Dr. Cohen has treated anxiety disorders for thirty years and founded the Anxiety and Depression Treatment Clinic in 1987.He was one of the first doctors in San Diego to employ modern methods of psychotherapy and medication treatment for anxiety patients.
When treated properly, anxiety disorders are very treatable. Yet, people with anxiety disorders often have difficulty obtaining good treatment. Many doctors do not recognize the signs of anxiety disorders and instead ignore patients' problems or minimize their scope. Other doctors simply prescribe tranquilizers that can cause dependency. Some doctors consider anxiety patients to be hypochondriacs. Some therapists take anxiety patients on long journeys through their past, while not addressing the anxiety-provoking issues at hand. Dr. Cohen's methods have been proven over many years, and his rate of success with anxiety disorders is high.
Types of Anxiety Disorders Anxiety disorders affect 40 million Americans. Most people experience anxiety when their stress is high, but people with anxiety disorders experience high anxiety frequently, for months or years, which interferes with normal activity and enjoyment.
There are 7 major types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). People with GAD worry excessively about everyday problems. Their days are filled with anxiety and tension. They recognize that their constant worry is unnecessary, but they cannot stop. These people have difficulty falling asleep and/or awaken early and cannot go back to sleep. They often have physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, trembling, lightheadedness, sweating, difficulty breathing. GAD affects 7 million Americans, two-thirds women.
- Panic Disorder. Panic attacks are awful. Panic sufferers believe they are dying. Symptoms may be physical (pounding heart, difficulty breathing) or mental (intense fear). Panic disorders affect 6 million Americans and occur more frequently in women.
- Agoraphobia. Often occurs in conjunction with a panic disorder, people with agoraphobia avoid situations in which they experienced high anxiety or panic. Over time, they become fearful of many situations, finally reaching an end-point in which they are fearful of leaving home.
- Social Phobia. Also known as "social anxiety disorder." People with social phobia experience intense anxiety in interpersonal situations. Such situations may include work situations, school, parties. Symptoms may also include difficulty concentrating, self-consciousness, fatigue,difficulty speaking, sweaty palms, pounding heart, feelings of being overwhelmed. 15 million Americans are affected by social phobias.
- Specific Phobias. Phobias generate intense fears in situations that poses little or no actual danger. Specific phobias include elevators, escalators, tunnels, heights, highway driving, water, flying, dogs, insects, and blood. Facing the feared object or situation is difficult because it elicits panic feelings. Specific phobias affect more than 19 million Americans, more often in women.
- Obsessive?Compulsive Disorder. People with OCD find it difficult to get through a day without repetitive thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). They frequently have to repeat behaviors such as washing their hands (for fear of germs) or repeatedly counting their steps (for fear of forgetting something important). More than 2 million Americans have OCD.
- PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD often results when a person experiences a terrifying ordeal. PTSD is best known among war veterans, but it can occur with many types of psychological trauma such as child abuse, mugging, rape, automobile accidents, plane crashes, earthquakes, and bombings. Symptoms of PTSD include irritability, emotional withdrawal, reduced interest in activities, aggressiveness, avoidant behavior, nightmares, flashbacks. PTSD affects more than 7 million Americans.
Dr. Cohen's Broad Experience in Treating Anxiety Disorders
Dr. Cohen's treatment of anxiety disorders involves psychotherapy or medication treatment or both. Psychotherapy initially focuses on identifying the patient's anxiety and/or panicky feelings and there origins. Is there a personal history of anxiety, a family history? What events or changes may have been involved? Psychotherapy also focuses on creating strategies for handling emotions in difficult situations. The difficult situation may be flying in an airplane, entering a supermarket, or going to a party, or it may involve a relationship with a family member or friend. Subsequent sessions focus on each individual's inner feelings, strengths, self-esteem, communication skills, problem solving, and identification of life goals.
Medication can be very useful in reducing anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, or other symptoms. Many people with anxiety disorders are highly sensitive to medications, and Dr. Cohen always uses medication cautiously in these people. Many people respond well to low medication doses. Unfortunately, some doctors simply place anxiety patients on high doses of tranquilizers (Xanax, Ativan, etc.), causing people to become dependent on these drugs, while their anxiety disorders remain unimproved. Dr. Cohen uses better and more effective methods without causing dependency. Dr. Cohen is also uniquely knowledgeable about natural, non-drug therapies for anxiety disorders.
Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Antidepressants: An avoidable and solvable controversy. 2004;38:1743.
NOTE TO READERS: The purpose of this E-Letter is solely informational and educational. The information herein should not be considered to be a substitute for the direct medical advice of your doctor, nor is it meant to encourage the diagnosis or treatment of any illness, disease, or other medical problem by laypersons. If you are under a physician's care for any condition, he or she can advise you whether the information in this E-Letter is suitable for you. Readers should not make any changes in drugs, doses, or any other aspects of their medical treatment unless specifically directed to do so by their own doctors.
If you have questions about your medications or medical care, Dr. Cohen is available for consultation at his office or by telephone.
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