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Direct commentary, information and education on anxiety, OCD, phobias and panic attacks regarding you and the world in which we live.

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Break Free From Anxiety Disorder and Get Your Life Back!
Call The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles: (310) 429-1024 or San Diego: (619) 961-1003. Or email Dr. April NOW.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Does Anxiety and OCD Make You More Sensitive?

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com


Most people who struggle with an anxiety disorder or OCD tend to be more sensitive than the rest. This is not a negative perspective nor does it have anything to do with weakness.

ANXIETY and OCD SUFFERER SENSITIVITY

As I see often at The April Center, it can be explained by a neurobiological sensitivity. For example, most with an anxiety disorder or OCD tend to have more sensitive systems. This seems to create a variety of experiences, such as frequently having little aches, pains or ailments, vulnerability to medication's side effects, struggles with certain sounds, noise and environmental over-stimulation, and excessive observation of bodily sensations.

This sensitivity can also effect the emotional side of experience. For example, individuals with an anxiety disorder or OCD tend to be more sensitive to their emotions, meaning that they sometimes seem to feel both joy and pain more intensely.

Being "sensitive" seems to come with society's strong negative connotation. And yet, this sensitivity offers the possibility of increased self-awareness enabling one to engage in self-care more easily. Being "sensitive" can also offer meaningful experiences in life. Plus, sensitive people can often detect other's feelings more easily, which can deepen the quality of relationships as they connect.

Part of the focus during effective OCD or anxiety treatment, called CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), is on addressing how neurobiological sensitivity impacts one's thoughts and then feelings. For example, a common struggle (not often mentioned in other literature) for those with OCD can be certain sounds, like someone's chewing or breathing. These can often send one with OCD "through the roof" of frustration and irritation. It is easy to personalize these experiences and get angry at the "noisy" perpetrator when awareness of this sensitivity is lacking. With this awareness can come greater self control - a first step in reducing anxiety-based conflicts in relationships.

So, if you struggle with anxiety or OCD and feel you're more sensitive than most, don't be ashamed or self-critical. Awareness and Acceptance of this neurobiological sensitivity can go a long way.

All the best,

DR. APRIL

P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to my blog in the box below!
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Common OCD and Anxiety Disorder Thinking Patterns Treated During CBT

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com




OCD treatment is more than Behavior Therapy. It also includes a cognitive focus. This is the "C" in CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy).

When someone comes to my center for help, the cognitive side of OCD is often shared first. For example, although OCD comes with a host of behaviors that are ritualistic and compulsive, it is the thoughts that are often most disconcerting to sufferers.

These thoughts are generally "Obsessions" - One of the hallmarks of OCD, as I've discussed in several of my posts.

The most effective behavioral CBT treatment strategy (and a large part of treatment at The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles) for obsessions and compulsions is called Exposure and Response Prevention.

However, outside of obsesions are the beliefs, perspectives and attitudes that maintain anxiety. This is where the cognitive focus of CBT lends a hand towards anxiety relief.

A FEW COMMON THINKING PATTERNS OF OCD AND ANXIETY DISORDER SUFFERERS:

With OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and many other anxiety disorders comes a tendency to engage in repeated patterns of thinking, beliefs and attitudes that serve to create more anxiety. Here are a few types:

1.) All or Nothing Thinking:

This type of thinking allows no gray area. It is either all this or all that - black or white, right or wrong. For example, "I was a bit anxious, so I am a total failure".

2.) Mind Reading:

This is most common for those with social phobia, but strikes those with other forms of anxiety, as well. This pattern views assumptions about what others are thinking as fact. For example, "Everyone thinks I ruined the party because I had a panic attack" or "They think I'm weak for being afraid".

3.) Fortune Telling:

This pattern of thinking focuses on predicting the future. For example, "I know I'm gong to freak out on the plane"


These 3 patterns of thinking, of which their are many more, are called cognitive distortions. They are not based on fact. They are based on assumption and habitual thinking that require restructuring with CBT in order to reduce anxiety.

Do you have any of these patterns of thinking?

Specialized OCD and anxiety treatment goes beyond behavior therapy by applying cognitive therapy focused on modifying false beliefs and anxiety producing thinking patterns. Just remember, changing the way you think helps you change the way you behave and respond.
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You can contact Dr. Craig April at 310-429-1024 or email him at drapril@kickfear.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When Is It Time For Anxiety Treatment? 20 Questions

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com


When is it time for anxiety treatment? In other words, what are some basic areas to help you determine when you've got a problem that requires specialized anxiety counseling?

I've thrown together a basic list that covers most anxiety disorders.



If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, it is time for anxiety treatment:

1.) Are your thoughts often focused on sensations in your body?

2.) Are you often concerned about your anxiety?

3.) Are the topics you worry about repetitive?

4.) Are you avoiding objects, places, events or situations due to your anxiety?

5.) Does your anxiety interfere with your relationships?

6.) Are people in your life making special accommodations for you based on your anxiety?

7.) Do you have panic attacks or panic when you approach your fear?

8.) Do you have unwanted thoughts that you cannot seem to stop?

9.) Does your anxiety effect your work or ability to focus at work?

10.) Is your anxiety presenting a barrier to achieving your goals?

11.) Do you often feel agitated?

12.) Are you often struck by scary, irrational or inappropriate thoughts or caught up in "what if . . ."?

13.) Do you perform rituals that make no sense, but you do them anyway to reduce anxiety?

14.) Do you have difficulty with sleeping?

15.) Has anyone suggested you seek therapy or counseling for your anxiety?

16.) Do you worry intensely about future events or plans long before they arrive?

17.) Do you think you have a "phobia" that interferes with your life?

18.) Have you ever suspected that you have an anxiety disorder?

19.) Do you prefer to stay at home or travel only in a "safe" distance around your area?

20.) Have symptoms increased over time or are they limiting your freedom in any way?


How many of these questions have you answered "Yes" to?

Although this is not an exhaustive list or one that leads to a diagnosis, these are common issues that cross most anxiety disorders that I treat at my center weekly.

Know that you can reduce your anxiety and decrease your suffering. It just takes motivation and a commitment to yourself to finally face that which has caused you to struggle.

So, one last question to ask yourself:

Is it time for anxiety treatment?

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Driving Fear and Freeway Phobia in Los Angeles

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com



Driving fear and freeway phobia in Los Angeles are issues I treat so frequently at my center that I lost count.

But how do you know if you've got a real problem that requires help in the form of specialized anxiety treatment?

Here is a list of phobia symptoms related to driving fear:


1.) You avoid driving to certain areas or on certain roads or freeways.

