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freak out about it. Brace yourself and take steps to prevent a

possible attack.

Think about trying some of these ideas before looking to

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professional help, guidance and medication.

Learn, and then practice, breathing exercises everyday; and use

them whenever you feel that you need them. Deep breathing helps

to prevent, or lower, the intensity of your attack. It also helps bring

down your stress levels, which is a very common cause for panic


Deep breathing may provide excellent relief. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Breathe in through your nose and fill your lungs

2. Hold your breath 2-3 seconds or more

3. Let your breath out slowly but with some pressure, through

your tightly compressed lips.

Your behavioral therapist will teach you more relaxation therapies.

Relax your tense nerves by distracting yourself when you feel panic

rising in you. Do something, anything constructive. Even reading a

book may help you.

9 Read about your condition and think about the advice


9 Read for pleasure.

9 Read to cry. Crying can be very therapeutic.

9 And get some exercise. Nothing helps defeat anxiety

and panic like activity, the more productive the better.

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Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder patients feel extremely self-consciousness

and anxious in normal social situations of everyday life. Different

patients display different levels of self-consciousness or the other

common symptoms of social anxiety disorder. This disorder is the

same as ‘Social Phobia’.

Anyone displaying social anxiety disorder will show;

An inferiority complex: the feeling that everybody else is

better than them

A feeling that everyone is constantly watching and judging

them and their actions

A feeling that you will make mistakes and everyone will


A feeling that they will humiliate or embarrass themselves

You may have a few or all of these feelings. You may also develop

an acute sense of fear in social situations. This anxiousness leads to

a pounding heart, blushing, sweating, stammering, trembling and

nausea. Such intense anxiousness generally leads to further

embarrassing situations.

Therefore, people with social anxiety disorder shy away from public

places and keep themselves within a few select groups of friends.

They prefer to distance themselves from public places and feel most

uncomfortable at restaurants, or using a telephone in front of other

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This continuous seclusion could prove disastrous to your job, social

or school activities.


Social anxiety disorder is a common ailment in the United States.

Around 3.7% of the total population has this problem. The

percentage of women sufferers is higher than that of men. You can

see this trait start and develop from early childhood, into

adolescence and, later, into adulthood.

Normally, people over the age of twenty-five do not develop this


Social anxiety disorder is often the result of depression or other

nervous disorders. Additionally, if you have a serious addiction to

drugs and alcohol, you may develop such a disorder.


It is essential to treat social anxiety disorder just like other anxiety

disorder. Prompt and regular treatment can deliver good results

with relief from your social anxiety disorder. The most common

treatment is a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and


Cognitive-behavioral therapy

This therapy aims to change your thinking pattern. You identify the

specific thoughts leading to your anxiety or fear. This therapy

teaches you to control the flow of your thoughts and to restrict the

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occurrence of repetitive and irrational thoughts in all types of


Further, this therapy emphasizes increasing your self-confidence,

self-esteem and optimism while reducing the incidence of fear.

Therapists often urge behavioral therapy in groups, with other

patients that have the same symptoms.

However, some may not feel comfortable in practicing such therapy

with many others. For them, one-on-one sessions with their

therapist may be more successful.

Keep in mind that you can (and should be) getting all the rest you

need, be eating well, taking vitamins (especially B1), exercising

regularly and keeping productive.

Clean your house. If this seems overwhelming, clean a room.

Medications can be effective at treating social anxiety disorders.

Depending on the intensity of your disorder, doctors could advise

you to take medications for few days or longer. These medications

are used in combination with the cognitive–behavioral therapy.

Common medications include selective serotonin reuptake

inhibitors, benzodiazepines, monoamine oxidase inhibitor

antidepressants and beta-blockers. These block and reduce your

anxiety levels.

The best treatment is a combination of the behavioral treatment

with necessary psychotherapy. Therapists expose you to various

stressful and anxiety-producing situations. They guide you and your

emotions through these situations during treatment. Most therapists

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have the view that medication should be the last choice of

treatment. Behavioral therapy can prove very beneficial for those

who are experiencing social anxiety disorder.

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is a common disorder with more

occurrences in women than in men. Around two to three percent of

the total population suffers from this disorder. This anxiety

syndrome makes you anxious for no apparent reason. You

constantly dread some sort of impending doom.

