Fears and Phobias
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Phobias are strong, irrational fears. Someone with a social phobia may be afraid of dating. A person with agoraphobia is scared of enclosed spaces. Some even fret over fear itself!
Transcript: A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, and is defined as an intense, irrational fear of a particular...
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, and is defined as an intense, irrational fear of a particular situation, object, animal or activity. People who suffer from a phobia may experience extreme emotional and physical reactions when encountering their particular fear. Nearly everyone fears something. Some people become anxious during thunderstorms. Others get queasy in tall buildings. Still others find themselves jumping onto a chair at the sight of a tiny mouse. But there's a big difference between temporary anxiety that's experienced occasionally and the often crippling, uncontrollable fear that can result in a person going to great lengths to avoid their phobia - even if it means missing a job interview, vacation or school play. When people with phobias can't avoid what they're afraid of, they may experience various symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, trembling or weakness. Most people with phobias realize their fear is excessive and irrational. But they typically are unable to overcome their feelings of dread and the often desperate need to escape the subject of their phobia. Ultimately, this may interfere with the ability to function in daily life. The American Psychiatric Association divides phobias into three main categories including Specific Phobias, Social Phobia - also known as Social Anxiety Disorder -- and Agoraphobia. Specific Phobias, also known as Simple Phobias, are the irrational fear of a very specific situation, place, animal or object. The most common specific phobia is fear of animals such as dogs, cats, mice, snakes or spiders. And that's ONLY the tip of the iceberg. The "Phobias List" identifies more than 500 Specific Phobias, ranging from fear of garlic, dust, clocks and comets, to dancing, snow, strings and puppets. A person with social phobia may be intensely fearful of being singled out, talking to strangers, ridicule, eating or showing embarrassment in social situations. The most common social phobia is fear of public speaking. Agoraphobia is a fear of any situation where it may be difficult to escape or get help if needed. People with agoraphobia often feel unsafe in any public place and may become so disabled by their fear that they become housebound. Phobias typically develop early in life. They may be triggered by experiences, but also tend to run in families. So children whose parents have a phobia are about three times as likely to develop a similar phobia, than where there is no family history. Phobias are the most common anxiety disorder among women overall, and the second-most common anxiety disorder among men over 25. For people who suffer from a phobia, the effects can be life altering. Their lives are often planned around avoiding, concealing or defending their phobia, while struggling to cope with their fear. Most phobias can be successfully treated. If you - or someone you know - is affected by phobias, consult a mental health professional.More »
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What is a social phobia? A social phobia is the fear of certain types of situations, such as such as public speaking. Get the basics here.
Transcript: Many people feel ill at ease in social situations. However, people who suffer from Social Phobia often...
Many people feel ill at ease in social situations. However, people who suffer from Social Phobia often experience SUCH extreme fear of scrutiny, humiliation or being judged by others that they may have a panic attack - or simply avoid social situations altogether. The most common form of Social Phobia is fear of public speaking. It is also typical to fear social situations to the extent that EVEN the possibility of interpersonal interaction can cause extreme distress and an overwhelming desire to escape or avoid the situation. Some Social Phobias are confined to a specific situation, such as intense fear of using a public restroom, eating with strangers, making a phone call, being called on in a meeting or having to meet someone new. When people with Social Phobia aren't able to avoid the feared social situation, they may experience a variety of symptoms including rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, trembling or weakness. Blushing Phobia, called Erythrophobia, may also accompany Social Phobia. People with Blushing Phobia typically experience extreme, uncontrolled blushing even in casual social situations. Knowing that others see them blushing causes considerable embarrassment and nervousness - and even more blushing. Most people with Social Phobia may recognize that their fears are unreasonable and excessive, yet they typically are unable to control their anxiety, as well as the physical and psychological reactions experienced when they come face to face with the source of their fear. Social Phobia typically develops between the ages of 11 and 15, and rarely after the age of 25. And, while Social Phobia affects both males and females, women and girls are twice as likely as men and boys to develop Social Phobia. Ultimately, Social Phobia may become so debilitating that it can keep a person from being successful at work or school, as well as prevent them from experiencing what would otherwise be enjoyable activities with colleagues, family and friends. Most people with Social Phobia can obtain relief from their fear and anxiety by seeking help from a trained therapist. Treatment typically includes behavioral therapy, medication - or, often, a combination of the two. Behavior therapy helps Social Phobia sufferers through coping skills, relaxation techniques and cognitive therapies that may help change unwanted thought patterns through controlled exposure to their fear. Medications used in the treatment of Social Phobia often include antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, which can help alleviate symptoms and enhance the effectiveness of therapy. Social Phobia can be treated successfully. If you - or someone you know - is affected by Social Phobia, consult a mental health professional.More »
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Phobias are characterized by intense avoidance of things, from enclosed spaces to social situations. While debilitating, anxiety management and exposure therapy can help alleviate fear. Take a quick look at some common aversions.
