7 Professions At Risk For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder that is often developed after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It’s a disorder most commonly associated with the military and soldiers. However, that is not the only occupation that is at risk for developing this disorder.

Certain professionals are at a higher risk for developing PTSD and other disorders. Traumatic events, such as sexual assault, combat, or accidents, are common causes of PTSD. There are a number of professions that directly experiencing such events often, if not daily.

Here are 7 professions that are most at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder:

  1. Military

It should come at no surprise that those working in the military are at a high risk for developing PTSD. Combat veterans develop the disorder at different rates but this is the profession with the highest risk. It’s not just the combat, injuries, or death that military personnel experience either. A large number of individuals in the military report experiencing sexual harassment and assault which results in PTSD.

 

  1. Police Officers

Law enforcement officers are exposed to a number of serious threats and stressful situations daily. They often witness traumatic events or the effects of such actions on the victims. Only about 10% of police officers experience PTSD. This lower than expected number is likely because police officers receive opportunities and are encouraged to engage with mental health professions. There are rules in place to help combat them from developing PTSD, for example after a shooting, officers are required to undergo therapy to cope. Police officers are also screened before getting hired to ensure they have stable mental health.

 

  1. Firefighters

Firefighters deal with more than fires. They are the first responders to vehicle accidents and natural disasters in most countries. It is an extremely hazardous profession. Firefighters experience stress daily, from situations that threaten their own safety to having to aid in catastrophes. The rate of PTSD in firefighters is estimated to be as high as 20%.

 

  1. Emergency Medical and Ambulance Personal

EMS and ambulance workers are routinely exposed to high stress situations many that are literally life and death situations. This profession has a high rate of PTSD, as high as 20%. When pre-employment screening and easy access to mental health services are provided the rate goes down significantly.

 

  1. Healthcare Workers

Other health care workers, particularly those that work in emergency rooms or intensive care units, are at higher risk to develop PTSD. There are many variables when looking at healthcare workers though. The units worked in greats impacts the rate at which this disorder develops. The ICU, ER, and those that work directly with victims of assault, have higher rates than those that work in other units.

 

  1. Journalists

You may think that being a journalist is a fairly low risk job for PTSD. For most it is, but those that work as war correspondents are exposed to increased risk of personal threats such as injuries, kidnappings, or death. The rate among these individuals for PTSD is close to 30%. A big cause of this high number is likely the lack of support and resources available to these individuals.

 

  1. First Responders

First responders are the rescue workers, medical workers, and volunteers that are the first to arrive and aid after a disaster as struck. This could either be a natural disaster such as a wildfire or hurricane, or even a terrorist attack such as a school shooting or bombing. These individuals witness these traumatic events and the aftermath first hand. The prevalence of PTSD among this profession is between 15-30%.

 

If you work in one of these professions and feel like you might be experiencing symptoms of PTSD, please contact us.

What To Do During A Panic Attack

Experiencing a panic attack can be terrifying. It’s not only a mental thing either. An attack has physical symptoms as well, including shaking, disorientation, nausea, irregular heartbeats, dizziness and others signs.  These symptoms aren’t dangerous, but they certainly feel like they are. Some people when they first experience a panic attack mistake it for a heart attack, believing they are going to collapse or even die.

Understanding panic attacks, and knowing what to do when you’re having one, is the best way to manage them.

 

What is a panic attack?

Symptoms of a panic attack can vary depending on the individual. A person might feel a few or all of the common symptoms. Each attack can bring on different symptoms too. That makes it difficult for people to always identify when they’re having on. Here are a few of the most common symptoms people report feeling:

  • Racing or irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling weak, dizzy, and/or faint
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or fingers
  • Sense of terror
  • Sweating or chills
  • Chest pains
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of control

 

Psychiatrists, researchers, and doctors still aren’t entirely sure what causes panic attacks. They are linked to panic disorder, but not always. Some possible causes could be biology, life changes, or stress. Panic attacks can run in families too. Women are twice as likely to get then compared to men. Psychiatrists also say that once you experience one you are at higher risk of having another.

 

What to do During a Panic Attack

There are a few things people can do to calm themselves during a panic attack. This can help stop or reduce the length of the attack.

