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Howto Keep AHealthy Mind

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                 How to Keep Anxiety At Bay
                  and Keep A Healthy Mind


Topics Covered:

    Healthy Minds
    Breaking Apart a Nervous Breakdown
    Coping Skills for Kids Suffering from Stress
    Dealing with Disasters in a Healthy Way: How to Avoid the Slide into Mental
    Illness
    Five Tips to Manage Your Anxiety
    Feeling Funky: How to Know When a Little Stress is Really Just Stress
    Reliving It: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Explained
    Warning Signs of a Panic Attack
    When Panic Attacks: An Overview of Its Causes
    Wide Open Spaces: How and Why Agoraphobia Manifests Itself
    Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior: You Are Not Alone
    Anti-Social? It Could Be Social Anxiety Disorder




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                      How to Keep Anxiety At Bay
                       and Keep A Healthy Mind


Healthy Minds

Healthy minds and mental health is a revolutionary status that we all must face everyday. We
all face many problems everyday including terrorism, child abuse, rape and murder and so forth
whether indirectly or directly. There is no escape, so who is really out in this world with a
healthy mind? NO ONE! If you honestly think that you are an exception to the rule then you are
on the path to destruction.

Even professionals are plagued with problems and if they say they are not, then you had better
see someone else immediately. The fact is most psychological professionals go into the business
trying to escape their own realities in life. Many professionals would rather help someone else
while burying their problems under the surface. Mental health related issues interrupt even
professionals in the criminal system every single day.

There is no one in this world excluded from mental illness. There are all types of people in the
world, starting with business related people, who think they do not have a problem. Do you
know what they do every night when they go home? Do you know how they handle their
stressors? If you do, no need to read on, since I am out to revenge those who believe they
have all the answers to each problem we face everyday of our lives, whether it is directly or
indirectly.

I am out to avenge those who believe they are special and everyone around them has a
problem. I am a realist, an expert in many fields and a woman who has gone all lengths to
correct many opinions, theories, guesses and so forth. I do not believe that a person has the
right to disregard another simply because they believe someone is imagining things. Rather, I
will look closely at a person with mental illnesses and regard them before I will regard the so-
called normal.

Let me hit you with my best shot (compliments of Pat Benetar): We can see that there are
many individuals in life and all of us have our own state of mind. We have schizophrenias,
psychotics, bipolar, depressive, psychopathic, sociopath, and so forth. The problem is we are
not agreeing on one belief. We have people that believe the law is right in all areas, but others
that claim the law is controlling, which in fact, this second dis right in a large way.

In reality, psychopathic and sociopath as well as other mental ill individuals are deemed
GENUISES. Now we have a bunch of geniuses in life and a lot of average thinkers, so what are
we going to do? When you are looking at geniuses verses common thinkers there are going to
be conflicts, and each one will have their own state of mind devoid the other. We are talking
CONTROVERSY! Controversy? Let’s run like hell until we get there.

When we do not understand something it is called IGNORANT. When we understand but refuse
to accept it, is called STUPID. Now, if you think I am insulting, well, let’s take a closer look at


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what I am talking about and then you go ahead and judge me. OK. Ignorant, we have a
problem; someone else does not see life the way we see life. Ok. I see it now. You are different
from the other person you are talking to, and I am not seeing why this person thinks this way?
HUM! Is it possible this person lived more than I lived?

Does this person have more experience? Is it possible this person has a medical related
problem that is instigating their psychological impairment? Is it possible that the mind is
affected and the body is not? What about the nervous system, how does it contribute to the
mental status of the person? HUM! I am going to let you answer these questions yourself, since
I do not have time to waste time. But, after years of living, it should be obvious.

We are talking about some real-life problems here and everyone is ignoring them, or
disregarding them, stating that everyone should be treated the same. WRONG! Are you going
to treat someone with Schizophrenia the same as you would treat a common mental ill
individual? NO! IF you do, you are the one with more problems than the one that suffers
Schizophrenia.

The fact is these people are suffering, and if you continue to ignore them, you will suffer too.
While you are sitting around blaming the victim, you might as well sit around and blame
yourself. There are many cognitive disorders that we will discuss in the next article, however
understanding which is cognitive and what is not can help us to understand mental illnesses.



Breaking Apart a Nervous Breakdown

Although it appears to be increasingly falling out of the common lexicon, the term "nervous
breakdown" was once used to describe any number of mental health problems that appeared to
strike suddenly. Unfortunately, the term is often used loosely or casually, and sometimes, as in
films and TV, for comic effect. But is there really such as thing as a nervous breakdown? Well
yes, and no.

Yes—a person can indeed 'break down' suddenly. The human body is a fragile mechanism that,
when put under too much stress, will stop functioning normally. A person exposed to long-
term, unrelenting severe stress is particularly vulnerable to experiencing a 'breakdown.' How
does a breakdown manifest itself?

The primary characteristic of a breakdown usually involves some sudden disintegration of the
self. This means that an individual who usually follows a set pattern of behaviors will suddenly
break away from their routine. Imagine this scenario: a person wakes every morning, goes to
work, seems to function normally, visits with friends as usual, and then returns home.