2.) When driving you feel extremely anxious with physical symptoms that may include difficulty breathing, dizziness, shaking and trembling, rapid heartbeat, tingling in your hands, nausea and so on.

3.) When driving you fear something terrible may happen like losing control of yourself or the car.

4.) You have panic attacks while driving that include feeling as if you are going to die or go crazy.

5.) You make up excuses to avoid certain events or situations in which you would be forced to drive.

6.) You are anxious days or weeks before a planned circumstance where you know you'll be required to drive.


These are just a few of the commonly seen symptoms of a driving phobia. Do any of them sound familiar?

Unfortunately, fear of driving does not go away on its own. The longer you avoid driving, the longer you'll fear it. It can also grow more intense over time.

So, how long have you suffered with this fear? Have you sought the proper anxiety treatment?

Sometimes, it takes being "sick and tired" of fear before you are ready to seek specialized therapy and finally begin to face that which haunts you.

Are you sick and tired of your driving fear?
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is Blood Phobia or Anxiety Around Blood Common?

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com




Blood phobia, although common, is a little different from other phobias. The difference is in one's biology. Although there seems to be no easy medical explanation, there are a percentage of people who are genetically prone to faint at the sight of blood. This is based on an apparent biological tendency for their blood pressure to drop when faced with blood.

This is a serious condition for those who suffer with this anxiety and specialized anxiety treatment is required.

How can blood phobia be debilitating to the one who suffers with this particular anxiety? There are several areas of difficulty:

1.) The avoidance of having possibly necessary medical tests or blood tests done

2.) Fainting when seeing blood, having blood drawn and/or in emergency situations when a family member is injured

3.) Avoidance of certain environments or settings for fear of seeing blood

4.) Panic attacks can occur when faced with blood (panic attacks often accompany all phobias when a person is faced with their feared object, event or situation).

I treat many at my center who struggle with blood phobia. Although it may have severely effected one's life prior to getting help, it is highly treatable and can be overcome.

Blood is not in and of itself dangerous. It is the nature of an injury or medical problem that can truly be of concern. So, if you have a blood phobia seek treatment. Don't let it get in your way!
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Fear Of Driving: A Common Phobia?


by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com

Fear of driving is a more common phobia than some might think! Although it might be more prevalent in the big cities where there are a lot of highways and freeways (like my city Los Angeles), it can strike anyone from anywhere.

Here are some common ways in which a fear of driving develops:

- A panic attack that occurred while driving, then leads to a fear of having more panic attacks while driving, along with a quickly developing driving anxiety (this is called a panic-induced phobia)

- A traffic accident can lead to a driving phobia due to the nature of the trauma. A phobia can develop following a scary or threatening experience where one felt endangered.

- An experience in a car where one felt out of control or uncomfortable. Most who struggle with anxiety can have an underlying difficulty in dealing with uncertainty or lack of control.

So, if you have a fear of driving, know that you are not alone. And thankfully, it can be treated effectively with cognitive-behavioral therapy provided by an expert anxiety treatment therapist!

Stay tuned for my next post on symptoms that arise with a fear of driving.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

The Most Common OCD Obsessions Addressed in Anxiety Treatment

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com

For the individual with OCD, obsesions can contain just about any subject matter. However, take a cross-section throughout this country and you'll find that no matter what ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic status and/or history, there are common obsessions shared by most.

As a reminder, an obsession is an intrusive, recurring thought, image or impulse considered to be inappropriate and/or irrational while most likely causing some degree of suffering. Obsessions are not typical concerns over stress in relationships or career.

Here is a list of the 10 most common OCD obsessions addressed in anxiety treatment (not in any order):

- Concern with dirt, germs, contaminants, cleaning products, bodily waste

- Concern around contracting an illness

- Fear of saying or doing something wrong that will lead to punishment or harm

- Fear of impulsively harming another (stabbing someone, hitting someone with car)

- Violent or inappropriate images

- Inappropriate sexual thoughts

- Difficulty with certain sounds that are found irritating

-Doubts and concern over locks and items being turned off in home

- Superstitious thoughts

-Fears of being gay
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This is in no way an exhaustive list, just a list of common obsessions seen frequently in anxiety treatment.

Of course, the mechanics of OCD are all the same, it is the content that can vary.

Thankfully for the OCD sufferer, there is anxiety relief to be found in CBT, the only empirically proven form of therapy to reduce obsessions.

Follow this link for more on Obsessions, OCD and Anxiety Treatment

Friday, December 4, 2009

Take the Disorder out of OCD, Panic Disorder and Anxiety

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com

Take the Disorder out of OCD, Panic Disorder and Anxiety.

Yes, your anxiety most likely has genetic and/or neurobiological roots. For example, many people that I treat at my center tend to be more prone to anxiety based on their wiring than others. This propensity is generally based on the above factors. Coming to terms with this is an important part of anxiety reduction.

And yes, in order to diagnose and categorize anxiety symptoms, the medical and psychological fields long ago addressed this by labeling each host of symptoms with the term Disorder based on how they interfere with one's life and other factors.

And yes, the labels can be helpful because awareness of one's particular "anxiety disorder" allows them to receive proper anxiety treatment and to depersonalize symptoms.

But, if you suffer with anxiety, once you are obtaining the proper anxiety therapy or counseling with CBT, you have got to accept that anxiety is about fear. Don't dismiss the reality of your neurobiology and genetics. But, once clear, you've got to face fear if you want to make progress.

You must look your fear in the eye and accept that this is what's holding you back.

When we focus too much on "Anxiety Disorder" (as many of us doctors and therapists tend to do) it can cloud the main issue. Not to mention, make you feel like you're just a label.

You're more than an anxiety disorder, no matter if you're suffering with panic attacks, obsessions, compulsions or some other anxiety issue.

With the specific tools and techniques of specialized anxiety therapy (CBT) you can overcome fear. And it just might be the most important, meaningful experience of your life. Facing fear empowers us, enlightens us and inspires us.

Follow this link for more on OCD, Panic Disorder, and Anxiety

You can contact Dr. Craig April at 310-429-1024

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dr. Craig April on A&E TV series OBSESSED Treating OCD and Anxiety Disorders

Take a look at a clip of Dr. Craig April as a featured anxiety treatment expert on the A&E TV series OBSESSED

Just click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AtSzM7X57w&feature=related

The TV series OBSESSED shares real stories of struggle and courage featuring individuals plagued by OCD and other anxiety disorders. The main treatment strategy utilized is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT - the only anxiety treatment strategy empirically proven to be effective.

At The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles, Dr. April offers individual, group and family therapy with anxiety treatment plans uniquely designed to make progress as quickly as possible. Dr. April helps anxiety sufferers daily and says, “It’s incredibly inspiring. Everyone can learn how to face what scares them”.

