Exploring the ins and outs of anxiety – Enumclaw Courier

Health experts say anxiety is a normal part of every day life.

But while most people experience it occasionally as stressful situations ebb and flow, an estimated fifth of the U.S. population’s daily activities are affected by persistent anxiety, which can lead to numerous physical and mental health problems if left untreated, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

This is why, as the second part of its three-part workshop series about suicide prevention and mental health education, the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation, the Enumclaw School District, and the Enumclaw Schools Foundation is hosting a showing of “Angst,” on Wednesday, March 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Enumclaw High commons.

After the movie is finished, there will be an follow-up panel discussion with four Enumclaw School District counselors — Tina Hickcox from Kibler Elementary, Rebecca Bowen from Southwood Elementary, Sandy Wright from Thunder Mountain Middle School, and Kami Johnson from EHS.

In a group interview with them and several other district counselors, they all agreed that one of their biggest concerns when it comes to their students are their stress and anxiety levels, which appear to be on the rise, even for elementary school students.

“There’s more of an awareness with what’s happening in the world. The information that’s out there, there’s more access, so kids are bringing up things that are well beyond their years more frequently than before,” said Bowen, who’s been a counselor for more than 25 years. She added that she’s had students ask her about terrorists and suicide, topics that rarely came up in conversation pre-9/11. “There’s this connection they don’t have, the prefrontal cortex development, to understand how that relates to them personally. It has created, in my experience, a lot more general anxiety, with a lower ‘a’, not a capitalized diagnosable [disorder], amongst more children.”

This is normal brain development — according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the brain typically doesn’t finish developing until the mid-20s. Until then, children and teenagers think with their amygdala, where the brain process emotions, whereas adults use their prefrontal cortex, where rational thinking is done.

This could explain why, as Enumclaw Middle School Counselor Kristina Grundmanis put it, middle and high schoolers have a hard time separating presentation from reality, especially on social media.

“I project my ideal life in my Instagram. That doesn’t mean that’s my day-to-day life. And I’m an adult and I understand that difference,” she said. “When you’re younger, everything you see is reality. Everything that is presented to you is reality.”

But the problem isn’t that we experience stress or anxiety, they all said. Those emotions, in a healthy, safe situation, ought to encourage people to be prepared and excel — you would never study for a test if you weren’t anxious about the outcome, Johnson said.

Instead, the issue is that some students don’t have the opportunity or time to healthily deal with that normal anxiety, which can build on itself.

“In addition to busy schedules and being more engaged in technology is less access to things that research has shown to reduce anxiety,” Bowen said. “Being out in nature, having calm time, mindfulness of just being, conversations with caring adults that are not distracted… a lot of that is hard to find these days in kids.”

And in a society so focused on instant gratification — especially instantaneous emotional gratification through social media — some students just don’t understand de-stressing takes time and effort, Johnson said.

“You can’t take five deep breaths and instantly feel better,” she continued. “It’s all about those neural pathways.”

For example, students that are constantly pulled from class because they tell their counselors that they’re anxious are training their brains to avoid stress rather than coping with it, Johnson said. This is not always a healthy coping mechanism, especially since avoiding class makes graduating high school an uphill battle.

“It’s difficult, once we get to high school, to have those times to teach them and say, it’s alright” to be stressed, Johnson continued.

This is why it’s important to start teaching students at a young age techniques to cope with stress, they all agreed. Wright said it helps when students take time to name their feelings and have a calm discussion about where their stress is originating from.

When students are exhibiting extreme stress, Grundmanis said one successful technique she uses is called “grounding.”

“One of my favorite questions to ask students when I see them starting to elevate and escalate is, ‘What do you smell right now?’ because it brings that attention to… what is that sensory input right then. And then we go through the other senses,” she said.

Bringing attention away from the emotional center of the brain to another part is a technique Scilla (pronounced Sheila) Andreen, the director of “Angst,” said she learned early on in her professional life.

“I get so much anxiety before my public speaking, when I’m doing a big presentation, so I carry a little smooth rock that I’m constantly touching, or I snap, because people don’t seem to notice when I snap, and I snap quietly,” Andreen said. “It helps to move the energy from the amygdala to the frontal cortex — anxiety can’t exist there.”

Although Andreen said she has some general and social anxiety in her life, that wasn’t why she decided to make a documentary about mental health.

“A friend of mine asked if I could make a movie about mental health, and I said no, I don’t even know how to touch that topic,” she said. “And she died by suicide, so I was very motivated to make a movie about mental health, and thought, if our audience is schools and communities and corporations around the world, how do we make a movie that audience is going to want to watch, from ages 10 and up?”

The answer she came to was anxiety, because she believes many more serious mental health issues stem from too much uncontrolled anxiety.

“We can fall into these bigger, deeper, medical health issues, whether it’s depression or OCD,” Andreen said, clarifying that there are genetic components to anxiety disorders, as well as environmental factors. “Anxiety is the tip of it, and if you can maintain a healthy dose of anxiety, that’s awesome. The minute it becomes a disorder, you have to address it.”

Addressing and treating actual anxiety disorders isn’t a part of the Enumclaw School District counselors’ jobs, the counselors said, although they are aware several of their students have diagnosis, and suspect several others could be diagnosed. They can help in a pinch — like Grundmanis using her grounding techniques to help a student out of a panic attack — but they all said when it comes to real disorders, they help parents refer out to specialists. After a child is diagnosed, they continued, then they can work with the mental health professional to aid the child in school.

