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leeches leech mehdi Causes of Phobia by mehdi jaffari

Although many researchers have tried to establish the cause of phobia, this disorder still has an unknown cause. It is commonly believed that the cause of phobia and other anxiety disorders can be associated with genes, irregularity in brain chemistry and previous experiences.

Some experts say that phobias run in families. For instance, someone whose immediate family members have a history of hydrophobia (fear of water) is much more likely to have hydrophobia than somebody else whose family has no history of hydrophobia.

Some cases of phobia may also be attributed to the amygdala that is located in the limbic system of the brain. The amygdala is responsible for the regulation of fear and aggression. When a person experiences fear, the amygdala release hormones to alert the body and prepare it for defense. This is called the “flight-or-fight response.”

Childhood experiences are also believed to be a cause of phobias. Someone who has had a traumatic childhood experience – especially a near-death one – may carry his or her fear of the same experience and of the objects associated with this experience into adulthood. For instance, someone who has been in a serious car accident when he or she was a child will probably never learn how to drive or will probably be afraid to ride in a car. Meanwhile, someone who has nearly died from a snake bite when he or she was younger will probably be intensely afraid of snakes; the mere thought of them may even make him or her feel intense fear.

Many people have a phobia. However, such people usually avoid the object of their fear. They also usually avoid anything that will put them in the situation they fear. Thus, their phobias are usually left undiagnosed and untreated.

Unfortunately, extreme phobia can lead to serious repercussions. People who have phobias may resort to social isolation, may engage in harmful or risky activities (e.g. substance abuse), or may experience depression. Ultimately, their phobia may render them unable to lead normal lives.

Conclusion

Phobias are disorders that require professional and medical attention. If you have reason to believe that you have a phobia, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Only this way can you prevent your phobia from negatively impacting your normal functions and from leading to graver consequences and further complications.

Taking action and facing your fears is never an easy task, and you need all the help and support that you can get. Before you can get such support, however, you need to take the first step and seek help for yourself

Posted in Anxiety & Phobias
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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Causes of Phobia by mehdi jaffari

Causes of Phobia

Although many researchers have tried to establish the cause of phobia, this disorder still has an unknown cause. It is commonly believed that the cause of phobia and other anxiety disorders can be associated with genes, irregularity in brain chemistry and previous experiences.

Some experts say that phobias run in families. For instance, someone whose immediate family members have a history of hydrophobia (fear of water) is much more likely to have hydrophobia than somebody else whose family has no history of hydrophobia.

Some cases of phobia may also be attributed to the amygdala that is located in the limbic system of the brain. The amygdala is responsible for the regulation of fear and aggression. When a person experiences fear, the amygdala release hormones to alert the body and prepare it for defense. This is called the “flight-or-fight response.”

Childhood experiences are also believed to be a cause of phobias. Someone who has had a traumatic childhood experience – especially a near-death one – may carry his or her fear of the same experience and of the objects associated with this experience into adulthood. For instance, someone who has been in a serious car accident when he or she was a child will probably never learn how to drive or will probably be afraid to ride in a car. Meanwhile, someone who has nearly died from a snake bite when he or she was younger will probably be intensely afraid of snakes; the mere thought of them may even make him or her feel intense fear.

Many people have a phobia. However, such people usually avoid the object of their fear. They also usually avoid anything that will put them in the situation they fear. Thus, their phobias are usually left undiagnosed and untreated.

Unfortunately, extreme phobia can lead to serious repercussions. People who have phobias may resort to social isolation, may engage in harmful or risky activities (e.g. substance abuse), or may experience depression. Ultimately, their phobia may render them unable to lead normal lives.

Conclusion

Phobias are disorders that require professional and medical attention. If you have reason to believe that you have a phobia, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Only this way can you prevent your phobia from negatively impacting your normal functions and from leading to graver consequences and further complications.

Taking action and facing your fears is never an easy task, and you need all the help and support that you can get. Before you can get such support, however, you need to take the first step and seek help for yourself

informaton, please visit web www.toolsforlife-dvd.com.au

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Phobias: Treatments and Medications by mehdi jaffari

Phobias: Treatments and Medications by mehdi jaffari

Phobias are a common anxiety disorder. However, they are also commonly lefty undiagnosed and untreated. Many people who suffer from one phobia or another may shrug off their fears as normal; some, on the other hand, may recognize how irrational their fears are, but they still choose to do nothing about it. In any case, people who have a phobia usually adapt to their phobias. They take preventive measures to avoid the object of their fears. They will do anything that will let them avoid putting themselves in situations where they will be forced to confront the objects of their fears.

Unfortunately, ignoring phobias won’t make them go away. Phobias may eventually incapacitate a person. Someone with a phobia may soon be unable to perform the requisite activities of daily living or soon be unable to function normally. For instance, someone who has an extreme fear of being in public and crowded places may simply remain at home, cutting himself off from others and choosing not to go anywhere. If this happens, he will be unable to go to work, buy his own groceries or do all sorts of things that require him to go out and be in public and crowded places. When his stock of food runs out, he will probably choose going hungry over going into the store and facing the crowd.

It is obvious then that those who have phobias often form unhealthy habits or adaptation measures to deal with their phobias when, in fact, phobias are treatable medical conditions. Those who are suffering from a phobia just need to admit their condition and seek medical help. Only then can they be given treatment that will make them able to manage their response to that object or situation that they fear.

