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When to get professional help for severe anxiety

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Georg Eifert, Ph.D., psychology professor at Chapman University, defines severe anxiety and explains when and how patients should seek treatment. Eifert is the author of several books on mental health, including The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety.

More than 19 million adults in the united states struggle with some form of anxiety disorder it’s the nation’s most common mental health problem we’re now joined with dr. georg eifert a psychology professor chapman university and author of numerous books including his most recent the mindfulness and acceptance workbook for anxiety welcome georg thank you for inviting

Me larry thanks so much this is a big topic because it’s so common and so prevalent these days is most anxiety part situational or is it some other metabolic problem going on no most anxiety problems really are situational and there’s not even a lot of genetic influence involved there are some genetic influence but really most people in just acquire these problems

Over the course of their lifetime sometimes even when they’re very young and and then it doesn’t go away anxiety is one of the things that actually if you don’t do anything about it it usually doesn’t go away on its own and this is is it often i often hear anxiety depressive disorders it’s depression a big part of it or no is it yeah about in fact about half of

50% of people who have an anxiety disorder are also depressed but the thing is that most people start out with the anxiety disorder not with the depression and they develop depression over time because of what they allow anxiety to do with their life because what happens is they spend so much time managing and struggling with their anxiety and they’re doing less

They’re not going out sometimes they don’t even go to work and you know they do a lot of things they no longer do a lot of things that they used to do and that gave them pleasure and that were meaningful to them and then over time they do get depressed and it’s not an abnormal thing to get depressed over that it’s actually quite understandable because you lose

Control of your life in a sense because you’re not enjoying your life like yes you and yes and so so you don’t really treat the depression you treat the anxiety yes and that takes care of the depression i that’s correct yes now when do you know that you should seek some kind of i mean what is it we’re all anxious or yes we just come in here today you become anxious

But when is anxiety ever album for you well most people think that xiety becomes a problem when they have just a lot of anxiety but that’s actually not the case there are people out there who do have a lot of anxiety and who do not have an anxiety disorder if you want to know whether or not you have a problem you just really basically have to look at your life and

Ask yourself is anxiety holding me back from what i want to do is it interfering with my life don’t look at the intensity i mean i’m very anxious right now i’m in fact i was very anxious before i came here okay you know almost like a panic attack but that that doesn’t mean i have panic disorder you know it if i didn’t come to this show because i say oh well i have

Too much anxiety and i don’t want to have it and therefore i will not go to the show well then i’m on the way to developing a disorder it’s when you allow anxiety to interfere with your life and what is important to you then it becomes a disorder so you’re controlling the anxiety in a sense it’s not controlling you you’re living your life you feel it like we all

Do but yeah well and here’s things you used a very important word i’m actually not controlling my anxiety because that’s that is the pitfall so many people look for treatments that that are aimed at controlling managing reducing preferably even eliminating anxiety and the bad news is it doesn’t work it really doesn’t work very well and the good news is you don’t

Have to get rid of all your anxiety you don’t even have to get rid of it you know the most panicky part of it you can take your anxiety along and do what matters to you with your anxiety that may mean yes sometimes you have to take it along for the ride as we say but if you do that over time you will actually see that your anxiety changes too but the most important

Thing is to give up control controlling your anxiety and struggling with it oh i see so you’re actually kind of letting go in a way and i think that’s probably part of your i think you go into that yes look yes look is i understand it’s very well well-written and ryan very helped a lot of people innocent don’t help booker’s yes it is a self-help book and that’s

The good news that people really can do something about it themselves you don’t have to rely on medication and you know unfortunately a lot of people do and the fact is and the studies show that that medication only goes so far and went often when you stopped taking the medication your anxiety is back to where it was but you used a very crucial word just now you

Said the answer or something the solution is to let go and that’s really true and you know i bought this this this this rope along and that’s really it’s like a tug of war and people are find themselves in a tug of war with their anxiety anxiety is pulling them and then they try to pull back and somehow they try to win it and you know and and and well eliminated

And and and and win this war and so it goes on and on but when you ask people have you ever won this war they will tell you no no i’ve tried so many things and everything at nothing and it and the answer is not to win this tug of war because it’s unwinnable the answer is letting go dropping the rope and what we really show people in the book is how to drop the

Rope how to end the tag of war with your anxiety so that you can live the life that you want to live so somebody feels are stressed out and they’re not overly consumed with this anxiety they can buy your book and they can find that they can go through it’s a self-help book yes they can find your way through this yes what are the i there’s the three core steps what

Is that about yeah well the first step is really understanding that the all these solutions that people have tried before to get rid of their anxiety that they really haven’t worked and that they may never work and the good news is they need not work they can do something different they can actually start letting go of the rope getting out of the struggle of out

Of this fight then the second step is to learn the skill about how to do this how do i actually do this how can i not let anxiety rule my life and one thing that you can learn to do is to become more mindful of your experience because ultimately what is anxiety anxiety are a lot of physical sensations that can be very very averse if you know very very difficult

A lot of negative thoughts panicky thoughts we sometimes catastrophizing thoughts worries excessive worries and now you have all these things now what can you do with them well you can learn to look at them you know like from an observer perspective and that’s really what mindfulness is not run away from them not try to get rid of them not try to change them just

Look at them and recognize them for what they are thoughts physical sensations things that your mind throws at you but that you don’t need necessary necessarily to listen to and you certainly don’t need to do what your mind seem to be telling you which is to run away get out of the situations or don’t go there because it’s too dangerous your mind is telling you all

These things and what we are sometimes say to people your mind is not always your best friend i see so you’re saying the you can actually you don’t have to get away from these but you can you can deal with them differently so yes yes you can you can really respond to them differently and that’s what you can control you know it would be so great if we have a switch

You know somewhere or some kind of smart technique by which we can actually turn off the panic button great and the thing is no nobody has invented that and i hope the viewers will understand and recognize that people who promise that promise them too much it just it is a normal thing to have now but what we can do is to recognize the anxiety for what it is and

Start to do i start to relate to it in a different way not do what it says not respond to it by running away from it but just observe it just have it which you have it anyway okay i see you have some wells tools here to help in some ways yeah and in fact i can i can show you what what we do with this and you know in some ways many people treat anxiety like this

Like this chinese finger trap any other micro you go you go in like this okay and then obviously your mind is telling you well if you came in if you got in here by pushing in well you’ve got to pull out oops pull out if you want to get out but do you notice what happens when you pull yeah you get trapped and and that’s exactly what happens in people’s lives this

Is their life situation they try to run away from the anxiety they try to control it they try to get rid of it and as they do it their life gets tighter and tighter and tighter and they’re stuck that’s a great example and so what do you do you do the thing that is kind of counterintuitive well but you have to push in again you know it examples and then you see it

You may not get out right away but you have some wiggle room you know you have some more space and that’s exactly what happens with your life it’s a great example we’re almost out of time i guess the final message here would be about anxiety what would just what would you say stop trying to control it to manage it to eliminate it don’t run away from it learn to

Be with it learn the skills to be with it and focus on what you can change what you do with your hands and feet and what you want your life to stand for that’s great i’m sure this book is going to come in very handy in these economic times the mindfulness and acceptance workbook for anxiety thank you york for coming it’s my pleasure

Transcribed from video
When to get professional help for severe anxiety By DrLarrySantora