December 31, 2007

Holiday depression can be managed, experts say.

December 27, 2007
Holiday depression can be managed, experts say

J.M. BROWN
SENTINEL STAFF WRITER

Maybe it was seeing that holiday film featuring the "perfect family."

Maybe it was an argument with your brother over that old grudge. Or maybe it was the fact that you don't have anybody to gather with this season.

The holidays are a land mine of triggers for depression and stress as family, financial and social pressures mount during the last two weeks of the year. While local mental health experts note a measurable rise in depression over the holiday season -- especially among people who live alone or have no family -- the number of suicides or attempts do not seem to increase proportionately, they said.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:39 AM

December 23, 2007

Smaller babies prone to depression, study finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Plump babies may really be happier babies, Canadian and British researchers reported on Monday in a study that found people who had a low birth weight were more likely to have depression and anxiety later in life.

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Posted by tAPir at 12:25 PM

December 15, 2007

Hormone Fluctuations May Be Responsible for Many Mood Disturbances in Women.

Jennifer Wider, M.D.
Society for Women’s Health Research
November 30, 2007

Although mood disorders and depression may occur at any age during a woman’s life, women seem to more vulnerable during times of hormonal fluctuations such as the menstrual period, pregnancy and perimenopause, according to a report released by the Society for Women’s Health Research in November.

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Posted by tAPir at 7:26 PM

December 8, 2007

Mental Illness And Drug Addiction May Co-occur

ScienceDaily (Dec. 3, 2007) — Why do mental illness and drug addiction so often go together? New research reveals that this type of dual diagnosis may stem from a common cause: developmental changes in the amygdala, a walnut-shaped part of the brain linked to fear, anxiety and other emotions.

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Posted by tAPir at 9:09 AM

November 30, 2007

Brain scans 'may detect OCD risk'

Brain scans may be able to reveal which people are at genetic risk of developing obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), researchers say.

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Posted by tAPir at 9:17 AM

November 10, 2007

Shy? Or Something More Serious?

By Christopher Lane
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 6, 2007; Page HE01


If anyone in my parents' generation had argued that shyness and other run-of-the-mill behaviors might one day be called mental disorders, most people would probably have laughed or stared in disbelief. At the time, wallflowers were often admired as modest and geeks considered bookish. Those who were shy might sometimes have been thought awkward -- my musically gifted mother certainly was -- but their reticence fell within the range of normal behavior. When their discomfort was pronounced, the American Psychiatric Association called it "anxiety neurosis," a psychoanalytic term that encouraged talk-related treatment.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:33 AM

November 2, 2007

Anxiety Linked To Sleep Disturbances

People who suffer from anxiety from stressful life situations may be more likely to experience sleep disturbances for at least the first six months after the event, according to a study published in the November 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

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Posted by tAPir at 1:07 PM

October 24, 2007

Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms

Exercise can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even a little exercise helps. Use these realistic tips and goals to get started and stick with it.

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Posted by tAPir at 11:18 AM

October 13, 2007

Debate: Children and Antidepressants

More and more children are being diagnosed with depression. However, whether or not children should be treated with antidepressants is hotly disputed. You can read a Head to Head - where one person writes in favor, while another writes against, in this week's issue of The British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Read both sides of the debate!

Posted by tAPir at 12:39 PM

October 7, 2007

At therapy's end

As depression eases, patients often want to stop treatment. But are they better? Will they relapse?

By Josh Fischman, Special to The Times
October 8, 2007

PEOPLE come into Andrew Leuchter's office, saying they're better, saying they want to stop. "Oh, gosh, it happens all the time," says Leuchter, a psychiatrist at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. "They say they feel OK, that they don't need drugs or any other help, and that they've recovered. On one hand that's very encouraging, but on the other hand we have to be very careful, because the cost of being wrong -- if they are not ready -- can be very high."

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Posted by tAPir at 9:43 AM

September 30, 2007

Female Anxiety: Females More Likely To Believe Negative Past Events Predict Future

Science Daily — A new study finds that young girls and women are more likely to believe that negative past events predict future events, compared to boys and men. And that, according to researchers, may help explain why females have more frequent and intense worries, perceive more risk, have greater intolerance for uncertainty, and experience higher rates of anxiety than males.

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Posted by tAPir at 9:43 AM

September 25, 2007

Exercise on par with drugs for aiding depression

Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:20pm BST
By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Regular exercise may work as well as medication in improving symptoms of major depression, researchers have found.

In a study of 202 depressed adults, investigators found that those who went through group-based exercise therapy did as well as those treated with an antidepressant drug. A third group that performed home-based exercise also improved, though to a lesser degree.

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Posted by tAPir at 6:16 AM

September 16, 2007

Links between lighting, sleep, and stress?

Article Date: 11 Sep 2007 - 4:00 PDT

Scientists have long known that the human body runs like clockwork, guided by a circadian system that responds to daily patterns of light and darkness. Now a team of researchers is developing a personal device to measure daily light intake and activity, which could allow them to predict optimal timing for light therapy to synchronize the circadian clock to the 24-hour solar day and relieve psychosocial stress.