Transcript: Most everyone fears something. Typically, we control our fears and continue with our daily activities....
Most everyone fears something. Typically, we control our fears and continue with our daily activities. Some people, however, experience exaggerated and irrational fear of a specific situation, place, animal or object. This anxiety may be so intense that it results in a panic attack. People who experience such exaggerated and irrational fears have a Specific Phobia. The most common Specific Phobia is fear of animals. And, while there are literally hundreds of Specific Phobias documented, other common fears include blood, heights, enclosed places, elevators, flying, lightning, dentists and insects. Although people who suffer from Specific Phobias may realize their fear is unreasonable, they are unable to prevent the intense anxiety and dread that may occur if they encounter the subject of their fear - and, sometimes, when they're simply just thinking about it. When people with a Specific Phobia are unable to avoid the source of their fear, they may experience extreme anxiety and discomfort, along with various other symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, trembling, weakness or even a panic attack. The good news is that many Specific Phobias are relatively simple to avoid. For example, a fear of pigs probably wouldn't pose a problem in a big city. Similarly a fear of trains could be avoided by choosing a different mode of transportation. On the other hand, a fear of flying would be a significant issue for someone whose job requires traveling. And fears of making decisions, lightning or even dogs could potentially keep a person housebound, unable to attend to their daily responsibilities. Specific Phobias often begin in childhood, and rarely after the mid-20s. They also tend to run in families. For example, the child of a parent who has a fear of spiders is likely also to develop that same fear. Most people with Specific Phobias can improve their quality of life and reduce their fears through treatment from a trained therapist. Treatment may involve cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, anxiety management or medication - usually in a combination that's tailored to the patient's needs. The aim of treatment is to help patients reduce their anxiety and overcome their fears by confronting the phobia in a controlled way, or through gradual exposure to the subject of their fear. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may also be used to help reduce symptoms and enhance the therapy's effectiveness. Specific Phobias can be treated successfully. If you - or someone you know - is affected by Specific Phobia, consult a mental health professional.More »
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What is agoraphobia? It is a type of anxiety disorder that often causes panic attacks. Learn about agoraphobia here in this video.
Transcript: Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that often occurs in combination with panic attacks, also called...
