<![CDATA[Chesapeake Therapeutic Wellness - Blog]]>Sun, 09 Apr 2017 10:31:09 -0700EditMySite<![CDATA[The Truth About Anxiety]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2013 12:36:17 GMThttp://www.chesapeaketw.com/blog/the-truth-about-anxietyPicture
There is a lot of information out there about anxiety and ideas regarding how to treat it – some of it true and, unfortunately, some of it false.  It’s important to be an educated consumer of the information you find, because it could ultimately affect your decision to seek treatment or your response to it. Test your anxiety knowledge by determining whether the statements below are true or false:

If I have anxiety, I have to take medication.

False. Research suggests that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is at least as effective, if not more so, than medication alone. So, not all cases of anxiety need to be treated with medication. However, for some people, a combination of therapy and medication is most beneficial.  

Medications used to treat anxiety are addictive.

False, mostly. Typically, a doctor will first prescribe an SSRI (like Prozac or Zoloft) or an SNRI (like Cymbalta or Effexor) for anxiety, both of which are not addictive. Benzodiazepines (like Xanax) may also be prescribed, but can be addicting.

A panic attack can cause me to pass out.

False. Actually, fainting happens when your blood pressure quickly decreases. When you’re experiencing a panic attack, your blood pressure increases.

I have anxiety, so I should avoid stressful situations.

False. When we avoid certain stressful situations or circumstances that cause us anxiety, or escape them as soon as they arise, we end up reinforcing the act of avoidance and/or escape. While it works in the moment (“Whew, I feel much better now that I know I’m not going to that event tonight!”), it ends up causes long-term distress. Next thing you know you haven’t ventured out in public for weeks, flown on a plane, gone on a date, pursued that degree or job, or [insert whatever your anxiety encourages you to avoid].

I’ve tried therapy before and it just didn’t work for me. Maybe I should try again.

True. If you’ve tried therapy before and didn’t find it helpful, it’s possible that you and your therapist were not a good match. In treatment, the relationship between therapist and client is the most important factor related to progress. So, take your time to find a therapist that you feel like you can establish a good relationship with. For treatment for a specific anxiety disorder, research shows that a focus on the “here and now” is most effective. Therapy should help teach and encourage you to tolerate and relate to your current anxiety differently than how you have in the past, and should include work specific to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

As always, please feel free to email or call with any questions you might have. Even if you are not currently interested in treatment, I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

<![CDATA[Coping with Stress: The Basics]]>Mon, 24 Jun 2013 23:26:51 GMThttp://www.chesapeaketw.com/blog/coping-with-stress-the-basicsPicture
Stress. We all experience it. We all feel it from time to time, some of us more than others. It’s not pleasant, but it’s a natural part of our lives. Unfortunately, chronic stress has become a regular factor in the lives of many Americans, making it an important public health concern. In fact, prolonged stress has been linked to a weakened immune system, strained cardiovascular functioning, a decrease in cognitive performance, and an increase in body fat. These consequences of stress put us at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, depression, stroke, and several other illnesses.  

Clients often ask me what they can do to “get rid” of their stress. The truth is – you probably can’t, completely. However, there are things that you can do to greatly reduce stress and that will help keep you in a better mental state to be able to tolerate stressful situations more effectively when they arise. I believe that the best way to handle stress is to prevent it from becoming a problem in the first place, or at least decrease the likelihood and the intensity. Here are a few key suggestions that help with stress and anxiety, and that are also related to better general health and wellbeing:

1.     Get adequate sleep. The amount of sleep your body needs depends on your age and it differs from person to person. The average adult usually needs 7 or 8 hours of good sleep a night. If your body and mind are not adequately rested, you’re not going to function to your fullest potential and you’re likely to be more sensitive to stressors.

2.     Eat healthy. We are what we eat and if you’re eating crap, well, you’re going to feel crappy. Try sticking to a natural diet, eating a lot of veggies and fruit, and avoiding processed foods. Especially during stressful times, avoid caffeine – the side effects mimic the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

3.     Exercise. Get your body moving. The mind-body connection is so strong -the better you feel physically, the better you will feel mentally, and vice versa. Exercise is great stress relief and has been proven effective in the treatment for many mental health disorders.  

4.     Make a list of your favorite activities to do during your free time. Try to do at least one of those things every day. With the fast pace of our culture, we often forget to slow down and enjoy ourselves. We call this self-care and it is essential for your health!

You’ve probably heard of most of these suggestions before. None of this is new or cutting edge information. But, our lives get so busy that we can sometimes neglect to do these simple things, or we convince ourselves that we don’t have the time. Make the time - for the health of it!