Imagine this person suddenly waking one morning and unable to get up. They have lost their
drive, their ability to function normally, to communicate with family or friends. Perhaps they
are even incapable of dressing or eating. This person is experiencing a nervous breakdown.

What other types of symptoms might be described as those associated with having a nervous
breakdown? Some individuals might experience the uncontrollable need to cry, loss of energy,



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withdrawal, confusion, despair, inability to think clearly, sleep disruption or insomnia, loss of
pleasure in everyday activities, feelings of worthlessness and depression. These "down and
out" feelings are characteristic of depressive disorders.

Some individuals have breakdowns that manifest symptoms of psychosis. Breakdowns involving
psychosis may involve hearing voices, seeing visions, feelings of paranoia, feelings of being
pursued, feeling sensations that are not really present, grandiose or delusional behavior, bizarre
public behavior, feeling of jealousy, and feelings of violence.

Whatever the nature of the breakdown, all breakdowns have in common the inability to function
as normal.

What is a nervous breakdown really? A person who experiences symptoms of a nervous
breakdown is suffering from some sort of mental disorder. That is, despite what we used to
think, a nervous breakdown in and of itself is not an illness or disease. They are merely
symptomatic of a larger problem. In fact, no legitimate physician or mental health professional
would ever diagnose someone as having a nervous breakdown.

The characteristics of a nervous breakdown can be symptomatic of a large variety of mental
illnesses. The most common illness that resembles these characteristics is a Major Depressive
episode. Other disorders that are related to what we think of as a nervous breakdown include
panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma
disorders, acute stress disorder, schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder,
depression, and mood disorders. All of these mental disorders are characteristic of what many
laypeople would characterize as a nervous breakdown.

Who is most likely to suffer from a nervous breakdown? Almost anyone who is subjected to
undue stress is capable of experiencing a nervous breakdown. For instance, any person who
has been subjected to extreme stress and trauma is vulnerable to experiencing a disorder that
mimics the general perception of a nervous breakdown. For instance, a young person returning
from battle may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. A woman experiencing
severe depression after the birth of her child may experience post-partum depression.

How can a person suffering any of the characteristics of a nervous breakdown get help?
Sometimes the hardest part of recovery is getting the person to visit a doctor. For some kinds
of mental disorders, a nervous breakdown can be a blessing in disguise. An individual suffering
from severe anxiety or depression may find her self speaking to a psychotherapist for the first
time. A person who suffered alone for long time may suddenly find himself getting better with
medical attention.

In many fortunate cases, the person who experienced the nervous breakdown may emerge
from therapy stronger and healthier than ever before. Treatments can include antidepressant
and psychotropic medications, psychotherapy, and prescribed periods of rest.

Prevention of nervous breakdowns is an oft-ignored subject that researchers are beginning to
study. The characterization of a nervous breakdown as something that happens very suddenly
can be misleading. In many cases, symptoms of the coming breakdown are present, but either
the individual or their family and friends ignore them. Individuals who sense themselves



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becoming increasingly stressed, depressed, angry or violent are encouraged to seek help
immediately.



Coping Skills for Kids Suffering from Stress

The changes that are occurring in the world are causing several children to suffer from stress
and other mental disorders. If you think that your kid is suffering from stress, there are several
coping skills that you can offer in order to allow them to live their lives as most children do.

Stress from your child can be defined by several factors, both large and small. Usually, any
situation that includes a change or adaptation that a child has to make will cause stress. From
this, your child will react emotionally, usually which is attached to negative emotions. Most
children will learn how to respond to stress by observing how others around them are
responding to stress. Depending on the age of the child will determine how they decide to
respond to the stress.

The first thing to do when helping your kid to cope with stress is to identify the problem.
Whether they have been through a natural disaster, traumatic incident, or are suffering from
regular stresses of school and friends, you can help your kid to cope. If stress is not recognized
from your child, it can lead to suppressed feelings that may come up twenty years later. By
responding to the problem right away, it will help your child to overcome the event that the
child is stressed over.

You can observe your child first to see whether they are stressed out over something that is
occurring and changing in their life. Sometimes, they will have physical symptoms, such as
headaches, upset stomach, or physical illness. Depending on the age of the child, they will be
known to respond differently. You can also look for things such as trouble sleeping and
nightmares. These are often defense mechanisms that a child has in order to be able to
communicate with you at a sub-conscious level about what is stressing them out.

You can also look at unexpected changes in behavior or emotions. If they are afraid of things,
seem anxious, or become angry and sad without anything occurring, then it is a communication
to you that they are stressed. They may also become aggressive or stubborn. Many children
will either become dependent to their parents, afraid to let you out of sight. Others will decide
to stay away from others completely, isolating themselves because of the emotions. These, as
well as other emotional signs, will tell you that your child is stressed.

The first thing to do in response to your child being stressed is to make sure that you have the
right environment set up for your child at home. By keeping a calm and relaxed environment, it
will automatically get your child to respond. One of the things that you can do is play music
that you know will relax and calm them.

