Anxiety

Expectation
Anxiety is a generally a long term emotion, often developed over many years.  The combined neurotherapy and psychotherapy, sometimes with biofeedback training, may bring relief in ten to fifteen sessions.  It is important to practice the techniques, replacing the prior long term anxiety.  Sometimes, the anxiety is related to obsessions or compulsions, such that stopping by itself may be anxiety producing.  Because anxiety is so persistent, twenty or more sessions may be necessary.  Learning new behaviors can be extremely pleasing, but requires remembering to practice.  Do not stop medications without physician approval,  discontinuing may be life threatening.

The Story
Margaret (a hypothetical name) was T-Boned at an intersection by another vehicle running the stop sign. Margaret was clearly in the right, but developed profound fear and anxiety from either passing near the intersection or just thinking about it. Margaret would drive longer distances to avoid driving near the feared intersection, where she had been t-boned, to avoid nervousness and nausea. Margaret continued to have nightmares of the MVA incident for the following year. Nightmares were several nights a week, and she woke with racing heart, sweating and difficulty returning to sleep. She began to develop daytime fatigue, which did not resolve with naps. Anxiety medications helped, but there were also adverse side effects. Margeret considered herself out of control, and it was presenting difficulties at work, problems with her personal life. Her quality of life was diminished.

Seen for therapy, Margaret was skeptical that anything could help. With a combination of relaxation techniques and neurotherapy, after a few months, Margaret began to live again. There would still be occasions where her PTSD was re-kindled, but she developed an understanding of the dynamics and a repertoire of behaviors to counteract the devastating PTSD.

Discussion
The neurotherapy protocol used with Margaret, was the outcome of a brainmap, which identified areas of high frequency EEG or fast brainwaves. Her hyperactive brain had difficulty slowing down. With neurofeedback, also called neurotherapy training, Margaret learned how to calm her mind when she needed to, resulting in her ability to, somewhat tremulously sometimes, drive by the intersection where she had been hit, without kindling a full blown anxiety attack or later PTSD symptoms. This took about twenty sessions, which she felt was time well spent. The physiology is clearly understood with cardiovascular changes, autonomic hyperarousal, and general increase in muscle tone. All of the above, can be to a large extent, attributed to the brain associating her fear response to the memory of the trauma, for some persons, persisting for years. Her success was also partially due to learning more about her body's response to her frightening memory, through psychotherapy.

Margaret's problems are only one of a class of traumas individuals experience. PTSD may result from rape, assault, combat, or for that matter, any sort of life threatening trauma. The trauma can also be mental or emotional, possibly going back many years. PTSD can be resolved.

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