Luckily, they added, with more available information about anxiety disorders out there — like the movie “Angst, — more parents are willing to have a conversation about anxiety disorders and help seek treatment for their children.

The phrase “anxiety disorder” is an umbrella term for several disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, which include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), separation anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and other specific phobias.

And while depression isn’t classified as an anxiety disorder, there is a strong connection between the two.

“It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa,” the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website reads. “Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.”

The ADAA says anxiety disorders as the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting 18 percent of the country’s population.

Of the myriad disorders, social anxiety disorder is one of the most common, affecting nearly 7 percent of Americans. According to a 2007 survey, 36 percent of people who identified as having social anxiety disorder waited 10 years or more before seeking treatment.

Other disorders, like generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, each affect about 3 percent of Americans, with women being twice as likely to be affected than men.

According to the ADAA and the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly a quarter to a third of children between the ages of 13 and 18 have an anxiety disorder, although only roughly 8 percent suffer from “severe impairment.”

“Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse,” the ADAA’s website reads.

But research also shows that anxiety disorders are highly treatable — though only 37 percent of people with a disorder seek treatment — the ADAA continued, and the Enumclaw School District counselors agreed that families tend to be more open now about discussing mental health and mental health treatment, and there are more services for people wishing to seek treatment, even in town, including Nexus Youth and Families and Valley Cities.

However, while many families appear to be willing to discuss mental health and even seek treatment for their child during a crisis, the counselors notice when there’s no followthrough, and they agreed that even when a crisis is over, seeking continued treatment is important.

“It will take time,” Johnson said. “There is no instant fix out there.”

Anxiety versus Panic – Know the Differences and How To Deal with Both

Anxiety versus Panic – Know the Differences and How To Deal with Both

Mridu Walia – Mechanical
Posted on: February 20, 2019

Today I will be mainly be talking about the differences between an anxiety attack and a panic attack because more often than not, people talk about it as if they are the same thing and use the terms interchangeably in a conversation. However, that is not the case as even though the symptoms for both anxiety and panic are kind of overlapping, they have key characteristics that distinguish one from the other. Therefore, we will be beginning with an overview of the symptoms experienced during an anxiety and panic attack respectively, and then go on to outline the main differences between them. We will also discuss some ways to deal with both anxiety and panic attacks, including home remedies and simple lifestyle changes you can implement, as dealing with these issues can be both difficult and disruptive.

Anxiety attacks are more gradual and less intense as compared to panic attacks. Some of the emotional symptoms for an anxiety attack include – stress, restlessness, nervousness, fear, irritation; whereas some of the physical symptoms would include: shortness of breath, muscle tension, disturbed sleep, headache, sweating etc. However, these symptoms do overlap with the emotional and physical symptoms experienced during a panic attack along with some key ones that include: chest pain, heart palpitations, shaking/trembling, abdominal pain, intense pangs of fear, nausea etc. In the moment, it can often feel like you might be dying from a heart attack. Panic attacks are generally unexpected and sudden and bring on a sense of overwhelming and intense fear. Sometimes, an anxiety attack can lead to a panic attack too. Allow me to draw on my personal experiences and share this with you.

It was my first year at the university and I was supposed to participate in a presentation on our team project. The entire week I spent preparing for it, I remember being constantly anxious, eating lots of ice-cream (oh common? It was summer, and I was really stressed) and just pacing back and forth as I was trying to remember the lines for this presentation. I could not stand still in one place, I was so nervous. But I practiced a lot and finally began feeling confident that I might be able to pull this off. So, fast forward to the day of the presentation, my team and I have been watching our classmates present their projects. When it’s our turn to present, I get so majorly anxious as I walk towards the podium. My anxiety attack had turned into an intense panic attack because I have stage fright. I remember feeling nauseous, dizzy and light-headed as I waited for my turn to speak, and then when it was finally my turn to present, I remember my legs going numb and feeling this blinding abdominal pain. I wanted to sit down to catch my breath because I literally could not breathe. Needless to say, I didn’t do a great job presenting that term. So, just wanted to share this little anecdote before I continue talking about the differences between anxiety and panic attacks. But don’t worry, I will be sharing another incident that happened with me later on, so keep reading!

So, we now know how the symptoms can align as well as differ between anxiety and panic attacks. But what would also help, is to look at the clinical differences between these two terms. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, 5th edition or DSM-5, acts as a standard and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental illnesses. According to VeryWell Mind, the DSM-5 uses the term “panic attack” to describe the hallmark features associated with the condition known as panic disorder, which is categorized as an “anxiety disorder”. The term “anxiety attack” is not defined in the DSM-5. Rather, “anxiety” is used to describe a core feature of several illnesses identified under the headings of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) etc.

Alright, Ms. Walia, why don’t you Hakuna Matata? Well, if you have made it so far, thank you for being so patient. So that was a lot of information, right? Let’s give you a breather and discuss easy home remedies and lifestyle changes along with treatment options. I have GAD and here are a few things that have worked out for me and some people I know. Again, I am not a mental health professional, however, I would definitely like to share things that helped me deal with anxiety and panic attacks, in the hopes that it would help someone else out there.

