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Dr. Dana Season(Clinical Psychologist)answered(1/17/2012)Consistent anxiety and compulsive thoughts can difficult to cope with. Before you try medication, it is usually best to explore non-medicinal treatments. If after a concerted effort the therapeutic intervention does not relieve your symptoms, it would be appropriate to consider medication.
Often times if you can discover how the anxiety and compulsive thinking serves you and what is causing it you are more likely to successfully remedy it. One way to uncover triggers and themes of your your anxiety and compulsions is to use a Cognitive Behavioral Thought Record like the one in the link below
This worksheet provides easily understandable prompts to help you diary your daily thoughts. I recommend you use this daily anytime you have bothersome symptoms. Using this thought record consistently will help you feel a greater sense of control and understanding over your anxiety and compulsive thoughts. If you want to explore your concerns in depth you can bring your thought record to a psychologist and they can help you interpret it.
Do not forget that change takes time and can feel uncomfortable until you get used to thinking in the new more adaptive ways. So have compassion for yourself and believe that you can change the way you think!
Andrea Labis, LCSW-R(Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Private Practice)answered(7/31/2012)HI Anon, I couldn't agree more about seeking psychotherapy first. A very useful tool, that I implement in my practice, is to have my clients ask themselves: "If I were not feeling anxious right now, what WOULD I be feeling?' In my experience, anxiety is like the surface of the ocean and so many other feelings are like its depths--just out of sight but easily accessible. I hope that this is helpful for you too--and be patient with yourself. Change that is slow and steady will last over time--bulldozing often leaves us vulnerable and clinging to old ways of thinking.
Evelyn Resh MPH,CNM(Certified Sexuality Counselor & Nurse-Midwife)answered(8/1/2012)When I work with patients who are dealing with anxiety, I always ask them the following question: "Who is making your decisions for you? Is your anxiety making the decisions with you follow along behind it, or are you making the decisions in the company of some anxiety?" If your answer is the first, then medication is probably a good idea. I also always ask whether there is a family history of anxiety and depression in any first degree relative: mother, father, siblings. Also, how long have the symptoms been present and when did they start. These are helpful diagnostics tools and can make it easier to decide if medication would be best.
Michelle Otelsberg(Marriage & Family Therapist)answered(8/2/2012)Hi anon - I would also like to put in my two cents since I specialize in the treatment of anxiety and OCD. Studies show that medication is great for the treatment of anxiety disorders. They also show that cognitive behavior therapy is great for treatment. What I usually suggest for individuals who suffer from anxiety but are generally able to lead a functional life (the anxiety is not preventing you from working, attending school, volunteering, brushing your teeth, showering, etc) is to first try cognitive behavioral therapy. Through cbt you will learn how to identify your automatic thoughts and change your behaviors in order to learn how to tolerate the anxiety. Unfortunately just talking about the anxiety doesn't solve the problem. If therapy alone doesn't work, or you are too anxious to do the work that needs to be done in therapy, you may want to try medication in conjunction with their cbt. Good luck!
Michelle Brock(Certified Life Coach & Hypnotist)answered(8/9/2012)I would start by sitting with it. That is often the hardest thing to do, since when we feel anxious we immediately want to stop the feelings, especially because they are so painful. But, the only way you can work through it is to be in it. Medication can help, especially if it is so severe that you cannot function in your daily life, but I think you are intuitively seeking a way to heal the symptoms rather than treat them. When you sit, close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Feel yourself being anxious, and let yourself imagine any images that arise that may be attached to it. Try not to judge yourself during this practice, and let your mind show you what you are feeling. If you can discover the root of your anxiety and your compulsions, you can then deal with them more consciously. What truth are your symptoms trying to tell you? Trust that the answers do lie within and also know that this too shall pass.
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Anonymousanswered(2/10/2012)I've suffered from anxiety and compulsive thinking since before my teens and it can definitely take a toll on you. I definitely recommend first seeking therapy before taking any sorts of medications so you can figure out what causes these moments to happen. Mine was a deep rooted issue and as I came to terms with it, my anxiety and compulsions eased. As Dr. Season mentioned, having compassion for yourself and knowing that you can change the way you think is key!!
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Crimsonanswered(2/21/2012)Have you tried meditation? Seriously, even just two minutes every morning has helped me feel calmer throughout the day. And whenever I feel myself started to get anxious, I start to take deep breaths in and out and it calms me.