The Diagnosis of Phobias

Are you intensely and irrationally afraid of something? Are you so afraid that you have let your fear hinder your performance of your usual activities of daily living or your normal functions? If so, you are probably suffering from a phobia. You must therefore seek medical attention as soon as possible before your fear escalates and before your fear brings you more harm.

Medical professionals use various methods for diagnosing phobias. They perform physical assessments, carry out various laboratory tests and conduct interviews to assess the existence of phobias in a subject. Typically, these medical professionals ask the subject to discuss their fears and the reasons for their fears. These medical professionals then make their judgment based on the degree of irrationality and intensity of the fears disclosed and the reasons given for such fears.

Medications to Treat Phobia

Medical professionals also use medications to help alleviate the symptoms of phobias – that is, the body’s physiological responses to the feared objects. Medications are usually administered in combination with behavioral therapy.

The following are some of the common medications used to treat the symptoms of phobias:

Beta-blockers. This medication works by blocking the sympathetic nervous system and stimulate the adrenal glands into producing epinephrine. In other words, the beta blockers prevent the increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and voice and hand tremors – all of which are the body’s common response or reactions to fear. The beta-blockers therefore control the body’s reaction to fear or anxiety.

The side effects of using this type of medication are drowsiness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, feeling of coldness at the extremities, and leg pain.

The use of beta-blockers requires a prescription from a doctor. Beta-blockers are not meant to be used for long periods. They are also administered only in cases of simple phobias like the phobia of public speaking.

Anti-depressants. Anti-depressants are mainly used for alleviating depression but they are also used in treating patients with anxiety disorders like phobias.

Anti-depressants can be classified into several categories. The two major categories, however, are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) and the Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI).

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors block the reuptake of serotonin but they do not block the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. By blocking the reuptake of serotonin, serotonin levels are normalized (in cases where the inadequacy of serotonin in the synapse is causing the depression, phobias or panic attacks). Some of the commonly used SSRIs are Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, and Luvox.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, on the other hand, are medications that inhibit the enzymes (the monoamine oxidase) that break down the monoamine neurotransmitters – norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. Since the neurotransmitters are not broken down, the amount of such neurotransmitters increase and symptoms of depression and anxiety are alleviated in result. Marplan, Nardil and Parnate are some examples of MAOIs. Side effects include agitation, insomnia, restlessness, orthostatic hypertension and anti-cholinergic effects.

A point to remember when using anti-depressants is to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. Dietary restrictions are especially crucial if a patient is taking MAOIs. Moreover, SSRIs and MAOIs should not be combined – it’s either one or the other – because of serious side effects. Anti-depressants work should work within 2-4 weeks. If no improvement has been observed, then the patient will be slowly weaned off the drug and eventually given a new medication.

Sedatives. Sedatives, also known as anxiolytics, are used to treat anxiety and sleeping disorders. This medication helps reduce feelings of anxiety. Sedatives include Ativan, Valium, Xanax, Librium and Paxipam. Patients who are taking sedatives should remember that this medication is highly addictive; it should therefore be taken in moderation and only if it is necessary. It is also contraindicated if a patient has a history of alcohol and drug abuse.

Nonpharmacologic Treatments for Phobia

Behavioral therapy is a common treatment method for phobias and anxiety disorders. One form of behavioral therapy is Desensitization or exposure therapy.

Desensitization. Desensitization is one of the most common therapeutic methods for curing patients of their phobias. In this procedure, those with phobias are repeatedly exposed to the objects of their fears to evoke the emotional, psychological and physiological responses associated with the exposure to such objects. It is hoped that due to repeated exposure, patients will become inured or used to confronting the objects of their fears that they will finally be able to deal with their fears and no longer be controlled by them.

Naturally, desensitization procedures are done systematically and performed in controlled environments so that the patient will not be harmed (or will not harm himself) in the process of confronting the object of his fears. Typically, desensitization is done gradually.

A hydrophobic patient, for instance, will be repeatedly asked to imagine being in water and will be asked to talk about his feelings and fears. He will also be shown images of his or her object of fear. These exposures will go hand in hand with relaxation techniques so that the patient will not experience exhaustion in the process. After extensive and repeated sessions like those described above, an encounter with the object of fear will be arranged. The hydrophobic patient will be taken to pools and bodies of water. Later, the patient will be asked to test his reaction to the object of fear. The hydrophobic patient will be asked to immerse his feet in water. Later on, he will be asked to submerge his whole body into the water. Then, he will be taught how to swim until such time that repeated exposure makes the patient immune to the object of fear.

Desensitization is a long and complicated method. It requires patience on the part of the patient and great timing and skill on the part of the therapist.

Cognitive behavioral therapy. This is typically done simultaneously with other methods of behavioral therapy. In this specific method, the patient is encouraged to talk about his fears and the reasons underlying his fears.

The therapist will then help the patient understand his negative thoughts about the objects of his fears. He will coach the patient about coping with his fears and the symptoms of his phobia. In the long run, it is hoped that the patient will be able to develop an adequate and effective coping mechanism so that he will no longer be controlled by his fear.

