FAQ

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Before answering questions, let’s begin with some definitions:

 

           Do I have an anxiety disorder?

  • According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Anxiety is a normal part of living. It’s a biological reaction—the body’s way of telling us something isn’t right. It keeps us from harm’s way and prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger. But if your anxiety becomes overwhelming and persistent, or if it interferes with your regular daily activities, or even makes them impossible, you may have an anxiety disorder.
  • More information . . .

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How many people have anxiety disorder?

  • There are an estimated 2.8% of the U.S. population (4 million Americans) have GAD during a year’s time. GAD most often strikes people in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood, too. It affects women more often than men.

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    • Have any famous people suffered from anxiety?
    • Yes, many famous people throughout history have dealt with anxiety and panic disorders. Sir Isaic Newton, Abraham Lincoln, and Barbara Streisand are among scores of recognizable names of those who have had to deal with panic and anxiety. More information . . .

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    • How long have anxiety disorders been “officially” recognized?
    • It was not until 1980 that the American Psychatric Association recognized anxiety disorders, so prior to that, the disorders went largely misunderstood and untreated. Since 1980, more has been learned about the severe disabilities associated with the disorders. In the past 20 years, it has been found that most of these disabilities can be prevented with early diagnosis and effective treatment.


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    • How are Anxiety and Panic different – and does it matter?
    • There are differences between anxiety and panic, and it does matter when taking steps to deal with each. More information . . .

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    • What kinds of medication are used for anxiety disorders??
    • Four major classes of medications are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders:
      1. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
      2. SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors)
      3. benzodiazepines
      4. tricyclic antidepressants


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    • Is there medication that works and where can I find it?
    • Yes, there is medication, but please remember that there is no magic pill that will make this “go away.” Medication has its place in an overall therapy and can be quite helpful in “breaking the cycle” enough to allow healing to proceed. More information . . .

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    • What if I have side effects from my medication?
    • According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA,) contact your physician if you experience side effects, even if you are not sure a symptom is caused by a medication. Do not stop taking a medication without consulting with the prescribing physician; abrupt discontinuation may cause other health risks.Medications will work only if they are taken according the explicit instructions of your physician, but they may not resolve all symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

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    • Can I take medications while I’m pregnant?
    • According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) any treatment plan has risks and benefits, and for pregnant women, the risks are of particular concern. The effectiveness and safety of treating symptoms for anxiety disorders and depression differs for every woman. Talk to your doctor before beginning or changing any treatment plan.
      Find out more on the ADAA web site, including the recommendations of the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.


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    • Can I get help paying for medications and therapy?
    • You can go to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) web site to find out about resources that offer assistance in paying for treatment. Family physicians also may have information about low-cost treatment resources.

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    • What treatment options are available?

According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) treatments for anxiety disorders may include medication or therapy; both types have been found effective. A combination of medication and therapy may also be effective. The decision about treatment is based on your needs and preferences. Discuss your options with a professional who is familiar with your diagnosis and overall health. Scientific evidence is growing about complementary and alternative treatment, which is an approach to health care that exists outside conventional medicine practiced in the United States. Consult a doctor or therapist to get a proper diagnosis and to learn about treatment options, length of treatment, side effects, time commitment, and other health issues to help you decide on the best treatment approach for you.


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  • How effective are treatments and how long do they take?

According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) success of treatment varies, but most people with an anxiety disorder can be helped with professional care. Benefits of CBT are usually seen in 12 to 16 weeks. Medication may be a short-term or long-term treatment option, depending on severity of symptoms, other medical conditions and individual circumstances. It often takes time and patience to find the drug that works best for you. Treatment may be complicated if you have more than one anxiety disorder or if they suffer from depression, substance abuse, or other co-existing conditions. This is why treatment must be tailored specifically for each person.


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  • Can a Support Group help?
  • A good Support Group can be very helpful in many ways. If I could make only one recommendation to a fellow sufferer, I would recommend participating in a Support Group. More information . . .

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  • What if I can’t find a Support Group?
  • There are Support Groups all around you – you just have to know where to find them. And, if they are too far away to attend, you can set up your own Support Group near your home. More information . . .

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  • Is real deep breathing helpful?
  • Breathing can be overdone – you don’t want to hyperventilate. Over-breathing can cause dizziness and it can cause a feeling of anxiety. Proper breathing is very helpful, in fact, you will notice that most experts will mention proper breathing as the “number one” technique you should use for combating GAD. More information . . .
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  • How do I remember to practice breathing?

 

 


  • Some people use a wristwatch alarm, a kitchen timer, even a cell phone alarm to remind them to practice at regular intervals. Alarms can be loud and attract unwanted attention and they can be complicated to program or re-set each time. There is an inexpensive breathing reminder called The BreathMinder® that has a silent alarm, is easy to use, and is tiny enough to wear comfortably under clothing.More information . . .


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    What causes anxiety disorders?

 

According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) researchers are learning that anxiety disorders run in families, and that they have a biological basis, much like allergies or diabetes and other disorders. Anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.


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    • How do I handle day-to-day living with anxiety?
    • Working full time, air travel, crowded public places, and car trips can all be overwhelming for an anxiety sufferer. There are coping skills that can be learned and practiced. More information . . .

