia.

Two of the most common fears noted when I chose to list all phobias and research how common they are, are those of tests and spiders. Test anxiety is rooted in comparing yourself to other people, and is deeply rooted in fear of failure. Spiders are creepy, and are portrayed as so in so much media and a phobic will often become hysterical or faint at the sight of one.

With this list of phobias that I have drawn up, while you may or may not know about all of the technical definitions of the phobias on the list , I reckon that if you do have one of them there is one thing that you know for sure:

You know how that phobia and fear feels in your body and your mind!

And it is not your favourite feeling is it? However, there are answers even when everything else you may have tried has not been successful. If you suffer from any of the phobias or fears on the list of phobias, you may not want to talk about it or want people to know that you have this disorder or somewhere inside you may feel that no one really understands you and how you feel. No matter how compassionate, understanding or competent a friend or therapist may be, you know that they haven’t experienced the feeling and terror that you experience in your body.

What’s more, for some people that suffer from some of the fears on the list of phobias just talking about your phobia and fear symptoms actually brings on the symptoms themselves. You are in a vicious cycle.

Perhaps the most tragic part of phobia and fear is that they prevent you from living life to the fullest. You may not want to go to certain places or experience certain events for fear it may trigger your phobia or fear. Regardless, phobia and fear prevent us from living a joyful, vibrant life.

Imagine what your life will be like when you are free. When you can be confident and at ease in situations where you used to feel phobic or fearful. Imagine what it will be like when you can talk about your former symptoms as though you are describing a movie where the character is someone else, not you. It is like you have a distant memory of it.

Here is a list of phobia cures and Treatment Options

– Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy helps to reprogram your unconscious minds processes that may be generating your fear. When these processes resolved, people are then free of the symptoms of phobia and fear is minimized.

You can overcome fears and phobias on the list of all phobias using hypnosis. Hypnosis and other forms of modern personal development allow you to enter a state of trance and then deliver suggestions to reprogram, control or eliminate the phobia entirely. Imagine how nice it would be to go into a classroom for a test and not have an anxiety attack, or to be able to go camping in the woods. It works – it really does!

Hypnotherapy is safe and works fast and is becoming one of the most popular treatment options on this list of phobia cures.

– Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is basically the study and practice of how we create our reality. From the NLP viewpoint, your fear is the result of your programs or “constructs” that you have created that are outmoded and not functioning as you would like them to. With NLP, these constructs are identified, exposed and re-programmed so that your phobia is made vulnerable and subsequently minimized and very often eliminated.

NLP interventions are quite rapid and effective.

– Meridian and Energy Psychology

Meridian and Energy Psychology is emerging as an excellent therapy for fears and phobias because in studies it is shown to be rapid, safe, effective and long-lasting. Energy Psychology is based on a theory and practice that has been around for a couple of thousand years. Energy Psychology has the same foundation or roots as acupuncture, except in this case there are no needles used. You could call it emotional acupuncture – without the needles.

Recent scientific studies have shown Energy Psychology to be very effective. The two main fields of this meridian and energy psychology are EFT and TFT.
Energy Psychologies have been shown to enable you to quickly and easily change your behaviors as well as your thought patterns changing, often very quickly. What’s more, you develop skills and techniques that are useful for a lifetime in all situations.

– Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive therapy or cognitive behavior therapy is a kind of psychotherapy used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, and other forms of mental disorder.
It involves recognizing unhelpful patterns of thinking and reacting, then modifying or replacing these with more realistic or helpful ones. Its application in treating schizophrenia along with medication and family therapy is recognized by the NICE guidelines within the British NHS.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion), and how we act (behaviour) all interact together. Specifically, our thoughts determine our feelings and our behaviour. Therefore negative thoughts can cause us distress and result in problems.

– Conventional Medicine

Next on this list of phobia cures is conventional medicine. The physiological responses to phobias such as having a fast pulse, sweating, high blood pressure, and so on, can be controlled by the use of beta-blocking drugs.

The bodys beta receptors are tiny areas scattered all over the heart, the arteries, muscles and elsewhere at which adrenaline and related hormones act when you have your phobic reaction. When these hormones contact the receptors their effect is to speed up the heart and constrict blood vessels, so increasing the blood pressure; and to widen the airway tubes in the lungs. All this happens in moments of stress and need for action. The beta-blocker drugs have the same general chemical shape as the adrenaline molecule and so fit into the receptor sites in the same way, effectively blocking them so that arenaline, although present, cannot act.

About the Author

Adam Eason is a world renowned consultant, speaker and best-selling author. Please visit his website for the list of phobias and to discover more about Adams amazing phobia release programme: http://www.adam-eason.com Thank you.