Follow this link for more on OCD and anxiety disorders treatment

You can contact Dr. April at 310-429-1024

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Red Carpet Phobia Strikes Famous Singer With Anxiety Over Fashion

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com

"Red Carpet" phobia plagues famous singer Norah Jones?

Apparently she has attended only one big celebratory event since her debut in 2002 due to a fear of being labeled a "fashion victim" by the press. It seems her underlying fear is one of being criticized and judged based on the clothing she chooses to wear. This is a common area of anxiety for those struggling with social phobia, but also can exist as a separate, distinct phobia.

Check out the short article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/story/jones-trips-over-red-carpet-fashion_1123394

Clearly avoiding these events has not helped her overcome this "phobia". And this is not a surprise.

Avoidance is the hallmark of a phobia. The more one avoids that which causes anxiety, the greater the chance that a true diagnosable phobia will develop (to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, symptoms must significantly interfere with one's life).

Of course, it is our human inclination to run from fear. But fear is what must be faced to overcome a phobia.

I found it interesting that the article states that Norah Jones is desperate to overcome this, but she is quoted saying that "Maybe I'll get over it soon".

Unfortunately, a phobia doesn't go away on its own. In fact, it grows the more you avoid it. What you resist, persists. But . . .

There is hope for Norah and anyone who has a phobia.

The hope lies in seeking proven treatment for phobia and all other anxiety disorders. This proven treatment is called cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT, which teaches specific skills and techniques for reducing anxiety symptoms and fear.

Hopefully, Norah Jones won't continue to avoid her fear, which is clearly limiting her freedom. All it takes is a first step and then gradual work with the help of an expert anxiety treatment therapist.

Follow this link for more on phobia and anxiety

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who Understands Panic Attacks and Anxiety?

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles and featured psychologist on A&E's hit TV series OBSESSED
www.KickFear.com

Who truly understands panic attacks and anxiety?

Only those who have experienced them first hand. It's just one of those things.

If you have never had a panic attack, you are just not going to understand how terrifying they are to someone experiencing them.

I guess it's a little like pregnancy. Men can sympathize and possibly imagine what it might be like, but they'll never truly understand.

If you struggle with panic attacks and anxiety, it's important and useful to be aware of this reality. Then, you're less likely to be resentful of those in your family who don't understand. You're also less likely to take it personally when they don't offer support. It's difficult to be supportive around something that you have no understanding of.

If you are struggling with panic attacks and anxiety, it's vital to get the support, validation and assistance you need. And you can receive these from . . .

An anxiety treatment expert - a therapist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

I'm often asked if I've ever had a panic attack. This often makes me chuckle because it is my own past struggle with anxiety disorder symptoms and breakthrough that led me down the path to specializing in anxiety treatment and then later creating The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles.

So, when struggling with any form of anxiety disorder, including panic attacks or panic disorder, phobia, OCD, social anxiety or general anxiety, contact an expert who can provide you with support, validation and, most importantly, relief.

Follow this link for more on panic attacks and anxiety treatment

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Popular Comedian Shares Experience with OCD and Counseling

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com

Howie Mandel has long been known for his OCD, as well as his comedy. I've often seen him in the media sharing his struggles with OCD in an honest and humorous way.

Click on the link below to read a short article about his upcoming book:

http://www.intelligencer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2180367

I found it interesting that the process of writing the book encouraged him to confront his OCD. Confronting OCD and coming to terms with the nature of this syndrome is a vital step in reducing symptoms.

He also mentions that he has received counseling. I would imagine this was key in assisting him in reducing his symptoms.

OCD and anxiety sufferers take note! It certainly doesn't seem like he has allowed OCD symptoms to get in the way of his goals and work life.

I'm interested in reading his soon to be released book. I'll let you know what I think after taking a look.

Until then, you can use him as inspiration to confront your own OCD and anxiety with humor while seeking treatment.

Taking one's thoughts too seriously generally increases anxiety. Humor has been beneficial to many that I have treated at my center.

Follow this link for more on OCD and counseling.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Side of Anxiety and Panic Attacks for Thanksgiving?

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com

Anxiety and Panic Attacks around Thanksgiving are a common phenomenon for many.

Why would this be?

Well, aside from the lovely aspects of Thanksgiving, there are also pressures that many can experience. I've come up with a short list of the . . .

"Top Anxiety-related Thanksgiving themes":

1.) Conflict with RELATIVES including parents, siblings, etc.

2.) Flying and other forms of travel

3.) Cooking

4.) Returning to locations with a lot of past memories

5.) Planning to visit only significant other's family

6.) Diet (or a soon lack thereof)

7.) Time off work

8.) Assigning a lot of value and meaning to the experience
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How's that for a comprehensive list? If you can think of others, feel free to share.

One aspect of anxiety and panic attacks around Thanksgiving is related to a desire for a specific experience. For example, a need for everything to run smoothly, or for everyone to get along, or for others to enjoy the day, or needing the meal to be special, or simply a need to avoid having anxiety.

When we need to have a specific experience, we are attempting to control a situation that is more than likely not under our complete control. This can lead to anxiety and panic attacks.

This Thanksgiving, focus on being in the moment - Have the experience you're having. Catch yourself trapped in future-oriented thinking and refocus on the present.

And, of course, take solace in the fact that Thanksgiving will soon pass and fade in memory - no matter if it is a wonderful day or one you deem a horror.

But most importantly, consider this Thanksgiving a time to practice studying and dealing with your anxiety.

Follow this link for more on how to handle anxiety and panic attacks

Friday, November 13, 2009

Boy With Needle Phobia Using Behavior Therapy Strategy To Help Sister

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com

A young boy with a needle phobia is using a behavior therapy strategy to beat his needle phobia to help his sister.

Check out the article by clicking on the link below:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hdCuBG9bbJsVjQ7OCg1J40njzt9A


Kids can be so creative! And Brave! He had a great idea to work with his phobia by using song (The Beatles "Help") and accepting the anxiety. Rather than fighting the anxiety which led to his avoidance of needles, he started to work towards facing it.

He also found the motivation to do it - helping his sister stay alive!

Sometimes to beat anxiety and phobia, you've got to find the will and be extremely motivated. It's not easy facing fear. But it is extremely achievable.

So what is your motivation for facing fear? You don't need a potentially life-threatening experience to give you that kick to face what you fear. You just need some clarity.

So, how much is your anxiety limiting your life?

How about the lack of freedom you experience? How about all that you're missing based on this fear? How about its effect on your relationships and general happiness?