 

Tell Yourself It Will Pass: All panic attacks pass eventually. Knowing that what you are experiencing will be over eventually will help calm you down.

 

Don’t Distract Yourself: It’s important to ride out the panic attack. Looking for distractions or leaving a situation won’t help. In fact, it will only give into the anxiety and panic. Let yourself feel the fear and then come through it. This will let you discover nothing will happen.

 

Try Breathing Exercises: Controlling your breath can be extremely helpful in lowering your heart rate. Breath as slowly, gently, and deeply through your nose as you can. Counting can also help. Some people find it better to close their eyes and focus on their breathing. You will find that after a few minutes of breathing exercises you will feel better.

 

What to do after

After the panic attack has subsided, there are a few things you can do. Some psychiatrists recommend people carry on with the task they had been doing previously. This prevents you from giving complete control to the fear. Other doctors recommend going somewhere quiet to recuperate.

There is no physical danger from having one, however, if you experience them regularly, look into seeking the assistance of a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist will be able to identify what is causing them and help you manage them. Contact our team today to discuss how we can yelp with panic attacks and anxiety disorder.

Treatment Options for OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be hard to live with. It’s a disorder that makes doing the simplest tasks challenging. OCD is exhausting to live with. It’s a disorder classified by its unrelenting intrusive thoughts, called obsessions, coupled with incredibly powerful compulsions.

There are varying degrees of OCD, from the person that simply likes things lined up to someone that can’t leave the house unless they flick the light switch 400 times. Individuals with this disorder find it hard to function and report having a poor quality of life. Most don’t want to do these seemingly odd behaviors- they have to.

The good news is that this condition is treatable. Here are the most common treatment options available currently for OCD.

 

Individual Therapy

Psychiatrists often use multiple types of therapy to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is effective for many people with OCD. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a type of CBT therapy used to treat this disorder. It involves gradually exposing an individual to a fear obsession or object, for example, dirt, and teaching those individuals healthy ways to cope with the anxiety they get from being around it.

ERP takes a lot of time and practice. However, it is an incredibly effective treatment. Many people report having a better quality of life after they learn to manage their obsessions and compulsions. Therapy isn’t just for the individual either. A combination of individual, family, and or group sessions can be used.

 

Medications

There are certain medications out there that psychiatrists may prescribe to help control the obsessions and compulsions brought on with OCD. Antidepressants are usually tried first. There are multiple antidepressants approved by the FDA to treat OCD right now. This is good news because it means if one medication doesn’t work there are still more to try.

Here are the approved antidepressants for OCD:
• Clomipramine (Anafranil): For adults and children (10 years and older)
• Fluoxetine (Prozac): For adults and children (7 years and older)
• Fluvoxamine: For adults and children (8 years and older)
• Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva): For adults only
• Sertraline (Zoloft): For adults and children (6 years and older)

Depending on the individual and psychiatrist, other antidepressants of psychiatric medication may be prescribed. It’s important to always be honest with your doctor when trying a new medication. Tell them if you are experiencing any side effects, suicidal thoughts, or not experiencing any change at all.

 

Other Treatments

While a combination of psychotherapy and medication is usually effective at treating OCD it doesn’t work for everyone. There is currently research going on to look at alternative treatments. Research is continuing to look at the potential effectiveness of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treating OCD. This is only for OCD that doesn’t respond to traditional treatment. It’s still a new treatment option so if you are considering it talk it through thoroughly with your psychiatrist and multiple doctors so you understand all the pros and cons.

Contact us today to learn more about what treatment options we offer for obsessive compulsive disorder. We have a team of experienced professionals ready to help you. Remember, this is a treatable disorder and you can have your life back.

Understanding Binge Eating Disorder

When people hear “eating disorder” their mind usually goes to anorexia or bulimia. And while these are serious disorders, they’re not the only ones. While some eating disorders are about an individual reducing their food intake, some are about increased food intake. In fact, around 5% of people with eating disorders suffer from binge eating disorder (BED). BED causes individuals to eat large and unhealthy quantities of food in a short time period.