ELIMINATE STRESS AND ANXIETY FROM YOUR LIFE–BECOME RESILIENT!

by Adrianne Ahern, Ph.D.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein

Each one of us has different levels of resiliency when it comes to dealing with our life situations. Do you need to learn some ways of becoming more resilient?Take this brief Stress Quiz and find out!

1. Do you worry constantly and cycle with negative self-talk?

2. Do you have difficulty concentrating?

3. Do you get mad and react easily?

4. Do you have recurring neck or headaches?

5. Do you grind your teeth?

6. Do you frequently feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed?

7. Do you feed your stress with unhealthy habits-eating or drinking excessively, smoking, arguing, or avoiding yourself and life in other ways?

The most important first step in dealing with your stress is to accept and acknowledge that it is your emotional reaction to a situation or event in your life that causes your stress, not the situation itself. We can’t often do anything about the situation, but we can work with our reaction to the situation-this is where our power is!

I created the Snap Out Of It NOW! Method to help myself, and now you, to become more resilient and more creative. In other words, to learn how to interrupt and SNAP Out of the destructive cycle of emotional reactions that are engaged when faced with a difficult life situation.

Breathing Awareness Exercise:

The breath is your key to self-resiliency. The breath is your entry into your body-bringing light to the darkness, warmth to the coldness, and boundless possibilities for breaking free from your everyday reality.

The following exercise takes less than a minute and you can do it anywhere-at the grocery store, in your car during traffic, even in the middle of a fight or disagreement with another person. Sometimes just one single minute can be your best friend!Launch Yourself to Places You Have Never Gone Before!

1. STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN-acknowledge you are stuck in a negative think-feeling pattern-you’re stuck in a destructive cycle of reactions within your own body.

2. Become aware of your BREATH by listening to your breath going in and out your nose. Enter your body with your breath.

3. BREATHE to the negative feeling sensation in your body that’s present wherever it may be, and as you exhale you are releasing the disharmony within your body. You are NOW free to deal with the situation in a creative new way!

You are shifting the state of your body and mind away from disharmony (frustration, anger, fear) back to its natural state of harmony (appreciation, love, joy)! Within this state of harmony you are more flexible, resilient, and creative. Isn’t it wonderful to have a tool that will launch you into possibilities you never saw before!

About the Author

Dr. Adrianne Ahern has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and is the author of the upcoming book, Snap Out Of It…Now! 4 Steps to Personal Fulfillment Using the Power of the Breath Empowering patients for over 15 years to face any challenge, Dr. Ahern gives individuals a new prescription for living a more fulfilled life. Contact: www.SnapOutOfItNow.com

Celexa, citalopram – a personal experience

Celexa, is the brand name of a drug called Citalopram Hydrobromide which is one of the most widely prescribed Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) on the market. It is widely used to treat major depression, panic disorder, anxiety, and agoraphobia. You should remember that drugs are never a solution, just a crutch, and there are other non-drug approaches which can help in getting over anxiety.

I used this drug for some time, taking the standard dosage of 20mg a day. Occasionally larger doses are prescribed if 20mg are found to be insufficient, and often the elderly or inform are started on a lower dose of 10mg which is increased when tolerance has been established.

Side effects are what most people think about first when anti depressants are mentioned, there has been much made in the media about addiction and suicide. Celexa does have a good side effects profile, to you and me that means that the side effects are usually mild and short lived. And in terms of addiction the relative long half life of the drug (the amount of time it spends in your system) means that it is much easier to come off than drugs like Seroxat (Paroxetine Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat). Side effects that I encountered included very short lived bouts of dizziness, lasting less than a few seconds, and a week long drop in libido. Within a week all side effects had effectively passed and I never had anything that made me want to stop taking the drug. I never really experienced nausea or a dry mouth, and my sleeping improved quickly. I would say that on the very first day of taking the drug I felt as weird as I have ever felt in my whole life. I felt a spacey depression that was most unusual and odd. I would describe it as absolute helplessness. It passed later that day when I applied some techniques that I had recently learnt. (more on that tomorrow)

Would I recommend Celexa?

Well, from a side effect standpoint I would have no qualms (although of course everyone one is different and some people can not tolerate Celexa).

The question is, does it work?

Well, I think that it stops the really dire lows and keeps you stable, but it is not a pep pill and it does not put you on cloud nine. Neither does it change your outlook on life or your major cognitions, so while it does make desensitization easier if for example you were agoraphobic, it won’t make problems disappear, or didn’t for me anyway. For that you do need to use therapy as well as drug treatment. Drugs are just symptomatic relief.

Please read the disclaimer.