Streams In The Desert Classics, May 1st, 2011

“And the ill favored and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well favored and fat kin?and the thin, ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears” Genesis 41:4, 7

There is a warning for us in that dream, just as it stands: It is possible for the best years of our life, the best experiences, the best victories won, the best service rendered, to be swallowed up by times of failure, defeat, dishonor, uselessness in the kingdom. Some men’s lives of rare promise and rare achievement have ended so. It is awful to think of, but it is true. Yet it is never necessary.

S. D. Gordon has said that the only assurance of safety against this tragedy is “fresh touch with God,” daily, hourly. The blessed, fruitful, victorious experiences of yesterday are not only of no value to me today, but they will actually be eaten up or reversed by today’s failures, unless they serve as incentives to still better, richer experiences today.

“Fresh touch with God,” by abiding in Christ, alone will keep the lean kine and the ill favored grain out of my life.
–Messages for the Morning Watch

Praise & Worship, April 30th, 2011

Song List

1.  How Great Thou Art-  Carrie Underwood & Vince Gill

2.  Creed-  Third Day & Brandon Heath

3.  Perfect People-  Natalie Grant

4.  Psalm 61-  2nd Chapter Of Acts

5.  All Things New-  Andrew Peterson

6.  I Will Ever Sing-  Ocean’s Edge Music/Calvary Chapel  Fort Lauderdale, FL.

7.  Through It All-  Jonathan Phillips

8.  Redeeming Love-  Amy Stroup

9.  My Beloved-  Kari Jobe

10.  All Hail Jesus-  Vineyard UK

11.  Your Love Never Fails-  Chris Quilala

Prayer Requests & Praise Reports, April 29th, 2011

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven;
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil;
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.

 Prayer Request/Praise Report

Okie Preacher–  The doctor who operated on my back, has taken us on. After some time he believes that I may have a very rare condition. So rare, there are only a handful of doctors in the U.S. that deal with it. I would rather not say what it is at the time, but I am grateful that we may be getting to the end of this journey. And, it is treatable. Thank you for your continued prayer. And Captain Kevin, I’ll keep you posted…

New Prayer Requests

Dorci–  She is still having physical problems related to surgery that removed a cyst from her spine. Please pray for Dorci to experience relief from her pain.

Past Prayer Requests

Allan- My brother’s wife LeeAnn is half way through her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. She seems to be tolerating it well and will begin radiation immediately upon completion of her chemo.

Nonnie–  Please pray for a man at my church. He is such a nice and gentle man, but has been on panic disorder meds for years and has now read a book that said it is lack of faith if he takes the meds. He went off of them suddenly and now it is affecting his body and he is a wreck. He was prayed for today by the elders and he reacted violently…I believe he was just panicking but he is afraid now that he is demon possessed. We have tried to assure him that he is not. My heart just breaks for him. I encouraged him to go to his dr. and see about his meds.. Please pray for this kind, gentle man.

Lynette–  Pls free Lynette from depression

Cyndie- I have been having SEVERE panic attacks. Yesterday, I was out in the parking lot bent over retching. I lost my job, my mentally ill mother (who refuses to take medication or get help) lives with me along with my son who has ADHD. Between my mother and my son, something gets broken in my rented apartment often. Someone is even peeling the paint off of the walls. I’m a Christian and I pray for God to help me EVERYDAY, but now I am starting to have severe panic attacks. Also, I have a slight case of OCD and God took it away years ago, but since I lost my job, it has come back again. I just needed someone to vent to. I really don’t have a comment. Just pray for me.

Terika–  I am seeking prayer for me. I need a job, career, or an idea. I have two sons who’s father passed away and I am finding it extremely difficult to find work. It is one of the toughest valleys I have ever been in. I want to be able to take care of my family.

Captain Kevin–  Been going through a lot of pain and depression lately. So much want to exercise and get rid of these extra 40 pounds I’ve put on in the last 2 years, spend time studying scripture and improving my vocal and keyboard abilities, but I just can’t seem to get started. Sleep is my favorite pastime lately, but I don’t really want it to be..

Allan–  A woman e-mailed me tonight asking for prayer. She is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. She will be seeing someone tomorrow to apply for emergency Medicaid. She has been without insurance for two years. Please pray for her.

Set Free–  I appreciate that you still have our request for a building. Some opportunities have been presented to us but nothing yet. We did move out from our previous location but we are trusting and believing God for a place of our own hopefully before the year is out.