 

What Is Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder has been around for awhile (most doctors have been recognizing it since the 1950’s), however, it has only been recently added to the DSM-5.

People with BED feel they have little control over their binges where they eat large quantities of food in short periods. Often these binges are to deal with emotional trauma or distress. Binging is common in other eating disorder, but unlike bulimic binges, people with BED don’t follow their binges with a purge.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder can be hard to identify at times. Here are a few symptoms that a psychiatrist looks for to diagnosis it.

Recurrent episodes of binge eating (weekly) are cause for concern. Everyone over eats occasionally, but if it is happening regularly this could be a symptom of BED. Often the food eaten during these binging episodes is extremely unhealthy. Yes, eating an entire box of cookies isn’t healthy but that likely wouldn’t be considered BED. People with binge eating disorder consume thousands of calories in short periods of time. It’s not just one box they go through- it’s multiple.

As you might guess, people with BED continue to eat past the point of fullness or when they aren’t hungry. They also eat more rapidly than normal. People with BED may not even taste the food they are eating or be so consumed with eating as quickly as possible that they miss out on other sensations of eating.

Shame and guilt are common feelings people with BED feel after a binge episode. They may only do it when others aren’t around or hide the evidence. This is to limit the amount of shame and humiliation they feel.

If binge eating is followed by purging or caloric restrictions than anorexia or bulimia may be a more appropriate diagnosis. Diagnosing an eating disorder can be difficult since many share the same symptoms. That is why it’s important to get professional help so that you treat the right illness.

 

Causes of Binge Eating Disorder

The world we live in is centered on food. From highly saturated food marketing campaigns to the “foodie” movement, it’s everywhere. Unfortunately, this type of environment can be extremely triggering to people who suffer from binge eating disorder. Most research into eating disorders has focused on anorexia and bulimia, but researchers are starting to figure out what exactly causes BED. Here are a few potential causes.

Psychological disorders and stress may cause BED. People cope with stress by eating, so at high-stress times or when a mental health issue is left untreated, people may turn to food for comfort.

Rigid diet practices may also be a cause. Our culture is very hypocritical. We get blasted with food advertisements yet we devalue people who aren’t thin or fit. Many people, especially women, are constantly trying to diet and lose weight to fit into this ideal mold. Research shows that restrictive diets cause some people to react with binge eating.

Age and gender play a role in BED. Women are more likely to develop BED, although unlike other eating disorders men have a much higher percentage. Most people with BED are in their 40’s or 50’s which distinguishes it from other eating disorders which are most common in young women.

Biology and genetics are also likely factors in an individual developing BED. Brain chemistry, genetic, family history, and other similar factors may increase one’s likelihood of developing it.

 

Dangers of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder poses serious health risks. Weight is the most obvious danger with this disorder. Frequent bingers are at risk for gaining large quantities of weight, which increased their risk for other ailments such as osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, cardiovascular issues, and other. Because guilt and shame are often felt, people with BED may also develop low self-esteem, self-hatred, or depression.

The weight gain many people with BED experience causes secondary consequences as well. Research has shown that society discriminates based on weight. Overweight people may get fewer or lower job offers, are vulnerable to bullying, and may not get adequate health care.

 

Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder

The good news is that like other eating disorders, binge eating disorder is treatable. The treatment for BED is similar to other protocols of eating disorders. The first step is to ensure stability with any health problems. For example, if a person with BED has diabetes, it’s important to treat that before treating the BED.

Individual therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating BED. Therapy works to uncover the reasons behind the binging as well as providing tools for coping with food cravings and emotional distress. In addition to therapy, some psychiatrists recommend medication.

Contact us today to take control over your binge eating disorder. We are more than happy to help you take your life back.

Suboxone treatment Florida

What is Suboxone Treatment?

America is currently going through a huge opiate addiction epidemic. They are some of the most addictive and hardest to quit. Quitting cold turkey isn’t possible for most people, and even if they do fewer than 25% can remain clean for a year Thankfully there are new and improving treatment options out there to treat opiate addiction. Methadone is one of the most common, but there is an improved version of this called Suboxone treatment. Medication-assisted treatment like Suboxone is healthier, safer, and more likely to work for overcoming an addiction. Here is everything you need to know about Suboxone treatment and opiate addiction.