Follow this link to learn more about facing anxiety and phobia with behavior therapy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

OCD treatment boosted by support groups

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles
www.KickFear.com

OCD treatment can be boosted by support groups.

Why is this so? A couple of reasons:

1.) OCD sufferers often experience a lot of shame.

2.) OCD sufferers often experience a lot of loneliness.

Support groups focused on OCD treatment offer a non-judgmental place where people can share their obsesions and compulsions as they work on reducing symptoms.

One very frequent topic in my OCD support groups is the neurobiology of the disorder and how shame, based on this reality, is unreasonable. Because OCD is a neurobiological disorder (part of one's brain), it is not as if an individual chooses OCD or has some weakness that creates it. To feel a lot of shame over OCD is like the diabetic feeling ashamed for having diabetes, or the handicapped person being ashamed over an inability to walk. Hearing these examples, it is easy to point out that one shouldn't feel shame in these contexts. And yet, shame is common.

Groups offer a place to work through that shame while getting support and help moving toward anxiety relief.

Loneliness is also a common experience with OCD. Groups offer the opportunity to connect with others who share similar experiences of anxiety and OCD.

Based on the nature of obsessions which are generally dark, catastrophic and/or perceived as inappropriate, shame and loneliness are common. However, support groups can make a huge difference for those struggling.

Follow this link for more on OCD treatment and support groups

Thursday, November 5, 2009

College Students Seeking Counseling for Anxiety Disorder,Panic Attacks and more

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles


Many college students need to be seeking counseling for anxiety disorder,panic attacks , phobia, etc.

Take a look at this article below on the prevalence of anxiety and depression amongst college students:

http://maplewood.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/college-corner-attending-to-mental-health/


College can be a fun, exciting time for many young adults.  However, it can also be a time of intense anxiety due to the demands of being newly independent, expectations and the perceived pressure around academic performance and tests.

A key theme underlying anxiety is struggle with uncertainty and lack of control.  Those who struggle with anxiety often try to obtain total certainty or control when it is impossible to do so.

For those struggling with anxiety disorders,panic attacks, phobia, etc., expert anxiety counseling is essential for learning how to handle uncertainty and work with life's unpredictable nature.

Follow this link for more on anxiety counseling and symptoms of panic attacks, OCD, phobias and more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Panic Disorder Can Lead To Anxiety Relief?

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

Panic Disorder can lead to anxiety relief?

How?

Panic Disorder can develop following a panic attack. Essentially, Panic Disorder is created by a new fear of the sensations felt during a panic attack. So it really becomes a "fear of fear". It becomes more ingrained through avoidance which, though meant to be protective, actually encourages most anxiety struggles.

But, Panic Disorder can lead to anxiety relief when it motivates those suffering to seek anxiety treatment. Many people (not all) who struggle with panic attacks have had a history of some anxiety symptoms that have been a barrier in some way unbeknownst to them.

Anxiety treatment can identify the impact anxiety has had on one's life while teaching techniques and skills to handle panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms so they don't continue to block freedom. So, in this way Panic Disorder can lead to true anxiety relief - if those suffering make the right choice to seek help.

Sometimes, what we label a problem can be an opportunity.

Follow this link for more on Panic Disorder and anxiety treatment


Thursday, October 29, 2009

OCD treatment: A basic screening quiz

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

OCD treatment is vital for those struggling with obsessions and compulsions that are significantly interfering with life. But, for some anxiety symptom sufferers, it is not clear to them whether they have OCD.

An evaluation by a psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders is recommended. However, for those wanting to gain more awareness of possible OCD symptoms, I have found a basic but useful little screening device. It gives a numbered score ranging from unlikely to suggesting probable OCD.

Take a look by clicking on the link below:


OCD can take many forms, so just use this as a beginning screening device if you like. For a diagnostic evaluation, see a psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders and treatment using CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy).

Follow this link for more on OCD treatment and anxiety




Monday, October 26, 2009

"Phobia" The Topic of Dr. April's Radio Interview

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

"Phobia" was the topic of Dr. April's most recent radio interview. Just click the link below to hear Dr. April on the radio speak about "phobia": The origins, symptoms and treatment.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Anxiety Relief and Greenspace?

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

Anxiety relief can be encouraged with greenspace as a recent study shows. "Greenspace" as the study calls it, is NATURE. The study demonstrates that people who experience green nature frequently have lower rates of anxiety than those that live in the city.

Take a look at the article by clicking or copying the link and pasting it in your browser:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/10/19/green-space-helps-reduce-depression-and-anxiety/9042.html

This is not surprising. Nature puts us in touch with the present moment and can help put our issues in perspective. Many of the people I treat comment on specific experiences with nature that remind them how small we all are in reference to the universe - an important discovery when working toward anxiety relief.

Nature also tends to have a calming effect and studies have been done that suggest just having some house plants can do wonders for your mood and overall mental and physical health.

So if "greenspace" can help you on your path towards more anxiety relief, why not take action? If nature isn't outside your door, then plan on taking regular drives to "greenspace". And, of course, there is no excuse for not investing in some simple houseplants.

Follow this link for more on treatment for anxiety relief





Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Behavior Therapy Summarized

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

Behavior therapy is key in changing how you respond to your anxiety.

The more we behave in one way when faced with a thought, situation, event or object, the stronger a behavioral habit becomes.

Lets address this on a small scale. Where do you sit in your home or apartment? Is it a certain chair or a section of the couch? Once identified, try to change it for a couple of days. Already uncomfortable? We've just identified an entrenched behavior pattern.

Now think about this as related to your anxiety.

Most likely, the behaviors you are engaged in (prior to anxiety treatment) to cope with your anxiety have been focused on escape. They might now be strong behavior patterns. This is what behavior therapy would help you modify, so that you develop new behaviors that truly reduce your anxiety symptoms as opposed to avoidance behaviors that serve to maintain your anxiety.

Behavior therapy involves the teaching of specific strategies and techniques, often with homework assignments, to change destructive or problematic/unhealthy behaviors into empowering, constructive behavior patterns that lead to anxiety relief.

Follow this link for more on behavior therapy for anxiety.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Anxiety Support Groups: You Are Not Alone

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

Anxiety support groups
can be incredibly beneficial.

One of the main benefits is the opportunity to connect with others who share similar symptoms and experiences. This is not to be taken lightly for one considering participation in any anxiety support groups.

Anxiety can be a very lonely experience for the anxiety sufferer. I have heard the following quotes from so many that I have treated at my center:

"No one understands"

"They think I can just get over it, but if I knew how to I would have by now"

"He (or she) thinks it's all in my head and that I'm making it up"

"He (or she) thinks I'm weak"

. . . The list goes on and on.