I found out that drinking cold water or taking a walk in the cold really helps me to calm down and reconnect with my body. Deep breathing, I know it sounds cliché, but trust me when I say, it works! Panic attacks are commonly characterized by hyperventilation, which can amplify emotions such as fear, making it worse. By practising deep breathing, you are teaching your body how to control your breathing which can significantly reduce the hyperventilation. According to Healthline, focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your mouth, feeling the air slowly fill your chest and belly and then slowly leave them again. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a second, and then breathe out for a count of four. I know we have very busy lives, however, try and exercise on a regular basis. I am sure you all know the benefits to exercise, however, a quick recap: Having an active lifestyle not only keeps you fit (Confidence++) but also, releases endorphins in our systems. According to mindbodygreen, even moderate walking helps boost cognitive functions like reasoning, memory, attention span, and the expansion of information and knowledge.

I find that taking a hot shower or drawing myself a luxurious bath with salts really helps me deal with stress. If you are prone to panic attacks, have a travel size bottle of lavender oil on you. When you feel like you’re overwhelmed with anxiety or it feels like the onset of a panic attack, rub a few drops on your arms and just breathe in the scent. Lavender scent has stress-relieving and soothing qualities which, according to research, lowers the heart rate and blood pressure.

Enforce positive thinking by recognizing behaviours that affect you negatively. For example, consider this: you stepped on black ice, slipped and sprained your foot. Instead of saying, “Why does this happen to me?”, consider saying, “Okay, remember to walk like a penguin next time!”. Lastly, and this one is important, be forgiving of yourself. I strongly believe that things happen for a reason. Yes, when your life starts falling apart like dominos tiles, it’s difficult to believe that. I was very self-critical of myself and would internalize everything that happened in my life. But with time, I would realize, well this wasn’t really my fault now, was it? So, I am pretty new to this myself, but I try and forgive myself if something is not going the way I anticipated it to go. I tell myself: okay, take a minute and analyze what did you that was wrong and how could you do it better the next time? I know it is not as simple as that sounds, but if you get in the habit of thinking positively, it will become a behaviour eventually. I know I am going to try and implement this in my life, and I strongly encourage you all to try the same, because if you don’t love yourself, then who will? Forgiveness is a big part of loving someone, so answer me this: Do you love yourself enough to forgive yourself?

Alright! So, remember that other incident I mentioned about 750 words ago? Here it goes: I gave a presentation last term as part of my work term experience. I am proud to say it went very well! Naturally, I was anxious, but because I had been implementing positive behaviours and my coping mechanisms, I prevented that anxiety from turning into a panic attack. End result? I delivered a great presentation in front of the entire staff and 26 other coops and got a great evaluation from my supervisor too. It was an amazing experience altogether! Which brings me back to the conclusion: anxiety and panic attacks are different based on the intensity and longevity of the symptoms, but with the correct combination of treatment i.e. coping mechanisms and therapy etc, it can be a lot easier to deal with. To my readers, I hope you enjoyed reading this article and had a good reading break. Also, if you have midterms coming up, I wish you good luck!

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Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): causes, symptoms and treatment

Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD as it’s more commonly known, is a mental health condition in which a person has frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.

A common misconception is that OCD is a habit, usually in relation to cleanliness, but OCD is in fact a mental health condition affecting millions of people worldwide that can be extremely distressing and interfere with your life.

But how can you tell if you’re suffering from it and how is it treated? Dr Roger Henderson explains:

What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common but serious anxiety-related condition where the sufferer experiences frequent and recurring obsessive thoughts, usually followed by repetitive compulsions or impulses in response to the obsession.

A sufferer with OCD will typically fall into one of four main categories:

🔹 Checking rituals
🔹 Contamination thoughts
🔹 Hoarding tendencies
🔹 Intrusive thoughts and constant rumination on a particular subject

What are obsessions?

Obsessions are persistent, unwanted and intrusive unpleasant thoughts that keep coming into your mind. These are different to the normal everyday worries we all have about simple problems.

Obsessions are persistent, unwanted and unpleasant thoughts that keep coming into your mind.

Typical obsessions include fears about contamination with dirt and germs, or catching viruses such as HIV.

Others include leaving doors unlocked, causing people harm, worrying about swearing, needing things to be arranged in certain exact ways or a fear of behaving badly in public. However, an obsession can be about anything.

What are compulsions?

Compulsions are repetitive physical actions or mental rituals that are performed repeatedly to try to neutralise the anxiety caused by obsessions.

These often interfere with normal daily living – for example, washing your hands dozens of times a day – and any relief from anxiety they may cause reinforces the original obsession, and so effectively worsens the OCD.

Other examples of compulsions include checking doors repeatedly to make sure they are locked, compulsive cleaning, counting, organising, and saying words or numbers silently.

💡 It is important to point out that people with OCD do realise that their actions are irrational but feel powerless to prevent doing them because of their anxiety.

Who is at risk of OCD?

The exact cause of OCD is unclear but the chances of developing it is higher than average if your mother, father, brother or sister suffers from it.

Anyone of any age can develop OCD – regardless of gender or social background.

It is thought that between 1-3 in 100 adults in the UK have OCD. The World Health Organisation has ranked OCD in the top 10 of the most disabling illnesses of all kinds, in terms of how it affects someone’s quality of life and their associated loss of earnings.

Anyone of any age can develop OCD – regardless of gender or social background – but it usually first develops between the ages of 18 and 30.