 

What Are Opiates?

Opiates, or opioids, are a class of drugs that include the illicit heroin, as well as licit prescription pain medication like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl.

Opiates are highly addicting because they interact with the opioid receptors in the brain and nervous system. These receptors are what control pleasure and pain in the body. This is why morphine is used in the hospitals and oxycodone is given for pain management. However, when not properly supervised they can lead to addiction as people chase that feeling of euphoria.

 

Opiate Addiction

There is an opiate crisis in America right now. Almost every day we’re greeted with news about people overdosing. In fact, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with opiate addiction driving the epidemic. That’s not surprising considering the number of opiate addicts.

There are over 2 million people with prescription pain reliever addictions and close to 600,000 people using heroin. These numbers continue to grow. Often, people develop an addiction from legally prescribed pain pills after surgery or an accident. When they are unable to refill prescriptions they start abusing heroin as a substitute, which is also much cheaper. Statistics estimate that around 23% of individuals that use heroine develop an opioid addiction.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be you. While challenging and a long process, there is addiction treatment available for substance abuse.

 

Treatment Options

Since opiates are some of the most addicting substances, medication-assisted treatments are the most popular treatment options available. Medication-assisted treatment typically involves the use of methadone, naltrexone, or Suboxone, to compliment counseling and other behavioral aspects of addiction.

These medications help with withdrawal and the cravings that many people experience during addiction that leads to relapse.

What is Suboxone Treatment?

Suboxone is one of the medications available for opioid addiction. The FDA approved it in 2002 as an alternative to the popular methadone treatment. Suboxone is the combination of two medications, buprenorphine, and naloxone. Suboxone works for opiate addiction since it suppressed withdrawal symptoms and cravings, doesn’t cause euphoria, and blocks the problem opioids for at least 24 hours.

There have been high success rates for Suboxone. 40-60% of individuals that receive Suboxone treatment either retain treatment or sobriety. These results are much higher than it’s more popular counterpart, methadone. Because Suboxone blocks other opiates if someone takes on while on Suboxone, they won’t feel the “high”. This gives them a second chance at recovery.

Suboxone comes in a tablet or a filmstrip, the filmstrip being the most recommended as it can’t be crushed and abused. Because it is long-lasting (24 hours) it only has to be taken once a day. Treatment is quick, effective, and long lasting.

Suboxone Treatment vs. Methadone

Methadone has been the leading treatment option for opiate addiction for years. While it works, there are some downsides to it. Methadone clinics are highly regulated by the government, which means that in order to receive this treatment you have to be enrolled in the federal program.

One of the big dangers to methadone is that it produces a euphoric feeling similar to the opiates people are trying to kick. This means there is a danger that people will become addicted to the medication that is supposed to help them. Suboxone won’t produce this “high” no matter how much is taken.

Addictions can be overwhelming and all consuming. With treatment options like Suboxone and addiction counseling, there is hope for recovery. Contact us today to get these treatments or to discuss other options available.

LGBT Mental Health Resources

LGBTQ Community & Mental Health

In honor of Pride Month, we’re taking a look at the members of the LGBTQ community. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer identifying people are a diverse group. Their life stories are as individual as anyone else yet they face higher risks for mental health issues such as anxiety disorder, eating disorders, and depression due to discrimination in society. Here is how the LGBTQ community is affected by mental health.

Factors Impacting Mental Health

There is no group out there that is exempt from mental health issues. However, certain factors impact mental health issues and increase the risk of them. Socio-economic factors are huge influencers and they are particularly important to marginalized populations like the LGBTQ community. There are three main determinates of positive mental health: social inclusion, freedom from discrimination and violence, and access to resources. All three of these items impact the LGBTQ community.

Trans and bisexual people are over-represented in the lower income bracket. In fact, many trans individuals are living on less than $15,000 a year. These low incomes limit their ability to access mental health resources. For trans people, it is particularly troubling as it means they can’t afford hormones and other medication.

LGBTQ people experience discrimination and stigma and they are also at greater risk for sexual and physical assault, harassment, and hate crimes. This discrimination impacts mental health in the community. In addition, coming out stories, gender transition, internalized oppression, isolate, alienation, loss of support, and other factors all play into mental health.