You can also respond by providing activities, such as art and physical exercise. Keeping the
television off is also an important factor, as this often causes more stress for the child. Unless
it is an educational or relaxing program, it is best to not use the television as a coping method.
This can be helpful in causing the stress to move to a lower level. Having certain activities that



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will relax the child help them to relieve their anxiety levels.       This, as well as the relaxed
environment, can help the child to sort out the problems in their own mind. By allowing this, it
will help in allowing the child to become more in tune to their feelings.

After you know that your child is becoming more relaxed in the home environment, then you
can approach them. Be sure to spend plenty of time in participating with their activities. You
should also begin to talk to your child about what is affecting them. Having them express their
feelings about certain incidents as well as helping them in recognizing the differences in these
feelings will help in relieving the stress.

Another important thing to keep in mind is how you respond to your child when you are talking
to them. It is essential to provide support when they are discussing their emotions, behaviors
and problems. By showing love and compassion towards their feelings, it will allow a safe
environment for them to come to in order to relieve their stress. It is important to remain
encouraging with questions they ask as well as when they speak openly to you about their
concerns.

By recognizing stress in your child, you can help them learn how to cope. The next steps
involved in dealing with this stress are setting up the right environment for them to be in. This
will naturally help them to relax. After this, you can begin talking to your child and allowing
them to express the problems they are having with the stress and changes that are occurring.
By following these simple steps, you can help your child be relieved of the stress that they have
and allow them to become involved in daily activities again.



Dealing with Disasters in a Healthy Way: How to Avoid the Slide into Mental
Illness

Disaster, both manmade and natural, can cause several mental illness problems if the disaster
is not understood. Dealing with the aftermath of disaster in a healthy way will help you and
your loved ones to come out of the disaster strongly, instead of sliding into mental illness.

The first thing that you should do after a disaster is come to terms with what has happened.
Many times, the disaster will cause for a loss in material goods or loved ones. The effect that
this can have on you mentally will often times cause post traumatic stress disorder, grief of the
losses, and other overwhelming feelings of sadness towards the loss.

It is important to understand that this is part of the process of moving through the disaster. By
allowing the feelings to be acknowledged towards what you are going through, you can move
through the disaster more easily.

If you have been through a disaster, it is best to seek help. There are several that are willing to
help you, both physically and mentally in order to restore your life. If you believe that you need
help mentally to overcome the problem, there are several counselors and psychotherapists that
are willing to help you overcome the tragedy that you have been through.




                                                6
If you have lost your things and financial means, then there are plenty of non-profit
organizations that can offer you replacements in order to help restore your life. It is important
to accept that you will not get your old things back, but you must also be willing to accept the
new things in order to rebuild your life.

Another part to recovering from a disaster is by helping those around you. When a crisis hits a
family or a community, it is best not to act out with repressed emotions of anger or sadness.
By comforting one another and providing support and love, it will make the disaster easier to
overcome. While you will need your space to express and overcome the feelings from the
disaster, it is also important to accept that others around you are overcoming this same disaster
and will need this same space and comfort.

If, as a result of the disaster, you are finding difficulty in things, then there are several signs
that you can look for in order to determine whether you are healing mentally in a healthy way,
or whether you are repressing the effects of the disaster. Often times, this is found by
repressed behaviors.

If you are having a hard time communicating with others, then it is a sign that you are not
healing yourself mentally. As a result, you may become sick, will create anxiety, won’t be able
to sleep, or may begin using drugs and alcohol, as well as forming other addictive behaviors.

Adjustment, if you notice these signs, is the major key in overcoming the stress related to the
disaster. Talking with others, instead of repressing your feelings or taking them out in
destructive ways, is one way to help you overcome the disaster. Many times, those involved in
the disaster will hold themselves responsible for what happened. It is important to let go of this
feeling if it is holding you back from healing.

One way to do this is to form a plan of action in case another disaster strikes. You can also go
to communities and support groups in order to relieve some of the stress involved. By being
able to recognize that others have gone through the same thing, it will make you feel like it is
easier to cope and will give you a deeper understanding of the disaster and how to overcome it.

One of the important things to do when overcoming disaster is to establish a routine. By doing
this, you will be forcing yourself to continue on with life. After you have lived through a
disaster, this may seem harder to do. Overtime, the routine will become easier and will help
you to overcome the feelings of loss that you are going through. It will also help you to avoid
going into depression or dwelling on the past.

Overcoming disaster is a difficult step to take mentally. By using some very specific techniques,
you will be able to move past the tragic event that has moved into your life. By taking care of
yourself, as well as being able to reach out for help, you can move beyond the disaster and
back into a healthy way of thinking.




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Five Tips to Manage Your Anxiety

Anxiety is a trait that affects most everyone in daily living. Anxiety can easily be caused by
several different stressful situations that occur in our lives. This can be a result of several
different factors. Several will produce anxiety when they are afraid of a situation that may
mean a lot to them.

Anxiety may also occur if someone associates a situation with a certain expectation. Often
times, this can be associated with a traumatic occurrence that happened in the past. If you are
feeling stressed or anxious about a situation, there are several ways to handle the problem.
Here are five tips to help manage your anxiety.