Estimates put the number of UK sufferers at almost three quarters of a million people, but at least half of these are classified as being in the severe category of OCD and sufferers often go many years without being diagnosed, often because of feelings of shame or guilt they have about their OCD.

How is OCD diagnosed?

If you are concerned that you may have OCD, see your doctor. They will ask a number of questions, including the following:

  • Do you wash or clean a lot?
  • Do you repeatedly check things?
  • Are there persistent thoughts that upset you?
  • Do your daily activities take a long time to finish?
  • Are you concerned about putting things in a special order?
  • Do you have to start all over again if this order is disturbed?
  • Are you upset by mess?

    If it is felt from these initial questions that OCD may be a possibility, then a more detailed assessment is needed. It is diagnosed when any obsessions and compulsions take up at least an hour or more of time, cause significant distress in someone’s life, or interfere with normal daily functioning at home, work or school, or interfere with family life and relationships.

        Children suffering from OCD may be referred to a specialist mental health team who deal with assessing and treating children with OCD.

        What is the treatment for OCD?

        There are a few effective treatment plans for obsessive compulsive disorder:

        ✅ Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)

        CBT is a type of ‘talking’ therapy that focuses on the immediate problems someone has and helps them explore alternative ways of thinking to help challenge their beliefs and anxieties. It is probably the single most effective treatment for OCD. So, if you have OCD it is very helpful to understand that thoughts or obsessions in themselves do no harm, and that compulsive acts are not needed to counteract them.

        ✅ Medication, usually with an SSRI antidepressant medicine

        Although they usually used to treat depression, SSRI antidepressant medicines can also reduce the symptoms of OCD, even if depression is not present. It is believed they work by altering levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which many specialists believe is directly involved in causing OCD symptoms.

        Mental health support

        If you think you might have OCD, make an appointment with your GP. Meanwhile, try one of the following resources:

        ✔️ OCD UK: a charity which specifies in helping those suffering from OCD.

        ✔️ OCD Action: a charitable group offering support to and raising awareness of OCD sufferers.

        ✔️ Anxiety UK: a charity which supports those with any type of anxiety, OCD included.

        ✔️ The Samaritans: a charity providing support to anyone in emotional distress.

        ✔️ Mind: a charity that makes sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.

Global Anxiety Disorders and Depression Treatment Market Research & Technological Innovation by Leading Key Players Up To 2028

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Leading Players Of Anxiety Disorders and Depression Treatment Market Are:

AstraZeneca PLC, Eli Lilly and Company, Forest Laboratories, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, Lundbeck A/S, Johnson Johnson,, Merck Company, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., Sanofi- Aventis

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Global anxiety disorders and depression treatment market segmentation by drugs:
Serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Tricyclic antidepressants
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
Tetracyclic antidepressants
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
Atypical antipsychotics
Beta blockers

Global anxiety disorders and depression treatment market segmentation by indication:
Major depressive disorder
Obsessive- compulsive disorder
Traumatic stress disease

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The scope of this report centers on market drivers challenges, key market analyses, and competitive analysis trends. This report examines each market and its applications, technological innovations, Anxiety Disorders and Depression Treatment market projections, market sizes, regulatory scenario, and shares. Moreover, the Anxiety Disorders and Depression Treatment market report examines the most recent trends, pipeline products and developments in the Anxiety Disorders and Depression Treatment market. Complete profiles of leading companies in the market are also mentioned in this report.

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New medication being tested in Atlanta could help people with OCD

  • By:
    Linda Stouffer

    Updated: Feb 14, 2019 – 6:56 PM

ATLANTA – Crucial research underway in metro Atlanta could lead to relief for millions of people with a debilitating mental illness.

An estimated 2 percent of the population, or one in 50, has obsessive compulsive disorder.

UGA grad student Rachel Johnson realized something was wrong when she was 18.

“It was absolutely miserable, and I thought I was just losing my mind,” said Johnson.

OCD involves obsessive thoughts, then compulsive behavior to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts.

It can manifest itself in different ways. For some people, it’s excessive hand-washing, even to the point of their hands bleeding. Others repetitively flip light switches or check locks.

Johnson’s obsessive thoughts involved feeling the need to pray a certain number of times and in a certain way or her family and friends would die.

“Sometimes I would just spend hours and hours just praying. But it had to be, like, a certain way or I’d have to start all the way over,” said Johnson.

After a year of agony, Johnson searched her symptoms online, saw a therapist and was diagnosed with OCD.

She’s now managing her OCD through a combination of medications and therapy.

Now, there could be new help for Johnson and others with OCD.

iResearch Atlanta in Decatur is part of a clinical trial testing a new medication by Biohaven Pharmaceuticals.


Unlike current drugs on the market that are used broadly for depression, anxiety and OCD, the new medication being tested specifically targets OCD.

“It actually helps reduce the amount of glutamate that’s in the brain that may be causing a lot of the anxiety and the rituals and compulsions and obsessions that one is experiencing,” said iResearch Atlanta’s Dr. David Purselle.

Purselle told Channel 2 Action News 20 to 30 percent of the OCD patients who use the current medications on the market get very little benefit from them.

The hope is the new medication will reduce obsessive thoughts, compulsions and anxiety.

That could be life-changing for people with OCD in terms of overall happiness and productivity.

“It makes it very difficult to hold down jobs, to form good relationships, to have a good, active social life,” Purselle said.