Intersectionality In LGBTQ

LGBTQ people may experience many forms marginalization at the same time. Their gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, and economic status all impact how they are treated at the same time. These different aspects of identity are intersecting with one another.

Intersectionality can impact mental health in this community. Other forms of marginalization, for example, racism, sexism, or poverty, in addition to homophobia or transphobia can negatively impact mental health. They are dealing with multiple forms of oppression all at once.

Past Diagnoses

The DSM is the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and is used to classify mental heath disorders. Many people might be shocked to know that homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder until 1980. People in this community were told they had something wrong with their mind for just being attracted to a member of the same sex. For trans individuals, this is still going on. In 1980 Gender Identity Disorder, or trans identity, has been listed as a recognized mental disorder. The most recent edition of the DSM has changed this to introduce the term Gender Dysphoria but the message is still clear, being trans is a mental disorder.

Mental Health Facts

With all of the discrimination, fear, and hate that members of the LGBTQ community are faced with daily it shouldn’t be surprising that they have higher rates of mental illness. LGBTQ individuals have higher rates of depression, anxiety, OCD, self-harm, suicide, and substance abuse. They are also at twice the risk for PTSD than heterosexual people.

LGBTQ youth are at an even higher risk than older individuals. They face 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse problems than their heterosexual peers. LGBTQ youth have the regular stress of adolescence with the additional pressure of being different. Many of them face heavy bullying during schooling.

Promoting Positive Mental Health for the LGBT Community

It’s important for all members of society to work towards promoting positive mental health in the LGBTQ community. Pride month is one example of people of all lifestyles coming together to celebrate members of this community. It promotes inclusion and support.

Some key factors for long lasting positive mental health for LGBTQ members are support from family and friends (particularly for youth), supportive workplace environments, positive coming out experiences, and mental health resources. LGBTQ individuals need to feel loved both by society and themselves for good mental health.

Contact us today to discuss any mental health problems you or someone you love is experiencing. All members of the LGBTQ community are welcome here.

Myths About Eating Disorders Debunked

Despite the fact that 50% of people know someone with an eating disorder or have been personally affected by one there are tons of myths and misconceptions out there about them. These falsehoods not only reinforce the stigma, but they make it difficult to identify the problem and get these individuals help. Below are some of the most common myths about eating disorders.

Myth: Men don’t get eating disorders

Fact: While women do have a higher rate of developing eating disorders, men aren’t immune. At least 1 out of every 10 people with an eating disorder is male. Women have a much higher rate for eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia but other diagnoses like Binge Eating Disorder men make up at least 40% of those affected. Men are also the group seeing the fastest rise in eating disorders in the past few years. You shouldn’t overlook screening and signs in people just because of their gender.

Myth: All people with eating disorders are thin

Fact: People with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. When people say eating disorder our minds jump to the thin, frail bodies of anorexia first since that is what is most often portrayed in media. Often, eating disorders don’t result in such drastic changes. Some eating disorders, like bulimia or binge eating disorder, can result in people being average or even overweight. Even fit athletes can struggle with eating disorders. You can’t define an eating disorder based on a person’s weight, it’s a mental struggle that isn’t always visible to the eye.

Myth: Eating disorders are a choice

Fact: People who suffer from eating disorders will tell you that one of the defining things they feel is out of control. While it may start out as a choice, although it’s usually not a conscious one, things can quickly spin out of control. An eating disorder is not a lifestyle choice or a diet gone too far. Eating disorders develop due to genetics, trauma, or other psychological issues. Individuals who suffer from these disorders didn’t choose this any more than people who have anxiety or bipolar disorder did.

Myth: Eating disorders are just a phase

Fact: Because eating disorders affect young females the most, people often equate it with other teenager behavior. But unlike dying one’s hair a strange color, eating disorders aren’t a phase that people will grow out of. Not receiving help, especially early on, can result in serious consequences, even death.