Anxiety support groups give the gift of talking to others who truly understand. And then there is the support and encouragement received as individuals of the group make great leaps in progress. Not only is the experience supportive, but others are inspired to face more of their anxiety as they learn skills and strategies.

Follow this link for more on anxiety support groups


Friday, October 16, 2009

Anxiety Disorder,Panic Attacks Struck Legendary Singer

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

Anxiety disorder,panic attacks struck legendary singer Joan Baez early in her career.

Take a look at this quote from a recent interview:

"Having achieved fame early, she remained in some ways naive, she says, recalling that the first time she saw the letters "SRO" in a headline about one of her concerts, she thought it meant "Sold Right Out." She also struggled for years with panic attacks, both offstage and on, sometimes stopping a performance in mid-song to go backstage and calm herself, then returning and picking up where she'd left off.

No one, she claims, ever seemed to want to talk about it. "I battled that for years, and nobody ever knew it.""

For the full interview, copy and paste the link below:

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/columnists/ellen_gray/20091013_Ellen_Gray_.html


A couple of interesting points related to Joan Baez' disclosure:

1.) Although you might think everyone can tell that you are anxious, it is often not the case.

2.) Your anxiety doesn't have to stop you from taking action.

It appears Joan Baez' struggles with anxiety occurred back in the '60's when Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for anxiety wasn't readily available.

Luckily now, whether you're suffering publicly or privately, you can seek the right anxiety treatment to move past your anxiety and panic attacks. There is no shame in anxiety disorders or panic attacks - even legendary singers can struggle with them.

The key is in making the choice to get help so you can learn strategies and techniques to resolve your anxiety symptoms.

Follow this link for more on anxiety disorder,panic attacks

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Anxiety: Fear Is The Foundation

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

Anxiety has a foundation and that foundation is fear. Fear is generally part of the human condition. We all have fears. It's what we do about our fears that counts.

If you were to examine most of your fears or phobias, you might find that most, if realized, are not life threatening. Although the anxiety that follows fear evokes a feeling of impending doom, it is often a false message from the brain.

Here is a well-known and often repeated acronym to assist in facing fear (author unknown):

Fear is . . .

False

Evidence

Appearing

Real

Most of our fears, phobias and anxiety have little to no ability to truly harm us.

Take a look at your anxiety and fears. Determine how some of these false messages have interfered with your life. Life is short. No need to waste precious time while suffering with a lack of freedom. You can reduce your anxiety by learning the right strategies. It just takes a little effort and courage.

Get help now!

Follow this link for more on fear and anxiety treatment

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

OCD Strikes Celebrities

OCD has been discussed in the media quite a lot these days. In fact, more and more celebrities seem to be bravely coming forward and sharing their own struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

This is great news as it can help reduce the stigma of anxiety disorders while encouraging those who suffer with OCD to get help.

For an interesting article on celebrities with OCD, copy and paste this link into your browser:

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/charlize-billy-bob-dicaprio-celebrities-ocd/story?id=8736076

OCD is a common disorder, though one that most people are afraid to share for fear that they'll be judged or misunderstood. After A&E's show OBSESSED (if you missed it, you can see some clips of my episodes as a psychologist cast member at A&E's website www.aetv.com), it seems public awareness has grown.

Hopefully this trend will continue, so that more will be inspired to seek treatment rather than suffer in silence.

Follow this link for more on OCD treatment.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Phobia and Anxiety Treatment: Dr. April Radio Interview

Phobia and anxiety treatment was the focus of Dr. April's most recent radio interview.

Click this link to download the radio interview in full:



Dr. April was asked about phobias and anxiety as related to their origin, treatment done at The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles, and the importance of facing what you fear.

Follow this link for more on anxiety and phobia treatment

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Panic Disorder and Anxiety Treatment: How To Encourage Your Family Member

Panic Disorder therapy and anxiety treatment might be essential for your family member who has been a long time sufferer. But, how do you encourage them to seek help?

This can be a touchy subject. For one, your family member might be highly defensive around admitting there is a severe problem. Or even if they acknowledge their anxiety is a severe problem, they might be afraid to admit they need help. Seeking help is then the next challenge for those who are reluctant.

Getting the proper panic disorder help and anxiety treatment is vital if one wants to experience anxiety relief and live a life filled with more freedom. But it does take motivation to get better.

To encourage a family member who suffers with panic disorder or anxiety to seek help, here are a few recommendations:

1.) Share your concern about how their anxiety is effecting them

2.) Share how their anxiety is effecting you in a negative way (be sensitive, but direct)

3.) Express that it is difficult to support someone who isn't doing what it takes to get better.

3.) Be clear that you know it takes courage to get help, but that bravery is what is required to make that first step

4.) Let them know that expert help is available

Panic Disorder help and anxiety treatment are often required to experience anxiety relief and regain freedom. The road to improvement begins with the first step.

Follow these links for more on panic disorder and anxiety treatment

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anxiety Treatment Sought By Anchorwoman

Anxiety treatment was sought by anchorwoman Robin Meade who suffered with panic attacks for quite some time. Take a look by copying and pasting the link below in your browser:

http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/content/arts/stories/2009/09/10/1A_ROBIN_MEADE_Q_A.ART_ART_09-10-09_D1_BEEVFD3.html?sid=101

One statement I hear often from anxiety sufferers when they first walk into my center for anxiety treatment is "Why me? No one else seems to have anxiety or panic attacks. I look around at all of these confident people and feel so weak."

This is a widely held false belief.

Millions of people suffer with anxiety. Just take a look at the statistics in any given year (check out one of my earlier blog post for specifics).

Now consider this anchorwoman. For those of you who have seen her, doesn't she always appear very confident and poised? Many would assume that she has never had anxiety - certainly not panic attacks. Well, clearly that's an incorrect assumption.

If you're suffering with panic attacks, you are not alone. You also are not weak. Being "weak" has nothing to do with it.

Also, don't assume that based on how someone appears, that they do not or have not suffered with anxiety.

And then, do what this well-known anchorwoman did - dispense with your shame and get some help.

Follow this link for more on panic attacks and anxiety treatment.

Phobia: Some very harmful effects

A Phobia can have some very harmful effects - if the appropriate treatment isn't sought and then completed, that is.

Take a look at this article about a man with a common swallowing/choking phobia that is withering away (just copy and paste the link below into your browser):

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/860872/man-withering-away-with-swallowing-phobia

I found the article's statement that "Mr Buckingham's condition has baffled doctors, dieticians and psychologists while his wife Debbie has watched him wither away" fascinating.

Why baffling?