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that often occurs in combination with panic attacks, also called Panic Disorder, and is a fear of being in any place or situation where it would be difficult to escape or get help if needed. The literal translation of Agoraphobia is "fear of the marketplace," which may lead to the incorrect assumption that Agoraphobics are simply afraid to go outside. However, a person with Agoraphobia typically feels unsafe in any public place - especially those places that tend to be crowded. Common fears of an Agoraphobic include crowded shopping malls, using public transportation or flying on an airplane, being stuck on a crowded bridge or freeway, standing in line, or attending sporting events. These fears may be heightened by fear of a panic attack, which typically involves such extreme fear and intense physical symptoms - such as trouble breathing, chest pain and lightheadedness - that a person with Agoraphobia may feel like they're going crazy or might even die. A panic attack may come on suddenly, and without warning - while standing in line at the market, sitting on a bus or simply out watching a movie with friends. The unpredictability of the panic attacks often leads to avoiding places where an attack previously occurred. As a result, people with Agoraphobia often develop "safe zones" where they can go without experiencing severe anxiety. The severity of Agoraphobia varies. Some people simply avoid fear-provoking situations and lead a relatively normal life. Others may experience such constant anxiety about when and where a panic attack might occur that they become afraid to venture from the safety of their home. Agoraphobia typically begins during adolescence or early adulthood, although it may also develop in young children and older adults. And, while the exact cause of Agoraphobia isn't known, researchers have identified several risk factors including: stressful childhood events, a tendency toward anxiety, and panic-like symptoms. Women are also three times more likely to develop Agoraphobia than men. Although Agoraphobia often results in isolation, depression and even substance abuse to help cope with fear and loneliness, there are treatments that can help. The first step is to see a doctor for a complete physical exam to rule out any medical causes. Most people with Agoraphobia can improve their quality of life with treatment from a trained therapist. The most effective treatments for Agoraphobia are cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy, which help patients overcome anxiety and fear through controlled, gradual exposure. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may also be used to help reduce symptoms and enhance the therapy's effectiveness. Agoraphobia can be treated successfully. If you - or someone you know - is affected by Agoraphobia, consult a mental health professional.More »
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Millions of people suffer from phobias. Some of the weirdest phobias revolve around fear of clocks, garlic and even certain people. Find out more by watching this video.
Transcript: Any phobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an intense, irrational fear of a particular...
Any phobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an intense, irrational fear of a particular situation, object or animal. Most people realize their fears are extreme, but the anxiety is very real, regardless of how common or rare the phobia. Food-related phobias include the fear of garlic, fear of vegetables, fear of meat and even the fear of food itself. If these sound unusual, consider arachibutyrophobia, which is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one's mouth! Body parts also provide their fair share of terror-inducing phobias. Genuphobia is the fear of knees. Omphalophobia is the fear of belly buttons. But surely the oddest in this category is geniophobia, which is the abnormal - and definitely peculiar - fear of chins! Animals also figure prominently in odd phobias. Ranidaphobics fear frogs, mottephobics fear moths and lutraphobia evokes horror in response to otters. But, the weirdest of these by far is zemmiphobia - fear of the Great Mole Rat, a hairless, sightless buck-toothed rodent that lives underground. Phobias of specific objects are common, but some are less common than others. Aulophibics have a morbid fear of flutes, chronomentrophobics have a horror of clocks and cnidophobics are terrified of string. However, the most perplexing may be consecotaleophobia - the fear of chopsticks. Another consideration: it's not uncommon to have more than one phobia - and conflicting phobias could be a real problem. For example, a man with pogonophobia, the fear of beards, might experience even greater anguish if he was also affected by xyrophobia - the fear of razors! Phobias may also be problematic in more ways than one. For instance, vestiphobics, who have a morbid fear of clothing, most certainly experience major issues beyond the fear itself. Clearly, it would be especially difficult also to suffer from gymnophobia, the fear of nudity. Other phobia combinations might actually come in handy. The anablephobic who's afraid of looking up might not have a huge problem with nephophobia, the fear of clouds or astrophobia, which is the fear of stars. Another odd phobia, which may not be so odd but bears mentioning is pentheraphobia, an intensely disabling fear of one's mother-in-law! Honorable mention for the weirdest phobias also goes to: pteronophobia, the fear of being tickled by feathers; helminthophobia, the fear of being infested with worms: and blennophobia, the fear of slime. Most phobias can be successfully treated. If you - or someone you know - is affected by phobias, consult a mental health professional.More »
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Generalized anxiety disorder treatment often involves therapy and medication. GAD affects more than 10 million Americans every year. Watch our video to learn more about GAD treatment.
Transcript: Generalized Anxiety Disorder takes it toll on 10 million Americans each year. For people who have been...
