Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias: Where To Find HelpFriday, March 16, 2012 - 15:35
If you have an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder or phobia, don't suffer in silence or wait to "grow out of it."
Too many people may hold back from treatment because they are afraid that only those who are mentally ill go to mental health professionals, and they don't want to apply that label to themselves. Or perhaps they doubt whether the treatment will be effective.
But people with anxiety disorders are not mentally ill. And most people with panic, fears, and phobias can be successfully treated.
Your primary care provider may have been trained to deal with certain anxiety disorders. He or she may refer you to a therapist who has the appropriate training.
- Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medication if needed. They also provide counseling and behavioral treatment.
- Psychologists may also give counseling and behavioral treatment for anxiety disorders. They cannot prescribe medication, but may work closely with your primary physician if medicine is needed.
- Other counselors may be trained to provide treatment, especially for the simpler conditions, such as specific phobias. These professionals include social workers, marriage and family counselors, and others.
Need To Know:
Anxiety disorders can produce physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness, or digestive problems.
These symptoms are very real and are not "all in your head." For many people, it is these symptoms that lead them to medical specialists.
If these specialists find that nothing is physically wrong, they may refer patients to a therapist.
It is very important to choose a therapist you can trust and feel at ease with.
You will need to describe your feelings, fears and experiences very openly, even if it is embarrassing for you to do so.
The therapist may also ask you to do things that may seem difficult or embarrassing. This type of challenge may be what you need to overcome your fears, but it may not be easy.
Some patients are reluctant to see a mental health professional because they are afraid it means they are "crazy." But they needn't worry.
- There is nothing "crazy" about having fears and phobias.
- Millions of people who are sane and well adjusted suffer from anxiety disorders - and overcome them.
Group therapy also may be an option. In some cases, working with a group of other people with a similar problem can be helpful.
There are two main advantages to group therapy:
- People offer each other support
- Group therapy generally is less expensive than individual counseling