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Posted by tAPir at 9:27 AM

September 8, 2007

Hints on overcoming speech anxiety

It's something many of us face at some point in life, and something we tend to dread: speaking in public.

There are ways to help handle that stage fright, however.

Staff Writer Bernie Delinski talked with Stephanie Montgomery, a speech instructor at the University of North Alabama, about tips on containing speech anxiety.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:20 AM

August 31, 2007

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Observed In Mice Lacking Key Brain Protein

Mice born without a key brain protein compulsively groom their faces until they bleed and are afraid to venture out of the corner of their cages. When given a replacement dose of the protein in a specific region of the brain, or the drugs used to treat humans suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), many of these mice seem to get better.

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Posted by tAPir at 7:19 PM

August 26, 2007

College Mental Health

Across the country, students are preparing to start or return to college. This is an exciting time, though for some it's overwhelming and stressful. Depression, substance use and eating disorders are increasingly common mental health issues on college campuses. According to a recent survey, the rate of students reporting ever being diagnosed with depression has increased 56 percent in the last six years, from 10 percent in spring 2000 to 16 percent in spring 2005.

Read more here!

Posted by tAPir at 10:09 AM

August 20, 2007

Using antidepressants during pregnancy - how common and for what reasons?

A new study in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology examines the prevalence of antidepressant use before, during and after pregnancy and identifies the factors for their use. It is also the first study of its kind to determine the types and dosage of antidepressants prescribed to pregnant women.

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Posted by tAPir at 12:00 PM

August 15, 2007

Ways to Reduce Dental Anxiety

BOSTON, Aug. 13 -- For some people, the fear of visiting a dentist outweighs the pain of a toothache. But putting off that visit almost invariably leads to more advanced oral health problems and lengthier, more complex procedures. What many people don't realize is that they can work with their dentists to learn about and implement anxiety- relieving strategies, according to Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums, a new report from Harvard Medical School.

Read More Here

Posted by tAPir at 9:41 AM

August 8, 2007

How To Choose A Competent Therapist

By Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW

Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW is an author, university faculty member, success coach and veteran psychotherapist whose passion is guiding others to their own success in life.

"I received a disturbing email this week. It's one of many on the same theme which I have received over time, so I knew it was time to address this issue. Here's the story.

A young lady's boyfriend went to see a doctor for depression. She shared with me that the doctor apparently said he has "Level 8 Depression" and that he spends too much time with his girlfriend. The girlfriend states she sends him daily emails for support of his depression and they date on the weekends and that's it. She wanted to know my opinion..."

LINK

Posted by tAPir at 11:19 AM

August 1, 2007

Unhappy Past? Forget About It!

WASHINGTON - Researchers have confirmed what common wisdom has long held — that people can suppress emotionally troubling memories — and said on Thursday they have sketched out how the brain accomplishes this.

They said their findings might lead to...

LINK

Posted by tAPir at 9:20 AM

July 25, 2007

Physical Problems And PTSD

Among 896 men and women who survived a 2000 explosion at a fireworks depot that killed 23 people and injured about 1,000, those who developed PTSD symptoms were more than twice as likely to have vascular problems years later, such as...

LINK

Posted by tAPir at 6:47 PM

July 19, 2007

Big News For People With RLS

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, July 18 -- A major symptom of restless legs syndrome has been associated with a genetic variation on chromosome six, two research groups reported.

The variation has been linked to about half the risk of one of the major symptoms of restless legs syndrome, defined as the periodic limb movements in sleep that are commonly but not exclusively seen in RLS, according to Kari Stefansson, M.D., Ph.D., of deCODE Genetics here.


Using genome-wide association scanning to study patients with RLS, Dr. Stefansson and colleagues found that...


LINK

Posted by tAPir at 12:13 PM

July 11, 2007

The Gregarious Brain

If a person suffers the small genetic accident that creates Williams syndrome, he’ll live with not only some fairly conventional cognitive deficits, like trouble with space and numbers, but also a strange set of traits that researchers call the Williams social phenotype or, less formally, the “Williams personality”: a love of company and conversation combined...


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Posted by tAPir at 8:42 AM

June 25, 2007

What you consume can affect your Anxiety and Stress

WHAT YOU CONSUME can have an effect on your stress hormone level, for better or worse. Obvious examples are caffeine and nicotine. Even in moderate doses, either of these can double the amount of adrenaline in your bloodstream............

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Posted by tAPir at 8:09 PM

June 15, 2007

Yoga May Help Treat Depression, Anxiety Disorders

THURSDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga's postures, controlled breathing and meditation may work together to help ease brains plagued by anxiety or depression, a new study shows.

Brain scans of yoga practitioners showed a healthy boost in levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) immediately after a one-hour yoga session. Low brain levels of GABA are associated with anxiety and depression, the researchers said........

