All Posts Tagged: generalized anxiety disorder

Terror Threats and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

It seems like every time we turn on the news lately, we hear reports about terrorists and attacks by suicide/homicide bombers. News stories about kidnappings, beheadings, and raids by Islamic terrorism groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram are a “normal” part of the daily news now. And, even though the vast majority of these attacks take place in cities and countries on the other side of the world from us, the constant bombardment of these threatening stories can begin to make anyone feel helpless and can instill worry, stress, and fear in them. This is especially true for people who already suffer from anxiety and anxiety-related syndromes, such as generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Even though personally experiencing an ISIS terrorist attack is unlikely, sometimes fear and anxiety over a potential threat can take on a life of its own. When you are anxious in general, you may begin having headaches, stomach problems, trouble sleeping or eating, or can even have a panic attack. And, if you have generalized anxiety disorder, your worries and fears become overwhelming. What was “normal” anxiety crosses over the line to the point that you worry:

  • About the worst-case scenario in most situations
  • Almost daily for six months or more
  • Uncontrollably, or your fears significantly disrupt your work or social life, or your daily activities

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • Persistent worrying or obsessing about your concerns
  • Feeling like you are always “on edge” or keyed up, being easily startled
  • Trouble concentrating, feeling irritable
  • Fearing rejection or worrying that you are losing control

Some of the psychological symptoms of anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder can include:

  • Difficulty sleeping and its accompanying fatigue
  • Nausea, sweating, muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath and/or rapid heartbeat

What Can You Do To Help Calm Your Terror-Related Anxiety?

While it’s understandable to worry about terror threats, keeping the following in mind can help you calm your fears and lower your anxiety levels:

  • Try to detach – obsessing and worrying about ISIS and other militant groups will not solve the problem and will only serve to make you more anxious and upset. Remember that your upset is only yours – fixating on a possible attack will not change the outcome or stop a terrorist act. Try to focus on something else – a hobby, exercise, your loved ones – so you aren’t constantly preoccupied with the news.
  • Take care of yourself: eat nutritiously, exercise regularly to help relieve stress, and try to get enough sleep. Meditation can help to calm your mind, as can yoga or something as simple as deep, rhythmic breathing.
  • Turn off the TV, stop checking newsfeeds and Twitter and make the decision to limit your exposure to distressing news. Fear is addictive and constantly watching world events will keep your mind focused on the negative.
  • Remember that news organizations thrive when people are watching and paying attention to what they are saying. In spite of everything, we actually live in a safer world than ever before. It is also one that is healthier and richer than in the past, and one in which people are living longer than ever before.
  • Maintain your normal routine and continue to do the things you enjoy so that you feel more in control of the world around you.

Keep in mind that fear pulls the enjoyment out of everything. Living in fear keeps you from taking pleasure in your life and it won’t change what happens in the world – either in another country or right down the street. Only you can choose whether you will focus on the negative or whether you will embrace the happiness that is all around you. Be kind to yourself and don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in negative news stories and worries about terrorist threats.

If, however, you use these ideas and are still finding yourself stressed and troubled about terrorist threats, it might be time to speak with a professional to discuss more specific steps. To get more information and help for worry about terror threats and your anxiety or about generalized anxiety disorder, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Cell Phone Addiction

In today’s world of technology and social media, smartphones have become the technological equivalent of heroin. And just like heroin or any other drug, smartphones can become addicting. Most of us turn to our phones when we’re happy, sad, bored, or angry. Our phones are always there for us when we need them. And, as with any other “drug,” that can be a cause for concern. A cell phone addiction can separate us from our loved ones, stress us out, negatively impact our careers, and damage our relationships.

Addiction vs. Overuse

According to recent studies, 90% of Americans would fall into the category of overusing or abusing their smartphones, while between 10 – 12% can be diagnosed with an actual addiction. Other shocking cell phone related statistics include:

  • 70% of people say they check their phone within 1 hour of getting out of bed.
  • 56% check their phone within 1 hour of going to sleep.
  • 51% check their phone continuously while on vacation.
  • 44% said they’d experience a great deal of anxiety if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week.

Sound familiar? As always, the first step to solving a problem is realizing you have one. A good cell phone addiction test is to read through the following list to see how it relates to you and your daily life. If you find that more than just one or two items apply, you may be addicted to using your smart phone.

The signs of possible cell phone addiction or abuse include:

  • Spending more time on your smartphone than you realized or mindlessly passing time staring at it even when there are more productive things you could be doing.
  • Spending more time texting, emailing, or tweeting others as opposed to talking to real people.
  • Sleeping with your phone under your pillow or beside your bed.
  • Answering texts, emails, etc. at all hours of the day and night, even when it means interrupting something else you were doing or diverting your attention from something that requires focus and concentration.
  • Secretly wishing you could be less wired or connected to your phone.
  • Feeling ill-at-ease or anxious if you accidentally leave your phone behind somewhere or if it’s broken or lost.
  • Giving your phone a permanent place-setting at the table during dinner time.
  • Feeling an intense urge to check your phone any time it beeps or buzzes.

