Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder Therapy

More than four million people experience panic attacks annually, across the country. These attacks can occur anytime and anywhere: on the drive home from work, in the movie theater, at a child’s little league game, or in a thousand other unexpected places. While many people have heard of panic attacks, most may not be aware of the specifics of this frightening anxiety concern.

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason. These attacks can trigger severe physical reactions and generally make the sufferer feel as if they are losing control or possibly having a heart attack. In the extreme, panic attacks can make a person feel like they may be dying. These attacks often begin without warning and can happen at any time or place. Most symptoms peak within ten minutes and last for approximately half an hour.

Symptoms of panic attack may include:

  • A sense of impending doom or death
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hyperventilation
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Faintness

You may notice that these symptoms are similar to serious medical conditions, such as a heart attack. Because of this, it is very important to seek the help of a physician if any of the above physical reactions are experienced. Beyond these symptoms, however, one of the worst aspects of a panic attack is that it often triggers fear that another attack is imminent. This fear can take over a person’s life. Over time a panic disorder may develop if a person has four or more attacks or lives in constant fear that more will occur.

Once a panic disorder develops, seeking panic disorder therapy becomes even more important: left untreated, panic attacks can lead to severe phobias or other anxiety disorders, to avoidance of social situations, to suicidal thoughts or actions, to financial problems, to work or school problems, and/or to alcohol or substance abuse problems. Because panic disorders do not go away on their own, experts encourage people to seek therapy as soon as they realize they are altering their day-to-day lives in order to cope. Most sufferers will undergo cognitive behavior therapy or exposure therapy as part of their panic disorder therapy. These treatments may be combined with medication depending on the specifics of each case.

For more information about panic disorder therapy in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

Read More

Boca Raton Psychologist Discusses Fear Of Flying

Millions of people across the country suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders. The typical disorder is characterized by extreme fear, nervousness, or worry that leads a person to avoid specific places or activities. Dr. Andrew Rosen, a Boca Raton psychologist, notes that one of the most commonly known fears is a fear of flying. He says that, as with any anxiety, there is an irrational exaggeration of the possibility of something bad happening even though the risk of being hurt or killed in a plane crash is one in many millions. Additionally, a fear of flying can involve several components of anxiety that are not specific to airplanes. These components can include:

  • Not understanding the reasons for strange sounds and sights around you
  • Being dependent on the judgment of an unknown person (in this case, the pilot)
  • Fear of heights
  • Dislike or fear of enclosed spaces or crowded conditions
  • Sitting in hot, stale air
  • The possibility of terrorism

The physical and emotional symptoms associated with a fear of flying are similar to those seen in most anxiety disorders. The physiological symptoms can include:

  • Muscle tension and labored breathing
  • Chest pain and/or heart palpitations
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Flushed or pale face

The psychological symptoms can include:

  • Impaired memory
  • Narrowed perceptions
  • Poor or clouded judgment
  • Negative expectancies

The Boca Raton psychologist says there are many coping strategies that can be effective when working through a fear of flying, such as:

  • Expanding your awareness beyond the unpleasant situation. Realize that being paralyzed with fear will not make you any safer.
  • Understanding that your anxiety won’t disappear overnight. Celebrate even the smallest successes you have, such as making it to the airport, then making it on to the plane, then getting through the takeoff. Take one thing at a time.
  • Focusing on what you can do to relax instead of focusing on your fear. Many people bring books, puzzle books, music, or computers with them while they travel. Having something like this gives you something else to focus your energy on.

The fear of flying can be a debilitating anxiety but it can certainly be treated and overcome. For more information on this or other anxiety disorders and their treatment methods, contact Boca Raton psychologist, Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen today.

Read More

Facts About Obsessive Intrusive Catastrophic Thoughts – South Florida Mental Health Counseling

Anxiety is a normal part of life. We all feel it at some point when we have a major test, interview, meeting, or some other important occasion approaching. For people who suffer from an anxiety disorder, however, this develops into an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations to the point that it cripples the person’s lifestyle.
           