Generalized Anxiety Disorder takes it toll on 10 million Americans each year. For people who have been diagnosed with GAD, what treatment options are available? Fortunately, most patients who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder respond well to treatments like therapy and medication. Although each of these can be used individually, patients are most commonly treated with a combination of both.There are several kinds of medicine that can help treat GAD, and which are especially helpful for people whose anxiety is interfering with their day-to-day life. The primary medications currently used to treat GAD come from a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, sometimes referred to as ""tranquilizers."" Common tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium produce a feeling of calm and decrease the physical symptoms of GAD like muscle tension and restlessness. However, drowsiness may be an unwanted side effect. Another kind of medicine used to treat GAD is BuSpar, a medication that specifically targets anxiety by affecting the levels of serotonin in the brain. Although it is not as universally effective as tranquilizers, BuSpar does not cause drowsiness as a side effect. Also, antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor are sometimes used to treat GAD. Therapy is also an important part of treating GAD. One type of therapy in particular, known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, can be useful for GAD sufferers because it teaches them to change the thought patterns and behaviors that lead to anxiety.Most people get substantial relief with a combination of therapy and medication, although some people with GAD do experience ongoing symptoms. People who are trying to cope with the symptoms of GAD can take some everyday steps that will help. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes a mix of food groups and exercising daily are good ways to help reduce these symptoms. It is also smart to reduce the consumption of products that contain caffeine, like coffee, tea, and soda, because caffeine is a stimulant that can heighten anxiety. Over-the-counter medicines and herbal remedies sometimes contain chemicals that can increase anxiety symptoms - it is smart to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking these products. Also, make sure to seek counseling after a traumatic experience or particularly severe symptoms. If you think you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, be sure to contact your doctor so that you can get treated, and start to feel better. If you are interested in learning about treatment options for GAD check out additional videos on the topic.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-20 | Tags »
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When stress adversely affects your physical and emotional health, it may be time to learn the facts on anxiety disorders. Watch our video for information.
Transcript: Anxiety is often described as a feeling of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, or dread of what might happen....
Anxiety is often described as a feeling of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, or dread of what might happen. These emotions are usually accompanied by physical symptoms, like tense muscles, sweaty palms, an upset stomach, or a racing heart. Normal, healthy anxiety usually occurs in reaction to a real stressor. That stressor can be as relatively minor as a doctor's appointment, a first date, or a work review and as major as a job layoff, or the end of a relationship. A person experiencing everyday anxiety can usually pinpoint this stressor, and can take steps to make unpleasant feelings abate. But the National Institute for Mental Health attests that - for 40 million Americans - anxiety is more than a passing emotion it's a debilitating mental illness. Unlike the relatively short-lived anxiety we all experience, generalized anxiety disorders lasts at least six months and individuals who have it find the symptoms to be so crippling that it interferes with normal, everyday life. Frequently, people with anxiety disorders cannot pinpoint what causes their symptoms. Some sufferers find that they worry almost constantly, even if there is little or no reason for their anxious feelings. Other individuals with anxiety disorders have specific phobias to run-of-the-mill things, like flying, spiders, or even social situations. Still other sufferers have compulsions, or rigid rituals that they employ in an attempt to control their constant worry and fear. And some people with anxiety disorders find themselves occasionally struck with sudden and very intense physical distress known as panic attacks. If you are experiencing any of these severe symptoms, you may have an anxiety disorder. Make an appointment with your doctor immediately! After all, the sooner anxiety disorders are diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated.More »
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Some 40 million Americans experience anxiety disorders. The most common include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and various phobias.
Transcript: Anxiety disorders are much different than the normal anxiety we all experience on occasion. Instead,...
