LIVING WELL WITH
ANXIETY: WHAT YOUR DOCTOR DOESN'T TELL YOU...THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Anxiety conditions are the number one mental health problem among American
women and second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men. The frequency of anxiety is also increasing among children, and
it contributes to decreased social connectedness (divorce, living alone, decreased birth rate, marriage later in life). The
increase in physical or psychological threats (violent crime, worry about nuclear war, fear of diseases such as AIDS, and
the entrance of more women into the workforce) are identified as significant factors in the upswing of anxiety.
Approximately ten percent of the population of the United States, or more than 30 million people, suffer from anxiety
disorders each year, yet only a small proportion receive treatment. Many who suffer from high anxiety are too embarrassed
or ashamed to discuss their anxieties. For many people, this book may provide the only help they will ever receive.
Let’s take a look at some of the varied conditions that result from uncontrolled anxiety.
*Hillary wakes up every night a couple of hours after going to sleep, her heart racing, feeling dizzy,
with a tightness in her throat, and fearful something terrible is going to happen.
got a promotion because of his Internet sales ability. Now he must contribute to group sales meetings and he knows he’s
going to be tongue-tied, stammer instead of speak coherently, and get so restless he can’t sit still.
*Ruth, a bank teller, has been forcing herself to go to work, and once she gets there, she’s afraid she might say
or do something silly, and wants to leave.
*Adam just entered college, and he’s afraid to speak up
in class, even though he knows the answer, and he freezes when he has to take a written exam.
raped a year ago. She continues to have repetitive, distressing thoughts about the event, nightmares, flashbacks and emotional
*Jared just returned from a stint in Iraq. He can't sleep, and the slightest thing sends him into a rage.
Why Anxiety is Such A Problem Today
Anxiety conditions appear as a result
of cumulative stress over time. Individuals in western societies experience more stress than ever before. As a result, they
experience more anxiety. The increased pace of modern society, the increased rate of technological change, lack of traditionally
prescribed values and stands, a barrage of inconsistent world views presented in the media, terrorism threats and more make
it more difficult to remain calm, and to experience a sense of stability or consistency in their lives. The result is increased
stress and anxiety. As anxiety continues to mount in our society, this book can provide the comfort and specific direction
anxious individuals need.
A Traditional Medical Approach May Not Be Enough
For most anxiety-related conditions, the
best medicine can do is keep some of your symptoms at bay, and even that is questionable. The more we learn about the medications
used to treat anxiety, the more we learn that these drugs often have unwanted effects that are worse than the anxiety.
The root cause of anxiety is rarely---if ever---addressed in a medical model. Only the symptoms are
treated. That means you may never learn the source of your anxiety, and as you will learn, if you haven’t already discovered,
fear of the unknown brings on the worst kind of anxiety.
You may be fearful your anxiety is untreatable
or that it means you are crazy or on your way to a lifetime of hospitalization and treatment. You may be fearful your anxiety
may build into dramatically worsening conditions and phobias. You may be fearful that even though you’re learning
to deal with your anxiety, you suspect that new symptoms will appear and you will be unable to control them. You may be fearful
that for the most part, doctors, unless they are psychiatrists, think you’re faking it, or that your problems are all
in your head. You may be fearful because most doctors don’t have an answer to your question when you ask if your anxiety
is going to affect your family, work and friends. You may be fearful that over time, your anxiety is going to lead to other
more dangerous conditions such as heart attacks, suicide or even cancer. You may be afraid that you will never be able to
overcome your anxiety, that you cannot stop its inexorable march as it seems to envelope and overtake every facet of your
life. You may be afraid that there are no answers, no cure, no respite from the discomfort you feel and that no one really
understands what you’re going through.
Rest assured, there are answers and there are ways
you can learn to reduce your anxiety.
You just aren’t likely to hear them from the typical
HMO or primary care physician, who may not even recognize or diagnose your condition, much less know how to treat it, especially
now that typical HMO appointments are mandated to end in 15 minutes or less.