Myth: People with these disorders are just attention seekers

Fact: Part of the reason it’s so hard to get help for people with eating disorders is that they go to great lengths to hide their behavior. People with anorexia will wear baggy clothing. People with bulimia will hide their binging and purging sessions. People with binge eating disorder will lie about their food consumption. These individuals aren’t seeking attention; in fact, they’re actively shying away from it.

Myth: Eating disorders aren’t dangerous

Fact: The startling truth is that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Food is how the body runs, so when this is imbalanced physical health really suffers. Without treatment, nearly 20% of individuals die as a result of their illness. Even when the disorders aren’t fatal, there are other severe medical complications such as cardiac complications, gastrointestinal distress, infertility, and bone disease.

Myth: Parents or dysfunctional families cause eating disorders

Fact: This is a deeply rooted historical myth. In the past, parents were heavily blamed for their children developing eating disorders. They were treated as a problem rather than a solution and resource. There is no evidence that certain parenting styles are a direct cause of eating disorders. There is, however, a genetic basis for them. Children born to parents who suffered from eating disorders are more likely to develop them. It is genetics that plays a role, not behavior or environmental factors. This is very similar to other illnesses both mental and physical. Parent’s shouldn’t be blamed or feel guilty. They should be involved in the recovery and make themselves a pillar of support.

Myth: You can’t recover from an eating disorder

Fact: Recovery from eating disorders is certainly challenging, but it is entirely possible. It won’t happen overnight, it might take months or years, but with proper treatment, individuals can go on to live a healthy life, free from their eating disorder. It’s important to get help with eating disorder treatment as possible to limit the consequences.

Contact us if you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder. Recovery and help are completely possible. Eating disorders affect people of all genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Getting help is encouraged and important.

What To Do When Someone Is Having A Panic Attack

Knowing what to do when someone is having a panic attack can be incredibly useful information. Here are a few tips on what to do and say while someone is experiencing one.

What To Do

Keeping a person calm during a panic attack and not adding to their panic is the most important thing. Here are a few things you can do to help them.

  • Stay with them: Even just sitting in silence with someone having a panic attack is incredibly helpful. It shows them that they’re not alone in this.
  • Offer medication if they usually take it: Only do this is you know they usually take medication during a panic attack. Otherwise, it just comes off as judgmental.
  • Move them to a quiet place: Noise, people, and activity can add to the panic. Gently guide them to an isolated and quiet place.
  • Ask them what they need: It’s so easy to assume what someone needs but when they’re having a panic attack just ask them directly what they need from you.
  • Speak in simple sentences: During a panic attack their mind will be filled, so keep your sentences short and simple.
  • Help them focus: Pulling their focus away from their thoughts helps calm them down. Ask them to do a simple yet tiring physical task like holding their arms above their heads or jumping jacks. This will pull their focus and regulate their breathing.
  • Slow their breathing: People tend to hyperventilate during a panic attack. Make them count to 10 and take deep breaths to steady and slow it.

What To Say

Saying the right thing can also have an impact on someone going through a panic attack. It’s important to not make them more panicked or come off as judgmental. Here are a few phrases to consider saying.

  • “Tell me what you need”
  • “Concentrate on your breathing”
  • “I’m proud of you”
  • “You can get through this”
  • “It’s just thoughts”
  • “It’s scary, but not dangerous”

What To Do After

It’s important to continue to support your loved one even after the panic attack has passed. If they’re in therapy allow them to go at their own pace and praise them as they take steps towards recovery. Psychiatrists warn people not to be enablers. Don’t encourage them to avoid certain situations that cause anxiety.

Contact us today to talk about what more you can do to help or to seek treatment for panic disorder.

Anxiety vs. Panic Attacks: Understanding the Difference

Panic and anxiety attacks are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. While they share many similarities, the two are very different. Understanding the difference between anxiety and panic attacks, as well as panic and anxiety disorder, are important to getting help.

There are clinical differences between panic and anxiety disorders. A panic attack is often associated with panic disorder although they can occur due to other factors. Anxiety disorders is a broad category under which other disorders (like OCD, PTSD etc.) fall.

The main difference between panic and anxiety attacks is the symptoms, the cause, and the duration of them.