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Posted by tAPir at 7:33 PM

June 2, 2007

End Of The World

EDNA FOA CONDUCTED RESEARCH on social anxiety to find out what helped the most to reduce anxiety. The answer was changing the way a person thought about consequences. That was the key to whether she succeeded or failed to manage her anxiety. Specifically, anxious people expect the consequences of a negative event to be worse than they would actually be. And of course this makes them more anxious than they need to be........

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Posted by tAPir at 5:55 PM

May 24, 2007

Going Green Beats the Blues

A walk in the country is an effective alternative to chemical anti-depression treatment, a leading mental health charity said on Monday, calling on British doctors to prescribe outdoor activities........


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Posted by tAPir at 4:54 PM

May 16, 2007

Building an Internal Sense of Security

Childhood experiences make a difference, but it's not too late.
What do children need in order to grow into happy adults? There are lots of theories about this, and recent research supports some of these theories. We often learn lessons more easily from extreme examples. We know, for example, that child abuse can cause many different problems later in life. Work with adult children of alcoholics has also demonstrated that growing up in an alcoholic family can often cause problems later in life..............

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Posted by tAPir at 6:41 PM

May 9, 2007

Anxiety and Musculosketetal Pain

What is Musculoskeletal Back Pain?

Musculoskeletal low back pain can be caused by problems with the alignment in your vertebrae, pelvis, or sacroiliac joint (where your spine meets your pelvis), tightening or shortening of muscles in the area, lack of or too much mobility in your spine or a specific syndrome termed "myofascial pain syndrome".........

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Posted by tAPir at 7:36 PM

May 1, 2007

Diaphragmatic Breathing

When overcoming high levels of anxiety, it is important to learn the techniques of natural breathing. Many people who live with high levels of anxiety are known to breathe through their chest. Shallow breathing through the chest means you are disrupting the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide necessary to be in a relaxed state. This type of breathing will perpetuate the symptoms of anxiety.

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Posted by tAPir at 7:07 PM

April 23, 2007

The Cause of Anxiety and Panic Attacks

The Causes of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Ron Rapee, Michelle Craske, David Barlow
PHYSIOLOGY OF ANXIETY
Anxiety is probably the most basic of all emotions. Not only is it experienced by all humans, but anxiety responses have been found in all species of animals right down to the sea slug. Anxiety experiences vary tremendously in their severity from mild uneasiness to extreme terror and panic. They can also vary tremendously in their length from a brief, almost fleeting flash, to a constant, all day affair. While anxiety, by its nature and definition, is an unpleasant sensation, it is not in the least dangerous. It is this last point which forms the basis of this article. The aim of the next few pages is to teach you about the components (physical and mental) of anxiety in order that (1) you realize that many of the feelings which you now experience are the result of anxiety and (2) you learn that these feelings are not harmful or dangerous.

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Posted by tAPir at 12:56 PM

April 16, 2007

Depression In Older Adults and The Elderly

Depression is NOT a normal part of aging. It is a medical condition that can and should be treated at any age.

Untreated depression in the elderly is more likely to lead to suicide than in any other age group.

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Posted by tAPir at 6:25 PM

April 8, 2007

Helpful Skills for Relaxation

Diaphragmatic Breathing:

Learning to breathe correctly is one of the easiest and most effective methods for learning how to relax. Although breathing is automatic, as we grow older we sometimes develop the habit of taking short shallow breaths. This often results from increased muscle tension in times of stress. This type of breathing delivers less oxygen to your body and can cause your chest and shoulder muscles to work even harder. However, you can train yourself to breathe in a way that helps you to relax. Diaphragmatic breathing is a technique that requires you to use the muscles in your diaphragm and abdomen when you breathe. The diaphragm is a domed-shaped muscle located between your chest cavity and stomach cavity. During correct breathing the diaphragm is tightened and pulls the lower part of your lungs down so that more air can be inhaled. As you inhale, your abdomen/belly swells, the rib cage expands, and at the end of the inhalation the upper chest expands. If you ever watch a baby or a small child sleep you will notice that it is their belly – not their chest – that rises and falls as they breathe. Diaphragmatic breathing consists of the following steps:


