Psychological Self-Help

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105
Panic attacks are thought of as being different from general
anxiety; they respond to medicine differently. When the anxiety or
panic is severe both medication and psychotherapy are advisable. I
will briefly discuss a few of the anxiety-related psychological problems,
such as worry, shyness, insomnia, burnout, phobias, panic attacks,
obsessive-compulsive behavior, and psychosomatic disorders. There
are others, such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative
States, and Multiple Personality, which usually require psychotherapy
and so the details of treatment will not be discussed at length here.
with Trauma has already been provided. If you have been
traumatized, read this material and you will realize that several recent
writers have provided help in understanding and getting over a
traumatic experience.
Worry.  Anxiety previews bad happenings; depression reviews bad
happenings. Worry is anxiously anticipating that some awful, scary,
unpleasant events are going to happen. Worry also involves trying to
think of ways to avoid these unpleasant happenings (Borkovec, 1985).
Worry is an unpleasant, upsetting activity that we'd like to stop but we
can't; sometimes we can hardly think of anything else and can't sleep.
Worrisome fretting is an effort to solve problems that results in our
imagining more problems than solutions; thus, we never find a good
place to stop worrying. The stream of worries goes like this: "I have to
get that report done this weekend... what if the boss gets mad about
what I said... if I lost my job it would be awful... I saw a homeless
family on TV today... we should be saving more money... I wonder if
my marriage would survive hard times... Oh, God, what if I couldn't
take care of the kids..." Each little worry expands into a three hour,
award winning movie or flows into an unending elaboration of other
worries. 
A chronic worrier estimates that he/she frets unconstructively like
this for several hours a day! That's about 15% of our population! On
the other hand, the non-worriers, about 30% of us, say they worry
less than a hour and a half a day or benefit from their worries
(planning). Borkovec says the chronic worrier thinks so much about
possible troubles that he/she doesn't have the time to carefully and
completely solve problems. The chronic worrier is more emotional in
general (anxious, sad, angry, scared) than the non-worrier. They tend
to be particularly afraid of being criticized and, thus, try to foresee
every possible mistake. There are so many ways to go wrong--to make
a mistake--that the worrying person may have great difficulty finding
solutions to his/her very complex problems. 
40% of our worries never happen; 30% are about pleasing everybody, an impossibility;
10% are about health, but we aren't doctors; 12% are "water over the dam;" thus, only 8%
could be helpful.
-Thomas S. Kepler
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