1. Meditation. There are several different types of meditation that you can use in order to
relieve your anxiety. Finding the right meditation is the key to helping you relax. Giving
yourself time to be in silence and peace will help for your stressful situation to be relieved. One
type of meditation is simply concentrating on your breath.

However, if you feel the need, you can listen to accompanying music that helps to calm you
down. Other types of meditation will use aromatherapies and other types of external sources
that help to calm you. Meditation, no matter what form, is a great tool to help you feel
balanced and ready to face the anxiety that may be bothering you.

2. Release energy. One of the ways to solve anxiety is to make sure that you are prepared
to face whatever it is that is causing the anxiety. Picturing yourself in the situation and seeing
an outcome that is positive will help to release the anxiety. Writing in a journal before the
occurrence may also help relieve some of the pressure.

Many times, physical activities can also help in making you more calm and prepared. Taking a
walk, for example, will help to release the extra pressures that you are feeling. Any type of
activity that will allow you to release energy or face it in a positive way can help your anxiety
level to lower.

3. Breathe. If you are in an area where you won’t have time to meditate or allow yourself to
release energy, then reminding yourself to calm down may help. Counting to ten is one of the
methods that are often referred to. You can also remember to concentrate on breathing deeply
while you are in the situation. This automatically allows your body to slow down, causing the
anxiety level to decrease.

4. Time Management. By not feeling rushed or stressed in a particular situation, it will
minimize the problem with anxiety occurring. If you are going somewhere, make sure that you
are giving yourself plenty of time to get there. If you are preparing something that you are
uncomfortable with facing, make sure that you are completely prepared by the time you get to
the spot where you will have to move into your uncomfortable zone. By managing time and
being prepared, you will allow yourself the ability to focus on confidence, instead of anxiety.

5. Laugh. Looking at your situations and the importance of them is one way to recognize
that the anxiety is taking over the reality of the situation. Often times, anxiety causes us to



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change situations that are not so large into large problems. By changing your perspective of
the situation and not taking it as seriously, you will be able to move through the situation more
easily.

Not allowing anxiety to take over your life is the number one way to make sure that it doesn’t
prevent you from doing the tasks that need to be done for the day. By giving yourself the
space and time to manage anxiety, you will be able to be successful in whatever you are trying
to accomplish.

Anxiety and stress is a problem that affects everyone depending on the situation. If you are in
a place where you feel uncomfortable, relates to a past situation, or that you are uncertain of, it
can lead to anxiety. By being able to stop and use tools to eliminate anxiety it will help you
move past your fears and allow you to be able to accomplish whatever you decide to set your
mind to.



Feeling Funky: How to Know When a Little Stress is Really Just Stress

We have all probably heard that too much stress is bad for our health, in much the same way
that overindulging in fast food, cigarettes, or alcohol can be. Indeed, stress is one of the
leading causes of illness, even though most people who pay their doctor a visit don't realize that
their condition was probably caused by stress.

But stress is unavoidable. Our everyday routines are lined with stress, even if it's only the
stress of burning the toast in the morning and fighting traffic congestion. How much stress is
too much? At what point does stress become an illness? It helps to understand the nature of
stress.

The Nature of Stress

Stress really just refers to your body's reaction to the world, to change, both internal and
external. When we say we are "stressed out" we probably mean that our body has grown tired,
anxious or frazzled from these interactions. We have lost our balance, our ability to deal with
the constant stream of changes of interactions that we must face each day.

Stress Eats Energy

Some medical professionals believe that we all have a finite reserve of energy to deal with
stress. Some of us have a higher threshold of energy than others. For instance, some us
cannot handle too much stimulation after a long day's work, while others seem to thrive on
being busy for most of the day. Whatever your threshold, when you sense that your energy
reserve has become depleted, you will begin to feel that "stressed out" feeling.

What happens when we become stressed out? Our emotions become confused and entangled.
We may feel anxious and depressed one moment, then simply tired and lethargic the next.
Excessive stress may interfere with clarity of mind, ability to sleep well (or at all), ability to
concentrate, eat, interact normally with others, an overall feeling of malaise or restlessness,



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surges in hormones that result in oily skin and hair, weight gain or weight loss, and a host of
other undesirable effects.

How Much Is Too Much Stress? How much is Just Enough?

There is no doubt as to what is too much stress. If you find yourself not being able to function
normally, you are too stressed. If friends or family members seem worried about you,
comment as to your appearance, you likely have too much stress. If you find yourself suffering
from insomnia, unable to concentrate, emotionally unstable, or just feel "burned out," you are
most likely overstressed.

With doctors increasingly talking about the importance of stress control, many people are
beginning to wonder, how much stress is OK? The truth is that stress is important in leading
our everyday lives. We need that 'push' that stress gives us to meet deadlines, goals, and just
get through the day. The trick is balance this 'necessary' stress with things that bring you joy,
relaxation and rejuvenation.

