The book covers primary types of anxiety and anxiety disorders, their causes, developmental trends and modern methods of treatment. The book discusses their neurocognitive models, neurobiological mechanisms and non-medicated methods of treatment, as well as the certain cognitive behavioural therapy techniques for anxiety and related disorders. This book aims at assisting people, who want to overcome their anxiety and anxiety disorders with or without professional help. It is also a useful guide for mental health specialists and professionals in treating patients in related fields (psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, neurologists, social workers and educators). The book is the product of the author’s professional activities and personal experience.
This book is about anxiety and anxiety disorders, as well as ways of, let’s say, overcoming or treating them. Why “let’s say?” Because terms “overcome” and “treat” are more applicable when talking about illnesses or, for instance, an enemy, but not as much anxiety or even phobias. Is this surprising? You will naturally ask “then what is anxiety if not an illness, or, let’s say, an enemy, which definitely needs to be treated, defeated, overcome, and so on, and so forth?” And the specialist inside you will object. “Wait a second! Why, then, mental health guidebooks and manuals define those as disorders? Why do psychiatrists and neurologists even prescribe medicine for them?” However, my experience in counseling and psychotherapy constantly keep telling me something else louder and louder (maybe even misleading me, who knows?).
Yes, all these manifestations, which are called anxiety disorders, represent a problem and from the clinical point of view: it is justified to call them “disorders” (but by no means an illness). But in terms of causality, understanding and handling them, those are nothing but a natural emphasis on normal mental processes that comes about as a result of a combination of personality traits (nervous system types, hormonal changes in the body, physiological condition, value system, scenarios for the future and others) and various external environmental factors (stress, loss and such). This combination can also cause anxiety. Thus, as a result of this combination that causes anxiety, one’s brain shifts from a normal mode to anxiety mode (especially typical for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.) . And a brain functioning in anxiety mode is more sensitive to external factors, the environment, one’s own body changes, anything new, and any tiny danger. This can be explained by the fact that the brain wants to protect us and keep us from possible danger through worry and fear and sometimes even anxiety.
In these very conditions, phenomena that are usually called anxiety disorders can come about. Fears and phobias, obsessions and compulsions, panic and generalized anxiety are the main manifestations of the phenomena mentioned above.
In short, it is not as complex as it may seem from the first glance. However, by covering each of those manifestations one by one I will try to present them in greater detail. In the end, I will offer descriptions of a few methods and therapy techniques for overcoming anxiety and anxiety disorders. Before that, however, we will take a closer look at the mechanisms of how anxiety occurs and develops.
- Peer Review: Ani Kalayjian, Ed.D., Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University
- Cover Design: Mariam Grigoryan
Recommended by Harmand Hilfmann™ School of Professional Psychology