Other therapeutic methods for treating phobias are hypnotherapy, which is similar to systematic desensitization although this time it is done while the subject is under hypnosis; group exposure therapy, which uses modeling and desensitization with three or more members; virtual exposure therapy, which refers to the use of 3-D images that simulate the feared environment; and stress/ relaxation techniques, including focused imagery, diversion techniques and deep breathing.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Phobias: Theories and Causes by mehdi jaffari

Phobias: Theories and Causes

Many people are afraid of snakes and spiders. Others are afraid of flying or going to high-altitude places. Additionally, some people are nervous about socializing with others or speaking in public. These fears, however, are normal. Only when these fears become so extreme that they impede a person’s daily activities do they become the form of disorder known as phobia.

Phobia is the most common type of anxiety disorder. Other types include panic, GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), post-traumatic stress disorder, and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). At least 80% of the population suffers from one form or another of this disorder. Nevertheless, many do not know about their condition.

Definition

Phobia is defined as an irrational fear towards a certain object, place or situation. In other words, the fear of the object, place or situation is unreasonable. Those who experience this fear may be aware that their fears are irrational. Nevertheless, they still feel powerless to stop their fear and they tend to create means to avoid that which they fear.

The Difference between Simple Fear and Phobia

Fear is a natural reaction to a dangerous situation. The fear response serves as a defense of the body to specific danger. In instances where a person is trapped in a treacherous situation, the body responds by either fighting or escaping from the situation. Feeling fear or being afraid in dangerous situations is therefore normal. In the case of phobia, however, the fear is typically petty or senseless.

Phobia is an exaggerated or imagined fear. For instance, it is normal for a person to be afraid when he or she is at the top of a 21-storey building. However, it is very irrational for a person to be afraid when he or she is standing on a regular chair. Phobia, therefore, refers to irrational but persistent, intense and uncontrollable fear.

Theories on Phobia

General Adaptation Syndrome

Whenever a person has extreme fear of something or someone, he or she experiences stress and his or her body reacts to this stress and the cause of the fear and stress – the so-called stressor. Hans Selye came up with an explanation on how stress affects the way our body functions. He called it the “general adaptation syndrome.”

In his theory, Hans Selye stated that our body undergoes three stages to maintain homeostasis (i.e. internal equilibrium). The first stage is called the “alarm reaction stage.” During the initial encounter with the stressor, the brain – specifically the hypothalamus – signals the adrenal gland to produce adrenalin and norepinephrine to serve as fuel for the body. It also signals the organs (for instance, the liver) to produce glycogen (an alternative for glucose) to prepare for the body’s defensive reaction.

The next stage is the “resistance stage.” During this stage, the whole body rallies and helps those areas that are crucial for the body’s defense. The digestive system lowers its function and shunts blood to the important areas; the lungs expand more to let more air in; and the heart pumps twice as much blood to distribute more oxygen to the muscles. These “resistance mechanisms” of the body is the reason why your stomach is upset and your extremities feel cold when you are nervous.

If a person’s body has been able to adapt to the stress, his or her bodily functions will soon return to normal. On the other hand, if a person reacts negatively to the stress, he or she may experience exhaustion, which is the third and final stage. If the person does not recover, his body reserves and energy stores may be depleted. This may eventually lead to death.

Classical Conditioning

An experiment using the concept of classical conditioning by Ivan Pavlov was done. The theory of classical conditioning works by changing the person’s behavior through conditioning to external stimuli. This was used to determine certain phobias or extreme of certain objects like snakes or spiders.

A person was exposed to two different pictures. The first one was a picture of a bird while the other one was a picture of a snake. The experiment showed that it takes fewer shocks to establish an adverse reaction to the picture of a snake than is needed to achieve the same adverse reaction to the picture of a bird. Thus, it has been concluded that a phobia can be caused by genetic predisposition or it can be traced back to childhood.

Causes of Phobia

Although many researchers have tried to establish the cause of phobia, this disorder still has an unknown cause. It is commonly believed that the cause of phobia and other anxiety disorders can be associated with genes, irregularity in brain chemistry and previous experiences.

Some experts say that phobias run in families. For instance, someone whose immediate family members have a history of hydrophobia (fear of water) is much more likely to have hydrophobia than somebody else whose family has no history of hydrophobia.

Some cases of phobia may also be attributed to the amygdala that is located in the limbic system of the brain. The amygdala is responsible for the regulation of fear and aggression. When a person experiences fear, the amygdala release hormones to alert the body and prepare it for defense. This is called the “flight-or-fight response.”

Childhood experiences are also believed to be a cause of phobias. Someone who has had a traumatic childhood experience – especially a near-death one – may carry his or her fear of the same experience and of the objects associated with this experience into adulthood. For instance, someone who has been in a serious car accident when he or she was a child will probably never learn how to drive or will probably be afraid to ride in a car. Meanwhile, someone who has nearly died from a snake bite when he or she was younger will probably be intensely afraid of snakes; the mere thought of them may even make him or her feel intense fear.

Many people have a phobia. However, such people usually avoid the object of their fear. They also usually avoid anything that will put them in the situation they fear. Thus, their phobias are usually left undiagnosed and untreated.

Unfortunately, extreme phobia can lead to serious repercussions. People who have phobias may resort to social isolation, may engage in harmful or risky activities (e.g. substance abuse), or may experience depression. Ultimately, their phobia may render them unable to lead normal lives.