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    • What if I am too anxious to travel?
    • Travel is one of my least favorite activities and it can create extreme anxiety in many people. However, there are ways to overcome these feelings. . More information . . .

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    • What is the connection between oxygen and anxiety?
    • We all have within us the power to breathe our way to a healthier and happier life. Breathing properly is so simple, it is easy to not give it proper thought and practice. . More information . . .

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    • Is generalized anxiety disorder the same as general anxiety?
    • According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA,) no: Generalized anxiety disorder, also known as GAD, is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things. People with this disorder experience exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. They don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants.
      Anxiety, or general anxiety, is a normal reaction to stressful and uncertain situations. It’s your body telling you to stay alert and protect yourself.
      Learn the difference between general anxiety about your taxes or the economy and generalized anxiety disorder.


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    • What goes into conducting a support group meeting?
    • There’s a lot to consider for a well-run and productive meeting. Who’s the leader, do we need an agenda, how do you get the meeting started (and keep it going) are just some of the points . . More information . . .

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    • How can I deal with crowded places?
    • Coping with crowded places presents a big challenge to me. Many people I know avoid big crowds, so a lot of this is just personal preference. I know that mine is more than just personal preference – I dread the confining feeling of a crowd. . . More information . . .

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    • How can I feel better about going to work?
    • I used to dread going to work. I felt trapped and worried about what would happen if I had an anxiety attack and couldn’t leave the office – I used to go to the ladies room quite often! But if you are lucky enough to have a good job – you can control your anxiety disorder and keep that good job. . . More information . . .

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    • How do I find the right health professional?
    • According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) anxiety disorders can be treated by a wide range of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurses. Increasingly aware of the problems of anxiety disorders and depression, primary care physicians make frequent diagnoses, and they may prescribe medication or refer a patient to a mental health provider.

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  • Why go to the doctor when I can read about it here?
  • IMPORTANT: This site is not intended in any way to replace sound medical consultation. Diagnosis and treatment by a licensed physician is vital and nothing contained in this site (or any other site) should take the place of regular visits to your doctor . . More information . . .

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  • Why learn how to breathe – don’t I already breathe?
  • Some people have eliminated their anxiety symptoms simply by changing the way they breathe. A proper breathing technique is very important and requires practice. You breathe now, but the way you breathe may not use your lung capacity. Some people “overbreathe” . . More information . . .

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  • What clinical studies support these breathing claims?
  • The Framingham study included thousands of participants followed over a 30-year period and offers persuasive evidence that the most significant factor in health and longevity is how well you breathe. Also, the von Ardenne studies, and those of his teacher, Dr. Otto Warburg, who received the 1931 Nobel Prize for his work on cell behavior in oxygen-enriched conditions. . . More information . . .

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  • Why not just practice yoga?
  • There is a direct connection between yoga, meditation in general, and breathing. Controlled breathing technique (or “breathwork”) is essential to the practices of Yoga, Ayurveda, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and many other disciplines . . More information . . .

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  • Do I have to pay a newspaper to advertise my new support group?
  • No, not if you do it right! You send the newspaper what is called a Press Release. Most newspapers have a section devoted to community meetings and support groups. Other newspapers will treat the new start-up group as a news story. . More information . . .

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  • Can I write to you?
  • Sure you can and a lot of people do. I have had visitors to the site from all over the world (you can see all their flags on the “Feedback” page.) On the “Feedback” page is a simple fill-in form that will automatically email to me. . More information . . .

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  • Where can I read more about anxiety?
  • The internet provides a lot of resources – but the articles are all over the place and differ in quality. I have posted some of the better ones I have found and a couple my husband and I wrote. . . More information . . .

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    There are also some good books available. The ones I have read and can recommend personally, I have posted on one of my pages and I direct you to other resources you can explore on your own.More information . . .


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  • Are there other good sites on anxiety?

 

The Internet is filled with sites that deal with anxiety, panic, stress, and related issues. However, there are good ones and some not so good. I have listed a page of other sites I feel are legitimate and helpful. . . More information . . .


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  • What is the best way to treat children with anxiety disorders?

According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication are effective in treating children with anxiety disorders. Recent research found that a combination of CBT and an antidepressant worked better for children ages 7-17 than either treatment alone.

Because one child may respond better, or sooner, to a particular treatment than another child with the same diagnosis, it’s important to discuss with your doctor or therapist how to decide which treatment works best for your child and family lifestyle.
According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in October 2004 that antidepressant medications, including SSRIs, may increase suicidal thoughts and behavior in a small number of children and adolescents. However, the FDA has not prohibited or removed these medications, and no suicides were reported in the studies that led to the warning.

You should not necessarily refuse to give your child medication, but you should watch for signs of depression and talk to your child’s doctor or therapist about any concerns. Untreated anxiety disorders in children increases the risk for depression, social isolation, substance abuse, and suicide.


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  • Is it safe for children to take medication?

According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in October 2004 that antidepressant medications, including SSRIs, may increase suicidal thoughts and behavior in a small number of children and adolescents. However, the FDA has not prohibited or removed these medications, and no suicides were reported in the studies that led to the warning.

You should not necessarily refuse to give your child medication, but you should watch for signs of depression and talk to your child’s doctor or therapist about any concerns. Untreated anxiety disorders in children increases the risk for depression, social isolation, substance abuse, and suicide.

 

 

 


Page last updated February 26, 2017