• Quote of the Day
    "I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time."
    Anna Freud, posted by Daniel

Daniel

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[url="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-therapy/202012/new-theory-generalized-anxiety-disorder"0]A New Theory of Generalized Anxiety Disorder[/url]

According to their Contrast Avoidance Model (CAM), what worry prevents is not negative emotional arousal per se, but rather sharp negative emotional swings...

This notion is analogous to the idea that some people adopt consistent pessimism as a way to avoid crushing disappointments...

Moreover, despite the fact that chronic worry is stressful, emotionally noxious, and physically taxing, people with GAD tend to hold positive beliefs about worry, viewing it as a useful coping strategy, a means of preparing for trouble, and a motivational force toward self-protection. Commonly, worry thoughts become a protective superstition: Having worried much about catastrophes that failed to materialize, people with GAD come to believe that worrying in fact prevents catastrophes from happening. CAM theory suggests that worry's role in preventing sharp negative emotional turns may be another, central reason it is embraced and maintained...

If the new theory is supported further, it may have implications for therapy as well. GAD is difficult to treat successfully, and this may be due in part to our incomplete understanding of the nature of fear in GAD. CAM suggests that a principal fear underlying worry in GAD is of negative emotional contrast. If that's the case, then therapists may usefully look to target specifically clients’ contrast avoidance—for example, by repeatedly following relaxation with negative emotional stimuli or by exposing clients to contrasting pleasant and then unpleasant images in quick succession. Facing the fear of negative contrast experiences directly may help extinguish it, thus releasing clients from GAD's worry trap.
 

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To successfully treat depression, the focus must be on the root cause, which is the anxiety. Anxiety is not a diagnosis, but a term that describes a heightened neurochemical state. Since this unconscious survival response is hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than the conscious brain, it cannot be controlled by isolated rational interventions.

So, how do you decrease anxiety? You decrease the levels of the stress chemicals.

The two general ways of accomplishing this are direct methods that calm the nervous system. Some of the techniques include mindfulness, meditation, martial arts, exercise, and short-term medications. The other category is dampening the chemical reaction by stimulating neuroplastic changes in your brain. Instead of automatically reacting to stress, you create some “space” between the stimulus and response and then redirect your attention to a more functional choice...

By creating the separate diagnostic categories of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, we are taking the focus off of the root cause being relentless anxiety. One alternative would be to say that remaining in a hyper-vigilant, neurochemical state results in a constellation of symptoms, one of which is depression. The manifestations of this heightened state also include chronic mental and physical pain.

The most effective way to treat depression is to utilize one of the many effective methods to calm down the nervous system.

~ David Hanscom, MD
 
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The Characteristics of High Functioning Anxiety

Screenshot_2021-01-28 what-is-high-functioning-anxiety-4140198-1e45132a1b314f2ebb163f71313afb9a .png


Some possible reasons you might not have sought help for high functioning anxiety include:

  • You consider it a double-edged sword and don't want to lose the positive influence of anxiety on your achievements.

  • You are worried that your work will suffer if you are not constantly driven to work hard out of fear.

  • You might think that because you seem to be achieving (strictly from an objective standpoint) it means you do not "need help" for your anxiety—or perhaps that you don't deserve help.

  • You might think that everyone struggles the way that you do and may think of it as normal. On the other hand, you might believe that you are just "bad" at dealing with life stress.

  • You've never told anyone about your internal struggles and your silence has reinforced the feeling that you can't ask for help.

  • You might believe that no one would support you in asking for or seeking help because they have not seen you struggle.
 
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When asked for any tips to reduce anxiety or obsessive behaviors he said:

"[A] very quick or easy way is to realize that responsibility is working behind your worry. I ask [patients] "Why are you worried so much?" so they will answer "I can't help but worry" but they will not spontaneously think "Because I feel responsibility" ... just realizing it will make some space between responsibility thinking and your behavior."
 

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“Lacing up your sneakers and getting out and moving may be the single best nonmedical solution we have for preventing and treating anxiety,” says John J. Ratey, MD. It decreases muscle tension, builds up resources that boost resilience, and activates the part of the brain that reacts to both real and imagined threats.
 
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