Conclusion

Phobias are disorders that require professional and medical attention. If you have reason to believe that you have a phobia, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Only this way can you prevent your phobia from negatively impacting your normal functions and from leading to graver consequences and further complications.

Taking action and facing your fears is never an easy task, and you need all the help and support that you can get. Before you can get such support, however, you need to take the first step and seek help for yourself.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Phobias: Different Types by mehdi jaffari

Phobias: Different Types

Phobia refers to an anxiety disorder that is characterized by the extreme fear (usually irrational) of something. There are many phobias, and they are differentiated based on the specific object of the extreme fear – that is, the object that triggers the extreme and uncontrollable fear or that which makes someone unable to control his or her emotions and thus exhibit feelings of anxiety and panic. Some commonly known phobias are hydrophobia or fear of water, arachnophobia or fear of spiders, claustrophobia or fear of confined/enclosed spaces, and acrophobia or fear of heights. These actually belong to the “specific phobia” classification, one of the three types of phobias as determined by medical experts and which are discussed in greater detail below.

Social Phobia

This type of phobia is also known as social anxiety phobia. This is the fear of being embarrassed in front of many people. This is due to a person’s low self-esteem. A person with social phobia considers himself unworthy of being recognized by others because he or she thinks that he or she is inept. Therefore, someone with social phobia is usually afraid to eat in public or go to parties alone.

Social phobia is subdivided into two types: the generalized social phobia and the specific social phobia.

Generalized social phobia refers to fear of all or almost all social situations or social interaction – not because the person is afraid of other people but because he or she is afraid of being embarrassed or humiliated. Specific social phobia, on the other hand, refers to fear of certain social situations (or certain socially embarrassing situations, to be more precise) such as losing one’s privacy or reputation. For instance, a person who is afraid that someone is watching him or her in his or her private moments (voiding) will experience psychosomatic symptoms like difficulty of urinating. Others who have social phobia, on the other hand, will eventually be unable to function socially because of their severe fear of being rejected.

Agoraphobia

The second major classification of phobias is known as agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is actually “phobia of agora.”

Agora is a term that has Greek origins. In ancient times, it referred to an open place where citizens assembled to discuss politics and listen to speeches. Afterwards, the term was used to refer to the Greek marketplace where merchants sold various goods. In both senses of the term, however, the agora always referred to an open place that is full of people. The etymology of the term “agoraphobia” therefore indicates that agoraphobia is extreme fear of open and crowded places.

Agoraphobia, however, is not as straightforward as it seems. People who suffer from agoraphobia are actually people who are extremely afraid of experiencing a panic attack while they are in a public and crowded place. They think it would be very embarrassing to have a panic attack in such a place; furthermore, it would be very difficult to get away from a public and crowded place at the onset of a panic attack. As a solution, people with agoraphobia stay in safe places – usually their homes – and simply avoid the public and crowded places (the agora). Thus, people with agoraphobia usually prefer staying at home where they feel safe and avoid traveling and going out as much as possible.

Specific Phobia

This type of phobia is a fear for a specific object or event. Specific phobias can be further classified into various subtypes. The following are some of the major subtypes of specific phobias:

Phobias of specific situations. Situational phobias refer to excessive fears that are triggered by specific and (potentially) traumatic situations. Some people, for instance, are intensely afraid of flying, and this extreme fear of flying is known as pteromerhanophobia or aviophobia. Amaxophobia, on the other hand, refers to fear of riding in an automobile. There are also people who are afraid of traveling by road, and this fear is known as hodophobia. Those who are extremely afraid of being alone or being on their own, on the other hand, have isolophobia.

Phobias of specific environmental events. The objects of these specific phobias are environmental events. Some people, for instance, have tonitrophobia and are unreasonably afraid of thunder. There are also people who are extremely afraid of thunder and lightning, and they have what is known to be astraphobia. Furthermore, some people are intensely afraid of hurricanes and tornadoes; they have what is formally known as lilapsophobia. People who are extremely afraid of rain, on the other hand, have ombrophobia.

Phobias of animals and insects. In this subtype, the objects of intense fear of some or all animals and insects. Intense fear of animals, in general, is known as zoophobia. Intense but generalized fear of insects, on the other hand, is known as insectophobia.

Some people, however, are afraid only of specific animals or insects. There are people who are unreasonably afraid of mice, for instance, and this type of animal phobia is known as suriphobia. Some people, on the other hand, are extremely afraid of bees, and this type of insect phobia is known as melissophobia.

The objects of animal/insect phobias are various. Most people are afraid of snakes, for instance. However, when someone’s fear of snakes has become so unreasonable and intense, this person may already have a phobia of snakes or ophidiophobia. There are also people who are irrationally and intensely afraid of common household pets like dogs (cynophobia), cats (elurophobia), birds (ornithophobia), and fish (ichthyophobia).

Phobias of injury and medical procedures. Most people are afraid of blood, getting an injection, getting injured, and undergoing medical procedures. In some people, however, these fears become so unreasonable and intense that they become insurmountable and thus become a hindrance to obtaining proper medical attention. Their fear is no longer normal, in other words, and has turned into specific phobias.

Some of the specific phobias that belong to this subtype are the phobia of injection (trypanophobia), the phobia of injury (traumatophobia), the phobia of needles or objects with sharp points (aichmophobia), the phobia of dental surgical procedures (odontophobia), the phobia of operation or surgery (tomophobia), and the phobia of blood (hematophobia).

