17 Mar 2017

Anxiety And Panic Attacks

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From Healing Young Brains, and our Practice:

Imagine if you will, living in a state of constant worry.  Sometimes it is just a sense of uneasiness; at other times, it is a chronic state of fear; and at still other times, it is a paralysis of will.  There are people who spend their life bracing for what could happen.  Some individuals are in constant dread of some event that may or may not happen.  Others have episodic dread and even panic.  Technically speaking, this exaggerated fear response is a result of an overexcited limbic system.  That is a part of the brain that responds to emotions.

We often refer to anxiety and panic attacks as the disorder of “what if.”  What if this happens, what if that happens, what if I get sick, what if they die, what if the sky falls, Henny Penny?  Most of us are not paralyzed by the future.  Sure, things can happen and we could suffer the insults of life, but we will deal with it when it happens.  For others, however, their entire lives are predicated on what could happen; the thoughts and images they conjure are not very pleasant.  They are living almost exclusively in the future, which means that they have abdicated the now.  There is very little danger in the now.  If people stopped to look realistically at the now, they would find that they are in no immediate danger of death, starvation, mutilation, or any of the other awful fears they have.  The now is usually very safe, but patients with anxiety and panic don’t live in the now because they are too busy fighting with the future.  Neurofeedback calms the overexcited limbic system and helps them focus on living in the now.

We have seen a wide variety of patients who have benefited greatly from brainwave biofeedback/neurofeedback.  The patients have varied enormously, from the physician who had a belt phobia (true) to the child with generalized anxiety, from test phobias to panic attacks and everything in between.  Anxiety, like depression and most other emotional disorders, does not know boundaries.  Anxieties are prevalent in every nook and cranny of this and every other country, and they are not limited to age, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Children frequently have anxieties about the broad new world they are facing; fortunately for most children, these are just stages that they grow through.  For some children, however, anxiety becomes a way of life and many of their anxieties are carried into adulthood.  Anxieties also tend to generalize from one worry to another, to another.  Many of our adult patients report that they were “worriers” for as long as they could remember.  We frequently hear childhood stories of anxieties that persist even into the late stages of adult life.  If we can work with the children before these “worries” become entrenched, we can save a lot of pain in later years.

The process of healing begins with a brain map/qeeg.   The dysregulation is to be found there and we are trained to identify these patterns and know how to train the brain to regulate itself in healthy patterns.