The Fine Art of Stress Management

More than ever before, the importance of stress management is being discussed, written about,
and studied. Too much stress can sap your health and vitality. But in a world that seems to
run on the power of stress, what can you do to keep it under control. The key is to make the
conscious decision to take charge of your stress, and to do so in a healthy, energy-inducing
way.

Many people try to quell their stress by smoking, overindulging in comfort foods, alcohol
consumption, and drugs. In reality, these activities will only exacerbate the stress in your life,
and if continued, may turn into serious health and/or addiction problems.

Once you've made the decision to alleviate your stress in a healthy manner, you'll find that
stress management is one of the best things you can do for your health and your life. Practice
a daily routine of stress relief. Make a list of things you truly enjoy doing—things that you do
only to please yourself. Perhaps you enjoy taking a luxuriant bubble bath, or playing the guitar.

Maybe gardening frees you from the day's worries, or making a telephone call to friends.
Whatever you truly enjoy, make a habit of doing it everyday. Many people find it easy to quell
their stress simply by 'zoning out' in front of the TV set, or indulging in their favorite food.
While it’s fine to distress with your favorite TV show or snack on your favorite food, try to make
a diverse list of things you can do. Whenever you're feeling a little funky, simply choose
something from your list and let the stress melt away.



Reliving It: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Explained

Post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD can be found in several different types of
people. It is defined as an anxiety disorder that is heightened when goes through a traumatic
event. Violent personal assaults, natural disasters, accidents, military combat, and other



                                               10
traumatic and stressful situations that may occur all may be a cause of PTSD. If you have been
through one of these acts, you can recognize PTSD through several different occurrences that
may go through your mind.

PTSD is not anything that is limited to an age group or a type of personality. It is said that over
52 million Americans have PTSD in a given year. If you have been through an experience that
is traumatic in your mind, your brain will react by trying to rebalance the chemicals in your
brain and justify the trauma that you have been through.

When you are in a situation that causes fear, there is a rapid response from your body that
moves to the amygdala of the brain. This is supposed to protect you in those fearful situations.
You will also produce opiates, which is used to mask pain.

PTSD will then take these bodily reactions and reuse it through the memories associated with
the traumatic event, causing both the reactions from the brain and hormones to be reproduced
at the same level. If you have PTSD, you can recognize it through several mental and physical
symptoms. These symptoms will be diagnosed as PTSD if they last for more than one month.

The first way in which PTSD can be recognized is through flashbacks occurring. These may
occur when you are sleeping or when you are awake. Several who have been through a
traumatic event may find that something will trigger the event that they went through, such as
a situation or a noise. They will then react by believing they are back in the situation, causing
them to take the same actions they did back then.

This is a trigger from the brain to protect them from what they have associated as the
traumatic event. PTSD can take the form of flashbacks while you are awake, memories or
nightmares. Often times, when the date of the event occurs, the person with PTSD will
automatically flash back.

Another part of PTSD is the emotional and psychological attachments of the memories.
Depression, anxiety and uncontrolled anger are a few of the reactions that will occur along with
the flashbacks. These emotions are usually suppressed or uncontrollable in situations where
one is reminded of the traumatic situation that they were in.

Another element of PTSD is the physical reaction that will occur during the flashbacks.
Headaches, immune system problems, dizziness, chest pain, and discomfort in different areas of
the body are often a part of PTSD. If the trauma that you were involved in caused a certain
part of your body to have a significant amount of pain, then the anxiety may react physically as
well.

If you think that you may have PTSD, it is a curable symptom. Therapy to re-live the
experiences that were traumatic to you is one way in which you can cure this mental disorder.
Through this reliving, you are able to be in a controlled environment, where you can take back
the control, which you felt like you lost when living through the traumatic event.

Another way in which you can treat PTSD is through talking about your experience soon after it
happens. There are several places that will debrief someone after they have been through an
experience. This causes the traumatic experience to not be internalized as much, allowing you



                                                11
to not have to go through the same reactions. By not allowing the emotions and anxiety from
the event to be suppressed, it eliminates some of the PTSD from being given a chance to occur.

Having PTSD is a natural way for the brain and body to communicate with you about a
traumatic situation. Through flashbacks, mental symptoms and physical problems, you can
easily recognized PTSD. Allowing yourself to get help for PTSD can help you in relieving these
symptoms and moving back to a normal life, away from the trauma that occurred.



Warning Signs of a Panic Attack

Having a panic attack is a common disorder that several in the United States have. There are
several different types of panic disorders, the most common being a panic attack. While panic
attacks don’t usually last for more than ten minutes, they can become detrimental to your way
of living and your daily activities. If you believe that you are having panic attacks, it is best to
go and get help for the disorder. In order to know whether you are having an attack or not,
you should first look for the symptoms. Here are ten warning signs of a panic attack.

1. Increased heart rate. Often times, when you begin to panic, your heart rate will begin
speeding up rapidly. This will often feel like a pounding feeling that is happening from your
heart. This is usually accompanied by a feeling of pain in the chest.

2. Difficulty breathing. This also can be a shortness of breath that begins to occur. This is
usually as a result of the increased heart rate. Often times, when you are having a panic
attack, you will feel like you have to gasp for air, instead of being able to breathe easily.

