Anxiety & Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a state of uneasiness or apprehension, and includes specific fears of real or imagined dangers. Anxiety is a normal, healthy part of life — unless it becomes too persistent and intense, or is evoked by situations without real danger.
Anxiety disorders take many forms. A person may have abnormally high anxiety across many situations, or very specific intense fears, called phobias. In panic disorder, a person has intense “anxiety attacks,” with symptoms of rapid heart rate and breathing, dizziness, or nausea. In obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a person cannot escape persistent thoughts or repetitive behaviours, whereas in post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety disorder follows traumatic events in a person’s life.
Treating Anxiety Disorders
Treating anxiety disorders is one of the most studied areas of applied psychology. Successful anxiety management requires regulation of the physical reactions and thoughts that accompany the anxiety response. We use desensitization procedures with neurofeedback to teach people to reduce the high level of physiological arousal typical of anxiety responses, and to rapidly induce calmness in the face of stressful situations that normally elicit anxiety.
Anger-control problems occur if expressions of anger are too intense, frequent, or used to intimidate family or friends. Impulsiveness, substance abuse, or anxiety can also play a role in anger problems. We use an application of neurofeedback training to teach the fluent self-regulation skills necessary for remaining calm in the face of “anger triggers “that normally evoke episodes of anger or rage.