Mom–  Thank you for keeping my request on your prayer list. Our son is doing better and is now able to work and is hoping to return to school next semester.

He’s been through different combinations of medications and we are hopeful that the current combinations will work for him in the long term.

He is still discouraged and is beating himself up for disenrolling from school. We try to encourage him, but he doesn’t receive it.. We are praying that God would allow him to live a rewarding life and that he see God’s hand in all this the last 5 months. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Long Term Prayer Requests

Allan–  Please pray for Rachel as she is battling bipolar disorder. Pray also for her parents who are fighting battles of their own.
Allan– Please pray for Natalie Tan as she has had a setback in her battle with her eating disorder.

Angela–  Keep Angela in prayer as she continues on her road of recovery from Anorexia.

White Horses- Prayer for anxious thoughts and worrying.

Allan–  Our nephew’s wife has M.S.

PK Sweet–  please pray for a bipolar son with brain damage also…that he may know and love and follow Christ, be free of all addictions and self destructive behavior, get the help he needs and be @ peace…also that God help us all in the family to be filled with the Spirit and bear luscious fruit, and be filled with joy rather than despair

Praise Reports

Rachel– wow, what a great quote from spurgeon! how i hope the Lord will make that true in my life! my deepest desire is that he would be glorified in my life.

thank you all for your prayers. i am sorry for my long absence. i can’t explain it, other than to say the sicker i am the less i want/can say. and when i do have something to say, it might not always be helpful in that state, so i try not to say it.

as my dad already told you, i have seen a huge change, and it is all so obviously the work of the Lord. i know that he wants to do more with and in me and i am praying now to find all of that and be faithful to do my part in what he has for me.

love to all of you. may God encourage you all today and may you feel his love poured out on you. and if you don’t, may the knowledge of His love comfort you, even if you can’t feel it.

10 Tips For People Diagnosed With Depression

Taken from schizophrenia magazine which is located    HERE.

Karl Shallowhorn, Wendy Danford and Ron Simmons* all know the torment of depression. Shallowhorn, 47, of Amherst, New York, has had bipolar disorder for 29 years and been symptom-free for the past 15. At 65, Simmons, of Oakville, Ontario, has a lifelong history of depression. And Danford, 52, from Belleville, Ontario, has dealt with depression for the past two decades. All three belong to support groups and work in their communities to help others deal with mood disorders, and each has his or her own self-help tips that they share in the hopes of improving the lives of people living with depression. Now they’re sharing those tips with SZ Magazine.

You cannot cure a mental disorder, but recovery is possible. The key is time: You can get through this, but don’t expect to find your old self right away. “A few years ago, I was working on a project with a doctor and he asked me, ‘What do you recover from? And how do you know you have recovered?’” recalls Danford. “Instead of recovery, I think of coping with and managing the disorder. This isn’t a fast process, nor is it always easy, but in the end the reward is worth it.” Simmons agrees, adding: “It’s not a two-week process, or (like) a migraine where you can take a pill and it’s over with. It’s something you have to live with and work with.”

Stigma exists, but so do positive experiences. As you change, the way people act toward you might change, says Shallowhorn. Be prepared for it. “One thing I stress to people is that it’s okay to have a mental illness; you can still enjoy life. I always say, I don’t struggle with mental illness—I live with it.”

Hate the disorder, but don’t hate yourself. The trouble, Shallowhorn says, is that “often we take on the disorder as who we are. “I had a counsellor make a really great statement. She basically said my bipolar disorder is only a part of who I am. There are other parts of me that are valid and are good, and can make up for the deficiency of the mental illness, and that can help me look beyond the stigma placed on me as an individual.”

Don’t be shy about turning to others. Do your own research and find out where you can meet others who share your illness. Virtually every community has its own support group ready to welcome new members. The Mood Disorders Society of Canada Website (mooddisorderscanada.ca) has a wealth of information, plus links to mood disorder societies in each of the provinces and territories. In the United States, you’ll find a vast array of information and local contacts through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org). Family members usually want to help—and their support is important to recovery—but it’s difficult when they aren’t familiar with mental illnesses. “That’s why support groups are so beneficial: because you’ve got other people like yourself who have been there, and you kind of help each other,” says Shallowhorn. “In a way, they become your family.”