Anxiety disorders are much different than the normal anxiety we all experience on occasion. Instead, these mental illnesses last at least six months and affect a person's ability to lead a normal life. Generally, anxiety disorders are classified into SIX categories: Specific phobias, social phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. While some individuals have symptoms of more than one anxiety disorder, most fall largely in one distinct group. Affecting some 19.2 million Americans, phobias are the most common anxiety disorder. A phobia is an intense fear of a specific situation or thing. Some of the most common phobias include fear of heights, flying, dogs, highway driving, water, tight spaces, and blood. While people with phobias tend to know their fears are irrational, they often have trouble facing them. A similar disorder, social phobia, is overwhelming embarrassment or fear surrounding normal social situations. About 15 million Americans have social phobias, which can be as distinct as eating in front of others and as broad as being around anyone other than close family. Often, social phobias manifest physically as blushing, trembling, and trouble talking. And no matter what the phobia, it may produce what is known as a panic attack. Panic attacks are the cornerstone of another anxiety disorder called Panic Disorder. For the 6 million Americans with Panic Disorder, intense fear is accompanied by unexpected and severe physical symptoms. These symptoms, or panic attacks, may manifest as dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and a racing heart. Ironically, it is often the fear of having a panic attack that causes one to occur. Another well-known anxiety disorder is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, which affects about 2.2 million adults. People with OCD tend to become focused on a disturbing or frightening thought, called an obsession. An OCD sufferer will then create an elaborate ritual, or compulsion, to cope with the obsession. Sometimes an obsession - like avoiding germs - matches the compulsion, like repeated hand washing. But sometimes, the two don't seem to relate at all. For example a person may believe that repeatedly checking, touching, or counting things will ensure that a loved one doesn't die. A fifth anxiety issue - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - follows from a traumatic event, like military combat or sexual assault. The 7.7 million Americans with PTSD relieve their trauma through flashback. They often become emotionally numb, losing interest in previously enjoyable activities. Conversely, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is a mental illness that often exists for little or no reason. People with GAD spend each day filled with intense worry or tension about day-to-day life. For the 6.8 million Americans with the disorder, it can be tough to sleep, eat, or ever feel relaxed. If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, make an appointment to speak with your doctor about anxiety disorders!More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-02 | Tags »
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The causes of anxiety can be numerous, and the reasons are often individual. But if left untreated, anxiety can trigger other health problems, too. Learn more about anxiety and its treatment here.
Transcript: One of the most common reasons people feel anxious, on-edge, worried, or tense is that an external concern...
One of the most common reasons people feel anxious, on-edge, worried, or tense is that an external concern is on their mind. Stress at work or school difficulties in a personal relationship and financial concerns, are all examples of external causes of anxiety. Experiencing a traumatic event, like a car accident or battlefield combat, is another common example. Yet another potential external precursor to anxious feelings is using illegal recreational drugs, like cocaine or LSD. And even legal, prescription drugs may have this unwanted emotional side effect. On the other hand, a person with anxiety may have an internal, physical reason for their symptoms. Common anxiety symptoms - like heart palpitations, tremors, and shortness of breath - could actually point to a physical condition. For example, a rapidly beating heart could be a sign of a heart condition and shortness of breath could be related to asthma. On the flip side, having a physical condition like this could lead to the development of anxious feelings. Any of these factors may cause short-term, mild anxiety. But for some people, that normal anxiety balloons into a serious mental disorder. Among the individuals most predisposed to anxiety disorders are those with a history of mental illness in their family. Additionally, many people with recurrent anxiety have a chemical imbalance in their brains that makes it hard to regulate emotions properly. Personality also plays a roll. Individuals with low self-esteem and poor coping mechanisms are more prone to anxiety disorders. And, of course, many people who develop anxiety disorders have a history of traumatic or disturbing external factors in their pasts. While there are clearly many causes for anxiety, there are also many treatment options! Medications, therapy, and hypnosis are just a few of the ways in which doctors treat anxiety disorders. So if you think your own anxious feelings could point to an anxiety disorder, make an appointment to discuss them with your physician!More »
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If you're haunted by a trauma that took place in the past, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Check out our video to learn more about what PTSD is.
Transcript: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event....
