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Parenting Matters: Anxiety disorders most common mental health problem

<p>Amit Thaker, director of marketing and business development for Linden Oaks. | Submitted</p>

Amit Thaker, director of marketing and business development for Linden Oaks. | Submitted

The Collaborative Youth Team is a partnership of 24 youth and family service organizations and agencies. Each month, a different partner will offer practical tips for restoring balance within our families and for building resiliency in our youth. This month’s column is shared by Amit Thaker, director of marketing and business development for Linden Oaks at Edward.

Has this ever happened to you? Wake up in the morning, it’s a perfectly good day but you have a small worry. That small worry turns into something larger, and like a cancer that worry multiplies until forming an all-out anxiety warlord in your brain.

“Anxiety lives in all of us, there should be no stigma,” says Joann Wright, a consulting psychologist at Linden Oaks at Edward. “But if anxiety stops you from doing the things you want, or if you’re constantly seeking answers to unanswerable questions, you might benefit from professional help.”

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem. Among U.S. adults 18 and older, there are 40 million people suffering from an anxiety disorder in any given year, more than 18 percent of people in that age group.

These troublesome maladies include generalized anxiety, phobias, post-traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive and panic disorders. The most common anxiety disorder is generalized anxiety in which the person worries about many things, often throughout the day.

Here is an example: “What should I cook for breakfast? I am running late so I’ll throw in some pop tarts. I should eat healthier. I should be feeding my kids something more nutritious. I’m a horrible parent! What is wrong with me!” That domino effect of anxiety is a serious issue, and before you know it, you’re feeling as helpless as a fish out of water.

Anxiety disorders may be difficult to recognize. In a healthy individual, fear is caused by a threat or challenge and helps us to take action. Someone with an anxiety disorder will experience an excessive state of apprehension, uncertainty or fear — and the response is often not attributable to a real threat. Even after the threat is gone, the anxiety persists.

“We call it the ‘big what if’ disorder,” says Dr. Wright. “It takes you out of the present moment to a focus on future events you have no control over.”

Linden Oaks treats generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder in adults and adolescents. Through the resources at Linden Oaks at Edward, we can get you the treatment you need to help get your life back. Take a free 5-minute online AnxietyAware test to learn your risk. Online test can be accessed at http://www.edward.org/anxiety

This column is courtesy of KidsMatter, Collaborative Youth Team facilitator. To access the Community Resource Guide and Partner contact information, visit www.KidsMatter2us.org and www.ParentsMatterToo.org.

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