Exercise—even if you have to force yourself. While your mind recovers, you can’t neglect your body. In a report on its website, the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.com) points to exercise as a way of easing the symptoms of depression. Physical activity causes the body to release neurotransmitters and endorphins, which may quiet the depression; it reduces some of the negative chemicals in the immune system that worsen depression; and it increases the body’s temperature, which can also have a calming effect. Improved health boosts confidence and regular exercise in a gym gets you out with others. And you’ll sleep better at night. People who are depressed have a tendency to withdraw. They stay inside, avoid talking with friends and family, and their appetites dwindle—as does their interest in things they used to enjoy.

Set goals to get out of the house and stay active. “I’m a believer that if you look at your situation and you’re trying to work your way out of it, you need to have a plan,” says Shallowhorn. He found that he felt better when he was around other people. So he made the effort— and it truly was an effort—to go out and visit friends. “When we’re by ourselves, our minds can really do a number on us,” he says. Our thinking gets skewed in the wrong direction. Isolation is deadly.”

Learn all you can about your illness. Twenty years ago, it took some real detective work to find good information on depression. That’s not the case today. Google the term “mood disorders” and 2.8 million entries will pop up. Actors Harrison Ford and Halle Berry, singer Billy Joel, and retired National Football League player Terry Bradshaw are among the celebrities who have spoken about their own depression. And many local support groups maintain libraries of reference materials and books on the subject.

Medication helps, but it’s not the only answer. There’s no denying the importance of medication in overcoming depression. You can’t just “snap out of it,” says Danford. “Medication can be the basis for recovery, as it works to balance the chemicals in the brain that have gone out of proportion, but it isn’t the only thing that will help you feel better.” She points to good nutrition and exercise because they “get the chemicals working” properly inside the body. Yoga, meditation, and natural remedies can also be beneficial, adds Shallowhorn.

A belief in a Higher Power can give you strength. At a time when you don’t feel you’re at your best, faith in something bigger can help with your load, says Shallowhorn, who grew up in a family that regularly attended church. A study presented to the American Psychiatric Association in 2002 found that depressed seniors who feel their life is guided by a Higher Being show fewer symptoms of depression than those who don’t use faith-based coping strategies. “When you see these kinds of data coming out from both medical and psychiatric populations, it’s hard to continue ignoring religion as a variable in the recovery from depression,” says Harold Koenig, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University, who was quoted in a report on mental-health-today.com.

Recovery is individual, so it might be necessary to revise your expectations. In a support group, it can be inspiring to see someone overcoming their illness. It can be a downer, too, when it makes you wonder why you aren’t improving just as fast. “That should be a positive,” says Simmons, who belongs to a group called Equilibrium. “We encourage interpersonal discussion. If someone has been there before you, you can learn from their feelings and apply it to yourself.” The bottom line is: There is no right or wrong way to recover, no time limit, and no single approach. The goal is to get there and stay there.

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Bullies, Victims, Bully/Victims Face Greater Health Risks

Taken from wfaa.com which is located    HERE.

Bullying isn’t just about emotional and physical taunts and pushes – it can lead to other serious health issues and also be an indicator of a dangerous home life.

Children who are bullied, or who bully others, or who are bullies and victims of being bullied are at a greater risk for a broad range of health issues including family violence, and intentional self-harm, according to a new U.S. study.

In a survey of 5,807 middle-school and high-school students from almost 138 Massachusetts public schools, researchers found that those involved in bullying in any way are more likely to contemplate suicide and engage in self-harm, compared to other students.

Children who are bullies are more likely to suffer abuse from a family member, or witness to home violence, compared to other students who were not bullies or victims.

A bully is defined as a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people. In schools it is defined also as repeatedly teasing, hitting, threatening, kicking or excluding other students. Social media has also become a weapon used against others by bullies.

After adjusting for other factors, the odds ratio of a middle school student being physically hurt by a family member, for example, was 2.9 for victims of bullying, 4.4 for bullies, and 5.0 for those who were both bullies and victims, compared to other students. The odds ratio for witnessing violence at home was, respectively, 2.6, 2.9, and 3.9.

The odds ratio for a high school student to be physically hurt by a family member was 2.8 for victims, 3.8 for bullies, and 5.4 for bully-victims, compared to students who were not involved in bullying; for witnessing violence at home, the odds ratio for high school students was 2.3, 2.7 and 6.8, respectively.