There is no mystery here!! Mr. Buckingham has a PHOBIA.

And a common one at that.

I treat swallowing/choking phobia frequently at The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles.

This man's struggle describes a common phobia: A scary or uncomfortable experience with an object, situation or event perceived as dangerous followed by an individual developing an irrational fear and then engaging in avoidance to protect oneself. The avoidance then leads to more anxiety and the reinforcement of fear.

It is a diagnosable anxiety disorder when the fear significantly interferes with life.

The more he continues to avoid eating, the more afraid of swallowing/choking he will become.

This man needs Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Exposure and Response Prevention. His phobia, like all phobias is extremely treatable. It is done gradually with specific strategies and techniques to build confidence and move towards desensitization.

A phobia can have some very harmful effects if not treated in a timely and appropriate manner.

Follow this link for more on treatment for a phobia and anxiety

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Can Panic Disorder Be Preceded By Overwhelm?

Panic Disorder can be preceded by overwhelm.

Here is the typical sequence from which many initial panic attacks are derived:

Anxiety can often strike us when we feel overwhelmed. Especially if we are unaware of steadily increasing stressors.

When unaware of our stress load and lacking healthy coping methods, a strong adrenaline surge can follow - that old "fight or flight" experience. For many when this happens, unless one has the proper skills to handle it, a panic attack can follow.

If not handled quickly with awareness and specific strategies, more panic attacks can follow leading to Panic Disorder.

Panic Disorder is defined by at least a month of recurring unexpected panic attacks with a fear of having more, tendency to avoid situations or experiences where panic attacks have occurred leading to a lack of freedom, and an extreme concern about what the panic attacks might imply or result in (ex. loss of control, sanity, death).

The good news is none of the above has to happen if you are familiar with how to handle anxiety and those adrenaline surges - in addition to your stress level.

Follow this link for more on anxiety treatment for Panic Disorder

Friday, September 4, 2009

Anxiety Treatment May Be Your Most Important Choice Ever

Anxiety treatment is, stated very simply, about learning new cognitive and behavioral skills to assist in facing your fears.

Facing your fears can make all the difference in your life.

Why? Because fear is the cause of most of our struggles. When something internal is holding us back, you can bet it is fear. It can become a massive barrier towards seeking that which we desire and taking action. If we let it, fear can lead us to choose what we would rather not and avoid risk that could lead us to great reward.

In fact, I would venture to say that fear is the number one epidemic in this country.

What fears are holding you back from the life you want? Fear shuts down our freedom.

What is most fascinating is that most of our fears are not life threatening if we face them. Hence, it is reasonable to state that our fears are largely conditioned by our family of origin, our experiences, our culture, society, etc..

So, our fear often begins with false beliefs that we blindly follow - unless we seek help in gaining awareness with a focus on cognitive and behavioral change. This is the nature of anxiety treatment.

Anxiety treatment can make all the difference in your life and set you on a new path to great freedom and joy.

Follow this link for more on anxiety treatment

Monday, August 31, 2009

Panic Disorder : Why Continue to Suffer?

Panic Disorder is extremely treatable with CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy).

Unfortunately, for most panic attack and panic disorder sufferers, this is not common knowledge. This explains the panic disorder sufferers history, recent or longstanding, of trips to emergency rooms and to doctors trying to determine the physical/medical problem creating these symptoms. The general result of these hospital or medical doctor trips include lack of help, leaving even more perplexed than upon arrival, followed by frustration because the symptoms just won't go away.

And because panic attack symptoms tend to mimic real medical problems, the confusion continues. For example, chest pain, stomach problems, difficulty breathing, tingling hands, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, chills or sweating, etc. can all be associated with a number of medical issues and ailments.

Once determined that there is no medical condition, it is the time to get immediate help. Panic Disorder can be resolved!

Your panic attacks do not have to continue. In fact, progress with CBT can often be made in just a couple of sessions.

Follow this link for more on Panic Attack and Panic Disorder help

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anxiety: It's A Problem When?

Anxiety effects us all. In other words, anxiety is a normal part of life. Anxiety about career, family, the economy, a big exam, a date, etc. is part of being human.

But how do you know when anxiety is a problem?

Simple.

Anxiety is a problem when it interferes with your daily functioning.

Is anxiety inhibiting your life in any major way? Is it effecting your work, your family interactions, your level of freedom to do what you wish, your ability to focus, your happiness, your perspective, your confidence? Are your anxiety-related thoughts or behaviors time-consuming?

Although this requires evaluation, if anxiety is interfering with your life by inhibiting your daily functioning, you most likely have an anxiety disorder, such as Panic Disorder, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), Phobia, Social Anxiety, Agoraphobia, etc..

When anxiety interferes with functioning, you most likely experience some degree of limited freedom. In other words, anxiety can shut down your life.

Follow this link for more on anxiety

Monday, August 24, 2009

CBT: What is it?

CBT stands for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and is the only proven form of treatment for anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, OCD, phobias, social anxiety and more.

Now what is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy exactly?

CBT is focused on modifying destructive patterns of behavior and thought with a variety of strategies taught and assigned for practice. Simply put, one main CBT tenet is that if you change your behavior, your thinking can change and if you change the way you think, your behavior can change.

CBT is a very interactive process between psychologist and client. Sometimes, it even involves trips outside of the office with your psychologist to face anxiety in real-life situations with new skills and strategies learned.

First, symptoms are assessed.

Second, strategies are taught in order to obtain skills in handling anxiety. Homework assignments are a common feature.

The primary focus of treatment for anxiety is a CBT strategy called "Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)" which involves facing your fears/obsessions in a gradual, systematic manner minus avoidance with the goal of adapting or de-sensitizing you to your anxiety provoking thought, image, impulse or situation. This is done with the support of your psychologist and independently when ready.

Follow this link for more on anxiety treatment with CBT


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Overcome Phobia with Motivation

To overcome a phobia you've got to be motivated. General motivation helps, but a specific goal-oriented motivation is even better.

Are you struggling with a phobia? If so, how is it disrupting your life? In what way has it interfered with your freedom? What would you do if you didn't suffer with this particular phobia?

The nature of a phobia is avoiding that which you fear. For some inspiration click on this link to read an article about a mother who was motivated to overcome her needle phobia in order to give blood:

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/4547670.Facing_up_to_my_fears/

Motivation is key in facing fear, but it can often be necessary to learn strategies to face your fear gradually and with growing confidence.

Follow this link to learn more about overcoming a phobia

Monday, August 17, 2009

OCD is Marked by Compulsions: But What Are They?