Anxiety Attacks

An anxiety attack often occurs because of a stressor. This stressor, or trigger, can be a situation or event. Anxiety generally intensifies over a length of time. People have excessive worry about potential danger or threats. An anxiety attack is less intense than a panic attack but the symptoms often persist longer.

Common symptoms of anxiety attacks include:

  • Feeling out of control
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Numbness

Panic Attacks

A panic attack can feel a lot like an anxiety attack. In fact, they share a lot of symptoms. Unlike an anxiety attack, a panic attack appears suddenly and out of the blue. They also are much more intense than an anxiety attack. They peak within 10 minutes before subsiding.

A panic attack is characterized when four or more of the following symptoms occur:

  • Heart palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of unreality
  • Loss of control
  • Numbness or tingling

 

Treatment
It’s important to know that whether you’re dealing with anxiety or panic attacks, or a related disorder, there is treatment available. These attacks can make you feel as if there is no hope, but there is. Therapy, medication, and self-help strategies have been proven to be extremely effective at reducing the frequency and intensity of attacks. Therapy is used to help manage symptoms, discover the cause of the issue, and learn coping techniques. Medication can reduce severe symptoms so that the attacks are less likely to occur in the first place.

Contact us to discuss treatment options for your anxiety or panic attacks.

An Overview of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy that focuses on the psychosocial. It deals with people who react more intensely in certain emotional situations. The theory is that people with certain mental health problems, such as borderline personality disorder and major depression, have arousal levels that increase quicker than normal in certain emotional situations. The therapy works towards helping people learn coping skills for these sudden bursts of emotions.

 

Characteristics of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT focuses on teaching people to recognize thoughts or beliefs that lead to intense emotions and then helping them cope with those. Therapy sessions are support oriented. They help individuals identify their strengths and build up self-esteem and confidence. There is also a cognitive element to DBT where people learn to identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make their life more difficult. For example, someone might believe, “I’m weak for getting sad” and would learn to think instead “Being sad is normal”.

DBT often features homework and assignments such as role-playing interactions. Therapists and patients work closely together in a collaborative manner. They work together to discuss emotional interactions and practice them. Assignments are usually discussed and reviewed in group therapy sessions.

 

Therapy Components

There are two components of dialectical behavior therapy. People go through both individual weekly psychotherapy sessions and weekly group therapy sessions. In the individual sessions, a patient and therapist work together to discuss specific problems they have faced in the past week. During group therapy patients work together to learn boarder skills such as interpersonal skills, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and mindfulness.

Modules of DBT

There are four main modules of DBT that help individuals.

  1.    Mindfulness

Individuals learn how to be mindful of others during therapy. This helps then understand other people’s perspective and emotions instead of focusing solely on their own. People learn to be non-judgmental and open-minded. By learning to be mindful of others, people understand their behaviors and therefore learn to react appropriately.

 

  1.    Interpersonal Effectiveness

Learning interpersonal response patterns are an important part of DBT. People learn how to effectively ask for what they need, how to say no, and to cope with interpersonal conflict. Individuals may be asked to describe effective behavior in certain situations and asked to analyze their own behavior when they encounter a problematic situation.

 

  1.    Distress Tolerance

Most other forms of therapy focus on changing distressing events. DBT emphasizes increasing tolerance for distressing situations rather than avoiding or changing them. In life, people will also encounter uncomfortable or difficult situations so learning to cope with and tolerate these situations is a good tool to have. Individuals learn how to accept a current situation, even if they don’t approve or like it.

 

  1.    Emotional Regulation

Most people can regulate their emotions by not letting them overtake them. People with certain mental health problems can’t always do this. Their emotions are intense and unpredictable, essentially uncontrollable to themselves. DBT teaches individuals how to identify emotions and learn how to regulate them so that they don’t lose control.

 

Who Benefits from DBT?

DBT have been proven to be highly effective. Individuals that suffer from major depression, borderline personality disorder, and other self-destructive, emotional disorders really benefit from dialectical behavior therapy. Modifications and adaption of DBT are also effective in the treatment of addiction and eating disorders.

 

If you are wondering if Dialectical Behavior Therapy might benefit you, contact us to discuss this form of therapy. We are more than happy to explore whether DBT will be beneficial to you.