Previous research has linked bullying with poor grades, substance use and mental health issues. This report concludes that the health risks and home environment for teens involved in bullying are much worse than for kids who have no experience with bullying.

“The results underscore the importance of primary prevention programs, as well as comprehensive programs and strategies that involve families,” researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

A successful prevention program should include school officials, staff members, students and parents, with access to health and mental health services an essential component, they added, while noting that classroom programs alone are ineffective.

The findings are published in the April 22 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The statistics revealed by the study are not surprising in today’s hyper society, but are very different from 20 years ago. More population in the schools, media glorification on television and in the movies, plus new media tools boost the opportunities children have to bully as well as present a different interpretation of what is considered acceptable behavior by children and young adults.

Of the students surveyed, middle school students (44 percent) were more likely than high school students (30.5 percent) to have some involvement in bullying.

Researchers found that 26.8 percent of middle-school students reported being bullied compared to 15.6 percent of high-school students. But fewer middle-school students (7.5 percent) than high-school students (8.4 percent) reported being bullies themselves.

In both age ranges, more males than females admitted to bullying, and more females said they were victims than males.

Among high school students, 6.5 percent reported being bully-victims. A little less than 10 percent of middle school students said they were bully-victims. Health risks were greater for bully-victims than for those who saw themselves as just bullies or just victims, the report said.

The majority of students in both age ranges — 56 percent of middle school students and 69.5 percent of high school students — said they were neither bullies nor victims.

The researchers cited several limitations in the study, including a low response rate and its reliance on self-reporting. Recall is not always accurate and may be subject to bias, experts say.

The CDC has launched a program, Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere, to help communities promote safe environments for students.

Programs such as Rachel’s Challenge offer schools and students ways to inspire, and empower students.

Rachel’s Challenge programs are age specific for K-12. Programs generally include school assemblies, student and staff training, community presentations and follow along strategies to sustain the impact of the initial motivation to improve the educational environment. More information about Rachel’s Challenge can be found on their website at http://www.rachelschallenge.org

Borderline Personality Disorder: A Sweeping Overview From The Mayo Clinic

There have been several people recently that have come to this blog as the result of searching for information regarding Borderline Personality Disorder.  Although I have run articles about this in the past this is the most thorough in taking a look at a very misunderstood condition.  This article was originally published in April of 2010  Allan

Definition

Borderline personality disorder can be a distressing medical condition, both for the people who have it and for those around them. When you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), you have difficulty controlling your emotions and are often in a state of upheaval — perhaps as a result of harmful childhood experiences or brain dysfunction.

With borderline personality disorder your image of yourself is distorted, making you feel worthless and fundamentally flawed. Your anger, impulsivity and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you yearn for loving relationships.

Increasing awareness and research are helping improve the treatment and understanding of borderline personality disorder. Emerging evidence indicates that people with borderline personality disorder often get better over time and that they can live happy, peaceful lives.

Symptoms

Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave.

When you have BPD, you often have an insecure sense of who you are. That is, your self-image or sense of self often rapidly changes. You may view yourself as evil or bad, and sometimes may feel as if you don’t exist at all. An unstable self-image often leads to frequent changes in jobs, friendships, goals, values and gender identity.

Your relationships are usually in turmoil. You often experience a love-hate relationship with others. You may idealize someone one moment and then abruptly and dramatically shift to fury and hate over perceived slights or even minor misunderstandings. This is because people with the disorder have difficulty accepting gray areas — things are either black or white. For instance, in the eyes of a person with BPD, someone is either good or evil. And that same person may seem good one day and evil the next.

Other signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder may include:

  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as risky driving, unsafe sex, gambling sprees or taking illicit drugs
  • Strong emotions that wax and wane frequently
  • Intense but short episodes of anxiety or depression
  • Inappropriate anger, sometimes escalating into physical confrontations
  • Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Fear of being alone

Causes

Although definitive data are lacking, it’s estimated that 1 percent to 3 percent of American adults have borderline personality disorder. As with other mental disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder are complex. The name arose because of theories in the 1940s and 1950s that the disorder was on the border between neurosis and psychosis. But that view doesn’t reflect current thinking. In fact, some advocacy groups have pressed for changing the name, such as calling it emotional regulation disorder.

Meanwhile, the cause of borderline personality disorder remains under investigation, and there’s no known way to prevent it. Possible causes include:

  • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited.
  • Environmental factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse, neglect and separation from caregivers or loved ones.
  • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.