"Compulsions" or "compulsive behavior" are a hallmark (Obsessions being the other) of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Compulsions are defined by repetitive behaviors (physical or mental) one engages in to escape anxiety. These behaviors can interfere with daily life due to their time-consuming nature and disruption.

There is a large range of compulsive behavior involving rituals, such as cleaning, checking, ordering, and washing. Mental compulsions include repetitive thoughts designed to counter the anxiety evoked by a disturbing thought, image or impulse. These often include praying, repeating various phrases, and counting.

Often times, compulsions are clearly attached to an obsession, but not always. Unfortunately, although compulsions are designed by an individual to reduce anxiety in the short run, they actually create and maintain more anxiety in the long run.

Reducing compulsive behavior is key in treating OCD.

Follow this link for more info on OCD treatment


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Panic Disorder Can Follow A Panic Attack

Although Panic Disorder can follow a panic attack, it is not necessarily the rule. Some can have one or even a few panic attacks and move on without much difficulty. However, without awareness of strategies to combat them, panic attacks can develop into what is known as Panic Disorder.

Panic Disorder is defined by at least a month of recurring unexpected panic attacks with a fear of having more, tendency to avoid situations or experiences where panic attacks have occurred leading to a lack of freedom, and an extreme concern about what the panic attacks might imply or result in (ex. loss of control, sanity, death).

Panic Disorder can be experienced with or without Agoraphobia.

But don't get discouraged! Panic attacks and Panic Disorder are highly treatable!

Follow this link for info on seeking help for Panic Attacks

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Anxiety Disorders: How Common Are They?

Are anxiety disorders really that common?

Well, take a look at some U.S. statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health:

*In any given year, about 40 million Americans over the age of 18 has an anxiety disorder such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).

*In any given year, about 6 million Americans over the age of 18 has Panic Disorder.

*About 1 in 3 who has Panic Disorder develops Agoraphobia. About 1.8 million Americans in any given year over the age of 18 has Agoraphobia without a history of Panic Disorder.

*In any given year, about 2.2 million Americans over the age of 18 has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

*In any given year, about 15 million Americans over the age of 18 has Social Phobia.

* In any given year, about 19 million Americans over the age of 18 has a Specific Phobia.

Click on the link below for more statistics from NIMH:


If you struggle with anxiety, clearly you're not alone. So, the next time you feel any shame, just remind yourself that this is the most common mental health issue in this country. And then decide to get some help. Why continue to suffer when anxiety disorders can be treated so effectively?

Follow this link for more on treating anxiety disorders



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Obsessions: They're not what you may think!

The terms "obsessions" and "obsessed" have become such a big part of the vernacular. We frequently say we're "obsessed" with this or that in our daily conversations. However, what we really mean is that we are passionate about something or ruminating about something.

A true "obsession" is an intrusive, recurring thought, image or impulse considered to be inappropriate and/or irrational while most likely causing some degree of suffering. Obsessions are not typical concerns over stress in relationships or career. They can manifest in many different ways, but some common obsessions are fear of germs or of being contaminated, fear of causing others harm (stabbing someone, hitting someone with your car) or of harm coming to oneself, inappropriate sexual thoughts (ex. incest), violent images, numbers, fears of being gay, etc..

Obsessions are the hallmark of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The other is compulsive behavior meant to undo a specific obsession or anxiety.

Follow this link for more on obsessions and OCD treatment information




Friday, July 31, 2009

OCD can explode in times of stress!

OCD can explode in times of stress or even times of great change (most change, whether positive or negative, is stressful).

Although, for those neurobiologically set up with OCD, many have not experienced symptoms that have interfered with their daily lives until experiencing a stressful life event. Examples of stressful events often seen to trigger symptoms include major illness, childbirth and parenting a newborn (often called "Postpartum OCD"), a trauma or an accident, etc..

With a major stressor, OCD can truly explode creating the perspective that it "came out of nowhere". However, generally speaking, the OCD was merely lying dormant, waiting for the right trigger. It can be truly jarring and disrupt life with intense suffering.

Hence, public awareness of OCD is vital, so that those suffering in silence and lack of knowledge about this syndrome can get the help they need.

Follow this link for more on OCD treatment


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Phobias Can Take Many Shapes

Phobias can take many shapes. This essentially means that fear and anxiety can attach themselves to any stimuli, so even if you think your fear has never been heard of - think again.

Here's a list of some rarely publicized phobias:

Coulrophobia = fear of clowns
Ophidiophobia = fear of snakes
Astraphobia = fear of thunder and lightning
Trypanophobia = fear of injections
Anthrophobia = fear of flowers
Atychiphobia = fear of failure
Barophobia = fear of gravity
Bibliophobia = fear of books
Ephebiphobia = fear of teenagers
Genuphobia = fear of knees
Octophobia = fear of the figure 8
Podophobia = fear of feet

. . . and there are so many more. So don't be ashamed over what you fear. Phobias can take many shapes based on conditioning and other factors. It's what you do about your fear that counts!

Follow this link for information on how to break free of phobias



Friday, July 24, 2009

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) requires CBT

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other anxiety syndromes, including panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety, etc. require Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

So many people with OCD come to my center for treatment and share that they have had YEARS of prior psychodynamic therapy (often called "talk therapy") without any progress.

They are often amazed that sometimes within a few sessions of CBT they are seeing quick progress after years and years of suffering.

There is a terrific conference coming up focused on OCD. Copy and paste the link below into your browser for a news story focused on this conference and CBT treatment:


Of course, you can also check out "Obsessed" on A & E Monday nights to see Dr. April and fellow colleagues providing CBT to the show's participants struggling with OCD, phobias and other anxiety disorders (Yes, I know this is a shameless plug, but this amazing show is educating millions about OCD and proper treatment).

And you can follow this link for more info on CBT

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Support Groups and Anxiety Reduction

Support groups (specifically those with a cognitive-behavioral therapy focus) can be one of the most effective forms of treatment for anxiety disorders for a variety of reasons:

1.) They offer proof that you are not alone in your anxiety struggles, which can go a long way in reducing shame over your symptoms.

2.) They offer encouragement and support.

3.) Discussion in group can set you on the path towards freedom from your anxiety as you begin to face your fears.

4.) For some, group therapy can bring more commitment to completing anxiety reduction homework assignments.

Anxiety support groups can be a powerful and effective way to reduce your anxiety so consider joining one to make great progress!

Follow this link for more info on support groups

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fear of Driving - Here, There and Everywhere

Fear of driving is a consistently seen phobia.  But is it actually a fear of driving?  For some it is.  But there is often more to it than just that . . .

Fear of driving is often a fear of losing control, sometimes a fear of passing out and then getting hurt or hurting someone else, and sometimes . . . 

