Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Life can be stressful, but some worry more than is reasonable. Usually those people don't realize the excessive worry is an anxiety symptom. They think they just have trouble sleeping, or are stressed because of their job, marriage or family. People with anxiety tend to second-guess themselves and often obsess about what others think of them. They are unduly afraid of making a mistake, or offending someone; they generally have trouble relaxing.
Irrational fears (phobias) are also symptoms of anxiety. Claustrophobia--or fear of enclosed places--is common. These people have trouble in elevators, airplanes, crowds, and confined spaces. There are other kinds of phobias too, although most people that suffer with them don't think of them as anxiety. They just try to avoid the trigger as much as possible.
Men and women with social anxiety avoid social situations--for some, even talking with co-workers or family members can provoke anxiety. Being single and talking to an attractive dating prospect can be a challenge. If they can't avoid it, their brain may freeze and not be able to find words to say. Speaking in work meetings or doing presentations can also trigger those with this type of anxiety.
Some anxiety patients are afraid to drive on our freeways. Others freak out when caught in traffic. Sometimes driving anxiety is the result of a car accident, but not always. People with anxiety also tend to have insomnia. They can't shut off their thoughts. They worry about the future, and regret what they said or did. Falling asleep may take 1-3 hours.
Extreme anxiety reactions are called panic attacks. They could be triggered by a phobia, social situation, having to present at school or for work, by getting caught in traffic, walking alone on a dark street, and sometimes for seemingly no reason.
Panic attacks tend to happen in situations that cause anxiety for that person, but they are more powerful and harder to hide. The heart races, breathing speeds up, and the mind gets foggy. There may also be chest pains, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, nausea, feeling weak, faint or dizzy. Some people with anxiety may never have a panic attack, while others I've treated had one or more panic attacks each week! About 6 million American adults have panic attacks, and women are twice as likely to have them as men.
Whether a patient has generalized anxiety, insomnia, phobias, test-taking anxiety, or panic attacks--I've found hypnotherapy to be the most effective treatment. Of course my psychological training helps with anxious patients, and most are able to make significant progress in weeks rather than the months or years needed in psychotherapy. My work enables them to do the activities that caused anxiety or panic in the past with few or no symptoms.