3. Nausea. This is often accompanied by a dizzy feeling as well as feeling sick to the
stomach. Often times, nausea is also part of becoming light headed. Because of the quick shift
in your way of thinking, nausea will react in your body, trying to balance out the physical
reactions to the panic.

4. Coldness or numbness in the hands. Often times, sweaty palms, or numbness occur
during a panic attack. While the hands will seem to have a more extreme shift in temperature
than the rest of the body, this same coldness or numbness may also be present in other parts
of your body.

5. Fear. This is one of the largest parts of a panic attack. There are several different types
of fears that accompany panic attacks. One is the fear of dying. Another fear is that of losing
control or going crazy. If you are in a certain area, then other types of fears may accompany
this as well, depending on what triggers the panic attack.

6. Depersonalization. This is similar to what many refer to as an out of body experience.
At the beginning of your panic attack, you may begin to feel as though you are not really you
and that this situation is not who you are. This sense of depersonalization is a large part of
panic attacks.




                                                12
7.    Cold or hot flashes. You may begin to get sweaty and begin to shake. At the other
extreme, you will feel cold and hot at the same time.

8. No basis for the attack. Many describe panic attacks as having no basis behind them.
They will be in a normal situation, doing the work or chores of the day when a panic attack
occurs. The symptoms will begin to occur suddenly while doing the activities of the day.

9. Terror. Panic attacks are often accompanied by more than fear. Those that have panic
attacks may also get an overwhelming feeling that something horrible is about to happen. They
may not feel like they have control to prevent this event from happening, adding onto the
terror.

10. Loss of control. Along with the physical symptoms and ideas that are in a panic attack
is the idea that one is going to loose control. This is a result of the panic attack triggering.
Because of the quick change in body functions as well as the ideas that follow, one will often
feel like they are not able to control their body as well as what is about to happen.

Usually, those with panic attacks have four or more of the symptoms that are mentioned above.
A panic attack will usually not last for more than ten minutes. However, the feelings of fear
that accompany it can last up to an hour. If the panic attacks become more frequent and
extreme, it can also result in a panic disorder, causing for dysfunctions to occur in your
everyday life. If you have these symptoms, or know someone who has panic attacks, it is best
to look into the problem as soon as possible, so that the attacks don’t worsen.



When Panic Attacks: An Overview of Its Causes

Panic attacks can occur for several reasons. Usually, a panic attack will last for about ten
minutes. Your body will react by an increased blood pressure, as well as dizziness and fear
overtaking you. If you believe that you are having a panic attack, then it is important to look at
the causes behind it. By doing so, you will be able to prevent panic attacks from continuously
occurring.

Some believe that panic attacks are an inherited trait. It has been shown that there are certain
genes that are related to panic attacks occurring. These genes have mutated and caused the
brain to not respond properly in certain situations. However, panic attacks are not most likely
to occur because of genetics, but from other situations. These situations are known to be a
response to either external happenings or from internal problems that are being compensated
for in the body.

Panic attacks may also be because of the body’s response to a certain environment. If there is
shallow chest breathing that is happening, then the body will respond by trying to speed up the
heart rate. It also causes an imbalance between oxygen and carbon dioxide. As a result, it
causes fear and terror to overtake a person.

If shallow chest breathing is not occurring, the brain may be responding anyway. There is a
nerve in the brain that responds to feeling a lack of oxygen is occurring in the body. It causes



                                               13
the body to respond by making it feel like it is suffocating. Often times, this brain is triggered
in error.

Severe stress is one of the major factors that is associated behind panic attacks. If you are
coping with a major change in your life, such as loss of a loved one, or a tragedy, then it causes
extra stress to be added into your life. If this becomes difficult for you to handle, the body may
try to relieve this stress physically.

Anxiety and phobias may also trigger a panic attack to happen. The most well known phobia
that is related to panic attacks is agoraphobia. This is a fear of places. When one is in these
situations, they will mentally trigger something in their brain that makes them feel as though
they are suffocating or in a situation they can’t get out of. As a result, they will begin to have a
panic attack.

Many times, panic attacks are not defined by a particular event that happens at that direct time.
Most that have panic attacks say that they come out of nowhere and they are uncertain of why.
The event does not have to be a present one. Often times, the memory triggers something
that was tragic or stressful. This can be the cause of a panic attack occurring. If this certain
situation has not been handled or overcome mentally, then it will result in a panic attack.

If you are in a traumatic situation, it may also cause a panic attack. Part of the mental
responses to panic attacks is that there is a fear of dying that is stimulated in the brain as a
result. If you are in a situation where a traumatic event is occurring, it may cause your body to
react to this fear that you have.

Panic attacks, no matter what the situation, are important to recognize and begin to handle. If
you don’t look into the reasoning behind the panic attacks, it may lead to more serious
complications. Panic disorders start to become a part of your life. This may lead to more
phobias and problems that occur on more consistent basis. As a result, it may become harder
for you to function normally from every day life.