Most likely, a combination of these issues results in borderline personality disorder.

Risk Factors

Personality forms during childhood. It’s shaped by both inherited tendencies and environmental factors, or your experiences during childhood. Some factors related to personality development can increase your risk of developing borderline personality disorder. These include:

  • Hereditary predisposition. You may be at a higher risk if a close family member — a mother, father or sibling — has the disorder.
  • Childhood abuse. Many people with the disorder report being sexually or physically abused during childhood.
  • Neglect. Some people with the disorder describe severe deprivation, neglect and abandonment during childhood.

Also, borderline personality disorder is more common in women than in men.

When To Seek Medical Advice

People with borderline personality disorder often feel misunderstood, alone, empty and hopeless. They’re typically full of self-hate and self-loathing. They may be fully aware that their behavior is destructive and be distressed about it. Impulsivity may cause problems with gambling, driving or even the law. They may find that many areas of their lives are affected, including social relationships, work or school.

If you notice these things about yourself, talk to your doctor or a mental health provider. The right treatment can help you feel better about yourself and help you live a more stable, rewarding life.

If you notice these things in a family member or friend, talk to him or her about seeing a doctor or mental health provider. But keep in mind that you can’t force someone to seek help. If the relationship has you unduly distressed, you may find it helpful to see a therapist yourself.

Tests And Diagnosis

Personality disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological evaluation. To be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published and updated by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

For borderline personality disorder to be diagnosed, at least five of the following signs and symptoms must be present:

  • Intense fears of abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable relationships
  • Unstable self-image
  • Impulsive and self-destructive behaviors
  • Suicidal behavior or self-injury
  • Wide mood swings
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate anger
  • Periods of paranoia and loss of contact with reality

A diagnosis of BPD is usually made in adults, not children or adolescents. That’s because what appear to be signs and symptoms of BPD may go away with maturity.

Complications

Borderline personality disorder can damage many areas of your life. Interpersonal relationships, jobs, school, social activities and self-image all can be negatively affected. Repeated job losses and broken marriages are common. Self-injury, such as cutting or burning, can result in scarring and frequent hospitalizations. Suicide rates among people with BPD are very high, reaching 10 percent to 15 percent.

In addition, you may have other mental health problems, including:

  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Other personality disorders

Because of risky, impulsive behavior, you are also more vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, motor vehicle accidents and physical fights. You may also be involved in abusive relationships, either as the abuser or the abused.

Treatments And Drugs

Treatment for borderline personality disorder has improved in recent years with the adoption of techniques specifically aimed at people with this disorder. Treatment may include psychotherapy, medications or hospitalization.

Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is the core treatment for BPD. The two primary psychotherapy treatments for BPD are:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT was designed specifically to treat the disorder. Generally conducted through individual, group and phone counseling, DBT uses a skills-based approach to teach you how to regulate your emotions, tolerate distress and improve relationships.
  • Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP). TFP centers on the relationship between you and your therapist – helping you understand the emotions and difficulties inevitably arising in the relationship. You can then use what you have learned in other relationships.

Medications
Medications can’t cure BPD, but they can help associated problems, such as depression, impulsivity and anxiety. Medications may include antidepressant, antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications.

Hospitalization
At times, you may need more intense treatment in a psychiatric hospital or clinic. Hospitalization can also keep you safe from self-injury.

Because treatment can be intense and long term, you face the best chance for success when you consult mental health providers with experience treating BPD.

Lifestyle And Home Remedies

Living with borderline personality disorder can be difficult. You may realize your behaviors and thoughts are self-destructive or damaging yet feel unable to control them. Treatment can help you learn skills to manage and cope with your condition.

Other things you can do to help manage your condition and feel better about yourself include:

  • Sticking to your treatment plan
  • Attending all therapy sessions
  • Practicing healthy ways to ease painful emotions, rather than inflicting self-injury
  • Not blaming yourself for having the disorder but recognizing your responsibility to get it treated
  • Learning what things may trigger angry outbursts or impulsive behavior
  • Not being embarrassed by the condition
  • Getting treatment for related problems, such as substance abuse
  • Educating yourself about the disorder so that you understand its causes and treatments
  • Reaching out to others with the disorder to share insights and experiences

Remember, there’s no one right path to recovery from BPD. The condition seems to be worse in young adulthood and may gradually get better with age. Many people with the disorder find greater stability in their lives during their 30s and 40s. As your inner misery decreases, you can go on to sustain loving relationships and enjoy meaningful careers.

