Anxiety Disorders

Information about
ANXIETY, TRAUMA, & OCD RELATED DISORDERS

ANXIETY-RELATED DISORDERS

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety-related disorders are the most common mental disorder affecting children and adults. Forty million American adults suffer from anxiety-related disorders, but only about one-third receive treatment, even though these disorders are highly treatable.

People with anxiety-related disorders share a preoccupation with, or a persistent avoidance of, thoughts or situations that cause anxiety. Anxiety involves intense fear, worry, and distress brought on by anticipation of future problems. In an anxiety-related disorder, this anxiety is out of proportion with actual concerns.

PANIC DISORDER & AGORAPHOBIA

Panic attacks are overwhelming bouts of terror and fright that often occur seemingly out of the blue. People suffering from a panic attack often feel as if they are going to die, lose control, or go crazy. Panic attacks involve many physical symptoms, such as sweating, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chills and feeling out-of-sorts. When panic attacks interfere with a person’s normal life, it’s called Panic Disorder. Many people with panic disorder fear going out due to the possibility of a panic attack, and this is called agoraphobia. People suffering from agoraphobia avoid a variety of situations, and many can only leave when accompanied by another person who can offer comfort and security. More about panic disorder treatment.

SPECIFIC PHOBIA

Specific phobias are the most common form of anxiety disorder. A specific phobia is an unreasonable fear caused by the presence of a specific object or situation. Some of the most frequent types of specific phobia include, fear of heights, illness and injury, small animals and bugs, being in a small area, tunnels or bridges, storms, and specific kinds of public transportation.

SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER & SOCIAL PHOBIA

Social Anxiety Disorder is similar to specific phobia, but instead contains the element of performance. People suffering from Social Phobia fear and avoid social situations because of anxiety about being embarrassed, disliked, or disappointing others. These fears fall into two categories: performance anxiety (such as public speaking) and interpersonal interactions (such as conversing with strangers at a party, or going on a date). Some people who suffer from social phobia are very shy, and feel anxious in almost every social situation, whereas others are simply afraid of a specific situation, such as public speaking or meeting with a superior. People with social anxiety disorder may use alcohol to help cope. More about social anxiety.

GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER (GAD)

Excessive anxiety and worry about everyday concerns are the primary symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. People with GAD often feel keyed up or on edge, are easily fatigued, have difficulty in concentrating, sleep disturbance, and muscle tension. People with GAD are often described as worriers. Because of the generalized symptoms, people with GAD often meet criteria for major depressive disorder as well. More about generalized anxiety disorder.

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE AND RELATED DISORDERS

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves distressing thoughts and compulsive behaviors that significantly interfere with normal life. Obsessions are unwanted, recurrent, and disturbing thoughts that can cause overwhelming anxiety. Common obsessions include fear of contamination, causing harm to another, making a mistake, behaving in a socially unacceptable manner, a need for symmetry or exactness, and recurrent doubt. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that the person feels driven to perform to neutralize the anxiety of the obsessions. Compulsions can be overt, such as washing, checking, arranging, and collecting, or covert, such as silent prayers and mental counting. More about obsessive-compulsive disorder.

HOARDING DISORDER

Hoarding Disorder has recently been recognized as a separate disorder, related to OCD, but with some of its own unique features. People with hoarding disorder become attached to objects and have difficulty discarding. Sometimes the living space becomes so cluttered that rooms in the home are unusable. More about hoarding disorder.

TRAUMA-RELATED DISORDERS

POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder occurs after a stressful or catastrophic life event (such as severe car accident or being raped). Symptoms include reliving the stressful event in ones mind, feelings of disassociation, avoidance of anything to do with the traumatic event, and the experience of general anxiety. People most likely to suffer PTSD are those who have experienced rape or another sexual assault, combat veterans, or those who have been badly beaten up. The sudden death of a loved one also puts a person at a high risk for trauma that leads to PTSD. Natural disasters and serious car crashes are other traumatic events that can lead to PTSD. More about posttraumatic disorder.

IOP versus Traditional Outpatient Options

Intensive outpatient treatment offers a higher level of professional involvement and care compared to traditional therapy-as-usual. Regrettably, many mental health programs lack professionals with the experience needed to effectively guide patients toward lasting mastery over their OCD. Traditional therapies that involve talking about the problem rarely result in correcting the problem. Patients may leave their therapist’s office feeling reassured, but this is only a temporary fix and results in no real change.

IOP versus Residential/Inpatient Options

It will cost much more to stay at a residential or inpatient facility than to participate in an IOP. Residential treatment programs include room and board and maintain a full-time staff that is available 24 hours a day. This cost is more than what a patient would spend staying at home or even at a nice hotel. Because IOP participants are not sleeping overnight or relying on the facility for their meals and other needs, IOP treatment costs are significantly lower.

Furthermore, IOP patients have greater autonomy than they would in an inpatient setting. Inpatient psychiatric facilities may lock patients in, restrict use of electronic equipment and personal items, have rigid visiting hours, utilize shared rooming, and limit use of the telephone. This degree of control over patients is not usually necessary for clients with primary OCD. Our psychologists have worked extensively in both inpatient and outpatient settings and bring this experience to bear when treating patients in our IOP.

Our Program: Unique and Effective

When this treatment was designed, a 3.5 week intensive program for OCD was offered, but that program was prohibitive for most people who are unable to take 3.5 weeks off of work (or who may need to be accompanied by a family member unable to take that much time off work). The current program was designed based on new research showing that online therapy can be an effective part of the treatment process. Thus, patients need to only spend 2 weeks at the actual treatment facility and the remainder can be done from home. Research suggests that the vast majority of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder respond well to our treatment approach.

Currently, patients at most intensive/residential programs for OCD average a 60-day stay, and treatment is usually only 50% complete by the time patients are released. Patients must then finish treatment with a local clinician, who may or may not have adequate experience providing OCD treatment. Furthermore, patients at these programs may employ bachelors-level technicians (behavioral specialists), who may be working with four patients per session. We think this compromises the quality of care. Our IOP includes daily individual sessions with a licensed masters or doctoral-level therapist in addition to individual work with a therapist assistant (masters-level or graduate student). This degree of expertise and attention makes all the difference when it comes to complete and speedy recovery for our patients. If you are considering another IOP, be sure to ask how much time will be spent individually with a masters or doctoral-level professional.

Planning for Intensive Outpatient Treatment for OCD

Because of the degree of individual attention provided, our intensive outpatient program takes time to schedule. Contact our offices right away if you anticipate participation. A deposit is required to preserve your spot.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Anxiety

The Behavioral Wellness Clinic now offers an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for individuals with anxiety disorders, including specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Our program provides intensive treatment that is specifically designed for each individual patient in order to reduce symptom severity and frequency at an accelerated rate. Our treatment providers utilize a range of evidence-based services including exposures (i.e. approaching avoided situations and learning to tolerate the distress), as well as cognitive-behavioral approaches (i.e. learning to alter thoughts and behaviors to change one’s internal experience). A daily schedule could involve 1.5 hours of intensive individual therapy, 1 hour of group therapy, and 0.5 hours of psychiatric support, for example. If you’re interested, please contact our office.

If you need urgent care, call our office today.

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COVID-19 UPDATE!

We are still accepting clients for online telehealth therapy. We know this is a stressful time. Please reach out and get help to support you. Contact one of our Intake Coordinators today by calling or filling out our online form.