The clinical trial will last two to three years.

For information on how to participate, click here: www.OCDtrial.org.

Alyson Stoner Talked About What Led To Her Eating Disorder Recovery

On Feb. 13, actor and singer Alyson Stoner opened up about seeking treatment for an eating disorder and how being a child star impacted her health in an interview with PEOPLE. Stoner is known as the pig-tailed dancing kid in Missy Elliot’s “Work It” music video and acting roles like Cheaper by the Dozen, Step Up, and the Disney original movie Camp Rock, PEOPLE reports. In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Stoner said working non-stop and becoming famous at such an early age affected her emotional and physical wellbeing, and she started developing health problems as early as six years old, including severe anxiety that caused heart palpitations, hair loss, and seizures. “As a kid, I learned to make fire out of fumes,” Stoner told PEOPLE. “It’s all I knew.”

Stoner told PEOPLE that she also experienced trust issues, difficulty socializing with others her age, and a “terrifying fear of failure.” Stoner says the mounting pressure led her to experience anorexia nervosa, exercise bulimia, and binge-eating disorder, according to PEOPLE. While in treatment for eating disorders, says PEOPLE, Stoner was also diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) tendencies, and alexithymia, a condition in which people have difficulty identifying and describing their feelings, according to a 2017 study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

You might think Stoner’s situation is not the norm because she’s a celebrity who faced an extreme amount of pressure and stress. But experiencing an eating disorder along with other mental illnesses is actually pretty common. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), mood and anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with eating disorders, but co-occurrence of mental illness with eating disorders is rarely talked about. Some of the mental health diagnoses that commonly can co-occur with an eating disorder include anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD, says NEDA, and those diagnoses can happen at any time — before symptoms of the eating disorder begins, after, or even during. It’s worth noting that eating disorder is itself considered a kind of mental illness, according to NEDA.

In a national survey of women with eating disorders, NEDA found that 94 percent of women had a co-occurring mood disorder and 92 percent had a co-occurring depressive disorder. The survey also found that there is a “markedly elevated risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder among those with eating disorders,” according to NEDA, with 69 percent of respondents with anorexia nervosa also experiencing OCD and 33 percent of respondents with bulimia also experiencing OCD.

Eating disorders are often so closely tied with OCD because both can cause intrusive and compulsive actions intended to relieve the anxiety of the person experiencing them, according to Walden Behavioral Care. But it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose whether the disorders overlap or are mutually exclusive from each other, says Walden Behavioral Care, which affects the treatment path. Either way, it’s important to talk about how eating disorders and mental health aren’t always mutually exclusive.

Leon Bennett/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Stoner communicated the pain her career was causing through her relationship with food and its connection to her mental health. “Some people are complimentary of me when it comes to maybe not acting out in ways that they see other child stars behaving,” Stoner told PEOPLE. “I was acting out, but I chose vices that were societally acceptable and praiseworthy.”

Conversations like these are so vital to creating greater awareness of how eating disorders and other mental illness are often so closely connected. After all, education and awareness are the foundation for better treatment options for those who might share similar experiences as Stoner.

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237, text 741741, or chat online with a Helpline volunteer here.

OCD CURES: New medication being tested in Atlanta could help people with OCD

Linda Stouffer

Updated: Feb 13, 2019 – 5:26 PM

ATLANTA – Crucial research underway in Metro Atlanta could lead to relief for millions of people with a debilitating mental illness.

An estimated 2 percent of the population, or one in 50, has obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD.
OCD involves obsessive thoughts, then compulsive behavior to reduce anxiety.

It can manifest itself in different ways. For some people, it’s excessive hand washing, even to the point of their hands bleeding. Others repetitively flip light switches or check locks.


A doctor involved in the research told Channel 2 Action News that 20 to 30 percent of the OCD patients who use the current medications on the market get very little benefit from them, which is why they are now working to create a medication that specifically targets OCD.

The new clinical trial, how it works and how you could be a part of it, Thursday on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m.

New Jersey Ketamine Center Provides Relief for Anxiety Disorder Patients – Press Release

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

Jersey City, NJ — (SBWIRE) — 02/11/2019 — Anxiety is now statistically the most prevalent mental illness found throughout adults in the United States, ranging from general anxiety disorders (GAD) to panic disorders, phobias, and even obsessive-compulsive disorders. Traditionally, those in the medical field have used anti-anxiety prescription medication as the primary means of managing anxiety and depressive disorders; that is until recent years, where studies have shown breakthroughs in the field of ketamine infusion therapy.

As the leading provider of ketamine infusion therapy in NJ, the team of highly-trained professionals at the New Jersey Ketamine Center devotes their careers toward providing their patients who struggle with anxiety disorders with an alternative means of treatment that has been proven in recent years to have immediate, positive impacts on their conditions. Their trained Anesthesiologists continuously aim to better understand the causes and alternative treatment methods of disorders involving anxiety and depression.

As opposed to the traditional pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications which take weeks of dosage adjustments and monitoring before having a noticeably positive impact on those suffering from anxiety disorders, ketamine infusion therapy sessions are complete in less than an hour and have little-to-no side effects for patients while proving to be an effective means of relief.

Patients suffering from anxiety or depressive disorders who are looking for an immediate form of treatment should call the NJ ketamine treatment professionals at the New Jersey Ketamine Center today at 866-789-7627 for a free phone consultation or visit them at http://njketaminecenter.com for more information about the many benefits of ketamine infusion therapy.