Panic attacks have both physical and mental attachments to them. By understanding what
these are and knowing how they affect you, it can help you to overcome them easier. For
some, panic attacks occur several times during their life, for others, a panic attack will occur
once and will never happen again. By understanding what a panic attack is and does, you will
be able to make sure that panic attacks become more infrequent or completely absent from
your life.



Wide Open Spaces: How and Why Agoraphobia Manifests Itself

Agoraphobia, when literally translated, means fear of a marketplace. Agoraphobia, when it
becomes more severe, will become fear of a public area or place. Beyond this definition are
several different emotions and reactions to places that are attached. It is known that one-third
of people who have panic disorder will begin to develop agoraphobia. Understanding the how
and why of how agoraphobia manifests itself offers a beginning for you to begin to be able to
cope agoraphobia as a mental illness.



                                                14
Agoraphobia will usually begin when you are having a panic attack. Sometimes, this can be as
soon as the very first panic attack that is carried through with. This panic attack, to you, may
seem to have no basis to it and only begin out of nowhere. As a result, the panic attack
scenario becomes associated with a place that you are in. This association then leads to
avoidance of the place as well as trying to avoid other places that have the same types of
people or things as part of the surroundings.

There are several reasons for the panic attack occurring. Often times, it is a result of a stressful
situation that is occurring in the environment around you or in your life. Other times, it may be
a result of anxiety that is occurring in your life. If this is not taken care of, or if you are having
a hard time coping, your brain will react by causing a panic attack. If there is increased fear
and discomfort in your life as well, then a panic attack may occur.

There are several physical side affects that are related to a panic attack. The first thing that
you may notice is that your heart rate will begin to get faster. As a result, there will be pain
that occurs in your chest. You may find yourself beginning to sweat from this.

Your breath will become short, which will cause you to become dizzy. You may also begin to
shake from the panic attack. After these different things occur, then you may notice that
several fears will begin to take place.

Panic attacks will then turn into panic disorders, where one is afraid to put themselves in a
situation. While this fear may rise, those with agoraphobia don’t necessarily take themselves
out of situations that cause panic attacks at first. Many times, the fear of going into the area
will lead them to bring a friend with them in order to feel safe.

Other instances become more extreme where the person who is having the panic attacks and
fear will stay at home. If this fear is not treated, it becomes worsened by more panic attacks
and more fear of being in a public area. These fears cause the person with the mental disorder
to establish what is known as zones of safety. The person will become afraid of moving out of
these areas.

One of the major results of agoraphobia is simply avoiding situations. This may mean that you
ask others to go to public places for you or with you. At other times, this avoidance is only by
mentally being in a place, but trying not to think of where you are. This avoidance at a more
extreme level means that you won’t leave your home in order to go places.

If you are finding that you have a fear of going into public places and are relying on others to
take you out of what you may know as safety zones, then it is important to begin getting help
right away. To begin, there is a medication that can be offered to you in order to calm down
the panic attacks as well as make you less afraid of where you are. The second step is to
receive cognitive-behavioral therapy. This will allow you to be able to learn about what your
fears are, when they started and how to move past the avoidance of situations.

One of the parts of the therapy that you will probably take part in is known as desensitization.
This is also referred to as gradual exposure therapy. Over a certain amount of time, you will be
requested to go into the areas that cause you the most fear. While in these situations, you will




                                                 15
learn how to face the fears and anxiety that result. Over time, the fear will become less
threatening and you will be able to move into places more easily.

If you are afraid of moving into public areas and situations, or avoid certain places because of
panic attacks, then you may be developing agoraphobia. By doing this, you may be in danger
of becoming homebound and never leaving a safety zone. If you know someone who has this
disorder, or if you believe that you have it yourself, then it is important to get help as soon as
possible. There are several methods and treatments that can move you past your fears and
allow you to face public areas again.



Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior: You Are Not Alone

Obsessive-compulsive behavior is a type of trait where you will do the same routine thing over
and over again. These activities will vary in both what is obsessed over and how often it is
repeatedly done. For those suffering from obsessive-compulsive behavior, there are several
ways in which it can be recognized, overcome and treated.

It is known that one in fifty adults have obsessive-compulsive behaviors. One in twenty-five
adults have said that they have suffered from the obsessive-compulsive behaviors at some
point in their lives. While this problem is not talked about frequently, it affects many adults and
their everyday functioning in lives.

There are several different physical and medical reasons that are seen to be in relation to
obsessive-compulsive behavior. One of the reasons that have been studied is in relation to the
communication that occurs in the brain. It is said that communication between the front part of
the brain and the deeper parts of the brain are unable to communicate and trigger reactions
properly.

As a result, it causes one to think that there is a loss of control over certain fears. The chemical
messenger that is said to be lacking in most cases is serotonin. This, as well as several other
environmental and behavioral reasons are said to be part of the effect of obsessive-compulsive
behavior.

Obsessive-compulsive behavior is when one’s brain gets stuck on a certain thought, action or
urge and can’t let go of the idea. For example, they will wash their hands over and over again,
or drive around the block several times to look for an accident. Sometimes, this behavior will
occur continuously for long amounts of time, at other times, it is noted as a mental hiccup
where one is not able to let go of a thought for some time. After this occurs, they will then
move back to normal functioning.