Managing Your Phone Usage

If you are concerned about overuse or addiction to your cell phone it may be wise to take a few steps toward managing the problem:

  • Try to resist answering your phone every time you get a notification. Avoid temptation by putting your phone on silent (with no vibrate) for a while.
  • Be disciplined about not using your phone in certain situations, such as meetings, family dinners, driving, or during certain hours (for example, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.).
  • Try removing apps that are not a priority. Accept that you don’t need to have access to everything all the time. Some applications might be more appropriate for your computer or laptop than your phone.
  • Take advantage of Airplane Mode. This is a quick, simple way of turning off notifications on your phone, while still having the ability to take pictures and access local files.
  • Add an app that can help. As ironic as it may sound, there are apps you can use – such as BreakFree or StayOnTask – which will help you limit your smartphone usage.

The important thing to focus on when facing smartphone addiction or overuse is the impact this issue may be having on your life. To a degree, this issue has become an accepted part of society. So many of us deal with smartphones on a day-to-day basis it’s easy to disregard this as being no big deal. If you suspect otherwise, open yourself up to loved ones to ask their true opinions on the subject. Conversely, if you have a loved one who has fallen victim to smartphone abuse or addiction, voice your concerns to help make them aware that a problem may exist.

If either of these situations fit you and the tips above haven’t worked, it might be time to speak with a professional to discuss more specific steps. To get more information and help for breaking a cell phone addiction, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or contact Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Anxiety and Sexual Disorders

Recently, several small studies have suggested that there may be a link between anxiety disorders and sexual disorders. While the study of this relationship is just beginning, researchers have seen connections wherein those who suffer from panic disorder, anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder also have noted an increase in impairment of sexual function, arousal and desire, and a decrease in satisfaction and enjoyment of sex.

Why Do These Disorders Coincide?

While there are many more reasons that anxiety and sexual disorders occur together, the following offer a glimpse into why they might be found in patients with anxiety:

  • Just experiencing anxiety by itself can be enough to impair sexual function in some people. If a man is concerned that he may not be able to please his partner, for instance, that fear may cause him to avoid sex, it may increase the potential for erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, or it may weaken arousal or satisfaction.
  • Certain medications can cause sexual side effects. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are commonly prescribed for panic disorders and social phobias (an example is Prozac) and these drugs are known to delay orgasm in many men.
  • Stress, worry, and fear can impede sexual function and the subsequent worry about one’s sexual function can create a vicious cycle of fear, worry, and stress.

What Can You Do About It?

  • Tell your doctor or therapist if you are being treated for an anxiety disorder and also have problems functioning sexually as these conditions can be treated simultaneously. Additionally, sexual problems often have a root physical origin and a medical exam will help identify and treat any physical condition that may be causing the dysfunction.
  • If you are on anxiety disorder medications, your doctor can adjust your medicine so it has less impact on or helps with your situation.
  • Other medications can be utilized to help your sexual function. For example, because SSRIs can have a side effect of delayed orgasm, prescribing them often can help men who suffer from premature ejaculation.
  • There are many therapies, such as psychodynamic psychotherapy to help reduce anxiety, fear, and negative emotions. Discussing your concerns with your therapist can help you find the way that works best for you.

Even though researchers have seen that anxiety disorders and sexual disorders often co-occur, these disorders do not coincide in all anxiety patients. For that reason, more studies will need to be conducted so we can better understand how to treat people who suffer from both conditions.

To get more information and help for a possible connection between your anxiety and sexual disorders, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Foods That Help Anxiety

If you have generalized anxiety disorder, did you know that watching your diet and changing the foods and drinks you consume can help with managing your anxiety symptoms? It’s true: eliminating some foods and adding others to your daily meals can help lower anxiety levels and provide positive effects that help you feel better.

While changing your diet is not going to cure you, reducing your symptoms can help you better cope with what life throws at you. For example, Mayo Clinic research has shown that, because caffeine makes most people jittery and alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep, minimizing or eliminating them from your diet can help you feel less nervous and irritable. Conversely, drinking enough water (ideally 64 ounces a day) can help keep you from becoming dehydrated; dehydration can bring on mood changes.

Foods That Help Anxiety

There are many foods that can aid in controlling anxiety levels. By adding or increasing these “foods that calm” to your diet, you can help manage your generalized anxiety disorder symptoms:

  • Complex carbs (brown rice, *whole grain breads and pastas)
    • *Seaweed and kelp is a good alternative for those who are gluten sensitive
    • Provide balanced serotonin levels: keeps you happy and calm
    • Supply magnesium: a magnesium deficiency can contribute to anxiety
  • Peaches, blueberries, acai berries
    • Rich in vitamins, phytonutrients, and antioxidants: provide calming nutrients
  • Vegetables and legumes
    • Strengthen your immune system
  • Healthy fats such as those found in nuts and seeds
    • Contain zinc and iron to ward off brain fatigue and increase energy
  • Water
    • Circulates anxiety-reducing hormones through your body
    • Dehydration can result in mood changes
  • Chocolate: pure, dark chocolate without milks and sugars
    • Reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and improves your mood
  • B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants
  • Certain herbs such as passionflower and kava