The cause could be anything or nothing. Although the cause or

source of the anxiety may not appear very serious to others, it

greatly hampers your normal routine and performance in all


Additional stress, like a job loss, financial constraints, divorce or

death of a close family member or friend may all contribute to

amplifying the disorder.


Generalized anxiety disorder exhibits many different symptoms with

varied intensities. These symptoms could occur in isolation or in

combination. Some of them are -

An edgy feeling with impatience

Unable to concentrate; becoming easily distracted

Muscular tension with headaches and body aches

Tiring very easily

Irritated feeling all the time

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Excessive sweating with regular bouts of breathlessness

Having problems with falling and remaining asleep

Stomach ache with diarrhea

Trembling; fast heart palpitations


You should have any three symptoms for major part of a six-month

periodbefore doctors categorize you as having generalized anxiety


Diagnosis of the Disorder

If you remain anxious, without any solid backing for your anxiety, it

is best to consult a physician.

A thorough analysis of all symptoms can help doctors diagnose your

true problem, and they will make certain that you do not suffer from

any other major medical conditions like hypertension, cardiac

problems, thyroid disease, drug or alcohol abuse, hypoglycemia or


Treatment Options

Treatments for this disorder include tranquilizers, antidepressants

and psychotherapy sessions. A few of the antidepressant drugs that

give relief are:

1. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like sertraline and


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2. Tranquilizers, like clonazepam and benzodiazepines help

reduce symptoms of the disorder. However, the use of

benzodiazepines should be for a short period, as continued

use could make you dependent on the drug. Withdrawal

should be gradual.

Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy sessions may help

you to understand the nature and occurrence of the symptoms, and

thereby combat them effectively.

Different relaxation techniques also benefit many suffrers.

Prevention is a Better Option

Generalized anxiety disorder is primarily due to a tendency to be

hyperactive. Therefore, follow these tips to help to maintain your

calm attitude:

Put past tribulations in your life in perspective and start fresh.

Whenever you start to feel anxious, control your emotions by

locating the cause for your anxiety. This can help you address the

problem and find its solution, thereby calming your nerves.

Manage your feelings of anxiousness. Try the breathing exercises.

Avoid anxiety by involving your mind with a hobby, reading,

puzzles, or by going for a brisk walk.

Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, take enough rest and set

aside time to relax.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder with

characteristic compulsive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. These

thoughts translate into obsessive actions, which often disrupt your

normal life.

Until recently, doctors thought childhood experiences to be the main

cause for Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, recent

researches indicate neurological factors to be the main cause.

Common Symptoms

This is a mostly a chronic disorder, although you can have

temporary bouts of the symptoms. If you have severe OCD, you will

not be able to work normally at home or office. You are aware that

your obsessions and compulsions are unrealistic. But, you are

unable to control them.

Symptoms for OCD are primarily obsessions and compulsive

rituals. Obsessions differ from person to person but remain

persistent and invoke anxiety. Obsessions normally concentrate on

the following:

Constant fear of contamination. You feel that you could spread

germs or diseases. You feel that having sexual relations with your

spouse is dirty.

You have a constant fear of violence, or need to make yourself or

your family ever more safe. You feel that the locking or security of

your home is insufficient and intruders could get in to harm you.

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You feel that you might lose your control and cause unintentional

harm to somebody, or behave abnormally in front of others.

You have an obsession for everything to be perfect and that there

should be no compromise anywhere. You get upset if ever there is

any disruption in the smallest detail.

Compulsive Rituals

OCD sufferers develop compulsive rituals. Some of them are –

Repetitive washing of hands

Repetitive checking of locks and stoves

Refusing to shake hands or use doorknobs

Incessant arranging of clothes in a particular order

Compulsorily repeating a particular prayer or word


Medications and Behavior therapy provide relief from OCD.

Medications include the use of selective serotonin re-uptake

inhibitors like Paxil, Luvox, Sertraline and Prozac.

Follow your doctor’s advice.

Psychotherapy sometimes involves the compulsorily performance of

the obsessed actions so that the patient feels in control rather than


Therapists may expose you to the anxiety creating situations.

However, they prevent you from performing the compulsive rituals.

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Regular practice sessions of increasing duration can help you to

overcome your compulsive disorder.

Another way of overcoming OCD is to practice clenching your fists

or deep breathing to let the thought pass away. Distracting your

mind to other thoughts and hobbies can offer excellent relief from

your compulsive obsessions.