Others. All other phobias with specific objects (i.e. specific phobias) that do not belong to the above mentioned subtypes belong to the “other” classification. The objects of these phobias are extremely varied and are not easily categorized or classified into specific subtypes.

For instance, people who are obsessed by their extreme fear of death have what is known to be necrophobia. People who are intensely afraid of clowns, on the other hand, have coulrophobia. People who have mysophobia, meanwhile, are extremely afraid of germs. Some suffer from an extreme fear of numbers (arithmophobia), while some are intensely afraid of written characters (graphophobia).

There are lots of other known specific phobias, and discussing all of them in one article is simply not possible.

Specific phobias are the most common type of phobias. A specific phobia usually starts from childhood up to the adolescent stage. The usual phobias in children are phobias of animals and insects. Situational phobias, on the other hand, tend to be more common in adults than in children.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist The Five Major Anxiety Disorders in Adults by mehdi jaffari

The Five Major Anxiety Disorders in Adults

People often complain that as they grow older, they have more and more things to worry about. This, in a way, is completely true. As a teenager, you may have considered homework as a major stressor and whined about it for days on end. Give or take a few years and you’ll probably be more than glad to take on those piles of homework instead of the piles of paperwork on your desk.

Indeed, as adults, we are more acquainted with the fact that there are so many things that could go wrong. The more we see of life, the more we realize that the rug can be pulled out from under us at any time – and this thought is what gives rise to anxiety. Of course, it’s up to the person whether or not he will allow himself to be defeated by his anxious thoughts. Problems will always come and nobody can stay in their comfort zones forever. Most people simply deal with the anxiety and try to cope with it the best way that they can. They live on, taking life in a stride and dealing with problems as they come.

Some people, however, succumb to their feelings of anxiety and suffer intensely because of it. They understand that living means having to deal with problems occasionally. In fact, they seem to know this too well and thus they spend all their days anticipating these problems; this is ironic for this really defeats the whole purpose of “living.” However, a mindset like this is not completely the fault of the person. These people do not choose to be that way. Sometimes, it really is just a disorder.

Research shows that more than 40 million people, 18 years and over, in the United States alone suffer from anxiety disorders. Some of these people don’t even know that they have an anxiety disorder and that their lives could get better if they just see a psychiatrist and get their condition treated.

This article will discuss the different types of anxiety disorders and their respective symptoms. It is hoped that this article will help those who have anxiety disorder recognize their condition so that they can get treatment and have better and richer lives afterwards.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD is a chronic condition characterized by a person’s tendency to worry excessively about matters like health, work and family. People who have this disorder are usually very pessimistic; they are always expecting the worst in situations and are always worrying about things that aren’t really worth the amount of worry expended on them.

People with this disorder are perpetually tense and irritable, and act as if they have the weight of the whole world on their shoulders. They’re usually the ones people call “worry-warts” because they worry incessantly about everything from global warming to the dress they’re going to wear to a party. People with GAD can’t relax, they constantly think about their problems – even those about which they cannot do anything. Sometimes, these worries disturb them so much that they have trouble falling and staying asleep. Because of this, they are usually fatigued. They suffer from headaches and get startled quite easily. Other symptoms include muscle tension, trembling, sweating, nausea, and difficulty swallowing.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a condition characterized by a person’s persistent thoughts, which are rather upsetting in nature. These thoughts are his “obsessions.” To deal with these upsetting thoughts, a person performs rituals. These rituals are his “compulsions.”

For instance, a person may be obsessed about germs. He is always thinking about germs and is always anxious about germs. To deal with this, he washes his hands vigorously, and he does this over and over again. In another instance, a person may be perennially anxious about his house being burgled when he is sleeping so he becomes obsessed with his home’s security. Thus, he is compelled to check the locks over and over again before he sleeps every night.

People with OCD are usually obsessed about symmetry and repetition to a point that their actions become incredibly senseless. Their compulsions are done precisely, in a particular way and a particular sequence and they absolutely have to be performed, even if such rituals interfere with their lives or cause them to harm others. If you try to prevent someone with OCD from doing his rituals, he may harm you or himself just so he could do what he thinks he has to do. In fact, trying to keep someone with OCD from doing his rituals will often bring more harm than good, so it’s best to just let a person with OCD do what he must then encourage him to get treated.

Panic Disorder

A person with panic disorder is someone who is prone to experiencing sudden terror that is typically characterized by pounding heartbeat, diaphoresis, weakness, chest pain, and nausea. These panic attacks are often mistaken for heart attacks. The person with panic disorder feels a sense of impending doom or a feeling of losing control each time he gets these attacks. People who have panic attacks may even pass out because of their severe anxiety.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, as the name implies, is a condition that develops after a person has had a traumatizing experience. Traumatic experiences include witnessing the murder of a loved one, being raped, being tortured, and being held captive. Sufferers of Post-traumatic stress disorder are usually women who have been sexually abused and soldiers who have been prisoners of war. They usually feel great anxiety when they experience flashbacks of their ordeal. Their symptoms are also usually extreme as the anniversary of the traumatic experience draws closer.

Social Anxiety Disorder

People with Social Anxiety Disorder, also termed Social Phobia, are those who are overly anxious when it comes to social situations that most people consider to be normal everyday situations. They have this intense fear of being judged and looked down upon, of being embarrassed or humiliated in front of several people.