At the heart of most anxiety disorders are obsessive intrusive catastrophic thoughts. These are scary, intrusive thoughts and/or images that occur over and over. The more the person tries to stop them, the more they persist. Like anxiety, the average person experiences these types of thoughts at one point or another. However, for those with anxiety disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder or depression, these thoughts become paralyzing, panic-provoking, and unrelenting.
           
Dr. Andrew Rosen, a South Florida mental health professional notes that there are three categories of obsessive thinking and intrusive thoughts:

  • Inappropriate aggressive thoughts or violent obsessions about harming others or oneself. Like many other intrusive thoughts, this is a part of being human, but for many they can become severe or distressing to the point that a person may be afraid to perform their typical daily functions.
    • Inappropriate sexual thoughts or images regarding intimate actions with strangers, acquaintances, family, friends, religious figures, or any number of other people. These thoughts often lead to confusion, guilt, shame, or self-loathing.
      • Irreverent religious thoughts that compel a person either toward acts they consider sinful or toward obsessive religious actions. A person crippled by these thoughts might feel a disturbing fear of reciting prayers incorrectly, or be tortured by the urge to perform blasphemous acts during religious rituals.

      If you or someone you know is dealing with obsessive intrusive catastrophic thoughts that have begun to obstruct their normal way of life, it’s important to seek help. Counseling for obsessive thoughts can include exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. Your South Florida mental health professional may also suggest combining therapy with medication depending on your individual situation. Without treatment, a person with this level of intrusive thoughts can eventually find themselves cut-off from their friends and family. But seeking treatment can help initiate a return to normal life.

      For more information about mental health therapy in South Florida or for help in dealing with obsessive intrusive catastrophic thoughts, call Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida. They can be reached by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

      Read More

      Holiday Stress And Anxiety – Tips to Help You Cope

      As the holiday season approaches, the stress level increases for everyone. There is so much pressure associated with this time of joy: pressure to get the right gifts, to shop among the harried crowds, to attend the vast variety of festivities. Nearly everyone goes through some form of holiday stress and anxiety, but for people who already suffer from anxiety disorders, the festive season can be nearly unbearable.

      If you find yourself becoming sick at the idea of attending the first holiday party, it would be wise to seek the aid of a mental health professional to address your anxiety concerns. They can help you find appropriate relief from your fears through specialized therapy. In the meantime, however, the following tips will help you work through this joyous, but stress-filled time:

      • Get specific about your concerns and work toward solutions. If you’re worried about money, suggest a gift exchange instead of traditional gift-giving. If the holiday shopping crowds stress you out, complete your shopping online.
      • Ask for help. If you’re worried about hosting dinner for your entire family, ask each member to bring a dish. If you’re concerned you won’t get the correct gifts, ask for suggestions.
      • Let go of that perfect holiday image. Things never go exactly as planned. If you expect everything to be perfect you are bound to be disappointed and your anxiety will shoot off the charts. Set realistic expectations and you’ll enjoy the holidays much more.
      • Treat yourself well. Pamper yourself and allow yourself to indulge. Work up a sweat through ice skating or other exercise. Physical exertion is a great aid in reducing stress at any time.
      • Be choosy about the social engagements you attend. It’s not necessary to participate in all of them and it’s perfectly all right to attend only the parties with the people you’re most comfortable with.
      • If you have lost a loved one – find a way to remember them. It may as simple as playing the person’s favorite music or visiting his or her grave (make sure to bring along family or friends who can help you cope).

      Often, the holiday season brings joy but also holiday stress and anxiety. But with a little planning you can enjoy the season along with everyone else. For more information or for help in dealing with holiday stress and anxiety, call Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida. They specialize in helping those who fear the holidays. Take the first step by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

      Read More

      Health Anxiety Disorder

      Across the country, millions of people are plagued by a persistent fear that they are suffering, or will suffer, from a disease or other serious medical condition. This is known as health anxiety disorder, or hypochondria. Every year, as many as 14 percent of patients who are examined for health problems are actually experiencing hypochondria. Sufferers of this disorder tend to feel very real physical symptoms, such as:

      • Tenderness
      • Dizziness
      • Swelling
      • Palpitations
      • Pain

      Fortunately, when these people visit a doctor with their concerns, tests reveal that there is nothing wrong. Unfortunately, as a result, they’re usually told the symptoms are imagined. Doctors don’t take them seriously and often consider them to be “difficult patients” rather than genuinely concerned individuals. On the other hand, some doctors are more likely to run unnecessary tests just to appease the patient. In fact, more than $20 billion a year is spent on unnecessary procedures and examinations. This can have the adverse effect of increasing the patient’s anxiety since it can provoke their concern while still not producing results.

