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July 26, 2012 - Image 78

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-07-26

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health & 'wellness

Summer Fears

Get a handle on anxiety.


ith summer here, many of
us breathe a sigh of relief.
With the cold of the win-
ter months gone, we can comfortably
spend more time outside. You might
enjoy taking a dip in the pool, hav-
ing dinner on an outdoor patio and
attending the slew
of summer social
events such as bar-
beques, graduation
parties and summer
weddings. But for
some people with
anxiety disorders,
the summer season
can bring about
Daitch Ph.D.
great distress.
Anxiety disorders
affect about 40 million Americans age
18 and older — and none of these
anxiety disorders go on hiatus to allow
anxiety sufferers to fully enjoy the
summer season.
In her book Anxiety
Disorders: The Go-to
Guide for Clients and
Therapists, psycholo-
gist Carolyn Daitch
Ph.D., director
of the Center for
the Treatment of
Anxiety Disorders
in Farmington
Hills, offers a
survival guide to
understand and
manage anxiety
across the spec-
trum of anxiety
phobias and
social anxiety dis-
order are two types of anxiety disor-
ders that can make summer a season
of heightened distress.
Specific phobias are an extreme fear
of and aversion to a particular thing
or situation, such as dogs, snakes,
spiders, heights, or the sight of blood
or needles. If you have a phobia, you
most likely recognize that your fear is
not rational. There's no logical reason
you can think of for the sight of your
phobic object or situation to inspire
such extreme terror. But reason with
yourself as you might, your extreme
fear does not abate.
For people with social anxiety
disorder, attending social gatherings
— big or small — can bring extreme
anxiety resulting from a fear of being
seen and judged by others or doing

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78 July 26 • 2012



something that might cause embar-
rassment or ridicule. This intense
anxiety then triggers the body's
nervous system to rev up, causing
physical reactions, including blush-
ing, sweating, stammering, dizziness
or disorientation, shaking hands or
heart palpitations. The only remain-
ing course of action, it might seem, is
to avoid that which you fear.
Yet avoidance isn't your only
option. If you do suffer from anxiety,
treatment is well worth your while.
There are many simple and effective
treatments for anxiety disorders.
Consider Sharon (all names have
been changed), who suffers from
arachnophobia, the intense fear of
spiders. Sharon came to therapy at
the insistence of her husband, David.
"Boating is David's passion. He
loves that boat of his like it's his
child," Sharon said in her first ses-
sion. "But do you know how many
spiders can be on a single boat?
I just can't do
it. I tried to
tolerate it to
be with David,
but I gave up.
So now, we
spend most of
our weekends
apart, David on
the boat and me
at home."
When asked if
her spider phobia
affected other areas
of her life, Sharon
responded: "Well,
yes, actually, it has
gotten worse. Lately,
I've stopped garden-
ing in the summer,
which I used to love. Now that I think
about it, I don't really enjoy summers
much anymore because I live in abso-
lute terror that I'll see a spider when I
go outside'
After only a summer's worth
of psychotherapy, Sharon's once-
paralyzing fear of spiders shifted to
a tolerable dislike. Summer needn't
trigger a hotbed of physical discom-
fort and emotional unrest. With tar-
geted treatment approaches, you can
learn to experience a sense of ease
and even pleasure in the situations
that you once feared and avoided, and
enjoy a life no longer constrained by
summer fears.
For more information, go to www.
anxiety-treatment.com .

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