Psychological Self-Help

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instinctively have a different reaction to stress than men have, so
different solutions for different genders make sense. 
Anxiety, fears, and phobias (books and sites) 
Early in this chapter we had a lengthy discussion of the basic
learning, conditioning and cognitive processes involved in fears and
Everyone knows from their own experience what anxiety is. It is
the most common complaint to psychotherapists, although only a
fraction of anxious people see a therapist. More people visit regular
MDs for anxiety than for colds. Where does the stress come from? The
causes change as we age: for children 6 to 10, it is often social
difficulties in school or getting low grades. For 10 to 16, it is conflicts
with parents and social pressures involving dating, drinking, and
drugs. Teenagers troubled with a lot of anxiety are more likely to
suffer mental health and addiction problems as adults. For 16 to 22, it
is adjusting to school and the world of work. For adults, it is coping
with children, marital strains, job stresses, and family conflicts. For the
elderly, it is dealing with death, loneliness, and money problems. As
you can see, relationships are at the center of much of our anxiety. 
Humans suffer a lot of anxiety and general anxiety levels have
steadily increased from 1950 to 2000. Apparently having lots of
"things" (material goods) doesn't make us less stressed and
emotionally more comfortable. About 7% of Americans have
experienced a fairly serious level of anxiety during the last month. It
isn't unusual for someone's emotional distress to become quite severe.
Remember, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a chronic,
debilitating condition that may involve excessive--sometimes 40 hours
a week--and unrealistic worry and tension for at least 6 months,
serious aches and pains, stomach trouble, insomnia, dizziness,
irritability, unhappiness, poor concentration or other symptoms. The
"worry" of people with GAD is more extensive and devastating than
ordinary worries, e.g. 50% have trouble sleeping, 90% say it
interferes with daily life and 60% with relationships, and 70% have
always been an out-of-control worrier. This is serious stuff (see the
worry section above). 
About 5% to 6% of us--more women than men--will have GAD
sometime in their life. Less than 20% will get proper treatment. About
25% of all American adults believe they have "come close to a nervous
breakdown." And, in reality, about that percent will have some kind of
mental disorder, not necessarily GAD, sometime in their life. About 8%
of all primary care patients are thought to have GAD, many are not
diagnosed. Even when anxiety is recognized, most physicians will just
prescribe pills (what else could they do? they are not psychologically
trained). As high as 30% to 40% of us believe we have "excessive
anxiety." No wonder over 30 million new prescriptions for tranquilizers
are written every year. 
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