Sometimes this works, but sometimes one compulsive behavior only

gets replaced with another.

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Specific Phobia

Specific phobias are anxiety disorders. These phobias are nothing

less than intense fear of a particular or specific situation or object.

Often, these are not dangerous situations or objects. But, you react

adversely to it.

You may have a fear of flying in planes or visiting the dentist. You

might avoid driving on highways or prefer not to use elevators.

More than six million American adults have this disorder. Specific

phobia disorder is more common in women than in men. For some,

this disorder starts in childhood and continues into adolescence and

adulthood. Some develop it in adulthood, although such occurrences

are rare.

There is not yet a particular cause that is identified for specific

phobia disorder.

Is Specific Phobia The Same as Fear?

No, Specific phobia is very different from normal fear. The phobia of

a particular thing is very intense. The humorous part of specific

phobia is that you may laugh at your fears when not confronted by


However, you are a transformed person when in the actual

situation. Therefore, you do your best and go to unreasonable

lengths to stay away from the situation, or anything that could

cause the situation to occur. Some phobias, such as a fear of high

places, generally have no impact on a person’s daily life. If,

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however, if you are, say, terrified of shoes, then living a normal life

may become problematic.

How to Diagnose Your Specific Phobia

Specific phobias affect aver age people and are not a psychiatric

disorder. The following characteristics might help you to identify

your fear as a Specific Phobia:

The fear factor is overwhelming and you experience fear even just

at the mention of the object or situation

Panic arises and escalates to high levels when in the actual


You avoid confronting the situation even at the cost of interfering

with your normal routines. You may spend many hours thinking of

the situation.

Astonishingly, you are aware of the fact that all your specific

phobias or fears are irrational.

Types of Specific Phobia

Specific phobia is usually of the following five types -

1. Fear of part of the natural environment; storms, heights or


2. Fear of animals

3. Fear of situations like elevators, planes or enclosed places

4. Fear of injury and blood or injections

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5. Fear of events like choking, illness, and vomiting


Treatments include alternative therapy and medications. Simple

medications may release your tension and help to reduce your

anxiety levels. This restricts the development of anxious situations.

Medications include small doses of alprazolam or clonazepam.

Antidepressants may also provide relief.

Alternative therapies include hypnotherapy, acupuncture, massage,

immersive virtual reality, energy balance approaches and applied

tension. All these therapies function with the sole aim of relaxing

your nerves and muscles while developing deep breathing


During an applied tension therapy session, therapists instruct you to

tense you muscles to increase your blood pressure. This helps stop

your tendency to faint at the sight of blood. Similarly, massage and

acupuncture may ease your muscular tension, which prevents fear

psychosis erupting in simple situations.

Sometimes, therapists expose you to your particular fear, or

situation, to overcome your phobia. This is called immersive virtual

reality. Visualization, or virtual realization of the situation, with the

help of a therapist, may help you to overcome these specific

phobias. The process is divided into simple, manageable steps, and

you do not continue on to the next step until your anxiety level for

the step you are on is within your control.

Such therapies and treatments require you to cooperate extensively

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with your therapist for positive results.

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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder develops after the occurrence of the

traumatic event that is the cause of it. Although you may not have

been in the actual dangerous situation, nor have been injured, you

could still develop Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This

anxiety disorder is common among soldiers, terrorist attack victims,

victims of sexual molestation and rape and survivors of natural

disasters like earthquakes and floods, or accident victims.

Post-traumatic stress disorder causes you to keep replaying the

events over and over in your mind. The memories may be

disturbing and, sometimes, emotionally and physically paralyzing .

You may experience nightmares and often do not sleep well.

This anxiety often induces panic attacks and feelings of guilt and

paranoia. These feelings could lead to depression and consequent


Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder

Symptoms of this disorder may develop within a month of the

occurrence of the event, and last for up to three months. In some

people, it could develop soon after the trauma. This variation is

called acute stress disorder. Sometimes, it could develop only years

after the event.

Common symptoms are:

Regular repetition of the traumatic events and memories

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Avoidance of anything that is symbolic of the event or likely

to revive memories of the traumas.

You become numb and uninterested in important situations.

You are unable to recall parts of the event.

You become worried or anxious in simple, normal situations

and cannot concentrate on anything.

You are unable to sleep peacefully, and wake intermittently.