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event. Sexual and physical assault, military combat, natural disasters, serious accidents, and even the death of a loved one, are all examples of traumatic events. After an experience of this nature, it is normal to go through a period of difficulty coping or trouble adjusting. Emotional symptoms - like overwhelming feelings of loss or fear and physical symptoms - like difficulty sleeping - are common reactions to a traumatic experience. But most people find that these difficulties abate with time. For about 3.5 percent of people, though, physical and emotional symptoms continue for months or even years after a traumatic event. These people may find that their symptoms get more severe as time goes on...or that they may begin to interfere with normal, everyday life. In cases like these, it is likely that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is to blame. PTSD occurs with almost four times more frequency in women than in men, according to Mayo Clinic data. This may be because women are more likely to experience the types of violence - from rape to physical attack - that can cause PTSD to develop. But men and children can - and do - get post-traumatic stress disorder, too. Men with PTSD often have combat exposure to blame for the disorder's onset, though with a growing number of women now in active combat in the armed forces, this is becoming something that is now crossing gender lines. In fact, the condition was once referred to as "shell-shock," or "battle fatigue syndrome," for this reason. Children, meanwhile, may experience PTSD after a serious accident, or as a result of child abuse or molestation. It is important to understand that not everyone who gets PTSD has been through a traumatic event personally. Some people acquire the disorder after a friend or family member experiences severe danger. And others experience PTSD from witnessing an event, even if it's just on TV. So why do some people experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder while others recover without incident? No one is entirely sure, but we do know that some people have an inherited tendency to experience mental illnesses. And people who already have a mental illness at the time of a traumatic event have an increased risk of PTSD. Doctors also know that the more severe and long-lasting the trauma, the greater the likelihood that PTSD will result. Additionally, people who get hurt during traumatic experiences - and those who lack social support afterward - are also all at increased risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. No matter the reason for the onset of PTSD, the condition can be devastating. The good news is that psychological and medicinal treatment can help sufferers learn to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are concerned about PTSD, or just want more information about the condition, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Over 7 million Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Find out about some of the common PTSD symptoms in this video.
Transcript: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a debilitating psychological condition, which affects more...
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a debilitating psychological condition, which affects more than 7 million Americans. PTSD symptoms usually arise soon after a traumatic event although they may not happen until months, or even years, later. While trauma ranging from an accident to combat can cause PTSD, the symptoms tend to follow predictable patterns. Generally, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will manifest as: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and hyperarousal symptoms. Re-experiencing symptoms include various ways in which a PTSD sufferer relives the traumatic event. Recurrent, frightening dreams of the experience and regular, waking flashbacks of the event are both examples of re-experiencing symptoms. Flashbacks are often caused by a trigger, like the sound of a car backfiring for a war veteran or a news story about sexual abuse for a rape-survivor. Avoidance symptoms, on the other hand, are almost the opposite. PTSD sufferers with avoidance symptoms often evade people, places, events, or objects that remind them of their particular trauma. They may turn to alcohol or drugs to avoid dwelling on their negative experience. People experiencing avoidance symptoms often report feeling numb, or emotionless. This means they are often unable to engage in meaningful relationships, or to find enjoyment in previously pleasant activities. Finally, people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may experience hyperarousal, or constant feelings of anxiety. Hyperarousal often involves near constant watchfulness and wariness. As a result, PTSD sufferers can have a hard time achieving restful sleep, and they often find it difficult to concentrate. Unsurprisingly, hyperarousal frequently leads to angry outbursts and irritability. Meanwhile, younger children with PTSD may experience bedwetting, loss of speech, and acute separation anxiety. If even SOME of these symptoms are present, it's important to visit a doctor for a thorough psychological examination. Your doctor may also conduct a medical exam to ensure that symptoms are indeed psychologically based. A diagnosis of PTSD isn't made unless a person is experiencing at least one re-experiencing symptom, two hyperarousal symptoms, and three avoidance symptoms. Various symptoms must be present for at least a month, and they must cause significant distress in a sufferer's daily life. Finally, symptoms must always follow from a traumatic event, often involving severe injury, death, or the potential of either. Unfortunately, many people are unwilling or unable to discuss a traumatic experience. As a result, PTSD is very frequently undiagnosed and untreated. Knowing this, it's even more important to be up-front with your doctor about potential Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Doing so will ensure that you get the medical and psychological treatments necessary to help you deal with PTSD.More »
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PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety disorder extending from a traumatic event. While it's debilitating, there is treatment available. Learn more about PTSD treatment by watching this video.
Transcript: While Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, can be frustrating - and debilitating - there is still...
While Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, can be frustrating - and debilitating - there is still a great deal of hope for people with this anxiety disorder! Currently, two types of therapies are used to treat the symptoms of PTSD: psychotherapy and pharmacology. Pharmacology is simply the use of prescription medication to treat a condition. There are two FDA-approved drugs for use in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder sertraline, which you may know as Zoloft and paroxetine, which you've probably heard of as Paxil. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that up 60-percent of PTSD sufferers have experienced relief from these anti-depressant medications. On the other hand, some psychologists report success using alternative prescriptions to treat specific symptoms of PTSD. For example, benzodiazepines are a class of medication that can help sufferers relax and sleep better. Valium and Xanax are both examples of benzodiazepines. Antipsychotic drugs, meanwhile, may be prescribed to help control hallucinations and mania in people with PTSD. Whatever the medication though, doctors agree that it's always more effective when used in conjunction with psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is "talk" therapy, whereby a patient and doctor work through problems together. Generally, talk therapy is categorized as cognitive or behavioral. For example, exposure therapy is a behavioral approach, which involves introducing PTSD sufferers to their trauma in a safe and controlled way. Exposure therapy may include taking an assault victim to the scene of the crime or asking a war veteran to write about the experience in detail. Eye movement desensitization is another behavioral approach, which teaches people to use controlled eye movements to better process and control their symptoms. Cognitive therapy, meanwhile, includes stress inoculation training, which teaches sufferers healthy ways to reduce anxiety and cognitive restructuring, which is a technique designed to help people see trauma in a healthier way. Sometimes, doctors choose to combine both types of psychotherapy into what is known as cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. 46% of sufferers find that CBT helps them better cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. But because no one treatment is perfect for everyone, it may take a few weeks, or even months, to get just the right mix. During this adjustment period, it's important to engage in open discussions with a doctor about medication side effects and other concerns. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious concern. If you or someone you love is suffering from the condition, make an appointment to speak to a professional who can help!More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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Soldiers with PTSD -- post traumatic stress disorder -- develop what's considered internal battle wounds as a result of engaging in combat. Watch this video to discover more about this disorder.
Transcript: About 3.5% of Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. But the Walter Reed Army Institute...
About 3.5% of Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. But the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research found that among veterans of war, that number is 4 times higher. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, was first formally recognized about 30 years ago among soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. At that time, doctors noticed that many veterans were RE-experiencing traumatic events of the war. They observed that these vets were avoiding people, places, and things that reminded them of their combat experience and that they appeared to be constantly anxious and on-edge. Doctors saw that these symptoms were often so severe, veterans found it difficult to return to normal life. But while Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a new phenomenon by psychology standards, we know that the experiences are not new at all. In fact, as early as the American Civil War, distraught soldiers were referred to as having, "soldier's heart." And until PTSD was officially recognized, it was called other names, like "battle fatigue syndrome" and "shell shock." So, while PTSD can occur among people who suffer all kinds of traumatic experiences, it is clear that the disorder is particularly prevalent among soldiers. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, about 30-percent of Vietnam veterans and 10-percent of Desert Storm veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. More recently, they believe that six to 11-percent of Afghanistan vets, and 12 to 20-percent of Iraq soldiers also have the disorder. Why is it that some soldiers return from war without internal battle wounds, and others develop PTSD? Many experts believe that the more direct exposure to combat a solider has, the more likely that PTSD will arise. Additional factors that make veterans more likely to develop PTSD include having a history of mental illness, experiencing little support from family and friends, and being less educated prior to entering the military. Regardless of the reason, vets already suffering from combat-related symptoms often have a difficult time adjusting to "normal," civilian life. Some of the biggest problems hit close to home, when husbands and wives become re-acquainted and when growing children and an affected parent suddenly feel like strangers. Other vets find that they are very over-controlling and disciplinary in their families, which can lead to child and partner abuse. And still other soldiers find that they are generally short-tempered, angry, or resentful with others. Additionally, many veterans deal with alcohol or drug abuse after their discharge. But however PTSD manifests, it is alarming that many soldiers who need help are not seeking it. In fact, the AP reports that only 23- to 40-percent of veterans with ongoing symptoms of trauma seek medical attention. It is this fact that offers clues as to why the Army reports suicide rates at 11-percent higher than they were during Vietnam or why, according to Veteran Affairs, there are some 130,000 homeless vets in our country. This startling news is made even sadder by the fact that effective treatment options are available to soldiers with PTSD. So, if you are a war veteran, or if you're living with one, don't become a statistic! Allow yourself or your loved one to get the help needed.More »
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