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Posted by tAPir at 3:42 PM

March 31, 2007

A Tapir Member's Story


doosey's Story


I was 40 years old the first time I relized that I was having an anxiety or panic attack. I had just turned 40 about a month or two before I had this attack and I had been really dreading turning this age for some reason. I had cryed for two weeks before my birthday and didn't understand why? I was sitting at home one evening watching tv and just relaxing, or so I thought, when I felt this surge come over me and it scared me to death. I din't know what it was. I became really nervous. I got up and went to take a hot bath and then I got my kids and told them we were going for a drive. The feelings subsided and everything was ok for several months. In fact during the next 18 months, I only experienced 2 more of these attacks and seemed to know what that were and I was handling them. Needless to say these were just the begining and these were the very mild ones. I had told my doctor about these and he prescribed xanax for me to take when I felt one coming on. I didn't take one for 6 months or so. I started a new job and a very stressful one at that in October, 2000. In December, my daughter and I went to the mall in Dallas to shop for Christmas. I was feeling very good and excited to be going shopping. We got to the mall and parked and while we were walking in my heart kind of flutter and I became very nervous. I told Lacy, (my daughter) I had to sit down for a minute and then we went to the bathroom and I got a cold wet paper towel and put on my face and tried to go to Abercrombie's. We left that store and I told her that we had to go to the car. We got to the car and I kept watching the clock and waiting for this one to go away in about 5-10 minutes like the others had, but it didn't. I drove all the way back to Greenville, and stopped at my physicians office before they closed at noon and went in to see if someone could see me. By this time I was getting hysterical and trying very hard not to cry. The doctor saw me and looked at my xanax bottle and said "Well you take these 3 times a day, maybe thats what you need to do". Ths doctor that was at the Saturday clinic had no sympothy what so ever, but by thetime I got in to see him I was feeling a bit better. I guess my xanax had kicked in by now. Lacy and I just decided to shop at the mall in Greenville and I was feeling so much better. Within the next several weeks I started experiencing these attacks more frequently and more severe. I talked to the doctor that I was working for and they put me on 20 mg Celexa. I took this for 1 1/2 years and then it seem to quit working. By now, its June 2002 and I could not eat or function without the constant anxiety and worry. I started taking Paxil 40 mg. It took me a couple of months to start feeling better, but before then I was crying and just barely making it through the day. I would come home crying and my husband just didn't understand. I would ask him what is wrong with me and he would just reply " I don't know, but with all the doctors that you are around every day, I wish you would find out. Needless to say our relationship suffered because of the not caring attitude. Sometimes I would feel like I had to handle this on my own because I could not find anyone at the time that knew anything about this and why I was having these attacks. I felt like people at work thought I was a hypocondriac, so I just kept things to myself. There would nights that I would wake up with horrible panic attacks that would last all night long, sometimes causing me to go the er just to feel safe.

The 40 mg of paxil seem to be working and I was doing fine till I split up with my husband in April 2004 and I started taking 10 mg of lexapro. I thought I felt so much better on that med than the paxil until about 3 months later. I was at work and my heart flutter and wouldn't stop. I told my office manager and she took my pulse and it was fine, but when she took my blood pressure she said she could hear my heart skipping beats. It finally stopped that afternoon. I went home and was woke up at 1 am with my heart doing this again, but I talked my self into not worrying and I went back to sleep. I was woke up at 6 am with this happening again. I got up and got ready for work. When I got to work I called the cardiologst and went over to see him and they did a echo and he said my heart was fine, but that maybe I needed to have my thyroid checked. This was on Friday, so I had to wait until Monday to go to the lab and get blood drawn to check this, so I sat at home all weekend with my heart doing this fluttering and racing. I kept looking on the computer for things about anxiety and panic and finally come across this site. This was in July of 2004. This was the beginning of some of my understanding of just how common this disorder is and that I was not alone in this. Everyone on here was so supportive and I finally have relized this is something that I have learned to accept and this is who I am instead of trying to figure out why me and where did this come from. I don't know if this all stemed from my childhood, or my kids growing up and leaving home or what ever other thing that has happened to me in my life, but just knowing that when I am feeling down and anxious and panicky that I can come on here and know that you guys are going to be here for me means the world to me and I have learned so much from everyones expereinces.

Thanks to each and everyone of you guys for your stories and replies to mine for without this site I am not so sure what or where I would be today.

Posted by tAPir at 6:45 PM

March 25, 2007

Grief and Bereavement

Grief is how one reacts to a loss. Grief reactions may be experienced in response to physical losses, such as a death or in the response to symbolic or social losses such as a divorce or loss of a job. All loss involves the absence of someone loved or something that fulfills a significant need in one’s life.