The obsessions that occur in this type of behavior often will make a person feel like they don’t
have control of the situation. These certain feelings and behaviors will make the person feel
uncomfortable which results in fear of the situation or idea becoming intrusive on their lifestyle.
From these fears and feelings of loss of control, there will be acts that are performed over and
over again in order to make the certain fear or feeling of loss of control to go away.




                                                16
There are several common obsessions that are used in relation to this behavior. One is an
obsession with germs and dirt. As a result, the obsession will include continuous washing of
one area or of one’s body. Another common obsession is when one thinks that they have
harmed another person. Often times, this will cause the situation or speech to be repeated
over and over again.

Those who are afraid of losing control or have more serious mood swings may respond by
continuously checking on certain situations and things to make sure that everything is in place.
These are only a few of several types of obsessions and reactions that are use in relation to
obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Obsessive-compulsive behavior is best treated by trying to solve the problem through breaking
the habit yourself. One of the problems with obsessive-compulsive behavior is that it is not
recognized or treated as much as other mental disorders.

One of the reasons behind this is that most people do not recognize this behavior as a large
problem in their lives. At the same time, healthcare providers don’t have the right treatments
in order to help those with these behaviors to overcome the habits that have become part of
life. At this point in time, the only recommendation for medications is serotonin that can be
used to treat the problem.

If you have formed obsessive-compulsive behavior, it is important to recognize that you are not
alone. There are several others who have developed the same habits as a result of fears and
loss of control that they feel is happening in their environment.

If you believe that you have obsessive-compulsive behavior, you can solve the problem through
recognizing the problem. Learning how to break the habits and redirect the brain’s chemicals is
one of the ways to do this. Obsessive-compulsive behavior, if caught before it develops too
much can be overcome, allowing you to feel like you are in charge of your life.



Anti-Social? It Could Be Social Anxiety Disorder

If you have an overwhelming feeling or self-consciousness and anxiety in social settings that
most people are fine in then you might have social phobia, otherwise known as social anxiety
disorder. People suffering from this disorder feel like they are being judged and watched
intensely by others and think that they think horrible thoughts about them. They are afraid that
they will embarrass or humiliate themselves in front of people when they meet them. This can
seriously interfere with daily life such as school, work, relationships, and activities of daily living.

Even though most people with social anxiety disorder know they’re feeling are not valid and
excessive they cannot seem to manage or control them. When they a function they have to
attend they can worry for months or weeks waiting for the dreadful day.

Social anxiety disorder can range in its behavior. Some individuals may only suffer from a
specific fear such as eating or drinking, speaking, or writing if others are around or watching.
Some people have a fear or going to the bathroom in a public restroom. This can be as serious



                                                  17
as causing physical sickness or weakness to the bladder because of the anxiety involved, while
some people are fearful in all social situations and is never comfortable.

The normal daily activities that most people take for granted are so horrifying and worrisome of
social phobias it can be physically debilitating. This illness can cause people to miss work or
school if they fear they will have to get up and be seen or noticed. Many persons with social
phobia may have problems with relationships and can find it very hard to meet and keep
friends. Even when the person has friends they may not be able to enjoy going out with then or
being with them in large crowds of other people who might be less known. Some of the
common symptoms include:

   •   blushes often in social situations
   •   profuse sweating when anxious
   •   trembling when approached or spoke to
   •   nausea as anxiety increases and possibly vomiting
   •   extreme difficulty talking

You may be extremely embarrassed by all of these symptoms if you have social phobia. It can
feel like there are million people watching you all the time and you can’t get away. You might
even be able to stand being around your own family for fear of ridicule and rejection. This is a
common irrational fear that with out medication cannot be controlled. Even if you tried to face
what fears you have the anxiety level before can be almost debilitating and can linger through
out the whole experience. The anxiety can also linger after wards and keep you feeling scared
and anxious for weeks or months.

Affecting approximately 5.3 million American adults with men and women being affected
equally, social phobia usually starts to develop in childhood or the early teens. There is belief
that social anxiety disorder can also be hereditary so if a family member has it you are at a
higher risk of developing it as well. Because of the nature of the severe anxiety people with this
disorder have a higher risk of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to try to relax and calm
down. This only leads to worse problems and possibly addiction. To treat this disease one need
to see a doctor and seek psychotherapy and/or medications.

There is hope and treatment for those persons who suffer with social anxiety disorder. There
have been more and more drugs capable of helping control the feelings one may suffer with.
The antidepressants Paxil and Effexor are excellent and wide used to help suffers of social
phobia. It can take two to four weeks for the medications to start to take effect and it can also
take some time to find the right dosage that works the best with the least side effects. The user
needs to always follow the instructions on the prescription and take the medication every day.

If the side effects are too bad or there is no improvement in four weeks call your doctor. Many
patients will have to continue medications for months, years, or even a lifetime. Another
important aspect is therapy. Most doctors use cognitive-behavioral therapy that changes the
individual’s cognitive thinking patterns to help them eventually face fear in all social situations
without debilitating anxiety.




                                                18
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