Let’s Talk Facts About Anxiety

Taken from  Healthyminds.org which is located    HERE.

Anxiety disorders are the most common of emotional disorders and affect more than 25 million Americans. Many forms and symptoms may include:

• Overwhelming feelings of panic and fear
• Uncontrollable obsessive thoughts
• Painful, intrusive memories
• Recurring nightmares
• Physical symptoms such as feeling sick to your stomach, “butterflies” in your stomach, heart pounding, startling easily, and muscle tension

Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness. Untreated anxiety disorders can push people into avoiding situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. People with anxiety disorders are likely to suffer from depression, and they also may abuse alcohol and other drugs in an effort to gain relief from their symptoms. Job performance, school work, and personal relationships can also suffer.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Panic Disorder
The core symptom of panic disorder is the panic attack, an overwhelming combination of physical and psychological distress. During an attack several of these symptoms occur in combination:

• Pounding heart or chest pain
• Sweating, trembling, shaking
• Shortness of breath, sensation of choking
• Nausea or abdominal pain
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Feeling unreal or disconnected
• Fear of losing control, “going crazy,” or dying
• Numbness
• Chills or hot flashes

Because symptoms are so severe, many people with panic disorder believe they are having a heart attack or other life-threatening illness.

Phobias
A phobia is excessive and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. These fears cause such distress that some people go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear. There are three types of phobias:

Specific phobia — An extreme or excessive fear of an object or situation that is generally not harmful. Patients know their fear is excessive, but they can’t overcome it. Examples are fear of flying or fear of spiders.

Social phobia (also called social anxiety disorder) — Significant anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed or looked down on in social or performance situations. Common examples are public speaking, meeting people, or using public restrooms.

Agoraphobia — This is the fear of being in situations where escape may be difficult or embarrassing or help might not be available in the event of panic symptoms. Untreated agoraphobia can become so serious that a person may refuse to leave the house. A person can only receive a diagnosis of phobia when their fear is intensely upsetting, or if it significantly interferes with their normal daily activities.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessions are upsetting and irrational thoughts which keep reoccurring. They cause great anxiety, which cannot be controlled through reasoning. Common obsessions include preoccupations with dirt or germs, nagging doubts, and a need to have things in a very particular order. To minimize these obsessions, many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder engage in repeated behavior, or compulsions. Examples include repeated hand washing, constant rechecking to satisfy doubts, and following rigid rules of order. Compulsive behavior can be very disruptive to normal daily routines and social relationships.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs in individuals who have survived a severe or terrifying physical or emotional event. People with PTSD may have recurrent nightmares, intrusive memories, or even have flashbacks, where the event seems to be happening all over again. They feel extreme distress when in circumstances that remind them of the trauma, and go to extremes to avoid these situations. Additional symptoms include:

• Feeling numb or detached
• Trouble sleeping
• Feeling jittery or on guard
• Irritability

Events that can trigger PTSD include military combat, a violent personal attack, natural disasters, tragedies (e.g., plane crash), physical or sexual abuse during childhood, or witnessing another person’s serious injury.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have ongoing, severe tension that interferes with daily functioning. They worry constantly and feel helpless to control these worries. Often their worries focus on job responsibilities, family health, or minor matters such as chores, car repairs, or appointments. They may have problems sleeping, muscle aches/tension, and feel shaky, weak and headachy. People with GAD can be irritable and often have problems concentrating and working effectively.

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

The causes of anxiety disorders are currently unknown, although research has provided several clues. Areas of the brain that control fear responses may have a role in some anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders can run in families, suggesting that a combination of genes and environmental stresses can produce the disorders. The role of brain chemistry is also being investigated.

Treatment

Although each anxiety disorder has its own unique characteristics, most respond well to two types of treatment: psychotherapy and medications. These treatments can be given alone or in combination. Treatment can give significant relief from symptoms, but not always a complete cure.

There are several effective medications and psychotherapies. Because treatment often requires several weeks to work best, a psychiatrist should follow the patient’s progress and make necessary changes.

Unfortunately, many people with anxiety disorders don’t seek help. They don’t realize that they have an illness that has known causes and effective treatments. Other people fear their family, friends or coworkers might criticize them if they get help.