Anxiety Disorders Treatment Category

Fall is a Time of Transition

Transitions can be difficult for many people with anxiety. Consistency and routine can help make us feel like we are more regulated emotionally and transitioning from the comfortable predictability of one season we have become accustomed to another can bring stress and an increase in the symptoms of anxiety.

Throughout the summer we have become used to the warmer weather, which allows us to be outside more and have longer days of sunshine. Now, with the onset of autumn, the days are becoming increasingly cooler and that beautiful sunshine we love doesn’t last as long as the days grow shorter. For those of us living in parts of the world that experience all four seasons, we know that winter will be coming soon. The thought of having to be indoors more and deal with ice and snow can induce feelings of anxiety.

Fall also marks the beginning of the holiday season. Halloween will be here before you know it quickly followed by Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year&rs...

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Anxiety and Phobias

Anxiety can be crippling, especially if it is free-floating anxiety, as if you were thrown into a state with no beginning and no end. Pay attention to wha your thoughts are that you were having that may have caused or increased your anxiety. Was there an interaction with a stranger in a store, or with a loved one, that has made you feel negative about yourself? Did you just think of a friend, your mother, father, or a sibling before the anxiety came on or increased?
In psychotherapy I will ask you to notice these things, and more, so that I can help you to discover a pattern of experiences that may be contributing to your anxiety. Over time, you will discover the heretofore unknown causes of your anxiety states.
When the anxiety is overwhelming, we must admit that it is a feeling state that has its roots in fear. I then ask the patient to explore underlying causes of the fear, and what it is about.
If you can pay attention to what has happened recently, or what you were thinking before th...

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Catastrophizing - 5 Steps to Calming Calamity

Catastrophizing - 5 Steps to Calming Calamity (part 2)
Suggestions to help limit catastrophizing and to alleviate self-destructive tendencies.
(Part I of Catastrophizing, What If…@

If you were catastrophizing, would you recognize it? Could you spot catastrophizing in someone else? If you don’t know you’re doing it, you won’t be able to stop. Dr. John Grohol recommends recording negative thoughts on paper and to write down what happened as objectively as possible, what you thought about the situation, and then what your reaction or behaviors were. 

Over a week’s time, you’ll begin to see a pattern emerge of when you’re most likely to catastrophize and some of the thoughts or situations that most likely lead to it. 

Now (looking at your negative thoughts recordings) that you can see some of the direct cause and effects of your thoughts, you can begin the process of steering your thoughts in a healthy direction.* Stopp...

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Disappointment: How does it Happen?

What are some examples people have reported of experiences that led to feelings of  ‘disappointment?”

1- a love relationship collapses                                         5- no recognition for hard work you have been doing

2- you get turned down for job you really wanted               6- a friend, family member or date does not call

3- feeling misunderstood by a spouse or family member      7- a partner/family cancels a planned dinner

4- you just can't seem to reach a weight target                   8- poor performance and greades at school or s...

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5 Strategies for Combating Shyness And Social Anxiety Disorder: How to Build Social Skills: Part 1

By Matt Sandford, LMHC
In a previous article I provided some helps for sorting out the differences between Shyness, Introversion and Social Anxiety Disorder. This is a companion piece meant to offer suggestions for addressing the skills of the person struggling with shyness. I believe it can certainly be helpful for those who identify as introverts or those struggling with SAD as well. Let me here explain something specific concerning introversion. Unlike shyness and SAD, introversion is a personality trait, and therefore the goal, my goal, is not to change it. No one’s personality needs to change in order to be fulfilled and be their best self. Our goal should be to mature, to grow. We may need to become more comfortable with who we are, but we don’t need to change our identity. Maybe you need to understand and discover your identity, but that’s not changing it. My desire is to provide some helpful skill development, but what that means is simply developing and honing...