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Posted by tAPir at 2:57 PM

March 14, 2007

doll84 Personal Story

doll84 Personal Story

My childhood for me is a mixture of emotions. I was an only child. When I was six my mother moved to a different country. She moved away for better opportunities for herself - she was never going to get anywhere in a dead end town. I dont think she meant for us to be apart for so long and I believe that she wanted to make things better for herself so she could make things better for me. I also believe there were other reasons for her departure. Her parents died when she was young and she was sent to live with other family members and wasnt treated very well. When she got pregnant with me at twenty she was sent to a home for unmarried pregnant women. I can just imagine the shame she was made to feel as our family is Catholic. I think having me made her feel trapped and it was not the life she wanted for herself, my mother is a very intelligent woman. Also years later when I was twelve she explained to me that she was gay. Also not something widely accepted in that town twenty odd years ago.
I have never known my father and I dont know anything about my parents relationship. I know who he is but Ive never seen or spoken to him. He has never made an effort to get to know me. I have in recent years learnt that he married and has had more children.
I lived with an aunt for the next six years and saw my mother occasionally. I remember recieving postcards from all over the world.
Her departure greatly affected the mother/daughter relationship between us. I have never been particularly close to her and I dont think shes very maternal. She missed out on my growing up so to speak. When I did live with her again I was nearly a teenager. We in effect were strangers. I missed her alot when she left. I was always jealous of other kids who had both their parents around and would have given anything to have had just her around back then. I remember looking out my bedroom window just willing to see her walking up the street. It was tough. I was also sexually abused around this time by a member of my extended family.
I do however have some happy memories of my childhood, I was well cared for by my aunt and wanted for nothing. I had alot more than some other kids in my neighbourhood had. I remember happy times with my friends and cousins.
When I was about nine or ten I became obsessed about dying and followed a routine every night before going to sleep. I was convinced that if I didnt say my prayers or lie in a certain position I wasnt going to wake up in the morning. This went on for a while but then kind of subsided.
My early teenage years were relatively uneventful. I moved around a bit with my mother and attended a few different schools. I wasnt particularly happy but things were not that bad either. I started taking drugs and drinking when I was about seventeen. I finished school and went to college when I was eighteen. I also had my first serious relationship around this time. It was huge for me. I was so so needy emotionally. I fell in love and it was the best thing ever but it didnt last. When the relationship ended nearly two years later I was devastated. It was history repeating itself, another person who rejected me and hurt me. That relationship was my life and hope for the future and things just went from bad to worse. I really started drinking and taking drugs. I lost alot of weight and didnt care for anything. One night in bed I couldnt sleep so I sat up and had my first panic attack, its still the worst one Ive had to date. That night will stay with me for the rest of my life, I really believed I was dying. The terror I felt was something I never ever want to feel again. For the next two years I was in a constant state of fear leading to anxiety and panic. I thought Id be better off dead. I became obsessed about dying again and was in the doctors surgery every other week with some complaint. If I read about some disease or illness Id convince myself that I had it. It was an awful awful time. In the middle of all this I found tapir and I think it was my saving grace to know that there were others like me and that I wasnt crazy. I never took any medication because I didnt want to have to rely on pills to get me out of bed in the morning. I had some sessions of psychotherapy and thought field therapy. The psychotherapy stopped after 4 sessions because I didnt like the therapist and although I liked the thought field therapy it was terribly expensive and I couldnt afford it on a regular basis. Gradually things began to get better for me, i learned more about my condition and how to handle it by myself.
After six months apart my boyfriend and I got back together. I had accepted the relationship was over, he was the one who wanted to try again. This time around it was a much healthier relationship and I wasnt as insecure. In a way we both believe that break up was the best thing that ever happened to us. I learned that it was ok to be on your own and it made me stronger. I also learned that you cant rely on someone else to make you happy. He helped me through the anxiety and panic and was always there when I needed him, ready to drop everything. He is the only person who knows about the sexual abuse. I feel incredibly blessed to have him. We are together nearly five years now.
In recent months Im much happier in myself and I cant remember the last time I had a panic attack. I still have those bad days though and I probably always will. I am going to have more therapy as I still have some demons to fight particularly regarding the abuse. As an adult I crave stability and normality and cant wait to have a family of my own, probably to make up for the one I never really had.
Despite what happened in my past Im incredibly thankful for the life that I do have. Im lucky. I wake up everyday in paradise compared to where other people around the world wake up. All of this has given me a great sense of empathy towards other peoples suffering.
My journey is far from over but with the love of a good man, great friends and a fantastic support network here at tapir I cant lose! Thank you to everyone.

Posted by tAPir at 6:05 PM

March 9, 2007

Images of Attention Deficit Disorder

The first evidence for the brain being understimulated was introduced with the use of more advanced electroencephalograms (EEG or brainwave studies) by Joel Lubar from the University of Tennessee. He demonstrated that when ADD children and teenagers performed a concentration task there was an increased amount of slow brain wave activity in their frontal lobes, instead of the usual increase in fast brain wave activity that was seen in the majority of the control group..........

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Posted by tAPir at 6:57 PM

March 2, 2007

Rain's Story (Staff Member)

Anxiety was never something I never knew a lot about. In fact, before I had my first panic attack, I had no idea what a panic attack was or that it even existed. That changed for me a little over 6 years ago.

I was 21 and living in the middle of the desert with my mom. I hated living there, being that far away from my friends, my boyfriend, and my old life. It was too hot, too remote, too small of a town, and there was nothing to do. Think Hollywood becoming small-town USA overnight and that’s how I felt. Before I’d had a life and a job and was surrounded by friends and cities and could drive anywhere I wanted to and sit on a beach. Now I was stuck in the middle of nowhere, 2 hours from the closest “city”, with tumbleweeds and sand in 120 degree heat. It was a shock to me.