Foods to Avoid or Minimize

Certain foods might provide you with a boost of energy or give you a temporary sense of calm, but the effects wear off quickly and often leave you feeling worse:

  • Simple carbs, high-glycemic carbs (white bread, white flour, cookies, cakes, anything with a high sugar content)
    • Give you an energy boost, followed by a “crash” that can produce anxiety
  • Fast food, fried food, processed food, foods with a high salt content
    • Makes your body more acidic, leading to more anxiety
  • Alcohol
    • Initial sense of relaxation, but disrupts sleep patterns, leading to anxiety
  • Caffeine, especially if you are prone to panic attacks
    • Small amounts can be soothing, but caffeine increases your heart rate, leading to nervousness and raising your anxiety levels

Even though there is no “diet” that will cure your generalized anxiety disorder, healthy eating is one of the best ways to control the symptoms of apprehension and stress. By incorporating more of the foods that help anxiety into your diet, you should see a decrease in your anxiety levels and an increase in energy which will make you feel better and more able to cope with various situations. Also, keep in mind that changing your diet does not replace therapy and professional treatment for your generalized anxiety disorder.

For more information and help for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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Help For Insomnia/Anxiety Sleep Disorder – Relief in South Florida

Insomnia is the result of those agonizing nights when we restlessly toss and turn because something weighs heavily on our minds. Because we have all “been there”, it should come as no surprise that there is a well-known connection between anxiety and insomnia. The two conditions are often linked together in a catch-22 style that can make life more than difficult for the person who is affected.

To fully appreciate how insomnia and anxiety can result in a sleep anxiety disorder, one needs to understand the different levels of insomnia. Insomnia is the inability to sleep adequately for extended periods of time when one desires to do so. It is characterized by three different levels: early, middle, and late insomnia.

Early insomnia exists when someone consistently has trouble falling asleep. This often occurs because of anxious thoughts that cause the person’s mind to continuously work over their concerns. Early insomnia is what you experience when you stress over upcoming tests or family disputes.

Middle insomnia causes a person to frequently wake throughout the night. Middle insomnia is the culprit when you awaken to a nagging thought, and then stare at the ceiling, seemingly forever, while trying to fall back to sleep. The resulting rise in your stress level keeps you wide awake.

Late insomnia, on the other hand, occurs when a person often wakes up earlier than they intended. No matter how tired they are, they awaken long before the alarm goes off. As in middle insomnia, stress keeps you from falling back to sleep.

Both of these last two levels happen when a person is flooded with anxious thoughts the moment they open their eyes. This anxiety produces other physiological responses, such as a quickened heart beat and a sense of restlessness, thereby increasing the insomnia at the same time and setting a vicious cycle in motion.

By now it should be a little more obvious how insomnia and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. In fact, insomnia is one of the most common symptoms mental health professionals look for when diagnosing a generalized anxiety disorder. The more anxious a person is the more likely it is they will experience some form of insomnia. It follows then, that the more insomnia the person deals with, the more likely it is that their anxiety will rise.

The good news is that insomnia and sleep anxiety disorder can very often be treated successfully. For more information, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen today.

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Help For Chronic Worry Disorder

By the time most of us reach adulthood we understand that worrying is simply a part of life. We all go through stressful times at one point or another and it is natural to be concerned about the outcome of those events. However, for many people, worrying becomes a chronic condition that affects their life on multiple levels. For these people, it is important to understand the characteristics of Chronic Worry Disorder and how they can seek relief from their concerns.

Chronic Worry Disorder is a symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This high level of concern develops in individuals who feel the need to be hyper-vigilant with regard to their lives and those of their friends and family. They often feel that if they worry enough about important issues or fears they can prevent those concerns from coming to fruition. The problem is that most of their worries revolve around issues that they have no control over; in other words, unproductive concerns.

The amount of worrying involved and that lack of control can lead to other psychiatric disorders, such as:

  • Panic Disorder
  • Depression

Chronic Worry Disorder can also lead to physical concerns, such as:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Aches
  • Pains

But how can you tell if your worry has become disproportionate and unreasonable? You should be concerned if you:

  • Consistently worry about future failures, dangers, or other types of negative outcomes
  • Repeatedly run through the same concerns over and over again in your mind
  • Attempt to stop worrying by anxiously avoiding certain situations
  • Become paralyzed with worry and are unable to focus on constructive solutions to your problems.

The good news is there are many effective treatments to help rid you of your chronic worrying. Some suggested treatments include psychotherapy and relaxation techniques. Oftentimes, your doctor may suggest specialized coping techniques and cognitive behavior therapy to help you learn ways to train your brain away from unproductive concern. In some cases, medication is used in conjunction with psychotherapy. With so many ways to treat this condition, there’s no reason to not seek help and take a step toward gaining your life back.

For more information about Chronic Worry Disorder and therapy for the condition in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today.

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