A person with Social Phobia is usually overly anxious even hours before he does something in public, and he obsesses about what those who were present thought of him hours after the said event – even if the people didn’t really pay him any mind. He feels as if everyone’s always looking at him and judging his every move.

Some of the common symptoms include blushing, sweating, nausea, and stuttering. Some people, however, experience Social Phobia only in specific situation (e.g. eating in public restaurants, using the public toilet, etc.) while others experience it through most or all social situations.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Generalized Anxiety Disorder by mehdi jaffari

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Humans tend to worry about a lot of things. We worry about school, about our work and career, about other people and how they see us, about ourselves, and lots of other things. It’s perfectly normal to worry. However, worrying can sometimes be so intense and so pervasive that it crosses the borders of normal worrying and turns into an actual disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder refers to a type of anxiety disorder that makes a person prone to worrying excessively. Typically, the person with GAD cannot stop worrying and cannot control his anxiety. Furthermore, the person with GAD also has a tendency to be irrational; oftentimes, the person’s source of distress – the stressor – is actually not worth the amount of anxiety generated in the person with GAD.

What are the Causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Information about Generalized Anxiety Disorder is rather scarce and the exact cause of this disorder remains unknown. What few studies there are about this disorder suggest, however, that GAD is hereditary. In other words, it can run in families.

The manifestations of this disorder usually start at an early age. During the childhood years, however, such symptoms or manifestations are not very noticeable and progress much slower than that of other anxiety disorders. GAD can also start during early adulthood. In this case, it is usually triggered by a life stressor such as the sudden loss of a prized job or a loved one. Hyperthyroidism may also precipitate symptoms that are similar to those of GAD. Sometimes, excessive intake of substances such as amphetamines and caffeine may also contribute to GAD.

Mostly, though, people suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder because they have a negativistic outlook on life. They have this pervasive pessimism that causes them to always anticipate the worst in every situation. Thus, they subject themselves to unnecessary worrying.

For example, if a person who has GAD has an annual physical exam coming up, he will probably think incessantly about the possible results of his exam. In particular, he will focus on the worst-case scenarios. Instead of keeping himself calm, thinking of and doing other things while he waits for the results of his physical exam, he will worry nonstop about the possibility of being diagnosed with cancer or some other life-threatening disease. Even if he has no reason to think this way, this persistently negative line of thought could possibly cause a full-blown panic attack if not stopped.

What are the Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

People who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder are very pessimistic and their pessimism extends to the point where they actually anticipate disaster and obsessively worry about it. They usually have this ‘doom and gloom’ aura and they keep on predicting catastrophes. They tend to overreact to even the smallest issues about health, money, family, or work.

More often than not, their worrying also affects their bodies. Their anxiety is manifested through fatigue, headaches, nausea, muscle aches, trembling, twitching, difficulty swallowing, diaphoresis or excessive sweating, insomnia, and even hot flashes. People who have GAD are almost always irritable and seem as if they are perpetually uneasy.

For a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder to be made, these symptoms must be consistently present for at least six months.

What is the Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

There are two approaches to treating GAD: Cognitive-Behavioral and Pharmacologic Therapy. The first one is geared towards treating the underlying thinking process that leads to all the excessive worrying. The latter, on the other hand, is geared towards managing the symptoms of anxiety, especially when they become uncontrollable and start becoming seriously debilitating. More often than not, these two are used in conjunction with each other.

In the former, the therapist usually helps the patient understand that the way he thinks and the way he feels are the major factors that influence the manifestations of GAD. If a person is overly negativistic, then it will show in his behavior. The goal of this therapeutic procedure is to help the patient turn his negative outlook into something more positive. The patient is encouraged to develop a more realistic – rather than a pessimistic – view of the world.

The therapist helps the person recognize when his thoughts are becoming irrational, thereby allowing the person to stop these thoughts before they cause him excessive anxiety. The therapist would expose the patient, bit by bit, to the situations that cause him distress and coach him through them until such time when the patient is able to deal with them; even if the patient remains uncomfortable in these situations, he will at least be able to function when confronted by them.

Therapy is deemed successful when the patient begins to appraise situations and deal with them according to their actual value and importance, and when the patient no longer tends to succumb automatically to an overly negative viewpoint that will only cause anxiety. Statistics say that this method is effective in around 1/3 of the cases treated.

This method can be supplemented with medication. Anti-depressants like SSRIs can be used in treating anxiety disorders like GAD. Those that are often used are Prozac, Paxil, and Lexapro. Other drugs that can be used for GAD are Tricyclic Antidepressants and SNRIS. One disadvantage of using anti-depressants to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety disorders, however, is the fact that such drugs cause too many side effects.

There are also drugs that are specifically used for treating anxiety disorders. These drugs are called ‘anxiolytics’ or anti-anxiety drugs. Some examples of these drugs are Valium, Librium, Ativan, Serax, Tranxene, Miltown, Equanil, Vistaril, Atarax, Inderal, and Buspar. Benzodiazepines are also given to those with anxiety problems but due to the risk of dependence, these medications can be taken only for a very short, defined period. Diazepam or Valium is such a medication.

