Currently statistics show that over 40 million adults live with some type of anxiety disorder. Most of these adults are women. That’s the grim news. The great news is that, out of all the mental health disorders documented, anxiety disorder is the most treatable and manageable. About 30% of people seek help. Stigmas surrounding mental health disorders prevent the other 70% from seeking help.
Living with a Mental Health Disorder is Nothing about which Anyone Should Feel Shame or EmbarrassmentI’ve been in wellness from Panic Disorder since June 2002 after living with the disorder for thirty years. For many years, I kept silent because I was afraid of what others would think about me. How could I possibly explain to someone what I was feeling when I wasn’t always sure myself. When I mustered up the courage to share my story, I felt so much lighter. I felt I no longer had to do this all alone.
If you are living with an anxiety disorder, it may help if you begin to tell your story to people with whom you feel comfortable and people who will offer support. Only share when you are ready and choose with whom to share.
Rule Out Possible Medical Causes
Have a complete check-up and have blood tests run to make sure that conditions such as an over-active thyroid, mold or other allergies like Celiac Disorder (Gluten Allergy) are not present. Conditions such as these can mimic anxiety symptoms. Have a Cardiac Risk Panel included in the blood tests as well.
Developing Your Personal Strategy for Your Journey Towards Mental Wellness
Speaking from experience, I feel working with a wonderful, caring therapist is critical when it comes to developing your wellness strategy. You must feel safe and comfortable when it comes to discussing topics that may be uncomfortable for you at first. Although it may seem time consuming to interview therapists in the beginning, it pays off later. It saves someone from having to change therapists often when the therapist they are working with isn’t working for them. People with anxiety disorder sometimes experience fear when it comes to “firing” a therapist.
Here is a list to get you started and you can add any questions that you feel relate specifically to you:
- If the therapist has a website, read it thoroughly to find out about how they treat anxiety disorders. Do they help clients learn techniques like Cognitive Behavior Therapy or Neurolinguistic Programming? I find that “talk therapy” alone isn’t always effective. It’s helpful if you are given tools to practice on a daily basis.
- Does the therapist primarily use conventional techniques or are they versed in complimentary techniques such as hypnotherapy or Energy Psychology Techniques? (I will go into more detail about these techniques in my next blog.)
- Is the therapist willing to offer you a complimentary phone consultation for ten or fifteen minutes? I believe that if the therapist is confident about their abilities, they should be willing to do this for you. One should not have to spend money just to interview a therapist.
- Is the therapist willing to address immediate needs first rather than following the older medical model of multiple sessions before addressing the immediate need? I find that people with anxiety disorders usually don’t have the time or patience for multiple sessions when they have an immediate issue that is affecting their daily life. I know that was true for me.
- If you are not seeing any reduction in symptoms after four sessions, you need to address this with the therapist. Remember, this is not the time to worry about hurting the therapists’ feelings. It’s about finding the right therapist for you. If you are not getting results and the therapist is not open to discussion about other options, it may be time to re-evaluate and possibly consider finding someone else.
I must preface this by saying that I am not anti-medication but rather anti-education. When considering a medication, do your homework. Visit different websites and read about the pros and cons of the medication meaning; results vs. side effects. The list of medications being prescribed for anxiety disorders are increasing and include anti-anxiety meds, anti-depressants, anti-convulsive meds and anti-psychotics. I really listen to the commercials when it comes to a new medication and the list of side effects keeps getting longer and longer. Some studies support that sometimes the side effects out way the benefits of a medication but that is something that has to be decided by each individual.
My next blog will also address CAM – Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, which includes Body Energy Work, Nutritional Medicine for Psychiatric Disorders, Energy Psychology Techniques and others. Many CAM tools and techniques may help people manage their anxiety symptoms. I have found that most conventional doctors either aren’t familiar with CAM or are reluctant to discuss them.
I’m fortunate. As conventional as my Nurse Practitioner is, she is very open minded when I choose to use CAM vs. Conventional as long as what I am dealing with is not life threatening. For example, I have experienced slightly higher levels of cholesterol and my blood pressure has been elevated. My N.P. wanted to put me on meds but I asked her if I could “go natural” for three months and have my blood work re-done. She agreed. She knows I see a Holistic Practitioner and respects it. I appreciate that about her.
In closing, I want all who read this blog to know, to have faith, that this disorder is treatable and manageable. I share my story so others don’t have to wait as long to find mental health and wellness. Always remember that Mental Wellness is Achievable when you take charge.
To read more about my story, please visit my website at www.AnxietyWellnessMentor.com
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for your general information only. Kalon Women does not give medical advice or engage in the practice of medicine. Kalon Women under no circumstances recommends particular treatment for specific individuals and in all cases recommends that you consult your physician or local treatment center before pursuing any course of treatment.