About New Jersey Ketamine Center
Built on the mission of helping to improve the lives of individuals with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, suicidal thoughts, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other mental disorders, New Jersey Ketamine Center is proud to offer a new, different form of treatment for residents of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

To learn more, visit https://njketaminecenter.com/.

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/new-jersey-ketamine-center-provides-relief-for-anxiety-disorder-patients-1144904.htm

Two Possible Reasons People with OCD Perform Compulsions

This is my second post in the series on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)—a mental disorder associated with obsessions (recurrent intrusive urges) and compulsions (mental rituals or repetitive behaviors).¹ In my previous post, I described the nature of obsessive-compulsive disorder, the relationship between obsessions and compulsions, and the consequences of performing compulsions. I also explained the first of three aspects of OCD I was planning to discuss: The need for control.

In today’s article, I explore two other aspects of OCD:

  1. Compulsions appear to work.
  2. The person with OCD is motivated to believe compulsions work.

Compulsions seem to work

According to research, those with OCD—compared to other individuals—feel less in control and/or desire more control

One way people with OCD try to gain control is by performing compulsions.

For example, if an individual has obsessive thoughts about someone breaking into his home when he is asleep, he may conclude he has very little control over his safety. To feel more in control, he might try to check the locks fifty times before going to bed.

Why do compulsions appear to be effective in helping people with OCD feel more in control? To answer this question, I direct your attention to an exchange from the popular TV show, The Simpsons. Humor aside, the scene illustrates a common mistake. Like Homer, we sometimes mistake correlation (an association between two events) for causation.

We join Homer and Lisa in the middle of a conversation about safety.

Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.

Homer: Oh, how does it work?

Lisa: It doesn’t work.

Homer: Uh-huh.

Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.

Homer: Uh-huh.

Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?

Homer (looking around, then): Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

The idea that a rock keep tigers away is a correlation: A (Lisa holding a rock) and B (there being no tigers around) are correlated. But just because A and B are true at the same time does not mean that one causes the other.

To see the relevance of correlation/causation distinction to OCD, consider someone who cleans compulsively because she fears getting ill. Her compulsions appear to work because for months she has not caught a serious illness. So A (excessive cleaning) and B (no serious illness) are correlated. Yet she is assuming one causes the other, an assumption that may be challenged if she gets ill.

People with OCD are motivated to believe compulsions work

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder believe compulsions work perhaps not only because compulsions seem to work but also because people with OCD need compulsions to work. If compulsions do not work, one is back to feeling powerless, out of control, and constantly living in fear of something terrible happening. So compulsions have to work.

Let us return to our example of the woman who spends many hours doing her cleaning ritual. What happens if she gets ill? Will she give up her compulsion?

Not likely. She may come up with arguments in favor of keeping the compulsion. To illustrate, here are three such arguments:

  1. “Had I not done my cleaning ritual, I would have become more seriously ill or would have caught the illness a long time ago.”
  2. “I got ill because I did not do my ritual properly. I must have missed a spot.”
  3. “This illness is a wake-up call. I can see that my routine is not as good as it needs to be. I should spend more time cleaning.”

It is difficult to challenge these beliefs. Had this person’s beliefs been completely nonsensical, it would have been much easier to dispute them. But that is not the case; often what the person with OCD believes is possible; it is just not probable.

Concluding thoughts on compulsions

Compulsions are usually understandable but exaggerated reactions to fear; they are also related to the need for control. Compulsions waste a lot of energy and resources, and can never fully protect the person from feared events.

In my next couple of articles, I discuss an effective treatment for OCD. This treatment requires the person to stop doing her compulsion—yes, the very thing that appears to be helping manage her fears and obsessions. This may not be easy. She will have to face her fears and convince herself that the safety provided by compulsions is an illusion. I will say more about this in my next post.


1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.

2. Moulding, R., Kyrios, M. (2007). Desire for control, sense of control and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 31, 759–772.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder | Being Beautifully Bipolar

One of the most annoying things I hear is when people say things like, “My kitchen has to be clean. I mean, I am so OCD.” A clean kitchen does not make one have obsessive compulsive disorder. Sure, some people with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) do have to have things spotless, but that is not a requirement. Take me for example, I am messy. My kitchen floor needs a good washing and my dining room table could use a thorough dose of organization. Yet, I have been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder for more than a decade.

Obsessive compulsive disorder falls under the anxiety disorder tree. The National Institute for Mental Health states: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts ( obsessions) and behaviors ( compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

For example, I once was obsessed with doing things in the “right” order. If not, I would run someone over. Putting on socks was a chore. What if I picked the wrong ones? What if I put them on my feet in the wrong order? Should it be left first or was it the right foot? It took so much of my time and then I would be so unsure of myself I could not leave the house for fear of running someone over. Was this at all logical? No, but I believed it so it was true to me.

I am also obsessed with numbers. I used to be able to do anything, like turn up the volume on the television, to a multiple of two. Then, somehow, that morphed into multiples of five. The radio can only play at ten or fifteen decibiles, and so on. I can only get out of bed at a time followed by a multiple of ten. Why? Because any other way is dangerous. I like the safety of my numbers.

