Is the Way You Deal With Anxiety as Safe as You Think It Is?

When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions and require support from a psychotherapy professional. I have over thirty years of experience providing therapy for individuals, couples, and families. Let’s talk.


From Pyschology Today Author, Tom Bunn L.C.S.W.

“…You trust your doctor. Your doctor prescribed Xanax. It must be alright to take it, right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

“Generally speaking, primary care physicians have not received the training that they need to prescribe medications that have such high risk for addiction or overdose," said Dr. Joanna Starrels, professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Though psychiatrists prescribed benzodiazepines no more often, during the period from 2003 through 2015, prescriptions by primary care physicians more than doubled, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Why the dramatic increase in psychoactive medications by non-psychiatrists? Patients referred to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for panic are usually not satisfied. JAMA Research confirmed what doctors were hearing back from patients. The research showed only one person in six treated with CBT became panic-free ("Usual Care Group" dark gray in the graphic below).

When meds were added, the remission rate nearly doubled ("Intervention Group" light gray). The researchers advised, "Our intervention for panic disorder, a combination of CBT and antianxiety medication . . .  resulted in substantially better outcomes than did usual care" (CBT).

The 2005 study may have contributed to the doubling of benzodiazepine prescriptions by primary care physicians …”


The Anxieties of Introversion

Many introverts suffer unknowingly from anxiety. Please read this interesting article on internalizing negative messages about introversion and then let’s talk. No matter how extroverted or introverted you may be, there is no need to suffer with anxiety or depression.


From Pyschology Today Author, Sophia Dembling:

“…Are you an anxious introvert? I suspect many of us are. 

I don’t suggest that introversion automatically leads to anxiety, nor do I mean to downplay anxiety disorders. I know anxiety is a real and serious condition that can’t be solved with facile advice.

But I do believe that some of the garden-variety anxiety introverts suffer comes from internalizing negative messages we have received our whole lives about introversion. In other words, our anxiety is manufactured by a reaction between external and internal forces.

Some to consider:

1. We feel like we’re doing it “wrong.” 

There are all kinds of messages out there telling us that an extroverted approach to life is “better,” “healthier,” or “more productive” than our introverted ways. We’re told that if we don’t work the room at a party, we’re doing it “wrong”; that if we don’t get out there and network hard, we will “fail”; and that if we spend too much time in our heads, we are “depressed.”

Even when we know, intellectually, that these messages are mostly misguided,** it’s hard not to take them in at an almost cellular level. They’ve come at us our entire life—and the introvert-positive movement, with messages countering them, is pretty new.

The solution is to consciously and frequently push back on these messages in our own minds. I recently attended a party (and had to talk myself into going the entire drive there!) where I did a terrible job meeting most of the many cool people who were there. However, I did a great job at partying introvert style. I had two in-depth conversations, resulting in two new Facebook friends—and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a win. So I remind myself of that over and over to reinforce the information. We can define success for ourselves, then we must reprogram ourselves to believe it.

2. We offend people just by being ourselves. 

I shared my last post, about being sick and yet overwhelmed by the interest and concern of others, on a Facebook support group for my disease …” Continue Reading:

Four Ways to Keep Your Relationship Alive - Article from Pyschology Today

A few scientifically based tips that may help your relationship thrive. If you have concerns about your relationship or marriage, I hope these ideas are helpful but to take a true step forward, relationship therapy can be extremely beneficial. Let’s talk.


From Pyschology Today Author, Amie M. Gordon, Ph.D.:

“For years, psychologists tried to understand why relationships fail. They targeted dysfunction, focusing on factors like negative emotions and bad communication. But it turns out that not failing is not the same as succeeding when it comes to relationships. Couples who experience a lot of negative interactions are more likely to divorce in the first few years of marriage, but couples who don't experience a lot of positive affect are likely to divorce farther down the road. So how can we make sure our relationships thrive? Today, I'm going to pass along four scientifically-based tips on how to keep your relationship alive.

1. Laugh and play together. Play isn't just for kids. Playfully teasing your partner can bring you closer together (remember, the key is to tease "playfully"!). Couples who laugh more are more satisfied in their relationships. Humor and laughter also seem to have a buffering effect - using humor during conflict can help you resolve the issue. So pick a comedy the next time you're choosing a movie for date night, come up with playful nicknames, and the next time that your partner says something that bothers you, try responding with a joke instead of getting defensive.

2. Try new things together.  …” Continue Reading:

Let's Unplug the Christmas Machine - Article from Pyschology Today

The holidays are frequently a time for high emotions which can trigger anxiety, stress and even depression. Please browse the article below and note that most people do nothing to reduce stress during the holidays and instead suffer in silence. Depression at anytime is not okay, let’s talk.


From Pyschology Today Author, Thomas J. Sims M.D.:

“Christmas season is a busy time of the year and what should be a time for love and joy many has turned into a hectic period of stress, splurge, expense, and a cornucopia of attending activities that must be endured even though they are rarely looked forward to.

There’s shopping to be done, menus to be planned, cooking and baking to be finished before hordes of people arrive. Then there’s the never-ending scores of presents to be decided on, purchased, wrapped, and placed under the tree.

Black Friday has just happened, and many are still recovering from the exhausting stress that follows the activity.

Most distressing of all is the fact that Christmas has become the epidemic of commercialism and stress it now is – not because we want it to be – but because we have been conditioned into thinking so many of the “things” we feel must do are necessary to make Christmas merry for those we love!

What should Christmas be?

Christmas has become a time of both emotional stress and financial stress.