One weekend I was driving alone to see my boyfriend who lived three hours away. We traded off, both driving every other weekend, and it was a long and seriously boring drive through the California desert. I remember thinking that I had a lot to do that weekend. I was in school, taking a full load, and I had a ton of homework to do, and I didn’t really want to be driving, and I was tired. I started to get a feeling that something wasn’t right. My mom’s friend had died suddenly, and I remember being worried about my mom. I started to really worry that something was wrong, so I took out my cell phone and started calling my friends and family to make sure they were all right. I couldn’t get ahold of my mom at all, but everyone assured me that they were all okay, but it still didn’t ease the worry. Then I started to get a tingling in my arms, and my legs. I was on this remote section of highway, a shortcut I had taken to get to the freeway, as opposed to taking the long way out of town. I was about 30 minutes from home and cell phone reception was not great at all. I finally got off that road because I hit the freeway and pulled over. I couldn’t seem to get enough air and I was so thirsty, and I was feeling really claustrophobic in my car. I kept calling my mom and never got ahold of her. I finally called 911 because I really felt like I was going to pass out. I waited 45 minutes for the ambulance to find me by the side of the road. They hooked me up to a heart monitor and everything was normal, just a little elevated. I kept feeling scared and worried and then finally got ahold of my mom and told her what happened. She came to get me and we drove home, me driving behind her and stopping every 15 minutes because I’d start to shake, or go numb, or something.

I spent the next week in the house, sleeping with my mom, afraid of being alone in the house. She’d leave to run an errand and I’d call her hysterical because I kept feeling that horrible panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach. She finally convinced me to go to the doctor.

He diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Panic Attacks. He gave me Xanax and prescribed Paxil. I still couldn’t go to class, and now I was afraid to drive, so I never wanted to leave the house…and I didn’t. I kept sleeping with my mom because I couldn’t stand to be alone in my room. The Paxil made things 10 times worse for me, so the doctor switched me to Zoloft and I started seeing a psychologist. The psychologist started helping me use visualization techniques to feel safe. The Zoloft helped me not be so down. The Xanax helped me function on a daily basis. I felt completely lost and had no idea what to do to find my way back. No one seemed to understand what I was going through, not even my mom, and that was the hardest part to deal with.

One night I stumbled on tAPir. I don’t remember what I had been searching for, except for more information on anxiety and what to do about it. I found chat first before reading the board. I can remember who was there that first day I stumbled in there. Everyone was very welcoming and I remember saying I’d come back. I don’t remember how long it was before I met the people who would save my life one night at a time. We formed a “group”, the five of us. We were the late night chatters, the people in there every night, during the middle of the night, offering support to each other and anyone else who wandered in. We formed a strong bond and were there for each other, no matter what was going on in our lives. I wasn’t sleeping at all because of the Zoloft, so I was up and awake, lonely and miserable, but these people helped me, every night, without fail. It made it that much easier to cope because I knew I wasn’t alone.

I was able to start driving again to see my boyfriend. Most of the time I had to stop and take Xanax along the way, or sleep off the drowsiness of the Xanax in a parking lot of a grocery store. I started thinking in increments of time. If I could make it to Mojave, I’d have lasted 45 minutes and then I could sleep. 20 minutes after that, I’d be in the next town. Once I hit that town, I knew I was halfway to Chad and safety. Once I hit the 118 freeway, I was home free because it was only 30 minutes to Chad. I knew every mile-marker along the way and exactly how many miles it was to the next sign. As long as I thought about the drive like that, I could make it with my Xanax. It was the only way I got through it.

I knew I couldn’t stay in the desert much longer. I was desperately unhappy and desperately lonely. I had my friends at tAPir, but they had lives outside of the chat room, and all I had was that chat room every night. So Chad and I decided to live together. We rented an apartment and I moved from the desert back near the town I had lived before. I stopped my Zoloft, got my old job back, and started to live my life the way I wanted to.

That was a turning point for me. I still had my Xanax, and yes I still used it, but I didn’t need it as much. I was finally taking control of my life and what I wanted to do, and I felt really good about it. My anxiety faded to nothing. I was confident, moving up in my job, living with Chad and just being happy. It ended, as things do, so I decided to make another drastic change and move back east. I’d always wanted to live on the East coast, so I got rid of the apartment we’d been living in and moved. I can’t say it was the best year of my life, living there, but I learned a lot about myself.

I learned that I can survive on my own. I learned that I was a strong, brave woman who had control over her life. I got to be the one to choose where my life went, where it was headed, and what the possible outcomes were. I learned that I can take risks and be successful. I can’t say that I was happy the entire time I was there, because it was a very hard year for me, but I can say that I learned a lot about myself.

I’ve had a lot of success with therapy over the years. I had great success with EMDR because it forced me to deal with my childhood. The therapist that practiced EMDR was also very compassionate and very caring and that helped as well.