Feelings of insecurity, apprehension, and fear of the



Treatment of PTSD is essential to reduce occurrence of the

symptoms and prevent further problems. Common treatment

options for PSTD include antidepressants and effective professional

counseling. Further treatment includes proper education and

adequate support.

Effective treatment helps you to feel safe, and develops your sense

of belonging. It also prevents further occurrence of symptoms or

other conditions like depression, alcoholism or drug abuse.

Tranquilizers may help subdue your emotions and help bring you to

a manageable level.

Treatment sessions for PTSD patients are normally on an outpatient

basis, although severe cases require hospitalization. From three to

six months of professional counseling may be necessary to bring

you to a normal state and capable of living a normal life.

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Behavioral therapy for PTSD concentrates on changing your thinking

patterns. Sometimes, therapists expose you to similar situations to

recover from the trauma, by getting you to realize that the danger

is past.

Sometimes, it is necessary to involve your full family in the



You can help yourself by maintaining good health with the help of a

balanced diet, regular exercise and sleeping adequately - for eight

to nine hours at a time. Also, avoid alcohol and drugs as a way to

help you come over your trauma and lead a normal life.

Self-support groups also help.

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This phobia is characterized by panic or anticipatory anxiety and

avoidance of open or public places, due to an abnormal fear of being

helpless in a situationm from which escape may be difficult or


Agoraphobic individuals try to avoid fearful situations. Some of them

lead seemingly normal lives as they distance themselves from

anxious situations. Some others refuse to move out of their home.

This is a difficult situation, as it hampers normal social and

employment routines.

Agoraphobia is not as common as other anxiety disorders. It affects

less than one percent of the total population. However, its

occurrence is twice as often in women as in men. It normally

develops during your twenties.


Doctors can diagnose agoraphobia by a thorough examination and

evaluation. There may be no need for laboratory tests. Doctors,

however, may check for severe medical conditions like psychological

disorders, traumas and others.

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

Fear of being alone

Fear of being in unfamiliar situations, or surroundings

Fear of doing anything embarrassing in public places

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Refusing to go out of their home

Feeling of being dependent on others

Feeling that your body and environment is unreal and


Agitated feelings with twitching and trembling

Excessive sweating and becoming breathless

Dizziness and fainting

Chest pain, fast heartbeats, nausea, vomiting

Stomach upsets

Unconnected thoughts with fear of death

Treatment Options

Agoraphobia treatment options include medications, therapies or a

combination of both. Normally, medications help subdue your

hyperactive emotions and therapies help you to develop your

abilities to combat further rise of emotions.

Severe cases of agoraphobia may take years to resolve.


Antidepressant medicines like alprazolam, paroxetine, sertraline and

flextime may be useful for inhibiting the production of serotonin.


Pharmacotherapy is a type of therapy that is aimed at reducing the

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frequency and severity of the panic and anxiety associated with

agoraphobia. You slowly realize that there was nothing to be afraid

of, and try to venture into previously fearful locations and

situations. This helps to overcome your agoraphobic disorder.

The combination of antidepressants and therapies like

psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, can provide faster and better

relief from the symptoms of agoraphobia than was previously


The relapse rate in such treatments is very low.

Psychodynamic Treatment

This type of treatment involves talking sessions with you and the


The therapist listens to you and tries to find the reasons for your

emotional disturbances. This, hopefully, gives you time to have, or

gain, valuable insight. Talking helps to reassure you; you feel lighter

and better. You talk about the long buried thoughts and fears in

your mind, and find solace in the words of the therapist.

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Claustrophobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes fear of

closed and confined spaces. Claustrophobics feel they are

suffocating in trains, elevators, closed auditoriums, theaters,

aircrafts and amongst crowds.

Claustrophobia is very common. Many people are unaware of their

own claustrophobia.

Causes of Claustrophobia

This anxiety disorder could be due to some traumatic event in your

childhood or could develop because of frequent panic attacks. The

real cause of claustrophobia is locked in your subconscious mind. As

human beings, we all have some things in common, including

having been carried in our mother’s wombs. If mom was upset,

threatened, or injured at this time, Jr. might become claustrophobic.

You might have watched a television show that scared you. Or, you

might have let your mind dwell on things in life that terrify you.

Putting yourself in a position where you feel you cannot get free,

can cause all kinds of panic symptoms.