Some health care professionals also advocate the use of herbal remedies to supplement anti-anxiety drugs. One example is “Kava.” Kava is a relaxant derived from the root of a plant that belongs in the same family as the bell pepper plant. Kava, unlike the psychiatric medications used for treating mental disorders, doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms if discontinued. However, it should be noted that Kava, like the anti-anxiety medications, can only help alleviate the symptoms. It cannot fix the underlying condition that is causing the anxiety disorder

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Anxiety in Children by mehdi jaffari

Anxiety in Children

Anxiety is something that all human beings experience across their lifespan. As adults, we can automatically pinpoint those moments when we have felt anxious. We can even safely say that anxiety is a common occurrence for us. However, as far as frequency is concerned, children actually experience more anxiety than adults do.

Jean Piaget stated in his theory that the children’s level of cognitive function differs from that of adults. Their way of thinking is still immature; their brains are not yet fully developed. Take for example the level of distress that infants feel when their parents leave the room. Some people take this behavior as an exaggerated reaction and may think that the child is doing it on purpose just to gain attention. But this really isn’t the case. Babies really do believe that their parents are leaving them or are going to disappear forever once they leave the room.

Indeed, children aren’t quite as carefree as we may have thought. Even in infancy, fear and anxiety are manifested through the development of the ‘moro reflex’ or the ‘startle reflex’, which is triggered by a loud and sudden sound. As they mature, their egos also mature, and thus they become more adept at managing anxiety. However, as they experience more of the world and as their cognitive abilities improve, their concept of fear also changes. For example, older children won’t mind it very much when their parents leave the room, but they will be deathly afraid of the dark or be overly anxious about the thought of ‘monsters’ under their beds.

Most of the time, children simply outgrow their fears. There are times, however, when these fears are carried over into adulthood and become serious hindrances for the child, making it rather hard for him/her to live a healthy and productive life. Some parents take their children’s fears for granted, considering them as a normal part of childhood, when in fact, these fears may already be pathologic. Some of the characteristics that parents may take as simple ‘quirks’ may actually be symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

Unknowingly, parents may even reinforce these anxiety problems by dealing with them the wrong way. For example, if the parents ridicule the child for his fears instead of commending him for his bravery, the child may opt to avoid his source of anxiety instead of confronting it. Thus, his fears are carried over into adulthood.

Childhood is a very sensitive stage. So many things could actually go wrong at any of the stages of development. If the child undergoes a severe trauma at a young age, he may carry this with him into adulthood and he may be forever prone to psychiatric problems.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder is actually one of the most common anxiety disorders in children. It affects females more than it affects males. A child with Separation Anxiety Disorder panics whenever the primary caregiver leaves him; he worries excessively about losing his primary caregiver.

Children with this type of disorder are reluctant to go to school because they do not want their parents or caretakers out of their sight. They constantly have irrationally morbid fears of their parents getting lost or having an accident. This condition usually persists for at least four weeks, and it causes great distress for both the children and their caregivers.

Children who have been through significant separations in their early years are usually more prone to Separation Anxiety Disorder. For example, if a parent had to leave during a child’s toddler years, the child might become reluctant to let the parent leave again once he/she returns, even if it’s only to go to the next room. Usually, the child resorts to crying, throwing tantrums and, at times, complaining about headaches or any other somatic complaints just to keep the parent by his side. In severe cases, the child may even refuse to go to sleep because he is afraid that the parent will leave him when he is not watching.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Another common anxiety disorder in children is Social Anxiety Disorder. Children who have this disorder are usually aloof and highly uncomfortable in all social situations because of an intense fear of being ridiculed by other people. In a word, they’re usually described as ‘shy’. But a distinction has to be made between simple ‘shyness’ and Social Anxiety Disorder.

Children who suffer from this disorder are usually afraid of speaking in public, eating in public, and even going to public comfort rooms. They usually have trouble interacting with their peers, and they usually have only a very small number of friends outside of the family. Manifestations of this disorder may occur as early as 2½ years old. For a diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder to be made, the symptoms must last for at least six months. If this disorder persists until adulthood, it will be termed as ‘Avoidant Personality Disorder’.

Children who have this disorder usually have a history of child abuse, early childhood traumatic loss, a chronic illness, or a disability.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

When a child experiences a severely traumatic experience, he is at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Traumatic experiences include being in a life or death situation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and other such experiences. Children who develop this disorder usually suffer from nightmares that are focused on their traumatic experiences. Because of such sleep disturbances, these children are often fatigued and unenergetic.

Children who suffer from this disorder undergo social withdrawal, and this may continue until their adult lives. This prevents them from forming new, meaningful relationships.

They usually have a grave countenance and look like they are unable to enjoy themselves. They suffer from anxiety and even panic when confronted with circumstances that remind them of their traumatic experience; they usually cope by avoiding such circumstances. By avoiding a confrontation, they never progress to the point where they can overcome their anxiety.

Children who have experienced traumatic experiences are also prone to regression. This is characterized by things such as bed wetting, thumb sucking and opting for a fetal position while asleep. In other words, they try to return to an earlier developmental stage, particularly to a stage before they had the traumatic experience and thus still felt safe and secure.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Anxiety: An Overview by mehdi jaffari

Anxiety: An Overview

Anxiety is defined as a multi-system response to a perceived threat or danger. It is characterized by changes in both the physiological and psychological state of a person, often affecting his cognition, emotions and behavior. The major manifestations of anxiety are uneasiness, apprehension and worry.