      People who are extreme worriers are more likely to develop health anxiety disorder. The fear that arises with this disorder can be paralyzing. To make things worse, about two-thirds of hypochondriacs suffer from a co-existing psychiatric disorder, such as major depression or panic disorder.

      Treatments for health anxiety disorder can include:

      • Sessions with a mental health professional to assist with the stress associated with the disorder.
      • Regular doctor visits with a trusted physician. If the visits occur regularly rather than on an as-needed basis the patient has a better chance of distinguishing between the seriousness of the symptoms they experience.
      • Working to recognize that the physical signs each person experiences are not a symptom of something sinister and are, instead, their mind making their normal bodily sensations seem more threatening than they actually are.

      If you or someone you know is suffering from health anxiety disorder it is important to seek help immediately. Health anxiety is a debilitating condition that can severely affect the lives of the people who suffer from it. Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida specialize in helping those who are fearful that they may have a serious medical condition. Take the first step toward getting help by calling 561-496-1094 or by emailing Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

      Read More

      Dating and Social Anxiety Disorder

      Approximately 19.2 million Americans have Social Anxiety Disorder, a condition in which a person experiences intense fear of social situations. Typically, these people are afraid to interact with others, get nervous easily, are often self-conscious, and worry about what others might think of them. Social Anxiety Disorder is not the same thing as “just” being shy. People who are afflicted want to have friends and live the same type of life as other people, but they worry about being rejected or embarrassed in certain social situations.

      Social Anxiety Disorder can have a debilitating effect on a person’s life. As a result, people who suffer from the disorder are far less likely to date or get married than the average person. The combination of dating and social anxiety disorder presents many complications for people who have this condition:

      • Men often have a harder time in a dating situation. Society normally dictates that men are responsible for initiating dating scenarios. As a result, a man with Social Anxiety Disorder will generally feel more pressure than a woman.
      • In a social situation, a man with this condition typically worries about what they’re going to say to their date. They are afraid of looking silly or unintelligent. This fear can be so intense that they may not even be able to introduce themselves or may seem "stuck up" or snobby beacuse they don’t say much in social situations.
      • Women tend to worry more about what people will think of them. Their appearance, especially, is cause for concern. They often feel that everything, from their nails to their shoes, is an opportunity for someone to judge them.
      • Eating out – one of the most common dating activities – is especially stressful for someone with Social Anxiety Disorder. Both men and women become concerned that they will display improper eating manners that will make their date or others develop a negative opinion. If a person who has this disorder does choose to eat at a restaurant, they are often under extreme stress while doing so.
      • Many people are able to interact comfortably, even with a stranger, in a one-on-one situation. It is the possibility of facing a group or of being surrounded by people that really enhances the stress they feel.

      For those who are anxious about dating with Social Anxiety Disorder, don’t overlook places where you already may feel more comfortable:

      • a church you may already belong to
      • a group you may volunteer with
      • a neighborhood association you may belong to
      • friends or family who can arange a blind date and then can double-date with you to help you feel more comfortable
      • a sports team you may belong to

      The point is that having a common ground can help you feel more at ease with someone new and can take some of the fear out of dating with Social Anxiety Disorder.

       If you or someone you know suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder, it is important to seek help. Your doctor will generally suggest a combination of therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy. Additionally, your doctor can suggest coping methods that can help to make dating easier over time. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed. Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders specialize in helping those who are fearful of dating with Social Anxiety Disorder. Take the first step toward getting help by calling them at 561-496-1094 or by emailing them today.

      Read More
      Call Us (561) 496-1094