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3 Ways to Tackle Anxiety

Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

Everyone worries, but not everyone worries the same way. Everyone worries but not everyone is affected the same way. Some are more affected by events, or external issues or circumstances, some more so by negative thoughts, personal flaws, or wounds old and new. And when things happen in our world and in our community and in our personal lives the worries can pile up. My goal for this vignette is not to provide a way to eradicate all your anxieties, as wonderful as that sounds, for that would be aiming too high for a mere article. However, all of us can feel better if we can reduce the size or the intensity of the pile of worries. And that seems like a reachable and helpful goal.

1. Find a way to get at least some of those swirling thoughts out of your head. You know, the more that you ruminate on your anxieties that it doesn’t help. In fact, they grow, don’t they? They seem to take on a life of their own, as your mind finds ways to add to the possib...

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5 Strategies for Combating Shyness And Social Anxiety Disorder How to Build Social Skills, Part 2

By Matt Sandford, LMHC
This two part series on how to increase one’s social skills and confidence in social interaction is a companion piece to my article on Shyness, Social Phobia and Introversion. Part one proposed the need for trying new approaches in terms of social interactions, offered some places to look in making new friendships, and then provided strategies 1 and 2, which were, I Don’t Know What to Say, and I’m Afraid to Initiate. Here are the final three strategies.
3. What If They Think I’m an Idiot, or Something Worse!
We now have to consider the seemingly unpleasant prospect – that someone does respond poorly, or rudely or belittles you or your opinion or comment. There’s no getting around the reality that there are insensitive and small minded individuals in this world, who are self centered or just plain mean. But I think it helps if you can remember that if someone like that has a poor opinion of you, that it actually says more about the...

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Release Trauma and its Immoblizing Effects

   Traumas come in many forms. Some types of traumatic events that perpetually victimize a person's mind include rape, incest, childhood abuse, witnessing the death of friends or family, or fearing for life and limb in dangerous situations like members of our armed forces.   Additionally, accidents of various types (car, sports injuries), even being dropped suddenly by an ex (relationship break-up), can lead a person to code the event in their mind and body with self-destructive effects and consequences. Traumas have varying degrees of intensity, time frames, and complexity.  Even though the type of traumatic event differs from person to person, does not make what happened any less important or life-impacting. Unresolved traumas either immobilize a person or have a way of leaking into other areas of life.

   A trauma is the memory of an unpleasant, devastating event(s) associated with strong debi...

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Nutrients That Affect Mental Health

As a therapist,I have clients ask about natural methods for mental health.

The first recorded nutritional experiment is in the Bible in the Book of Daniel. As the story goes, the king of Babylon captured Daniel and his friends during an invasion of Israel. When the king invited them to eat his rich foods and wine, Daniel and his friends declined. They explained that they preferred vegetables, beans and water in accordance with their Jewish dietary restrictions. The king agreed to allow them their diet on a trial basis. Daniel and his friends ate their diet for 10 days. Afterward, the king compared their health to that of his men who had been on the richer diet of heavy meats and wine. The king concluded that Daniel and his friends appeared healthier and were allowed to continue with their diet.

Over the course of time, scientists have continually investigated the effect diet and nutrition have on well-being. By the 20th century, scientists had used nutrition in the treatment of every...

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Herbal Medicine and Mental Health

In developing countries, up to 80% of indigenous populations rely on herbs for primary health care needs. In France and Germany, 30 to 40% of all medical doctors -- including psychiatrist -- rely on herbal preparations as their primary medicines in mental health counseling. German physicians, for example, frequently prescribe ginkgo, hawthorn, St. John's wort, horse-chestnut, saw palmetto, echinacea, valerian, ginger, garlic, and cranberry.

In Europe, herbs and herbal products are regulated in a different manner than in the United States. In 1978, the German Federal Health Agency established the German Commission E to investigate the safety and efficacy of herbal remedies.The commission studied evidence from literature, anecdotal reports, and clinical studies. In response, they developed monographs on over 400 herbs. These writings are now used worldwide as essential references on herbal therapy. The commission also established indications of how an herb is used medicinally and dosage...

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