Psychological Self-Help

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help tips. Another site focuses on the causes and treatment of
Headaches (
Focusing on Panic Disorder (http://lexington-on-, this medical-oriented site
explains the development of panic and its treatment using
medications. Offering a slightly different approach, Treatment for
Panic ( is
based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy methods and suggests
medication, as needed. 
     Two more good sites offer practical help: Panic Disorders
There are national organizations for Phobics Anonymous (619-322-
cope), Emotions Anonymous (612-647-9712), and Agoraphobics (804-
If the cause of the anxiety is assumed to be repressed traumatic
childhood experiences, normally some kind of insight approach would
be used, such as psychodynamic or psychoanalytic therapy or the
insight approaches in chapter 15. There is evidence that overprotective
parents do not let their children have the experience of entering the
scary situation and learning (with the parents' help) how to cope;
thus, sheltered children are prone to be anxious. But, persons who
were neglected as children are prone to develop phobias and panic
Professional treatment is, thus far, only moderately successful
with general anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Psychiatrists claim one
third of phobics improve with 6 months of drug treatment; the other
patients require extensive therapy (and a cure is not guaranteed).
Without drugs, the cure rate of cognitive-behavioral therapies is about
75%, which sounds good. But, up to half of phobic patients drop out of
therapy, and many who stay in treatment only get partial relief.
Therefore, only about 25% fully recover from their phobias
(Prochaska, 1991). Therapy needs to be improved but there is ample
evidence that cognitive-behavioral (Chambless & Gillis, 1993),
exposure (Foa, et al, 1991), group (Heimberg, et al, 1990), applied
relaxation (Ost & Westling, 1991), and desensitization are effective to
some extent with anxiety, fears, phobias, and post-traumatic stress.
Matsakis (1992) and Allen (1995) provide self-help for getting over a
trauma. Wolin & Wolin (1994) help with overcoming a troubled family. 
Perhaps some of us were born with nervous systems that can't be
totally quieted; we may just have to "live with it." Don't expect instant
magic from your self-help efforts. There is evidence that early,
immediate treatment of fears can avoid truly debilitating conditions.
See Garber, Garber & Spizman (1993) for dealing with children's fears.
If you attack the problem of agoraphobia, for instance, the first or
second time you avoid leaving your house because you feel uneasy
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