I am also a hand washer. I love to wash my hands repetitiously. I have a method. First, start with very hot water. Next, soap up my thumb top on the inside of my palm and all the way around. Wash the nail bed. Proceed to the index finger. Continue to do all fingers, then do the same process to the back of the hand before giving the opposite hand a go. It is also important to clean the back of my hands and both wrists. I can go on like this for twenty-five to thirty times. It is comforting to me.

In graduate school I had to “check” everything. I had (and still do have) Hope, my Bernese Mountain Dog and part of my checking was to secure her safety. I had to check the outlets, making sure there were no fraying wires or the like. I had to check that the patio was locked, doors were shut, and no food was on the counter that Hope could get. I also had to wash my hands those many, many times before leaving. When it came to leaving and locking the door, I did it five times. This is part of the reason I left graduate school. My obsessive compulsive disorder was only getting worse. It was becoming harder to leave the apartment and definitely more time consuming.

I also have a tendency to line things up, especially under stress – that began in graduate school. I would open the fridge. Close the door. Then open it again to make sure all my condiments faced forward. I do that at home still in my house. If I can do it without getting caught, I do it at my parents’ house. I just feel like I am being ridiculous is the reason I don’t want them to catch me reorganizing their fridge. Everything – all the bottles of shampoos and conditioners and face wash – in the shower are spaced evenly on its appropriate shelf, moved to the edge where I can slip my finger down to the edge of the shelf.

See? It is a disorder and you minimizing it to a clean kitchen diminishes the vast disorder. So please, next time you think of using OCD to describe something, make sure you understand what you are saying.

Antidepressants Such as Prozac Can Cause Intestinal Bleeding

SSRIs are an interesting drug class.

While they’re one of the most frequently prescribed drugs to treat depression, the exact way they work isn’t understood.

It’s believed that they limit the reabsorption, or reuptake, of serotonin into a cell (hence their name), which increases serotonin levels.

Higher serotonin levels have been associated with a higher sense of well-being, so it may not be surprising that these drugs are often used to combat depression.

Other uses for these relatively low-cost drugs include treating anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, and certain sexual disorders.

But the list of side effects associated with SSRIs is long enough to make any prospective patient think twice.

One of the more common side effects of SSRIs — and a primary reason many patients discontinue their use — is sexual dysfunction in both men and women.

Other side effects include serotonin syndrome, which can, in rare and extreme cases, be deadly.

Finally, there are the ways that SSRIs affect bleeding. When combined with anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs (such as aspirin), there’s an increased risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.

Yuet said physicians and pharmacists are generally well aware of this risk, even if many patients tend to view SSRIs as benign.

“There are several over-the-counter medications known to increase bleeding risk, which are potentially dangerous when administered with SSRIs,” she explained. “Examples include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and fish oil. Prescription medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) and clopidogrel (Plavix) will increase bleeding risk as well.”

The prevalence of SSRIs makes this research timely.

In her review, Yuet notes that almost 13 percent of Americans aged 12 and older take an antidepressant of some kind.

Prevalence has also increased. In 1999, less than 8 percent of people in the United States took antidepressants. By 2014, that percentage had increased to more than 12 percent.

Dermatillomania: meet the people who can’t stop skin picking

For Connor, an overwhelming desire to get to the nearest mirror is one of the first signs. “Usually, I would have already begun picking or scratching other parts on my body if I can’t control the urge,” he says. Connor, like many others, lives with compulsive skin picking: an irresistible urge to pick at or scratch one’s skin that can have disastrous effects on body and mind.

“When I begin picking, I completely zone out,” he says. The aftermath of a session can last for up to 45 minutes, the result not only of the sore, red skin on his face, but also the rush of “self-loathing and hatred” at what he has done to his appearance.

Skin-picking disorder, also referred to as excoriation disorder or dermatillomania, is believed to affect as many as one in 20 people. It is among a group of behaviours (along with trichotillomania – compulsive hair-pulling) known as body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRBs) and was recently recognised as a distinct entity in psychiatric classification systems.

Those who struggle with this disorder might scratch, pick, rub or dig at their skin with their fingernails or sometimes tools such as tweezers, resulting in wounds, sores and, eventually, scarring. Dr Daniel Glass, a consultant dermatologist at London North West University Healthcare NHS trust, says patients’ skin “can be quite deeply damaged” by the behaviour and can present anything from one or two lesions to more than a hundred. The impacts can be psychological as well: “If we have problems with our skin, it may make us feel low and reluctant to face the world.”

Although it is growing, awareness of the condition is still fairly low. “These are disorders of shame and isolation,” explains the psychologist and BFRB expert Fred Penzel, who is based in New York. “That’s what keeps a lot of people from even seeking treatment – they’re afraid to reveal that they do this.”

After particularly bad incidences of skin picking, Connor has shunned social events, skipped gym sessions (which normally he loves) and hidden away in his room, he says. “I feel embarrassed by what I’ve done to myself.”

Common misconceptions about the disorder can make it very stigmatising, says Penzel, who is a founding member of the science advisory boards of the International OCD Foundation and the TLC [Trichotillomania Learning Center] Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors. Although it is classified as an “obsessive-compulsive and related disorder” in the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the condition is considered different from obsessive-compulsive disorder, as it is neither self-harm nor necessarily driven by a deeper issue or unresolved trauma.