You may not be able
to obtain an answer from the average psychiatrist either, the medical doctors who treat psychiatric conditions. These doctors
must rush through dozens of patients a day, prescribing and monitoring drug effects. They simply don’t have the time,
and sometimes don’t have the know-how, to delve into the complicated and connected conditions anxiety evokes.
And even those medical doctors who consider themselves experts in treating anxiety rarely venture into
the uncharted territory of dealing with the source of anxiety. Most are content, and are paid to, focus on treating the symptoms
of anxiety, not the source. They are comfortable prescribing anti-anxiety drugs, but ask these doctors how to help you remove
the source of your anxiety, and they will probably draw a blank.
Why I Wrote This Book
My master’s degree is in psychiatric/mental health nursing and my minor at the doctoral level
was psychology. My major in my doctoral program was education, specifically novel methods of teaching and learning. I am also
board-certified as an advanced holistic/wellness practitioner.
Over the years, I’ve experienced
high degrees of anxiety due to graduate school stress, performance anxiety (when I first started to make presentations to
large audiences), a fear of heights (after I was almost pushed off the second floor of a balcony), as well as the many stresses
and strains of our society that create anxiety. Through the years, I’ve learned how to reduce my stress and thereby
my anxiety. I’ve also taught many of my clients wellness procedures I’ve developed for reducing stress and enhancing
calm through my Wellness Institute workshops, my private clinical practice, and on my web site www.carolynchambersclark.com
A wellness approach to anxiety focuses not only on the mind, but also on the body and spirit---the whole person.
Over the years I’ve personally and professionally explored alternative and complementary methods for reducing anxiety,
including cognitive behavioral approaches, yoga, relaxation therapy, affirmations, coping skills, environmental changes, herbs
and nutrition. I wrote this book because anxiety pervades all our lives...and because you need to know how to reduce it so
you can live well.
Variations of my story are repeated every day when someone suffering from
high anxiety wonders, as I did, if the panic I felt meant I was going crazy. Or when someone who is fearful of heights, or
animals or elevators or airplanes or some other situation, can ever overcome their fear and learn to remain calm in previously
Why You May Need This Book
This book is for
*You strongly suspect you are suffering from high anxiety, but are having difficulty
finding someone to explain to you what the condition is about.
*You aren’t sure if your
discomfort points to anxiety, but you’re trying to find out more.
*You’ve been diagnosed
with an anxiety condition, been prescribed pills, but want more information about your condition.
*You are receiving what your doctor thinks is sufficient treatment for your anxiety, but you still don’t feel well.
*You’re an open-minded health practitioner looking for innovative ways to understand and help your patients
who suffer from high anxiety.
*You want to learn about living well with anxiety from the perspective
of an empowered consumer.
About This Book
Living Well with Anxiety is different from most books on anxiety. This is your book, written by a nurse practitioner
who has not only counseled individuals with anxiety conditions, but has experienced high anxiety and has learned ways to reduce
anxiety to manageable levels and teach them to you.
Living Well with Anxiety provides the type
of information about anxiety you may not find out from your doctor, pharmaceutical company, patient organizations, or in other
books about anxiety. In this book, I talk honestly with you about the traditional medical approaches to anxiety, including
the drugs that are prescribed for specific conditions and their risks. But this book is really about living with anxiety and
the kinds of self-care measures you can take to reduce and manage it.
In this book, you’ll
find out things your doctor may not tell you about risks, diagnosis, drugs, and alternative approaches that work to reduce
anxiety. You’ll also hear the voices of real people just like you who have struggled with anxiety and learned to deal
with health care practitioners, tried different approaches, suffered setbacks and enjoyed successes. Each person quoted in
this book expressed a determination to share his or her own story, difficulties, ideas, advice and hope with you. That’s
why you’ll be able to recognize your own experiences, fears, and frustrations, and be touched and moved by the incredibly
honest and direct stories of others who have learned to live well with anxiety. Above all, you’ll know you are not alone
in your struggle.