Wallet stress

A survey done by NBC News in November 2012 revealed that a staggering 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas because it causes so much financial pressure and anxiety.
In a similar survey, 54% of people said they planned to spend $500 or less on Christmas while another 27% said they planned to spend somewhere between $500 to $1000 on Christmas presents.

Time Management stress

Christmas tends to cause ‘time management stress’ as well as wallet stress simply because there are so many things we want to get done, yet time is limited to do them …” Continue Reading:

The Benefits of Feeling in Control as We Age

From Pyschology Today Author, Arash Emamzadeh:

"Recent research by Robinson and Lachman of Brandeis University shows that higher perception of control results in greater cognitive performance, and that this is mediated through physical activity.

Perceived control

Perceived control refers to an individual’s perception of her ability to bring about desired outcomes and prevent undesirable ones.

For example, an employee who believes that working hard would soon result in recognition and advancement, has high perceived control; if, on the other hand, she believes that despite working hard she might get fired any day and that as a result she will be unemployed for a very long time, she has a comparably lower sense of control.

High perceived control is associated better health, wealth, wisdom, life satisfaction, optimism, cognitive performance (e.g., better memory or ability to pursue goals), and lower levels of depression and less functional limitations; people with lower income and those in lower social positions typically have a lower sense of control over their lives, though ones who nevertheless maintain high levels of perceived control appear to have similar health status as individuals with higher income.2

The relationship between perceived control and various outcomes, however, appears to be reciprocal and cyclic.1

For instance, an employee who believes that she may get fired any day, is more likely to experience stress, anxiety, and memory problems. These mental and emotional difficulties would then affect her efforts, motivation, and her use of strategies at work. And given that she is feeling less motivated and puts in less effort, there is a higher chance that she will face disciplinary action, and as a result perhaps feel even less in control at work.

But the same cycle can also start from a different point, such as with health problems.

Take health problems and aging. A large portion of older people have health or memory difficulties and thus potentially feel less in control of their lives.

But these control related beliefs can also influence their work life, such that they begin to feel less capable and effective at work, which of course results in anxiety, depression, and putting in less effort at work....

The present research

In the present study, Robinson and Lachman were interested to find whether changes in perceived control could predict changes in  cognitive performance, and if so, via what mechanisms" ... CONTINUE READING:

How Savoring Will Save You from Missing Out

From Pyschology Today Author, Caren Osten:

" ... Chances are you’ve savored the wafting aroma of coffee brewing. Or a breathtaking glow of pink and orange hues during a sunset. Or the melody of a song so amazing that you need to close your eyes to take it all in?

Savoring is not a new idea, and its origins date back to ancient times when savoring—or fully appreciating a taste, smell, or sight, for example—was considered wise. More recent research supports this notion and reaches further, revealing that savoring positive emotions is a strategy that can optimize your health and well-being. More specifically, the benefits of savoring include stronger relationships, improved mental and physical health, and increased creativity in solving problems.

In today’s busy world, however, we are pulled in so many directions that we often forget or forego the savoring—we simply have too many emails to respond to and tweets to read, among a million other things. The good news is that savoring positive experiences can be learned, like playing the piano, and if you practice, you’ll improve. So take a deep breath, slow down and open up to your positive experiences by stopping to savor the moment. Savoring not only cultivates positive emotions in the present, but also builds resources for coping—connecting us to moments in the past, present or imagined future that give us an emotional boost when we are in need.

Strategies to Help You Savor

1. Share Your Experience

Calling attention to an experience as it’s happening is an invitation to others to participate in it with you—making it an opportunity to savor, increase connection, and deepen relationships. During a recent yoga ..." Continue Reading:

May is Mental Health Month: #4Mind4Body

Article from Psychology Today Author, Kristen Fuller, M.D.:

"Approximately one in five adults in the United States, 43.8 million, or 18.5%, experiences a mental illness in a given year and approximately one in five youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental health disorder at some point during their lifetime. Mental illness is not prejudiced; as mental health disorders affect men and women of all ages, races and social classes. Since 1949, the month of May has been observed as Mental Health Month in the United States and many national organizations such as NAMI, Mental Health America, and other affiliates spotlight Mental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to stop the stigma associated with mental health disorders. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Month is Fitness #4Mind4Body, meaning that health is an all-encompassing matter and we must take care of our minds just as much as we take care of our bodies. Mental health is important for our physical health and vice versa. A well-balanced diet, a healthy sleep schedule, exercise, gut health, and hydration all affect our mental health and our physical health equally. Studies have shown that individuals who have chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure or autoimmune disorders have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety. Our bodies and mind act as one unit and therefore it is important to care for both our emotional and mental states as well as our physical health." Continue Reading:

Grieving Loss and Embracing the Future

Interesting article and reminder that loss and grieving are a process and everyone copes differently, don't do it alone ... if you are grieving whether it be the loss of a loved one, a relationship or something else entirely let's talk (941) 376-6834. 


Article from Psychology Today Author,  John D. Rich, Jr., Ph.D.:

"... If you are grieving, don't worry about any of that. The grief process plays out differently for everyone. Grieving is the interplay between the desire to pay homage to the deceased and the need to move forward and be grateful for the life you still have in front of you, and for the lives of those you love, who are still here. My father may not be here any longer but my mother and brother are. My wife is still alive, and so are our two incredible children. My father will still be there, in my memory, forming me into this person I am becoming. For now, I still have people I can call, who I can see and hear and smell and touch. So do you ... Read full article: