Many of us up have grown up with a history of trauma or abuse, that we would like to leave in our past. Whether the trauma has just happened recently or it is something that we have lived with a long time, sometimes we need help dealing with it. We now know that trauma during childhood changes the brain in terms of how it develops anatomically, and adult trauma changes how the brain functions.
New research on brain function suggests that anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are distinct from fear disorders, such as Panic Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In anxiety disorders a tendency to worry too much is coupled with various physical or behavioral manifestations. In fear disorders, there is a conditioned response to an event that initially caused a fear response, and observations of other creatures have led to greater understanding of the same responses in humans.
The basis of fear disorders is the fear response, which consists of an initial freeze (like a deer in the headlights) and then a release of strong stress hormones which in the original situation provoke a desire for fight of flight, which may or may not be acted upon depending the situation, since sometimes the trauma cannot be escaped. However in the event that something in the environment reminds of the trauma we may attempt to either avoid it, as in Phobias, or Agoraphobia, or we may simply develop irrational fears of the fear response itself (Panic Disorder), or a combination of avoidance, intrusive reexperiencing, and parts of the fear response (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Because we now understand that anxiety disorders and fear disorders are different we also understand that they require differing treatment approaches. Whereas Generalized Anxiety Disorder and OCD respond to a variety of medications and psychotherapeutic approaches , the fear disorders are different, and have not found to be generally responsive to medications as of yet. They can benefit from cognitive/ behavioral approaches which utilize education, relaxation training, cognitive restructuring, self-monitoring and especially exposure to the things that are being avoided. Dr. Cousins has over 25 years experience in providing successful treatment for people that suffer from all of the above disorders whether they have been going on for a few weeks or many years. He understands what is needed and can help you make a decision not to live with the problem, but to conquer the problem. Each individual problem and person is different but most people can benefit from treatment. Sometimes we suffer a lot longer than the time it takes to feel better.