The most important thing I’ve ever been told by a therapist is that it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be unsure sometimes and scared to try new things. It really is okay to be afraid. Once I accepted that, it made things a lot easier for me. After having surgery recently and being terrified of going through it, losing my ovary, the long recovery period, the utter exhaustion, and panicking about all those things, my therapist told me again… Kate, it’s okay to be afraid. It’s the one thing I fight constantly, the feeling of not being okay. I hate feeling out of control of myself, and I hate feeling powerless or helpless. Once I accept those feelings it helps them go away.

Do I have days where I want to cry and stay in bed all day? Absolutely. Do I get up anyway and take a shower and go into work? Yeah, I do. A normal routine helps me stay on track and remember why I get up everyday. I want to live my life. I want to know that I’m making myself happy with everything I do. Do I still deal with anxiety? Sure, just not on a regular basis. Before all of this trauma in my life this year, I hadn’t had a problem with anxiety in years. Has it been hard? Completely.. Mentally, emotionally and physically draining. The important part is that I try to focus on the outcome, not the process. If I need help, I ask, not because it makes me weak, but because I want to remain strong.

I live my life in a way that’s fulfilling to me. I stumble along the way, or take detours I never intended to take, but I always remember who I am. No one can take that away from me.. Not even anxiety.

Posted by tAPir at 4:33 PM

February 27, 2007

Anger Management

How to get your anger under control
It is not unusual for anxiety and anger to be connected. Anger may trigger anxiety. Anxiety may anger us. If we don't face our anger and learn to manage it, it may surface in unpredictable ways. The following Web sites offer a variety of techniques for managing anger. If you have an anxiety disorder, please discuss your concerns about anger with your therapist. ...........

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Posted by tAPir at 9:34 PM

February 26, 2007

Anxiety And The Law

From Dr. S. Shipko, California

I find this of great interest. I have seen hundreds of people with lawsuits related to their panic disorder. First of all, as a State Qualified Examiner, Appellate level Social Security Disability evaluator, Disability Evaluator for the LAPD and a few hundred worker's compensation cases, expert testimony for both the insurance and the plaintiff --- I think that people will benefit from your new website.

Synopsis
Due to the nature of Anxiety Disorders, those suffering from them can find themselves in almost impossible situations when called upon to give evidence in courts, insurance appeals, before semi-judicious bodies and hearings of all types. This page gives a number of suggestions which have been found to be of use in helping these people through these stressful situations. Those requiring more background on the nature of the disorders will find links on my title page "Anxiety Disorders - the Caregivers"...........

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Posted by tAPir at 6:11 PM

February 21, 2007

rkbonds' Story

It all started when I was 12. My father (who was a high profile preacher in Atlanta, GA) cheated
on my mother. That's when I remember the first time I ever felt depressed and anxious. I knew
he had ruined our lives and I had no idea where it all was going to take us. To escape his
shame, he moved the family to AL, 1 year later. We played the fake family game, put on a smile and continued on with no help/therepy as a family. He continued to be wrapped up in his church and my mother was obsessed with keeping him, so I started seeking the attention of other males. At age 14, my mother got pregnant with twins. Sadly 1 miscarried at 3 months and the other died at birth. Depression struck again. I couldn't deal with death anymore. At age 15, I became pregnant. I had my first child and got married to the father at age 16. Life was hard. I quit highschol (but got my ged), so I could raise my son. And still through all this never got help, I buried it inside. I had my second child at age 18, my husband (ex now), wanted to abort it. I refused and our marriage started having troubles. That is when my anxiety and depression became a true issue. I started having chest pains, shortness of breath...I thought I was dying. After 2 years of test, they finally concluded it was anxiety/depression. 1 year later, when I was 20, I decided it was time for therepy and medicine. At 20 I was living with horrible all day anxiety and severe depression. I started 10mg of Prozac. I quit both after just 6 months. I got a divorce the same year and it all came back. For the next 5 years after that I used drugs and alchohol to try and cope. I partied like I was in college. But nothing helped. My anxiety got so bad, I could not hold a job. I eventually had to move to the ghetto or projects, whichever you prefer to call it. The depression got worse, I could not believe how my life had gone, it wasn't supposed to be that way. I was 25, divorced, had 2 kids, no job, on all government assistance, had quit going to church, and was living in the ghetto. I was in the worst depression and anxiety ever, I could hardly function. All I could do was pray and beg God to help me. I started going to therepy. I met my current husband, we married, I started Prozac again, we had 3 children, moved out of the ghetto right when we married. Thankfully I haven't had to work still. Life has improved drastically in the last 3 years. We have been SO blessed in every area of life. I still have my struggles though. I still deal with depression and anxiety. I still haven't been into a church since 8 years ago. But I feel like I have grown, educated myself through out each experience, and I feel wiser. I know I still have more work to do, but I will continue to keep going....I will persevere! I hope my story will help someone, thank you for reading. -rkbonds (Katie)

Posted by tAPir at 6:13 PM

February 15, 2007

Understanding The Highly Sensitive Person

UNDERSTANDING THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON

by Dr. Ginger Blume

While growing up, did people oftentimes refer to you as “too sensitive?” As an adult, do you oftentimes experience a heightened sensitivity to strong noises, lights, certain foods, groups of people, other people's emotions, etc.? Do you have frequent experiences of depression and/or panic? If so, you may be what Dr. Elaine Aron calls a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Her research is documented in her book, The Highly Sensitive Person. This article will describe the HSP and perhaps, provide you with a new understanding of how some people experience their world as physically and emotionally, overly stimulating and painful.........