Once you have thought of, or seen, these fearsome things, your

subconscious mind labels the incident or occurrence as a perceived

danger, and your brain immediately reacts to it.

Your emotions rise and you feel fear and tension.

Some people experience claustrophobia almost all the time and do

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not need any specific triggers or stimuli.

Symptoms of Claustrophobia

Nausea, dizziness, and fainting

Intense sweating with increased heart rate

Tense breathing and shaking of your body

Fear of illness, or infliction of harm


Treat claustrophobia with competent care and therapy. Medications

and therapies that may hold the key to claustrophobia include

antidepressants and tranquilizers that aim to reduce the intensity of


Therapies may provide better relief from claustrophobia.

Cognitive behavior therapy can help change your attitudes and

mindset regarding incidents that can cause such anxiety.

Flooding is a type of ‘exposure’ treatment that confine you to

closed spaces. You slowly realize that there is nothing to be afraid of

and may get over your disorder.

Counter-conditioning therapy induces you to develop specific

techniques to exercise control over your fear-inducing emotions.

Simple breathing techniques and mind relaxation techniques help to

achieve this control.

Normally, treatment sessions extend to bi-weekly sessions for eight

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to ten weeks. These treatments are on an outpatient basis. Only

severe cases should need in-patient treatment.

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Anxiety Disorders in Children

Anxiety disorders can be present in children and adolescents.

Sometimes, anxiety disorders start from a young age and manifest

in adulthood. Often, traumatic or serious incidents in childhood are

the main cause for anxiety disorders later in life. Normally, children

with such disorders are uneasy and fear, or worry, too much about

almost everything.

These disorders are often the cause for many problems like a low-

level of self-confidence, irregular attendance at school, the inability

to complete school or the inability to mix with their peer group.

Sometimes, these children find refuge in drugs and alcohol.


You may find signs of anxiety disorders in children between the

ages of six and eight. During this period, children evolve from being

babies. They do not believe in imaginary creatures as much and

most have lost their fear of darkness. They give more importance to


If your child shows undue concern and worry about school

performance, has a difficult time making friends or is listless or

apathetic, it may be time to investigate.

Talk to your child and talk to their teacher. Take your child to see

the school counselor and, if you are still concerned, pay for

professional help.

These concerns and worries could carry forward into adolescence,

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and beyond.

Youngsters between the ages of nine and seventeen often

experience all kinds of anxiety. Most of this is quite natural. Life is


The percentage that suffers this kind is higher in girls than in boys.

Overall, 13% of children are at a risk for anxiety disorders. Some

children exhibit additional disorders, such as depression, body

mutilation as well as a number of physical ailments.

Types of Anxiety Disorders in Children

Anxiety disorders in children may be of the following types -

Separation Anxiety Disorder: This disorder is more common

among young children as they are unable to bear separation from

parents. Young ones cling to you at the school entrance and cry


These children generally become fine after a time. Some of these

children could develop symptoms of withdrawal and depression if

not handled properly at this time. If your child does not quickly

adapt, maybe you should consider seeking the school counselor’s

advice and find out what it is that you are doing, or not doing, that

keeps little Jr. so upset.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This disorder is characterized by

excessive worry by your child about normal, daily activities. These

children remain tense and anxious about their academic

performance, daily attendance and schoolwork, sports, or even

being on time. Physical symptoms could be imaginary pains and

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discomfort. You have to offer extensive reassurance to such


Phobias: Adolescents sometimes develop excessive and unrealistic

views, or attitudes, concerning specific places, objects and

situations. These phobias could center on physical features like rain,

animals, heights or may develop as emotional anxiety, like peer


Attempts by these children to avoid stressful, or compromising

situations may lead to severe disruptions in your life as well as


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: This disorder sets in because of

traumatic incidents like child molestation, physical or sexual abuse,

violence, natural disasters or other frightening happenings. The

children find it difficult to sleep, and get a fright out of simple


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: This disorder means that

children or adolescents indulge in repetitive behavior and obsessive

thinking. It is quite disturbing to witness.

Panic Disorder: Panic attacks occur in children and adolescents

without any obvious cause. These attacks consist of excessive

sweating, nausea, dizziness and a feeling of impending death or

disaster. The overall effect of the attack may be so intense that

children fear another attack and, therefore, remain tense and


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Behavioral therapy: Children learn to combat their fears by