Anxiety can range from mild to severe. At mild and moderate levels, anxiety can be considered as a good thing as it actually helps the person focus more on the matter at hand. For example, if there’s an exam, and the student feels anxious about it, he will be more inclined to study for it as compared to someone who does not feel anxious at all. At severe levels, though, anxiety can lead to full-blown panic attacks which severely debilitate a person’s ability to cope with the stressor. Using the same example, a student who has severe anxiety about an exam may be unable to answer any of the questions; severe anxiety may make him freeze up and forget whatever it was that he learned when he studied.

Anxiety vs. Fear

However, it should be noted that Anxiety is different from Fear. Fear occurs only when there is an external threat present. Anxiety, on the other hand, occurs even without an identifiable trigger or threat.

Anxiety is something that is unique to humans. Anxiety can be triggered by anything – a memory, a possibility, etc. There is no need for an external stimulus. Fear is something that is experienced by all animals, including the human species. For example, if someone fires a gun in a clearly hostile action, both man and dog would experience fear and try to run away. After the threat has passed, however, the dog won’t feel anxious or uneasy about the gun until the next time it sees the gun. Humans, on the other hand, could feel anxious even if they don’t see the gun. They could feel anxiety just by recalling the memory of it or thinking about how the same thing could happen to them once again. To put it simply, dogs can’t feel anxious about a trip to the vet while humans can feel anxious about their appointment with the dentist – even if it’s still a month away.

Symptoms of Anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety that a person will experience generally depend on how much effect the stressor has on a person. The thought of an impending exam, for example, can make a grade-conscious student more anxious than a carefree student who is content with getting C’s. Conversely, the thought of ‘not being invited to a party’ may generate more anxiety for the C-student than for the honor student.

Anxiety begins with a slight quickening of the heart beat and an increase in the amount of perspiration. The person feels restless and uneasy, and he is unable to sit still. The pupils dilate and more blood flows to the body’s major muscle groups. Anxiety is also accompanied by dryness of the mouth and the throat, higher blood pressure and a slight difficulty in breathing which, if the situation becomes severe, can turn into hyperventilation. If the feeling lasts long, the person might even feel constipated. He may experience chest pain, a stomach ache and a headache. Overall, the physiological symptoms of anxiety are geared toward preparing the person to deal with an impending threat.

Psychologically, the person would be able to concentrate more. That is, if the anxiety is mild. He will be preoccupied about that which is causing him to feel anxious, which would be a good thing in most cases. However, anxiety can be severe enough to cause a person to be totally unable to cope, possibly even to a point where he is no longer able to take care of himself and thus pose harm to himself and others.

This is called a panic attack. Most of the time, the source of the anxiety and the subsequent panic attack is rather irrational and doesn’t really deserve the amount of anxiety that it has been able to generate. However, even if the cause is trivial, the severe anxiety and the panic attack that result should still be taken seriously. Someone suffering from a panic attack feels like he’s having cardiac arrest; he also usually feels as if he’s about to pass out or even die.

Normal Anxiety vs. Abnormal Anxiety

Anxiety is an integral part of a person’s life. It practically helps people cope with the stresses that they encounter in their daily lives. Everybody gets anxious from time to time – and that’s normal. It’s normal to get anxious about things like an exam, a job interview or a surgery. But there are cases wherein the anxiety becomes pathological and no longer normal. It is important to distinguish normal from abnormal anxiety.

Usually, when an anxiety is ‘abnormal’, it persists for periods that are overly lengthy. It may even be recurrent, in which case the condition becomes chronic. When this happens, anxiety stops being useful and starts to be severely debilitating. People who have anxiety disorders are usually fatigued and, in some cases, even exhausted.

Anxiety disorders have to be properly diagnosed. Thus, if a person suspects that his levels of anxiety during times of stress are overly high, uncontrollable and rather irrational, it would be best if he sees a doctor – preferably a psychiatrist.

There are many types of anxiety disorders; namely, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and Separation Anxiety. Oftentimes, anxiety disorders are accompanied by depression, and they commonly affect women more than they affect men. These conditions are said to be rather prevalent, although only a small percentage of those afflicted are actually diagnosed.

Usually, medications or ‘pharmacotherapy’ is used in conjunction with psychotherapy or “talk therapy”. The therapist usually tries to encourage the person to implement some lifestyle changes and to change their perception of problems.

People who have anxiety disorders usually have faulty reasoning. For example, an employee who has a spotless record commits a mistake for the first time. Consequently, he starts to feel overly anxious, thinking that he will be fired from his job. Thought patterns like this one can signify an anxiety disorder, which is why therapists usually employ cognitive therapy to try to change the patient’s pattern of reasoning. Anti-anxiety drugs can be used to treat the symptoms, but some therapists think that these drugs only impede the therapeutic process by making the person dependent on medication.

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leeches leech mehdi leech therapist Anxiety & Phobias by mehdi jaffari

Anxiety is not just feeling tense or worried. It interferes hugely with a person’s capacity to go about their everyday life.

Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental disorders.

Anxiety often begins early in childhood (or the teenage years), and if untreated leads to depression, alcohol or substance abuse in later life.

Most people with anxiety do not come forward for treatment.

Anxiety symptoms can be effectively treated and is best managed with non-drug treatments.

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