Fear of driving is not actually a fear of driving, but of being trapped in traffic, or at a light or on a bridge, with the feeling of not being able to escape.  

This driving phobia often starts with a panic attack, which subsequently leads to more panic.  The first panic attack may have occurred in a car or a setting where one felt trapped.  Once panic has been experienced, it generally leads to more panic based on avoidance around facing this anxiety provoking setting.  Hence, when one approaches this fear, they experience a huge rush of anxiety.

For those of you with fear of driving, just know that it is common and can be treated effectively.

If you do what is necessary to get past this phobia, you could be driving freely and enjoyably in a short while.

Follow this link for more on how to reduce phobias 


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Extreme Anxiety Sufferer: Michael Jackson?

Anxiety certainly appears to have been a major struggle for Michael Jackson based on news of a "10 Xanax pills a night" habit.  Many anti-anxiety medications are addictive and only lead to more anxiety.   

A vicious cycle may have been created.  We may never know, but it is reasonable to assume that Michael Jackson began taking Xanax to control anxiety and insomnia.  This most likely led to addiction and a greater need for more to quell ongoing anxiety and continued sleeping problems.  

Did Michael Jackson ever seek Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to naturally help his anxiety struggles?  Probably not.  CBT is the only proven effective form of treatment for reducing anxiety.  Yet, there are many people who seek escape from anxiety through drugs and dangerous addictive medications.  It is so sad when someone dies from medication addiction when they may have been helped through natural therapeutic means.

We may never know the full story of anxiety and Michael Jackson.  However, one thing seems clear.  Although, at times, medication can be a helpful addition to CBT (for those unable to act on treatment strategies that reduce anxiety without it), escape through prescription medication is not the answer.  In fact, it can be a killer.

Follow the link to read more about how to reduce anxiety naturally


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Panic Disorder is a fear of fear?

Panic disorder is created from a fear of fear.  

If you have ever had a panic attack, you most likely can relate.  More often than not, due to the intense experience one undergoes during their first panic attack, one then fears having another.

This fear of having another panic attack is really just a fear of experiencing bodily sensations many associate with fear - rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, difficulty breathing, tingling in the hands and feet, etc.  

Unfortunately, the more you fear panic, the greater the likelihood that you'll panic.  

Remember this reality that panic disorder is just fear of fear.  It might put things in perspective.  If fear can't really hurt you, than fearing fear is certainly unproductive.

Follow this link for more on panic attacks and how to resolve them.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hoarding Animals?

Hoarding is generally a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and is not reserved to just inanimate objects, but can involve animals too.  What's important isn't necessarily what the hoarder is hoarding, but the cycle itself.

Hoarding is a compulsive behavior marked by the collecting of primarily useless objects -  old newspapers, boxes, bags, knickknacks, etc.  Often times, as seen with extreme hoarders, one's home is filled with so many objects he or she barely has a path to walk.  Sometimes whole rooms must be sectioned off due to inability to enter.  There might even be areas with objects stacked from floor to ceiling.

The cycle begins and ends with anxiety.  If you engage in hoarding, you are escaping some anxiety with your compulsive actions.  For example, rather than cope with anxiety around boredom, loneliness or loss, you engage in repeatedly collecting and keeping objects to escape discomfort.  The more you engage in this cycle, the more your anxiety and compulsive behavior intensifies.  The thought of removing any of these objects brings about anxiety and the cycle of collection and avoidance continues.

Click this link for a news story demonstrating some very severe cases involving animal hoarding (note that these cases described more than likely have some mental health concerns in addition to just OCD):  


The most effective form of treatment for hoarding is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.  With motivation and commitment, most who hoard can make great progress.  

Follow this link for more information on anxiety disorder treatment

Thursday, June 25, 2009

OCD and Anxiety made worse by family members?

OCD and anxiety symptoms can increase through the unintentional enabling of spouses and parents.  

This is very common because those that love you do not want to see you in pain.  So, they might support your anxiety by assisting you in avoiding it.  

For example, a spouse might do all the shopping because you're afraid to go into the grocery store.  Or maybe your wife or husband declines all social invitations due to the fact that social settings make you anxious.  

A parent might help a child check under the bed a specific number of times or not send their child to camp due to their fear of germs.

Although these acts come from a loving place, they serve to maintain and even increase obsessions, compulsions and anxiety over time.  

How?  Because every time one avoids that which they fear, it serves to reinforce the anxiety or obsession.  So, when family members help you avoid that which makes you anxious, it only serves to solidify symptoms.

What should family members do for you if you suffer with OCD and anxiety?  Well, it's time for some tough love.  They can encourage you to face your fears.  They can be clear that they know by engaging in behaviors that support your OCD and anxiety, they're actually helping you to maintain it.  And then stop.  No more enabling.  

For riveting examples of what it takes to reduce OCD and anxiety symptoms, check out my episodes (and all the others!) on the inspiring A&E TV show "Obsessed"  by following this link and clicking "episodes".


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Panic Attacks Can Happen To Anyone - Even Pro Athletes!

Panic attacks are not reserved for what society might call "the anxious ones" - even pro athletes can have them.  

Cincinatti Reds first baseman Joey Votto bravely shared Tuesday that after his father died he struggled with panic attacks and depression.  This was a courageous disclosure in light of society stigma and, certainly, the supported false belief that athletes should always be "tough" and stoic.  Click on this link to read the story:


Panic attacks are a human issue.  When undergoing severe amounts of stress, anyone can have their first panic attack.  Unfortunately, after this scary experience more panic can follow.  Why? Without awareness of what panic is and how to resolve it, a fear of the panic symptoms often develops.  

Very fortunately, there are specific techniques and tools anyone can learn to resolve anxiety struggles.  Follow the link for more information on how to resolve panic attacks and anxiety


Monday, June 22, 2009

How our biology makes Anxiety, Panic, and OCD reduction a challenge

Anxiety, panic, and OCD reduction are not easy.  One main reason is that we humans are set up to seek pleasure and avoid pain.  

Anxiety and its various symptoms and disorders can create a lot of pain and suffering.  Unfortunately, the more you avoid experiencing the pain of anxiety, the more it follows you around.  Therefore, we have to go against our biological inclination to run.

Thank goodness for CBT.  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is the most effective and only proven form of treatment for anxiety reduction.  This treatment provides tools and techniques designed to help you face anxiety.

Follow the link to read more about how to reduce anxiety, panic and OCD.


The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles and The South Bay

The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management is committed to helping you remove the destructive barriers of anxiety, so that you may lead a calmer, healthier, happier life.

Take a look at our website at www.KickFear.com or give us a call: (310) 429-1024
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