Although skin-picking disorder can appear at any age, the onset is often in childhood or adolescence. Connor, now 24, was at secondary school when he noticed how much more he picked at his skin compared with his friends: “I didn’t seem normal,” he says. Holly Davidson, 38, also recalls picking avidly at her skin as a teenager. By the time she first undertook cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) four months ago to try to stop her compulsive habit, it had become such a part of her life that she burst into tears: “I said: ‘I don’t know if I can stop, because it’s been a part of me for 20 years.’”

Davidson has tried numerous potential solutions over the years, including expensive facials, hypnotherapy and wearing gloves; she says CBT – one of the most common psychotherapy treatments for the disorder – has been the most effective. But Penzel says treatment for compulsive skin picking can be complex, depending on the severity of the case and the likely cause.

Dr Anjali Mahto, a consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic in London, says she often sees cases of acne excoriée (a skin-picking disorder in which patients squeeze acne spots or even healthy post-acne skin). “When people come to the clinic, what you don’t see are the spots – you just see the areas of skin that people have gouged out because they’ve tried to get rid of the spots.”

Although Connor and Davidson report feeling anxiety, stress and frustration in relation to their skin picking, Penzel says it is a common misunderstanding that it is all down to stress. “People do these things when they’re either overstimulated, meaning stressed or even happily excited, or they do it when they’re understimulated, meaning when they’re sedentary or bored. So it provides stimulation when you’re understimulated and it reduces it when you’re overstimulated – it works either way.” Anxiety and depression don’t cause it either, he says. “They might aggravate or exacerbate the problem, but they’re not what causes it. That’s important to understand.”

Figures suggest that 75% of people affected by skin-picking disorder are female, but Penzel is wary of the picture this paints – women are more likely to seek treatment than men and there have been few comprehensive studies.

Keeping it real. Close up of my skin showing spots, scars and pigmentation. I have picked my skin for many years now and as I age I can see the damage I’ve caused. When I’m stressed, nervous or bored I can pick at my skin for hours. Not just my face but also my arms, legs and back. I will pick at scabs and create spots when there is nothing there. Obsessive skin picking is an actual disorder called dermatillomania or excoriation (I only found that out a few years ago) and is said to be related to OCD. It’s something that I’ve researched a lot and have tried many different techniques to help me combat it. Wearing gloves, covering mirrors, hypnotherapy, facials, skin creams, meditation, mindfulness (to name a few). What I’ve realised is, I don’t recognise when I’m stressed and this can build up until my only outlet to de-stress is to pick. It’s an on going battle but is much better than it used to be (maybe that’s why I can talk about it now). I wanted to share this with you incase you struggle with a smiler thing. Stress, anxiety, OCD can show its self in so many different ways and sometimes we are unaware how its effecting our mind and bodies. As a personal trainer I dedicate my life to my body keeping it fit, strong and healthy and making sure I’m eating the right things. But what I easily can neglect is my mind and my emotions and what is going on on the inside. : : : : : : #keepitreal #skinpicking #OCD #stress #anxiety #anxietyhelp #stressrelief #spots #pigmentation #scaring #emotional #realtalk #dermatillomania #CBT #skinpickingdisorder #realvsfake

A post shared by Holly Davidson (@hollyactive) on Apr 7, 2018 at 9:07am PDT

Jacqueline Kilikita, 26, recalls an incident last year when she picked at the flaking skin on her lips so severely that she ripped off a large piece of skin, causing her bottom lip to bleed heavily. “I also pick the skin on my cuticles and sometimes my scalp, so I researched my symptoms and every single one of them was consistent with dermatillomania.”

In her role as beauty editor at the website Refinery29 UK, Kilikita published an account of her experience. “After I wrote the article, a colleague mentioned that she suffers, too. The comments also showed me that lots of people are in the same boat. One said it was a relief to know that they aren’t alone.”

Reflexology has been helpful for her, she says, but it is expensive; keeping lip balm and moisturiser on hand is a cheaper way to reduce the compulsion: “If the skin is moisturised or covered in product, I’m less likely to pick.” Trying CBT is next on her list.

Penzel advocates a comprehensive BFRB-specific approach to behavioural therapy that falls under the umbrella of CBT. “We try to look at the entire clinical picture, everything surrounding the problem that feeds into it, because if you don’t do it comprehensively you’re not really going to get it under control,” he says.

Another key issue is a lack of understanding of the disorder and how to treat it within the psychological and medical communities. “A lot of people get some very bad reactions from health professionals – unfortunately, a lot of it is passed off as bad habits, but it really isn’t,” says Penzel. “This can rise to a great level of seriousness and it should be taken very seriously.” At extreme levels, he has worked with people who have needed plastic surgery or have contracted secondary infections such as flesh-eating disease (necrotising fasciitis) as a result of severe skin picking.

Connor and Davidson say stigma can be a barrier to getting treatment. Of the “handful” of men to whom Connor has spoken who also experience skin-picking disorder, only a few have told their family, friends and doctors, he says. “They just don’t feel people will understand their situation, which I completely get.” In fact, he made the decision to share his account of living with skin-picking disorder on Instagram in the hope of creating a support network.

Davidson says that, for years, she had no idea that she was suffering from a psychological disorder: “It was just something I did.” She thinks this lack of awareness is very common. “A lot of people don’t realise that you can get help – a lot of people do really think they’re strange, that they’ve got this weird thing that nobody else has.”

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact Anxiety UK’s national Infoline service on 03444 775 774 or the US-based TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors at bfrb.org