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Posted by tAPir at 11:41 PM

February 8, 2007

For Some, Giving up Smoking is all in the Brain


January 27, 2007
SCIENTISTS believe they have identified a part of the brain that governs nicotine addiction, which may pave the way for new anti-smoking treatments............

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Posted by tAPir at 4:24 PM

January 31, 2007

Anxiety in the Workplace

ANXIETY IN THE WORKPLACE
Getting stressed out at work is natural - it happens to everyone. But there's a difference between being stressed out by your job and having an anxiety disorder. Stress can trigger a latent disorder, or heighten the anxiety already being experienced by a sufferer. This is bad news for people with anxiety disorders, as well as for employers dealing with lost productivity, absenteeism, poor performance and increased healthcare costs when employees are ill........

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Posted by tAPir at 5:07 PM

January 25, 2007

Brain Region That Fuels Addiction Found

THURSDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- A small area of the brain nestled inside the cerebral cortex might explain why smoking is such a hard habit to break..................


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Posted by tAPir at 9:44 PM

January 19, 2007

Images of Health and Disability

Images of health and disability


WHO/Bernard Franck
A young man, who has been affected by polio, enjoying the beach in Benguela, Angola.

This striking photo gallery shows how people with different disabilities and health conditions live and work. The photographs make us challenge the very meaning of health. They are a reminder that many people experience some degree of disability at some point in their life........

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Posted by tAPir at 4:57 PM

January 13, 2007

What Shamu Taught Me About A Happy Marriage

Modern Love
What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage

By AMY SUTHERLAND
Published: June 25, 2006
AS I wash dishes at the kitchen sink, my husband paces behind me, irritated. "Have you seen my keys?" he snarls, then huffs out a loud sigh and stomps from the room with our dog, Dixie, at his heels, anxious over her favorite human's upset.

In the past I would have been right behind Dixie. I would have turned off the faucet and joined the hunt while trying to soothe my husband with bromides like, "Don't worry, they'll turn up." But that only made him angrier, and a simple case of missing keys soon would become a full-blown angst-ridden drama starring the two of us and our poor nervous dog..........


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Posted by tAPir at 4:57 PM

January 7, 2007

A tapir Member's Story


bethp's story

As a child and a teenager I was super confident most of the time although I always hated reading aloud in class or doing presentations- would always get very shakey and try to get out of it.
From the age of 13/14 I started being a bit of a nightmare, took alot of drugs, drank alot, slept around, ran away from home ( although I have a lovely family) vague suicide attempts and missed alot of school.
I left school at 16 ( had justed started 6th form college) as, as I can see now the beginnings of social anxiety were starting to surface, I became pretty withdrawn and self conscious but went and got a job.
At around 18 I started taking days off work as I would feel very anxious, and eventually lost that job as really my behaviour was getting out of control and was phoning in sick ALOT!
After that, I was very agarophobic for about 3 months, really couldn't even go to the shop for cigarettes or anything, eventually got to the doctors who put me on anti- depressants and I managed to get another job as a waitress. During that time I came off my medication, and although I stopped smoking pot I continued to drink heavily and was very promiscuous. AFter a couple of years I started getting panic attacks at work, this was after I had an abortion and I was in a very bad place emotionally. Although my employers were pretty understanding they had to fire me in the end as I just couldn't do my job if I got there atall.
After losing that job I had another severe agaro phase lasting about 3/4 months which eased off and although I was still very anxious I could leave the house, and yet again desended into drunken debauchery till I met my ex who I lived with for 3 years, I really wasn't looking after myself well in anyway throughout that time save a few episodes of back on meds and a couple of therapy sessions. It also was an unhealthy relationship ( he had a silly temper) and eventually I ended up here, back with my parents and am finally looking after myself better and have a very supportive and lovely new fella.
The way I look at my anxiety has changed considerably over the years and I feel like now I am starting to accept it and deal with it, sorry for rambling, it's just hard to stop once you start!

Posted by tAPir at 8:11 PM

January 1, 2007

Are You Really Ready to Clean Up Your Act?

We're fat. We smoke. Drink too much. Don't exercise enough. And our stress levels are off the charts.

We're killing ourselves, and we know it. And yet we carry on -- overeating, lighting up, slumping in front of the television and throwing back another beer -- inspiring some of the greatest thinkers in the worlds of genomics, neuroscience, biochemistry and evolutionary psychology to ponder the Big Mac of medical questions:

Why is it so hard for people to change?

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Posted by tAPir at 8:39 PM